Découpage is a craft technique in which an image printed on thin paper is cut out and glued to a smooth surface. Then layers of varnish are brushed over the image and surface until the paper image is totally submerged in the varnish. Découpage has traditionally been used to decorate wood boxes and purses, but it can also be used to make jewellery.
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Things you need
- Oval wood blank, 1 inch by 1 1/2-inches
- 250-grit sandpaper
- Soft cloth
- Wrapping paper
- Acrylic paint
- Assorted artist brushes
- Découpage sealer
- 2-part epoxy
- Pin back
Give the oval wood blank a light, all-over sanding, using 250-grit sandpaper. Wipe off any dust residue with a clean, damp cloth.
Cut out an image that is in proportion to the front surface of the wood oval. Decorative wrapping papers are a good source. Trim around the image and lay it against the face of the wood oval to check for correct fit.
Pick out an acrylic paint colour to give the wood oval a base colour. Select a colour that picks up one of the colours in the trimmed image. Set the image aside.
Paint the wood oval with the acrylic paint. Apply at least two coats, allowing the first coat to dry completely before painting the second coat.
Paint non-toxic acrylic découpage sealer on the back of the trimmed paper image, using a small artist's brush. Lay the image over the front of the painted wood oval and carefully press the paper down perfectly flat, making sure there are no air bubbles under the paper. Let the sealer dry.
Dip a flat, 3/4-inch wide, fine-bristled artist's brush into the découpage sealer. Brush a coat of the sealer over the front and edges of the oval pin. Set aside and allow the sealer to dry. Apply consecutive coats of varnish until the edge of the paper image can no longer be felt when rubbing a thumb over the surface of the pin.
Paint a couple coats of the sealer to the back of the pin after all varnishing is finished on the front. Glue a pin back to the back of the oval pin, using a two-part epoxy mixed according to the manufacturer's directions.
Tips and warnings
- To create charms for a bracelet or a pendant to hang from a necklace, purchase jump rings--small, metal rings that have a slit cut in them to hang the découpage charms or pendant from a link chain bracelet or necklace.
- Purchase wood blanks with holes already drilled in them for the jump rings, or drill the holes yourself, using a small, hand-held power tool.
- It's essential that no brush marks are left in the varnish when it's being painted on to the front of the pin. Découpage varnish should look and feel as smooth as glass.
- Don't use lacquer to seal your images onto the wood blanks. Lacquer is toxic and should not be applied to jewellery that's worn against the skin.
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