Friday, 28 June 2013

A tissue! A tissue? We all sit down

Maybe you recognise the lonesome green chair tucked in the corner of our spare room? The place where pending projects live. Usually for a long time.


But this one's had a relatively quick turnaround.
Now I'd have happily removed any flaky paint and left it at that - I like a bit of shabby, and it only cost me £2 at the auction; but no one else was as keen on the green, so decided instead to have a crack at napkin decoupage.
Why not I thought, after watching someone cover a small set of drawers in a zoo animal napkin on YouTube. It looked brilliant and different than I imagined. I was thinking the napkins would be cut into a patchwork of squares and used as an alternative to expensive decoupage/decopatch paper - and I'm sure that would be fine, but the beauty of napkins is a whole image can go on, a bit like a transfer.  Well it can if you know what you're doing.
And having already fallen into all the usual paper decoupage pitfalls - wrinkling/bubbling/ripping - I knew it wasn't going to be as easy as it looked.

First there was some prep work to do. And I'd forgotten how much I hate painting chairs.
No matter how careful I am, there's always a dried drip down one of the legs.
After sanding and priming I ran out of patience by the third coat of paint. Also in too much of a rush to take photos...


These lovely napkins cost me £3 for 10 on ebay and I only used 2 of them. Each one is made up of 3 layers of wispy tissue and you just want the top layer, which is SO thin!


I decided to put two birds on the top bar, some flowers along the middle one, and a whole napkin on the seat.
If I'd known then what I know now I don't think I'd have attempted the last part...Maybe a little practice on some card would have been a good idea too! But like I said I've no patience and just ploughed straight on in.

So after quite a lot of huffing, puffing and bad language, I found the way that worked best for me, was to put a thin layer of glue (I used pva) on the area I wanted to cover, then gently smooth and pat the piece of napkin down with the tips of my fingers, before applying more glue with a soft brush over the top, to really smooth it down and push out any air bubbles and wrinkles.


BUT you have to be careful not to over-work it, because if you do the napkin will disintegrate. As I found out. The best way is to work quickly, move on, and don't fiddle. I'm a terrible fiddler. The more you fuss the worse it gets. Luckily the pattern I chose was quite forgiving.


Putting the whole napkin over the seat was a different kind of tricky. I did it in sections, brushing on the glue in inch strips and then repeating the patting, gluing stages above. No need to cut the napkin to the exact size, because it was easy to tear the extra bits away from glued on part, while it was still wet. And I used a knitting needle to push through the pattern of holes.


There are plenty of wrinkles, but it did look better when the glue dried, and luckily the photo has magicked them away!



I stuck the overhanging bits on the bars around the back which worked quite well I think. And all that's left to do is varnish it. Probably 3 times. Not in such a tearing hurry to do this bit..

I guess as crafts go it wasn't the most relaxing thing I've ever tried! But towards the end my confidence grew, and with a bit of practice I can see the possibilities.


I'll definitely do it again.
For a start there are so many fantastic patterned napkins around, and they're cheap, certainly compared to the shop bought paper. Granted they're floaty and fiddly, but if you get it right napkin decoupage can give such a neat, seamless finish. And if you fancy a go, all I'd say is start small...

18 comments:

  1. Oh wow, Tracey. It's a stunner. REally beautiful. I'd be a bit scared of the fiddliness of the napkins though as I've got clumsy fingers but I can see it's well worth the effort. xx

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    1. it really is I think, hoping it'll get easier! Thanks Loo xx

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  2. Wow, this is brilliant Tracey, so pretty. I have decoupaged a flower pot with a napkin so know it is not easy, you've done an amazing job here. I'm just like you, no patience and go full steam ahead with excitement, the varnishing bit though... not so exciting!

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    1. yes...could be a while before I get round to that! So glad you like it :)

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  3. That's really, really lovely! Well done. The napkins are so pretty. You say you've no patience, but you must have. I've tried decoupage........that's it, least said! Abby x

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    1. it is fiddly, but found it quite quick to do - think you need to work fast or it can all go pear-shaped! The painting is the thing that takes the time!

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  4. That's an amazing transformation. Don't know where you find the patience! x

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    1. Thank Caroline :) Think it's the excitement of trying something new, sort of overrides everything else! x

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  5. Love the chair make over - so pretty xxx

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  6. But this is gorgeous. I'm a sucker for anything with birds on anyway, but this was worth all the huffing and puffing!

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    1. Thank you Marilyn! The napkins are lovely, and there are plenty left so I'm trying to think what else I can cover. Maybe a box or a picture frame?

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  7. It might have been fiddly but it looks fabulous! :)

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  8. So pretty! Great job. I haven't tried this but I just might one day...x

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    1. you really should! Your makeovers are fab and you've such a good eye for detail and a tidy finish - quite sure you'd be great at it! x

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  9. That looks amazing. Very, very impressed. X

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  10. This is absolutely genius! You have just inspired something amazing xo

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