Fire Frog's

 Decoupage Page.

Decoupage

Almost anything can be decoupaged. And it is, by budding artists like us! All you need is some pictures, glue, and a clean surface.

Cat keyholder.

This cat shape is used as a key holder, it is decorated with birds, flowers, lace and unicorns. I have also made a xmas bear wind chime along the same lines.

What you need.

 Scissors.

 Paper pictures.

 Glue/decoupage paste.

 An item to cover

 Paint brush.

 Spray glaze/furniture polish.

The glue.

Depending on the project, glue can range from kid safe Clagtm to one of the modern decoupage pastes, that seal and glue together (Plaid Royal Coattm). When you have finished your project, you can seal it with a coat of spray-on craft glaze, or some layers of varnish (for wooden items), or even some furniture wax.

I have a recipe for making your own glue, it is - 1 part glycerin to 4 parts glue. This slows down the drying time of the glue, so you can reposition it a bit after putting the picture in place. This still will need sealing afterwards. I prefer the brought decoupage glues, they don't need mixing, and they seal for you. They can be sanded down lightly, just like varnishes, to get an even finish. Beware cheep imitation ones though, they dry slow and remain sticky. Use them only as glue!

Do not shake your glue, as that makes bubbles. Avoid bubbles in the glue, and hook out any dried/foreign bits from it, they make bumps in the pictures. Store with lids tightly sealed, and wash brushes used to apply them carefully.

If you put a varnish over the piece before the glue has properly dried, the glue may turn an ugly brown colour.

The Pictures.

All sorts of things can be used as cut outs, so lets look at what can't be used first. News paper pictures and others mediums with poor quality ink. They will bleed colour when the glue is applied. The rule is - if you wet your thumb, run it over the picture and come away with colour on your thumb from the picture - don't use that picture. Many computer print out pictures will bleed this way too. You can try sealing them with a light layer of spray on glaze before hand, to avoid the glue brush smearing colours, but the glue can bleed colours all by itself.

Some magazine pictures and other printed material will have the writing on the other side of a picture show through when the glue is applied. Sometimes it will fade when the glue dries, often it won't.

Thin paper can tear easily when you try and reposition it when wet, and thick paper tends not to conform well to the shape of the object being decoupaged. To thin a picture that is too thick, try bending the tip of one corner. It may break away into layers, which you can then peel off like an onion. Be careful, some pictures won't peel all the way, and may stick and tear. This is a good way of using photos though, you can usually peel photo paper easily!

Some things to use to make decoupage collages with = postage stamps, wall paper, photos, birthday etc cards, quality magazines, gift wrap, calendars, books. For books you can have any sort of theme, but the easiest ones are - art, nature, wedding, flower and seaside books.

When cutting your picture, don't be afraid to make mistakes, you can always cover that bit with another picture, or a dab of glitter or paint. Move the picture and not the scissors to cut things, it will save your wrists in the long run, and makes better cuts too. If the edges look raw, try running a black felt tip pen carefully around them. This will disguise it.

Cut out your pictures and put them in a flat book to store, to prevent curling. You may like to coat the pictures with a sealer before time, this gives them extra protection. Always, always, cut out more pictures than you think you will need. At least half as many extra. Trust me, it is worth doing.

Items to be Decoupaged.

Something with a smooth surface is best, and to start with, I recommend something flat. It you want to decoupage metal, then first use a rust proofing agent, and then maybe a layer of thin material as well. Nothing worse than going through all that effort, only to have your creation ruined by rust!

Some ideas for items to be decoupaged = mirror frame, tool box, letter holder, trinket box, furniture, bucket, tea tray, book ends, pencil box, book covers, shoes (work boots filled with sand or plaster make great door stops), big smooth wooden buttons, soap, porcelain facemasks, wooden blocks for children, eggs for Easter, waste paper baskets, files, picture frames and many more.

Some of my projects.

I have decoupaged - a trinket box with stamps and gems that is used to keep loose stamps in; Cornflakes boxes cut into magazine holders that I keep story print outs in (Each box is done in pictures of the fandom the stories came from!); a key holder, the solid top of a wind chime, files, old bulk coffee tins that are now decorative waste bins; cardboard boxes for keeping art gear in; jam jars for keeping pens in; and a big box for a friends child to keep dress up clothes in (a dress-up box); book covers and the file dividers in my daily planner, a checkbook and my house repayment book.

The possibilities are endless! J

The Deed.

First prepare the item to be used. Sand them down lightly if needed, then wipe with a damp cloth to remove any dust. Make sure there are no greasy spots, or the glue won't hold there. Clean your hands well for the same reason. When it is dry and clean, you can begin your project.

In a cleared area lay out the pictures you want to use. Fit them together on top of the item to be decoupaged until you have a pleasing arrangement. This could mean every square inch of the item is covered in your fav Starwars characters, or it could have just a single rose with a pink butterfly. How many piccys you use is up to you. Put the pics to one side, still in the pattern you want.

Take a wide, stiff brush and place a layer of glue on the surface, put the central picture down on it and smooth from the middle of the picture outwards. Alternatively put the glue on the picture and place it on the surface. The next idea is to smooth out any air bubbles, with out ripping the wet paper, or forcing all the glue from under the picture out! A sponge brush, a rubber roller, or your fingers can be used to do this. Put the larger pictures on first, then the smaller ones.

For oddly shaped or curved objects, you may have to make the pictures curve to fit the surface. This is done by cutting and overlapping the pictures. Like this.

Cut like this.

To make this picture fit an egg, little cuts are made along the lines marked in yellow. Then the folds are overlapped.

Pictures with only a few cut outs can be linked with swirls of glitter, tiny gold stars or gold paint. Other things can also be used, like stick on gems, finals, chains, sequins, lace, feathers and doily's. If a bubble does appear in your picture after it dries, (and applying a second coat of sealer seams to bring out the bubbles in my stuff!) then use a craft knife to make a small cut. With a tooth pick, apply more glue into the cut, then smooth the bubble down.

3-D Pictures

I was making up some sticky back labels for return addresses recently. To save wasting labels, I did a test run on plain old paper. A half dozen images, all the same, was the result. Waste not, want not, as Nan would say. I cut them up and made a 3-d picture out of it. You can't see the finished piccy yet, the scanner would have squashed it, but as soon as the camera is fixed (what, you've heard that one before? J ) I will put it up. So, what do you need?

 Multi pictures all the same.

 Thick double sided tape or thick setting glue.

 Scissors.

 Tweezers.

 Hair spray or craft sealer.

 A craft varnish if you want.

 A toothpick.

 A box frame.

Cut out the first picture, this should show 'all' of the picture. Next, cut out the rest of the pictures so that when assembled they show perspective. That is to say, make the big things be behind littler things that would be closer to you if it where a real life picture.

FireFrogs3-Dpicture.

If I was feeling enthusiastic, the frog's arms, eyes and snout could also be cut out, but it is an individual decision, and for me, it seems too fiddly, so I wont. Use a plain black felt pen to run around the cut edges of each piece. This makes quite a bit of difference, hiding the raw cuts and giving a more professional look. Or you can try to match the colours of the piece and do the edges in those colours, or in contrasting ones. This can be quite tricky, as you don't want the texta to get on the display side of your picture, just the cut edge.

Mix up your glue, if you have to, and attach the bigger pieces on to the background picture. You may want to seal your picture first if it is just an ink printed piece, or the ink may run when glue is applied. Hair spray, or craft spray, will seal it. A thickish layer of glue is used, to raise each piece above the next layer. Remember, the further back in perspective the cutout would appear, the sooner it gets glued on. Or, first seen, last on.

If you use tape to create the gap between built up layers, the tweezers will help position it well. Some pieces of cut out, like my frog's wings, can be shaped first. Use a toothpick to gently curve the paper. I've seen huge big carnations done, where every petal was cut out and curved, it looked great, but oh dear, it must have taken them some time to do!

When everything is firmly in place, paint or spray on a varnish to protect your piece, and display it in a frame box. This is a frame deep enough to have all the layers inside its glass. They are available at craft stores, but you can make them with cardboard as well.

 Stamping/decoupage idea! Stamp onto thin white tissue paper with small pictures and glue onto curved surfaces. Then colour in, going over the tissue paper surround with the same colour as the curved surface back ground (do at same time.) This hides the fact that the picture was not done directly onto the curved surface, but stuck on! I'm sure there are lot's of ways to use this idea, let me know!

More to come on this page.

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