Monday, August 11, 2014

Blog: Decoupage Tips and Tricks

I have been doing a lot with decoupage in the last 18 months.  I have done this type of craft work since the 1970's.  It is an old craft that has just now come back around and we find it in our mixed media work more and more. There are a lot different brands of Decoupage Mediums some I have used and some I have not used., every paint company makes a brand of their glue and even home made glue.
I know you can Google or go to You Tube to find a lot more information than I could ever put in this blog.
I am only going to give my experience and pictures of what I have done discuss the products that I personally have used in my journals and on my canvas work and some tags.

Decoupage is the art of using paper, newspaper, scrapbook paper, napkins, fabric, magazine paper.  The art is the gluing and placing the material and shapes and sizes on your suffice , it is all in the design and the look you want and what you are using it the projects purpose., We have journals that are great for trying out your design, and there is wooden surfaces that you can do a lot of work with this method, and you can make your own home decor items like picture frames, decorated plastic eggs, and you can even use clear plates for wall decor., flower pots, desk sets, the list is endless.  If you are looking for great ideas You Tube and Pinterest have beautiful projects.

What I just finished doing on a Canvas with a great Fairy Napkin.
The art piece is called
Spread your wings and let the Fairy in you fly.

This is a 8X10 canvas, and I am going to go through the steps of how I did this project even the mistakes and fixes.  
  • First thing to do when using a canvas is to use white gesso, ( which I did not do and the surface was very slick and the paint on the canvas was very hard to apply and when wet it wiped off first mistake)
  • I did a background in purple tones with a hit of orange before i applied the napkin.
  • I cut out a 1/4 square of the napkin the design I liked best of all. and I didn't like the perfect square edge so i decided to try the water technique of making the edges ragged but (second mistake I got the napkin a little to wet so I had to carefully let it dry and then took my finger in the water and slowly rubbed the edges to get the ragged edges I wanted.)
  • I then applied the DecoArt Napkin Medium for the first time and I really liked the thin consistency as I applied it to the I applied all over the area and then I place my napkin on a very smooth piece of clear plastic wrap this is to keep the Napkin from wrinkling. Well, I watched the  Video on You Tube and though this was really great. It is if you do a lot of practice. (Third mistake you see the V shape at the top of the napkin well it stuck to the clear wrap to much glue used and could not be salvaged and I had no more napkin to work with so I had to get my thinking cap on and think of a way to fix it.) I must say most of the napkin did real well but I had to really work at it.  I tried the head gun but it lifted the napkin up off the canvas.  So I left it dry naturally.   
  • I then applied a very light coat of the Napkin Medium on top of the surface and let it dry for several days and dried very nice but if I wanted to add any moisture it would melt the napkin .
  • In the V of the mistake I stenciled a butterfly in gesso and rubbed with my fingers some purple Gelato and purple ink with my fingers. o.n the outer edges I distressed with some orange and purples

  • Second step to the Canvas after napkin is applied.
    • I used Gelli Roll Black pen to do some outline of the lower half of the project around the flowers and leaves
    • Then I used a brown Distress paint pen from Tim Holt to outline the fairy and flowers and upper leavers.
    • Painted the flowers and leaves with different color of Micron pens and Distress colors and the Gelli white pen to highlight the flowers. 
    • An in the Finished Picture I took some new stamps I won from Stampendous.   I stamped them with a black stamp pad and outlined them with Micro 01 pen and the White Uniball pen to highlight the letters.
    • Below are the Products I used in this Project.

Part two of  How to Decoupage.

A collage of different types of papers, surfaces and decoupage mediums I have used to complete each project.
Upper left picture is a collage of napkins in a mixed media style, I  tore the napkin in pieces and added them to a piece of Illustration board I  gessoed the board and added Inks and distressing with stamp pads, and then I used the Mode Podge brand in the Antique finish, I also used Tim Holtz crackle medium on this piece, and added some flowers to give it more texture. This piece is call Dream  Paris and can be seen in the May 2014  past blog.

The left hand side is my first work with Mode Podge Gloss Medium, It is on a journal page and the theme was What makes you happy. I gessoed the page and painted it blue and from the computer I printed the background picture, and the pictures and lettering were cut from magazines and the lettering was done with a White Gelli pen.

The Lower left project was a small Index card and I used a napkin and used the Decoart Deco page medium .

The Right hand picture is also a napkin done on a plain card all the Napkins were decoupaged and and the locket was added with a special tack for cards.

Steps for Decoupage 

  1. Cutting out your images with scissors or a sharp craft knife.  If you are cutting a napkin it is triple thick please separate the layers and only use the design.  Place all  pieces to the side to use in your project.
  2. You may choose to tear your papers or napkins to give them a rougher edge. This can be done with a damp brush or a wet finger but be careful not to over wet the area it will cause the paper to tear in the wrong places.
  3. If your cut out is very thin paper you may add some decoupage glue very thinnly on the back side and let dry before usisng it in the design.
  4. When you are applying the decoupage glue to the project you are going to add the paper use a brush or foam brush and wet the brush in between each time you use it.
  5. Apply a thin layer of decoupage glue on the back of your  small paper and apply them to your project as you have designed, You can use your fingers to smooth out the bubbles or a credit card work if not much pressure is applied, DO NOT USE THE CREDIT CARD ON THE NAPKIN.
  6. If you are doing a large area on a flat surface apply a thin amount of the glue on the bottom half of the area and then gently lay the paper, or napkin on here and hold the top half up with one hand and rub the bottom half with your hand toward the center of the paper and smooth out the area and then add more glue and continue to lay the paper down and work to the top of the project. To smooth out start in the middle and work outward to the edges, and you can wipe off the excess glue with a paper towel.  
  7. When Project is completely dry put the top coat of glue starting with thin coats and start in the middle and brush toward the outer edge.   You can add as many coats of  glue you feel your project needs.

Problems with papers and napkin
  1. Using to much glue and a lot of bubbles
  2. Napkins tear very easy
  3. Wrinkles in the papers 
  4. You can not easily move the paper after it has been placed down, so make sure it where you want it before placing it.
Patience waiting for the drying time. 

Happy painting and crafting
Sharon Estes


  1. Great tutorial, I am going to order some of that DecoArt Napkin Decoupage!!

  2. Ok.. I need some of the napkin decopage in my life SHARON ESTES!!! I am SOLD!!! :) Thank you for posting your mistakes as well.. I definitely will take notes!! Everything takes practice.. :) Thank you for reminding me.. that even imperfect beginnngs have have a more than perfect outcome!

  3. I have done very bad decoupage and need help, I can share dsnaps of my decoupage, can you help me with it?
    Its been a nightmare to solve this