One fun and relatively simple craft you might like to try is Decoupage. This is creative and a great way to relax as well as not being too difficult to get started at but for some reason it isn't that well known. So, to introduce this as another wonderful craft idea to readers, I thought I’d write an article looking at its history, a newer form of this art style, and how you can start decoupaging.
The art of Decoupage is based around cutting up bits of paper and gluing them to the surface of objects. It can be traced back to various countries worldwide, and is by no means a new invention. To begin, the paper is cut out. It is then glued across the surface of the object that is being decorated, before being varnished to make the surface smooth. Decoupage also refers to layering paper on cards for creating 3D effects, and can be used in this way on objects too to create further 3D elements on their surface. In traditional decoupage, patterned paper can be used to completely cover the surface of the object, but individual images can be cut out too to add an extra design touch.
Recently, the French brand Decopatch has become popular, in the UK at least, and this is an art very much based on the traditional Decoupage. The difference is that Decopatch provide their own paper to use for the decoration, as well as professional looking papier mache objects to decoupage the paper onto. The company essentially provides everything that you will need for doing the craft, including water-based varnishes, which means that there are no harmful chemicals that can be inhaled in the process of making your objects. The paper provided by Decopatch is thinner than normal paper, so less varnish is required to smooth out the work at the end and this makes it quicker as well. Of course, for those who want creative freedom, the traditional methods are perhaps better since Decopatch paper comes in various patterns but will not give the opportunity to use actual images in the design and, though the collection of papier mache objects available to buy is quite extensive now, you have to buy these meaning it is more expensive than just recycling an object you already have at home.
To start decoupaging yourself, you only have to follow a few simple steps:
Step 1: Take an object. This can be something you already own, a papier mache object you’ve bought, or even one you’ve made from scratch yourself.
Step 2: Choose some paper. If you’re going for a pattern, then cut or tear up your patterned paper to approximately the size of postage stamps. By cutting, your piece will look like a patchwork, whereas by tearing, the pattern will look more continuous. You can also just cut around a specific image if you want the whole thing on your object.
Step 3: Spread some glue across a small area of the object and then by using the gluey paint brush pick up one of the pieces of paper. Push it down onto the glued section and, after holding it for a few seconds, paint a thin layer of glue over the paper. You don’t have to worry about the whiteness of the glue over the pattern since this will dry clear.
Step 4: Repeat the previous steps until everything is covered. Now leave the glue to dry. Your object is then done and no doubt looking very pretty! At this point, it may be completely sealed and smooth, but if you want to smooth it down further you can paint varnish over the whole surface and then leave this to dry as well.
Hopefully, this is a craft that some of you will really enjoy. What I love about it is that it’s so simple to do and you don’t even have to focus heavily on it, you can just do it whilst watching TV. Its simplicity really makes it fun and relaxing and in many ways that is exactly what a good craft needs to be. If you finish decoupaging one object, then you can stretch your next one further by adding other materials over your pattern such as paint, glitter and sequins!
Image from: https://creativecraftscardiff.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/decopatch-letters.jpg