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Decoupage Makes a Great Inexpensive Gift!

Updated on December 4, 2014
A classic style decoupage bowl.
A classic style decoupage bowl.

You can make something special, for next to nothing!

Decoupage is the art of decorating objects by gluing paper cutouts onto them, then coating the object in multiple layers of special lacquer. The object you cover could be almost anything. You could chose a piece of furniture, a small box, a piggy bank or something else entirely. You can let your imagination run wild.

The paper you choose to glue onto the object can either be something abstract and simple, like random, brightly colored shapes, or it can be something more personal and meaningful like personal photos or pieces of maps from a person's travels. Or any combination you can think of. The only limitation is your imagination.

You might choose to cover an object you already have, or you can find a plain piggy bank, box, bottle, vase or similar item at your local craft store or online. If you are handy, and motivated, you could even craft the object yourself, though that would take a good deal more skill.

Selecting Your Materials

Once you have selected the object you want to decoupage, the next thing you have to choose is what you want to cover it with. If you are covering a box for your mother to place mementos from her travels, then you may choose some old maps from her favorite travel locales and some photos from her journeys.

You may be able to get maps for free from travel centers, or at your local library. If not, you can purchase antique looking maps online that are made specifically for decoupage, though any map will do. You may also want to use copies of the photos you intend to use, since you will be cutting them up.

Putting It All Together

Once you have all your materials, all you have to do is cut the materials into shapes to cover the object you are covering. You can either cover it precisely, like you are applying wallpaper. Or you can cut fun shapes and do something more abstract. Remember, this is art! There are no hard & fast rules, so feel free to express your self & have some fun. You simply cut the materials into shapes and apply them to the object with glue.

Once you have the object completely covered, you will coat the entire thing in a special clear-coat called "Modge-Podge". You will want to apply a total of about fifty (yes 50) layers of the Modge-Podge, sanding it every 15 layers or so. When you sand the clear coat you should sand it with a 400 grit then an 800 grit then a 1000 grit sandpaper to get the clear coat smooth and shiny.

Applying the 50 layers of clear coat, and the sanding are by far and away the longest and most tedious parts of the project, but they are also the most important. They will have the biggest impact on the final appearance of your finished project. If you take care and take your time, you will find that you have created a truly stunning piece that will be very durable and last the test of time. Best of all it will be a hand-made custom piece that you made! What could show that you care more than that? It's a great way to give an awesome gift on a tight budget!

© 2014 Anthony

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