My first decoupage project – a bird box
I have just completed a four week class in the art of decoupage with the very talented teacher – Martina Montgomery Folan.
We transformed plain bird nesting boxes in week one, with a striking bird pattern.
To create a similar project, you will need:
A bird box, chalk paint, a brush for application, a paper napkin, decoupage glue, a small flat brush, clear matt varnish.
The technique is simple:
- Paint your background in a similar colour to the patterned napkin you want to add to your design. We used chalk paint in white for this project. The roof was already painted in a nice teal colour, which needed no further painting. Allow the paint to dry.
- Gently separate the layers of your paper napkin. You will only need to use the top layer.
- Decide how you want your design to appear on the box, and tear around your chosen pattern to roughly fit one side of the bird box.
- Apply a layer of decoupage adhesive with a small flat brush, on top of the napkin, whilst holding it over one side of the box.
- You will have some trimming to do around each side. Use your finger nails to gently remove any excess paper.
- Continue this process, until all sides are covered. Allow to dry.
- Coat with matt varnish.
Et voila, you have a beautiful bird box that is quite unique!
Our next project was somewhat more difficult but very rewarding – furniture decoupage. I chose to transform two chairs:
One chair before treatment
In order to create a smooth surface for painting, the chairs were sanded with fine sandpaper, the dust removed, washed with sugar soap, dried, then painted with a primer, before adding two layers of white chalk paint.
Patience is key!
My two chairs ready to be decoupaged
I chose a napkin with rows of fuschia flowers for one chair, and used the same design as my bird box for the other.
The technique was the same as for the previous project.
However, once you have varnished your furniture, you can sand over the decorated parts, which makes the surface smoother and the design looks as though it was always part of the chair. A final layer of varnish will make sure the furniture will withstand wear and tear.
My finished chairs
In the final class, we learned how to use the same technique on terracotta, plastic, glass, tin and finally (my favourite) shoes…
I had bought two pairs of flat pumps – one red and one turquoise.
I primed and painted the red pair with a cream chalk base, as my chosen napkin had a cream background. The pattern contained daisies, poppies and butterflies.
Here are my finished shoes:
I was overcome with delight at the difference.
The second pair were transformed with more daisies, poppies and butterflies. This pattern was full of bold pinks, and the background was white, so these shoes were primed and painted in a white base.
Finally, I added my flowers:
Both pairs were sealed with two coats of matt varnish.
What do you think of my designer shoes and furniture?
I have continued to transform bird houses, stones, coat hangers, yoghurt cartons…
These projects have given me hours of contentment and creativity, while my family and friends will hopefully enjoy some unique Easter gifts.
Brigid P. Gallagher
Memoir: “Watching the Daisies – Life Lessons on the Importance of Slow” is available from Amazon and all good online book stores.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/r5GCjaetgZk