Here are some varied ideas for new decoupage projects. We’ve even included some children’s projects as well.
Boxes provide interesting results when done with decoupage. A variety of boxes are available in craft stores. A box should be given two or three thin coats of an oil based paint as a base and at least three coats of varnish to finish. The final coat can be rubbed with dampened emery cloth for a fine, soft, matte finish.
When lining a box with fabric, put the seam at the front of the box. When the box is opened, you can see the back “wall” of the box but not the front one where the seam is.
If lining a box without overlapping the fabric onto a piece of cardboard, glue the pieces of fabric on to the sides and then glue decorative braid along the top edge to hide the raw edge.
Lining a box finishes it well, especially a jewelry box or a trinket box. To line a box cut a piece of sturdy cardboard to fit into the bottom. It should fall in and out easily, without catching on the sides. Cut a piece of wadding the same size as the cardboard. Cut a piece of fabric about an inch larger on all sides than the cardboard. Put the fabric face down on the table with the wadding and then the cardboard on top. Cut the corners off diagonally so that you don’t have a bulge at the corner. Pull one edge of the fabric up onto the cardboard and glue it down. Bring each side of the fabric up onto the cardboard and glue down. To glue this padded shape into the box, run a line of glue on the box bottom close to the sides. Push the padded shape down into the box and press firmly.
Soft flock can be used to give a box a soft, flocked interior and comes in a variety of colors. It’s a good idea to paint the inside of the box a similar color.
Soft flock comes in two parts. There is a colored glue in a bottle, paint this inside the box. Sprinkle the flock pieces generously into the box. Close the box and shake vigorously. Pour out any excess onto a piece of clean paper. Use the paper as a funnel to put the excess back into the bottle. If you want to flock the inside of the box but not the lid of the box, insert a piece of cardboard between the box and lid, close the lid and shake. When you remove the cardboard, the lid will be clean and the box will be flocked.
Picture frames make ideal gifts. Or you can use decoupage to brighten up a cheap frame. As you need to see how the frame will look once upright, it’s a good idea to attach your cutouts with tiny pieces of masking tape to work out their positioning.
Remember to remove the back and glass before beginning work. Use your fingers to wrap your cutouts over the edges of the frame. To ensure that you cover your frame completely with varnish, you may want to prop it up. You can use dowels rods as a frame and balance your picture frame across them. Make sure that you have newspaper below to catch any drips and gently wipe drips from the underside with a cloth. Leave it in position for a couple of days to dry thoroughly.
Mark your design on the candle. If the candle is wrapped, remove the wrapper to a quarter inch more than the design area. If it isn’t wrapped, mask off the area to be left plain with paper and fasten with tape. Lightly sand the area to be painted and remove dust with a cloth. Apply two thin coats of oil-based varnish to the uncovered area. If you’re placing images on a painted background, sponge on a couple of coats of gesso. Don’t sand and allow to dry between coats. Sponge on background colors and allow to dry. Finish with up to five coats of varnish, lightly sanding between the last two coats. Using a craft knife, remove the wrapper and tape. Finish the cut edge with ribbon or braid.
Decoupage is a craft that is easy enough for children to be involved in. With their small fingers, children are often capable of very fine work with practice. However, depending on the age and ability of the child, you may want to make a few allowances. It’s best to think it through so that they can work with your guidance, but actually perform each step themselves.
Boys as well as girls can enjoy decoupage, and as many young boys are fascinated with small and fiddly items, they can be particularly adept at this sort of work. Decoupage can be helpful in developing hand-eye co-ordination as well as powers of concentration. Once they have been introduced to the techniques, most children can be left to do projects alone, so long as someone is available for advice if they run into problems. If you aren’t yet competent at decoupage yourself, you can learn together.
Children will usually prefer decoupaging different types of items to adults. A serving tray is likely to have little appeal, but a lunch box or moneybox would get lots of use. For a first project, it’s best to start with something small, and many children enjoy decorating blown eggs, and are fascinated with the process of blowing the eggs.
For very young children, you can use safety scissors with rounded ends. As these scissors make it more difficult to cut small areas accurately, you will need to choose simple images and shapes to work with. Comic books can make a good supply of images and, generally, the bold pictures will be easy to cut out.
As many children get bored easily, it’s worth taking a few moments to plan how the project is going to be done so they spend as little time waiting around as possible. Instead of cutting out all the images first and then after painting a surface, sitting around waiting for it to dry, paint the object first and the cutting can be done while it’s drying. Or you can have two projects on the go at once so that they can switch between them.
Getting rid of air bubbles can cause the greatest problems and the easiest tool for most children to use will be the back of a spoon. Rather than using varnish or lacquer to finish, it’s safer to use glue. Keep varnishes and paints out of reach of small children.
With a little forethought, decoupage is one of the safest crafts children can be involved in and it’s simple enough for them to produce pleasing results.