Découpage is the art of decorating with paper. It originated in France in the 17th century as a means of decorating bookcases, cabinets, and other pieces of furniture.
It spread throughout Europe and in the 18th century became a fashionable pastime, especially at the Italian, French, and English courts.
Graceful, charming, and colourful designs, cut from pictures printed expressly for this purpose, were applied to fans, screens, and toilet articles.
Put simply, découpage involves cutting out pictures, gluing them to an object and then coating the pictures and the object with layers of varnish.
It’s become a very popular craft at the moment with tissue papers in all manner of designs being sold. Hobbycraft do a great range, but I decided to use what I had.
My daughter had a simple chest of drawers for many years (they are still available in IKEA.
Over time this piece of furniture had been stenciled, had various stickers placed on them, had the handles replaced and generally showed the signs of wear!
We had recently moved house and were in total disarray – whilst I was redundant in the kitchen renovation I decided to decorate these drawers.
I usually like to paint but after looking through some magazines and finding a bumper pack of decorative papers I decided to have a go at sticking paper squares over the entire chest of drawers.
I began by cutting 5cm squares. Although the patterns I used are all very different, I used the technique of squinting at the selection to see if they were of similar tones.
(Try squinting through your eyelashes. This will effectively reduce the mid-tones, leaving only the darks and lights).
I covered the fronts of the drawers and the top. As you can see there is no pattern, I just used them without overthinking the pattern.
I used PVA glue and once dry gave the whole thing a few coats of varnish – sanding between coats to lose the impression of separate squares.
Another change of handles – there was no point trying to find anything to match, so I chose 6 different patterns (bought from Tiger and the addition of a ‘Create’ word stuck to the top drawer, this wooden ‘word’ was decorated with just a Sharpie pen
and they are complete.
In découpage you can cut images from paper napkins, magazines, wrapping paper, allpaper – anything really and make up pictures or be completely random.
I’ve been boring with my squares but as the patterns in the papers were so crazy I felt a modicom of order would suit the project!
Have you become addicted to Ikea Mini drawers? I’ve loved them since I first saw them. When my daughter was young they were a great storage idea – handy to sit on too.
We had rather a lot and gradually as she grew up they changed their useage.
Finally she decided that she didn’t want quite so many so I painted them and lined their drawers to give as presents – each one was painted in a theme to suit the new owner.
I wasn’t taking photos of my arts and crafts ‘upcycling’ efforts then.
I still use them, my husband has the old ‘felt pen & crayon’ one now covered in ‘camera’ print wrapping paper for his lens’ and filters for photography.
I still use one for my pens and pencils, just wrapping paper, with gold acrylic paint around the edges and then little stick on bird motifs (which have been coloured using felt pens) :-
then I have my linen shelves – the back has been decorated with patterned paper squares:-
Back soon, Rosie