Decoupage Project

For your decoupage project, first decide what you want to decorate. Select something simple, such as a small box or perhaps just a flat piece of wood. Then decide what you wish to use in the way of cutouts. Assemble everything you will need before you begin, scissors, quick-drying varnish, acrylic paint, a paintbrush, fine steel wool, fine sandpaper, white craft glue, and, of course, your pictures and unpainted wooden item. These materials can usually be found in craft shops and hardware stores.

Sand the box (or whatever you have chosen to decorate) and paint it the color you have chosen for the background. While the paint is drying, cut out the pictures you want to use. If, for example, you are cutting out pictures of birds, cut away all the background paper so that only the birds are left.

When the paint is dry, arrange the cutouts on the object. Be sure that you like the arrangement before gluing. Glue the cutouts down with white craft glue, wipe off the excess glue with a damp cloth, and pat the edges down with a sponge. Allow the cutouts to dry overnight.

The next day, apply one coat of quick-drying varnish to the object. Let this stand for one hour and apply a second coat. Lengthen the time between coats as the finish builds up. After seven or eight coats, let the object dry for 24 hours. Then sand it lightly with fine steel wool. Apply a few more coats of varnish so that at least ten coats will cover the cutouts. After the last coat has been put on, let the project dry for another 24 hours. Then go over it lightly with wet, fine sandpaper for a finishing touch.

If you have chosen a box for your decoupage project, you may want to line it. Cut some striped or patterned gift wrap to fit inside the box and glue it into place. Brush this lining with one coat of varnish.

Once you learn the basic techniques of decoupage, you will discover how many possibilities it offers and what fun it can be. Plain, unadorned surfaces can be quickly brought to life with bright, imaginative arrangements of paper cutouts.

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