Buying new furniture can be expensive, especially when you want unique one off pieces. Repurposing furniture is an affordable way to create gorgeous, customized furniture but can require a lot of time and skill, meaning that the average busy household won’t have the time or equipment to make beautiful shabby chic wardrobes or DIY barn door-turned-tables.
One way of upcycling furniture that really is as simple as cutting and sticking is decoupage. Decoupage is the act of cutting out and sticking pictures or patterns onto an object, either using single cut to size materials or layering smaller images upon each other. This is then coated with varnish to prevent wear and give a glossy finish.
Decoupage can be used on pretty much anything, from small ornaments to entire walls and fortunately the same method applies for everything.
You will need:
- Glue – you can buy special decoupage glue but a cheaper alternative is to mix three parts white PVA glue with one part water.
- Pictures – this can be paper, tissue paper, cotton, wrapping paper, wallpaper, magazine paper or special decoupage paper. Photographs can be used but it’s best to photocopy them rather than use the original photo due to the rigidity for the material.
- Sharp scissors or craft knife
- Slightly damp sponge or old rag
There are two methods of decoupage. In this post we’ll focus on using multiple pictures to layer up, however if you want to use a single piece of fabric to create one seamless image, check out Oak Furniture’s Guide to Decoupage.
- Clean the item of any dust and grease as these can interfere with how the glue sits and bonds to the paper
- Cut out each individual picture carefully using sharp scissors or a craft knife if necessary. Loosely place these out until you get an overall image you like and take a photo before removing
- Apply a thin layer of glue to a small area and apply the images, referring back to your photo to get the correct placement. You will need to apply glue over the images if they are being layered up to ensure each photo is fully stuck down. If the glue gets too thick, use the damp sponge to soak up any excess. As you apply the pictures, smooth out any wrinkles before moving on to the next.
- Once the glue is fully dry, apply a thin layer of clear varnish using a paint brush. Apply the varnish using brush strokes in the same direction to get a smooth surface.
- Allow the varnish to dry and lightly sand as this gets rid of any bumps. Repeat for another three to 15 coats depending on the durability you require.
As well as being an easy way of repurposing old furniture, decoupage is a fun activity for kids to join in with – just ensure that the pictures are cut out prior to starting so they don’t accidentally hurt themselves. Fun and simple projects for all ages include photo frames, toy animals and cardboard boxes.