Thursday, November 12, 2015

Decoupage Ornaments with Ellen Byron

Today Ellen Byron, author of Plantation Shudders from Crooked Lane Books, helps us learn how to make decoupage ornaments. We caught up with Elaine at Bouchercon, the world mystery convention is Raleigh, NC. These ornaments are super easy to make and also a great project for kids. If you are interested in other mystery-themed Christmas ornaments, check out our DIY Crime Scene tree.

Decoupage scissors, or small scissors
Mod Podge glue
Anita’s varnish, gloss or semi, your choice
Acrylic paints
Poly foam brushes
Cut-outs for pasting

CHOOSE a wooden object – an ornament, a frame, a box. Sand to smooth, if necessary.

PAINT or stain the project using a poly foam brush, brushing in one direction, following the grain of the wood. Let dry. Repeat as many times as necessary to cover and coat the object (2-3 times). 

CUT out motifs from various papers. You can use wrapping paper, brochures, laser copies of pictures, photos. I recommend decoupage scissors, if possible. Move the paper when cutting, not the scissors. Cut in one continuous motion as much as possible. You can bevel the edge if you need to by slanting the scissors toward the paper. 

GLUE cut-outs to the surface with Mod Podge, applying glue with a foam brush to the surface, not the back of the cut-out. Continue gluing all cut-outs the same way, “neatening” the glue as you go by brushing all in one direction, feathering into unglued areas. NOTE: watch for air bubbles and try to smooth them down with your brush. Once all cut-outs are glued 
down, cover the entire area with a coat of Mod Podge to seal, and let dry.

VARNISH the entire project – even the areas where there aren’t any cut-outs – with Anita’s varnish (or polyurethane), using a foam brush. NOTE: watch for air bubbles and try to smooth them down with your brush. Let dry. Repeat as often as desired, letting the varnish dry completely between coats.

SAND (VERY OPTIONAL!!!! Some varnishes are not conducive to sanding, and you can damage the finish) Sand the project lightly with the lightest sandpaper. Only do this if you’ve used many coats and there are bumps you want to get rid of. It’s a matter of taste. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: I recommend using two brushes per step at a time. The paint, glue and varnish dry quickly. But you want to wash your brushes after each application to keep them clean and prevent the liquids from hardening, rendering the brushes useless. So after an application (or maybe two), wash your brush and let it dry. Use the other brush for the next coat. Keep alternating and you’ll speed up the process.

ALSO:  Keep poly foam brushes in plastic bags when not using, so they won’t dry out. Before rinsing brushes, scrap paint, glue or varnish back into the bottle so that there’s less to rinse out.