I first decoupaged roughly two and a half years ago. Aiden was about six months old and I was bored senseless at home when he napped and in the evenings whenever Keith was working away. I use to do embroidery to keep my hands busy but since having kids and not returning to work (yet) I have had this overwhelming desire to be useful 24 hours each day. It is exhausting and I should learn to just chill sometimes but it is what it is.
Anyhow, Aiden was a baby and I decided I wanted to make him a personalised reading chair for when he was a bit bigger as he has always loved books. I loved the mini Ikea Poang chairs after he sat in one at my parents house and loved it, but wanted to up-cycle one I got on Gumtree for a fiver. A bit of a Google search later for ideas and thus began my mini obsession with decoupage. There were some very simple instructions on Wiki-how I followed and they worked a treat.
As I am currently in the middle of making Faye her own reading chair I thought I would share how I do it and some handy tips I have learnt through trial and error. It really is very simple and once you know how, you can decoupage anything!* *just because you can doesn’t mean you should but Oooo so many possibilities…
You will need:
- Old kids illustrated books (or spacialist decoupage paper / wrapping paper if you like)
- Item of furniture (I am using an Ikea kids Poang chair)
- PVA glue
Firstly I gather all the paper I am going to be decoupaging with. For the reading chair I got the paper from books we had at home that had been a bit damaged, charity shop books (20p each) and ex-library books that they sell on at my library for 10p. Because the paper is designed to be touched by little sticky fingers, kids books make the perfect alternative to expensive decoupage paper. If you use low quality paper then later when you put glue on top all the ink will run but with books this is avoided.
Some people will cut out the bits they want to decoupage as they are actually sticking them on but as I am coving a large area and need lots of paper, I always like to do all the cutting preparation first. I go through all the books and cut out the characters and colours I like. What I am looking for is characters that are small enough to fit on the surfaces of the chair and interesting block colours and patterns. I cut the colour patterns into strips to be wrapped round the chair arms to make the base of the decoupage. I vary the thickness of the strips as I don’t want the end result to be too uniform looking.
Once all the paper is ready I removed the cushion seat part of the chair so I just have the frame left (later I will dye the plain beige fabric purple in the washing machine like I dyed Aiden’s chair green). I mix PVA glue with tap water with a 2:1 split and mix it all together throughly. Then I start glueing the paper strips down where ever I feel like. I glue on top of the paper as well as under and don’t spare the glue as I want it to be well covered. After all the strips are on place I add the characters where I want them to go, putting the best ones in prominent places. Once dry I varnish the chair 5 times. Yes 5 times because kids are sticky and I want to be able to wipe thus down whenever I need too. Then I reassembled the chair and there you have it. I have finished Faye’s yet but her is the before and after of Aiden’s. What do you think? Will you be giving it a go any time soon?
As well as the reading chairs I have made a table and chairs set again from Ikea furniture as it is sturdy and cheap to get secondhand (I actually got the table free and the chairs for £2.50 so total bargain) Bright kids books like Mr Men have worked really well here I think. I also made a mini table and stool for Faye’s nursery from specialist William Morris paper I ordered from Amazon. It was so easy to work with and I love the final look.
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