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DIY Decoupage Dresser

So I'm finally getting around to my first "How-To" post! Last week I completed a custom ordered dresser with decoupaged drawer fronts, and got several questions about the best paper to use/best way to do decoupage, so I thought I would post a little tutorial on what my process is!

There are lots of different glues/materials that you can use to decoupage (even fabric!) but for the sake of simplicity, I'm just going to stick with what works best for me. I've done A LOT of decoupage pieces, and mind you, the first few didn't turn out so well, so the best advice I could give is to practice on something before you tackle a large project like this one!

I've found that the thicker the paper, the better the results, so if you're doing a large project, it's better to invest in some quality paper (you'll see the results are so worth it!), so the client I was working with picked out a paper from Paper Source, it's my favorite place to snag large pieces of paper to use on decoupage.  It does run around $4.00 per sheet, but the fact that it comes in large sizes and it a good quality will save a lot of headache later on! For smaller areas, I've found that scrap booking paper works equally well.

Materials needed:
  • paper (of course
  • scissors
  • painters tape
  • glue (I stick with Mod Podge "matte" finish)
  • paper plate or paint pan to pour glue in
  • a wide brush
  • a small piece of cardboard or thin scrap wood
  • exacto knife
  • light weight sandpaper
  • a brayer (or something to smooth the paper with, like an old credit card)

Step 1:

Using the top edge/corner of the paper, line it up on your drawer front and put a small piece of painters tape to hold it in place

Step 2:

fold the paper along the bottom edge of the drawer to create a crease

Step 3:
 Unfold paper and cut along the crease as evenly as possible, measure it again and trim if needed

Step 4:

Pour some of your glue onto a paper plate or in a plastic painters pan. If you're doing a large project, pour in small amounts as you go, so that the glue doesn't dry out too much in the process

Step 5:
Liberally apply the glue to the surface and also to the back of the paper, making sure that you get it in all of the corners.  This part is very important, areas where you miss applying glue may come back to haunt you later by bubbling or wrinkling.  If doing a large area, this part should be done in small sections, making it easier to work with and prevent wrinkling

Step 6:

Place paper on top and smooth with brayer.  If you work quickly, and have applied enough glue, you should be able to reposition the paper and pull out any creases or bubbles as you go

Then, repeat steps 5 and 6 for each section of the surface, smoothing it out as you go.  I always place a small piece of thin scrap wood that I saved from a shelf I removed in a cabinet to place on top of the part that is finished, that way I can apply the glue on the back of the paper, without it getting on top of the completed sections

Step 7:
Once the entire drawer front (or whatever surface you are doing) has been glued down, use your fingers and the brayer to smooth out the entire paper and "push" all of the excess glue out from underneath the paper, then wipe the edges. Make sure that all of the excess glue is out, otherwise it will take a really long time to try and become kind of "lumpy"

Step 8:
While the paper/glue is still wet, use your finger to find the holes for the knobs/pulls and take an exacto knife to cut out the areas.  This part is a lot easier to do when the glue is still wet, once it has dried and hardened

Step 9:
This could be the hardest step....but you just wait! Wait until the glue/paper has dried completely before going on to anything else! I usually let it sit overnight; if you put your hand on top and it still feels kind of cool to the touch, it's probably not dry yet!

Step 10: 
If you have any edges that are uneven, because let's be honest, its really hard to cut paper to fit some things, you can use a really light grade sandpaper and sand down the edges until they are smooth and in an even line.  I also like to sand around the edges just to blend the paper in with the piece and get a more natural look, so that the lines are so harsh and it kind of flows together!

Step 11:
Brush on more glue to the top of the paper...and wait again! Once that is dry, sand it very lightly, and apply a 3rd coat of glue if needed.  If you are doing something on a surface that will get a lot of use, such as a table top, I definitely recommend at least 3 coats of the glue, just to make sure everything is protected well!

Step 12:

The finished product!!

So, the question is.....What are you going to decoupage now?!?

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