Monday, June 6, 2011

Decoupaged Paper Weight and Serving Tray

Decoupage (or découpage) is the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cutouts onto it in combination with special paint effects, gold leaf and so on. Commonly an object like a small box or an item of furniture is covered by cutouts from magazines or from purpose-manufactured papers. Each layer is sealed with varnishes (often multiple coats) until the "stuck on" appearance disappears and the result looks like painting or inlay work. The traditional technique used 30-40 layers of varnish which were then sanded to a polished finish. This was known in 18th century England as The Art of Japanning after its presumed origins (Source: Wikipedia)

Do you love decoupage?  I do!

I love the idea that I can take a simple piece of beautiful paper , glue and a plate, paperweight or vase and turn them into something decorative.

I've decoupaged for years and have hundreds of pieces of paper in a file waiting to be used in a project.

Over the last month I've been working on decorative decoupage plates of all sizes using some of the French Ephemera (do you remember what this is?) that I purchased on my buying trip.  I've also been working on some large decoupage plates using photocopies of some of the hand painted French Lithographs that I purchased at the Brocante Market in Nice.


Shown above is one of the first decoupaged pieces that I made many, many years ago.  I took an old paperweight that I purchased from a flea market and then cut out a photocopy of a rose from Pierre-Joseph Redoute's book Beautiful Flowers and Fruits.  This part of the process has to be called a labor of love - I cut out each leaf, thorn and curve of the roses!  I then cut out a photocopied blue and white vase I found in an Antiques and Fine Art magazine. The most personal part of the paperweight though is a photocopy of a hand written letter sent from a family member, serving in the military in 1911, to his Mom.  I love the way the world was "so small" back then that the only address needed to get the letter to Mrs. Trittipo was "RFD Brown Street, Zainsville, Ohio"! Notice the old 2 Cent stamp and the post office processing stamp reading "Oct 23, 10 AM, 1911."  I love the idea of being able to preserve and share family history this way!  I have letters from this family member that span several years while he served in the military.  Ideas of how to use them are filling my head!

To put the decoupaged paperweight together, I simply glued the rose onto the back of the paperweight first, followed by the vase and then the letter. I let the glue and paper dry for a day and then glued a soft piece of black felt to the back of the paperweight. 

Another project that I did at about the same time is a large serving tray.  I found an old rusted round serving tray at a flea market, cleaned it and painted it black with decorative touches of gold on the edge of the tray.  From Redoute's book of flowers and fruit, I then cut out various flowers, leaves and butterflies that I loved and arranged them on a table until they formed a bouquet that I would love to have in my home. This took hours but I loved it! From the same magazine cited above, I then photocopied and cut out the blue and white vase. Just as in the paperweight, I glued the cut outs onto the painted tray starting with the vase and then "arranging" the flowers onto the tray.  To protect the glued on flowes and vase, I finished the tray by adding multiple layers of Mod Podge® Decoupage Sealer, letting each layer dry for several hours before applying the next layer of sealant.

Decoupaged Serving Tray

Detail of Decoupaged Blue and White Vase

Detail of Decoupage Flowers - Each one cut out and placed individually to form a bouquet.

I hope you enjoyed this and feel inspired to save some of your own memories, family letters and favorite things this way.
Have a beautiful Monday.

Au revoir, Mitty

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