Paper cutouts, glue and lacquer - that's all it takes to decorate your house and garden with lovely original accents and ornaments. Well, perhaps that's putting it simply. But the craft of decoupage is well known and the level of sophistication many artists and crafters bring to the field is nothing less than incredible. Whether you create with decoupage yourself or purchase from a crafter, you can add items to your home and garden that are as beautiful as they are functional.
First, if you plan to give decoupage a try, you'll need some supplies: varnish (or non toxic sealer), paint, primer, scissors, cutouts (from magazines or rolls of wrapping paper), paint brushes and an object to cover (watering can, pot, vase, etc.). If you're just beginning, finding books about decoupage will be indispensable not only for learning techniques, but for decorative ideas.
Typically a fireplace screen consists of glass and brass - but how mundane this can be. Consider a fireplace screen you decoupage with images of botanical prints. A bouquet of blossoms covers the unused fireplace - a great conversation piece. For the holidays, you may want to decoupage seasonal images like sprigs of holly or even a scene of Santa's boots - as if he's just climbing down your chimney.
Plain vases can be enlivened with a design of decoupage. A plain white vase can be transformed into an Oriental masterpiece with lacquered images of cranes and chrysanthemums. Flowers are usually easy to find in clip art collections or from wrapping paper. Simply cut out your shapes and apply them in any design you like on the vase. When all your images are applied, coat with several layers of lacquer (taking care to let each layer dry before applying the next).
Sometimes the original color of the item is not to your liking. For instance, craft stores frequently sell items like unfinished wood candlesticks. You can paint these any color you like and then apply your paper images; thin paper works best. Even postcard images may be too thick to work well. You want your images to look as if they were painted on, not simply tacked on with glue. For a seamless look, take care to work slowly - and painstakingly carefully!
Kitchen canisters are great items to decoupage. They can be matched to the décor of the room. If your kitchen features a country theme, you can feature farm scenes of animals on your set. Even kitchen cabinets can feature decoupage - consider a garland of ivy leaves bordering each cabinet door panel. An old table and chair set can be given a new life by this method as well. A coat of forest green paint and some images of fine bright green apples and you have the makings of a great new set.
Headboards are also fair game for decoupage. A swag of roses on a verdigris background can be the height of cottage elegance. Dressers or other wooden furniture make ideal objects for a decoupage project. Always be sure to strip old paint and refinish as needed before you begin to decorate. For metal objects, be sure to purchase metal primer before painting and adding decoupage images.
Finally, children's room are great places to begin to decoupage. Toy boxes and shelves can be decoupaged with images of airplanes, dolls, animals and more to create uniquely decorative items that suit the room's individual décor. Few crafts have such decorative potential for the home as decoupage. Even garden features can be coated with a waterproof sealer - consider garden shed shutters or patio planters for your next decoupage project.