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How to Decoupage an Art Piece

How to Decoupage an Art Piece main article image
Posted on June 18, 2022 by Jennifer Carroll

Once upon a time, this artist took art for granted. I grew up in the home of an artist and so it was always around me. For most of my childhood, my mother had a dedicated studio. She had a career in real estate for many years and art took a back seat. The thing about art is that it always creeps back in.

As an adult, I’ve grown to love and appreciate art in all its forms. I’ve worked and applied myself to a career in healthcare, but art was always there. Now for the first time in my 50 years – I am a full-time working artist.

I produce a few new pieces a year then I craft with the pieces I’ve created. I make just about anything that is related to home décor and I must tell you – I get sick and tired of looking at my own stuff! So lately and especially for seasonal products, I’ve been using other people’s artwork. I absolutely love some of the things I’ve seen here on Creative Fabrica. I discovered another great way to use these graphics. I haven’t tried it with an illustration from here yet, but I’m going to soon.

I’m talking about Zazzle. You can take any graphic or illustration that you have permission to use and have just about any product made that you can imagine. A few months ago, I ordered some decoupage tissue paper with some beautiful artwork, and this month I finally had a chance to experiment with it.

The decoupage paper comes in several sizes, and I had ordered the 10”x15” size and a couple that were 15”x20”. The first thing I had to figure out was what to decoupage this artwork to.

I looked around my workshop and found some things I thought would work. I had picked up a couple of these art pieces at my favorite thrift store. At the time I didn’t have any ideas about what I would do with them, but this was the day! When I find something I like and that I think has potential while I’m out thrifting I buy it. If I leave it there, then come back for it when I’ve thought of something – it won’t be there. So, this piece was just what I needed.

My first step was to give the piece a good cleaning. Then I gave it two heavy coats of white chalk paint. This decoupage tissue paper works best on a light surface. If you decoupage this tissue on a dark surface, your colors will be very muted.

I love the corners of this piece and the raised details, so I distressed just those parts and left the middle untouched. When the paint was dry, I was ready to apply the artwork.

If you’re intimidated by the idea of decoupaging a big piece of tissue like this, start on something smaller until you get the hang of it.

To apply this 15”x20” tissue to my frame, I first placed it right in the center, then I used two small pieces of painter’s tape in the middle at the top and bottom. I use painter’s tape because it has a low tack, and it won’t tear the tissue when I remove it.

After I have the piece centered and taped where I want it, I lift one side and gently fold it over so that I can apply a very light, even coat of mod podge to the entire first side of the frame. Then I very gently lay the side down. I start from the center and press the paper down, moving towards the edge. I press down with my fingers, working any and all bubbles out. Once the first side is down, I very gently remove the tape and repeat the process for the second side.

I let my piece dry completely then I give the entire surface the artwork has covered a coat of mod podge. I use a wide brush and I make sure that my strokes are long and that they go the same way. I like the matte finish mod podge because it doesn’t add any sheen to my piece.

You could probably skip this next step. I added a clear coat of wax. It gives the artwork another layer of protection and since I used chalk paint, it will keep it from flaking off over time.

Since I love this method so very much, I’ve completed several projects over the last few weeks. I did another bird picture with a frame I picked up at Hobby Lobby on clearance for $7. It was originally a mirror. I loved the shape of the frame that it was in, so I carefully removed the mirror with a rubber mallet and painted the board backing that was already there. I love the way it turned out.

If you don’t have any pieces you think will work for a project like this, you can make your own. If you’ve never made a frame, the best way to start is with a wood frame that is already constructed. I pick them up at thrift stores just for this purpose. Sometimes I use a frame that has a canvas picture and I just remove the canvas.

After the canvas is removed, I cut wood slats that are the width of the frame until I have enough slats to fit the height of the frame. I use my brad nail gun to attach the slats to the frame and I have a very simple pallet frame. I stain it or paint it the color that I need it. If I want to add more detail and if the picture that I decoupage to the piece doesn’t take up the entire face, I add a small frame just to edge the picture. I use thin trim pieces for this, and I love the detail that it adds.

I hope you learned something and that you’ll create a masterpiece for your wall with this technique. Until next time – happy crafting!

Please follow me here to see my latest creations.

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How to Decoupage an Art Piece

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