Decoupage is an 18th century craft form enjoying a real renaissance. From the French term meanin ‘to cut up it was an inexpensive way of decorating personal objects. Today it’s a really popular way of breathing life into old furniture and this project demonstrates that by using some well chosen images you can upcycle those old chairs that would otherwise be destined for the rubbish tip… and produce something fun, unique and enviable.
You will need
- Old magazines, books, newspapers or images – this is where you can be really personal and use any kind of print you like. I chose cartoons.
- Cutting board
- Scalpel knife and cutting mat
- Metal ruler
- Small scissors
- Glue – PVA or Modge Podge
- I x small paint brush
- I x large paint brush
- Matt varnish
- Fine grade sandpaper
- Clean hands
Prepare the chair with sand paper by rubbing it down and giving it a quick wash with diluted washing up liquid to remove any excess grease.
Choose your images for cutting out. Get your cutting board, scalpel knife and ruler ready. Using the scalpel knife and ruler cut images out out to the required size. In this case I started with square/oblong shapes to build up the background then added more detailed images later.
Start applying the images to the piece of furniture.
This isn’t difficult, but it is worth experimenting with the layout before laying on any glue. You can cover the whole surface with images that fit together, or overlap them and build up the layers by placing smaller shapes over the larger shapes. It is up to you how you want the finished item to look.
Once you’ve decided where you want the images, start applying glue. Take an image, apply glue to the back then stick onto the furniture. Pat on with your finger then smooth with a clean lint-free cloth to make sure there are no bubbles. Pay particular attention the edges to make sure they are well stuck – you don’t want the edges lifting. Apply more glue if you need to.
Continue this process until you’ve completely covered your item.
Apply a coat of clear matt varnish with the medium sized brush. Allow to dry overnight then apply more coats. It’s usually recommended to apply between 10 and 20 coats of varnish. Sand lightly and wipe the dust away between each coat. Alternate the direction of the brushstrokes between each layer.
And there you go. A brand new, highly personal and modern piece of furniture upcycled from something that could have ended up in the dump.