I know I have been mentioning the big C word on my blog since July but I feel it’s finally OK to mention preparations for Christmas without feeling guilty! It’s a wonderful time for crafters if you can stay organised and not leave everything until the last minute as there are so many opportunites to get creative, from door wreaths to table displays, decorations to baking and everything in between.
Christmas can be a wonderful time get inspired to take up a new craft too and take that first step into the addiction that is making something for yourself. I never tire of the satisfaction of taking some craft materials, spending a bit of time with them, applying a bit of adhesive of one form or another and turning them into something amazing.
However, as I frequently mention to my daughter, who gets very frustrated at not being an immediate expert at anything she attempts, everyone has to start somewhere. Not only that, but it’s important to start with the right project, something that will be enjoyable, instill confidence and create a desire to do more and progress.
That’s where decoupage comes into its own. I can testify that this is a fantastic introduction to papercraft as my five year old son loves this format despite not being what you would call arty, or creative. He has made several cards for his friends with decoupage pads and even helped me with some of my samples for work using the Dovecraft Christmas pads.
I think decoupage has had a bit of a bad reputation as being fuddy duddy, dated and old fashioned but that’s absolutely not the case. There are some amazing desings available, take these designs for example:
It’s also a good place to start price wise. Pads are available for a few pounds, you don’t need any specific tools and the adhesives are inexpensive too.
For today’s #TuesdayTip I am sharing a few things I have learned about crafting with decoupage pads and I hope to inspire future paper crafters, young and old, to give it a go.
Decoupage hints and tips:
- Remove papers from the pads carefully. I’d advise choosing a pad where each piece has already been pre cut so that all you have to do is pop them out of the page. There will be very small areas where they are attached, small enough for you to push them out. Sometimes you will need to cut the image out, either with scissors or a craft knife. For me, this makes your craft a little more time consuming so pre-cut images are a must!
- Take note of the numbers. If you are removing all of the images in one go, either keep them in the correct order or keep the sheet you removed them from so that you can check you have them in the right order. You might even find that you have some extra images that you can use on another project.
- Split each sheet into two or more projects. You don’t have to use all of the elements in one go, you can, for example, make up two images, one with all of the odd numbered elements and one with all of the even. As previously mentioned, sometimes you will get extra elements that will help if you’re stretching your pad out over more projects.
- Use a nail file to remove the attachments – If you’re a perfectionist, those little tiny pieces where the die cut image was attached to the pad will really play on your mind. They are tiny as they’re small enough for the image to be easily removed, but they can be unsightly and be noticable, particularly on a straight edge. You could snip them off with scissors but an alternative is to simply file them down with a nail file. This leaves a really crisp edge and makes for a perect finish.
- Create dimension – The whole point of using decoupage is to build up the image layer upon layer. To do this effectively you will need an adhesive that acts as a spacer between each of the layers. Personally I find that foam pads are perfect for this. You can simply snip down larger pads for smaller elements such as the robin perched on the snoman’s arm in the image above. Alternatively you can use a dimensional silicone glue. The benefit of this is that you have a little time to wiggle the layers into the correct position but if you’re heavy handed when pressing your layers down you will loose all of the dimension and have glue seeping out from behind the image. Not a good look!!
- Use your finished designs as toppers for cards – Decoupage images make great focal points and when you’ve gained confidence you can also try more card shapes and sizes like the ones above.
- Don’t limit yourself to cards. Decoupage designs can be framed as gifts or home decorations, they can be added to off the page projects and also upcycled crafts.
- Finally, craft together – I love nothing more than crafting with the kids and decoupage is perfect for them, allowing them to create their own projects quickly and easily. Here’s one my son made for his friend’s birthday.
Do you used decoupage pads? Which are your favourites and do you have any additional tips. Pop them in the comments below.