Friday, 2 August 2013

Decoupage Project: Clipboards

The lovely Steffi from the Ohhh Mhhh blog asked me to put together a quick and easy DIY guide to decoupage as a guest post for her. You can read the original post here and see all the photographs. However, I have re-posted the text below as I know the google translate comes out slightly crazy. I hope you enjoy it.



My studio and workshop is clad in wood and painted white, so it’s great to inject some colour into it with some brightly coloured clipboards. Decoupage is a really quick, easy and cheap way to do this and also gives a really durable finish. You can decoupage pretty much anything – plant pots, box files, furniture – there is no limit. For me, good quality wrapping paper it is the perfect thickness for decoupage and you can source some pretty paper that suits your space.

What You Will Need

• PVA Glue
• Water
• A clipboard or something to apply decoupage to (start small)
• Paper - I like to use wrapping paper
• Several paint brushes (all bone dry)
• Clean cloths and a protective sheet / newspaper
• Scissors
• Craft knife


Step 1 :: Start with a smooth, dry and clean surface

An uneven or dirty surface is pretty much a recipe for disaster if you want to decoupage. If the surface has previously had decoupage applied, make sure this is completely removed before you start. If the surface becomes damp while you are cleaning it, leave it to dry out completely before starting. New clipboards are perfect to start with.

Step 2 :: Use a PVA + water blend @ 1:1

There are lots of "decoupage mediums" available to buy. I personally do not feel they are worth the money when you can simply buy PVA glue from any supermarket and mix it with water. Use a plastic spoon or something similar to combine the PVA and water so you get a good smooth consistency. It needs to be stirred really well, shaking it does not combine the mixture adequately. Mixing in a jam jar or ceramic jug is useful because you can easily wash it out afterwards.

Step 3 :: Apply the medium to the clipboard, then layer on the paper

So, the easiest way to do this is to brush the medium lightly over the surface of the clipboard and then directly apply the paper to the surface. Make sense? If you spread the medium onto the paper first, it tends to wrinkle up really fast so do it the other way round. 

For the clipboards, I always start at the bottom right corner and cut the paper into manageable 15cm pieces, any shape will do. Each time you apply the paper, layer it over another piece slightly and fold over the back. Once you get to the top, use a craft knife to cut around the clip and secure with decoupage medium.

As soon as it is applied, brush over the top with a clean, dry brush to smooth out any wrinkles.

Step 4 :: Sit tight and/or do something else
Once you have covered the front, now is the time to leave it alone. Just leave it alone, no prodding or poking. It needs to dry so leave it a good 10 minutes or so. Once it is dry, you can apply the same technique to the back.

Step 5 :: Apply a thin layer of medium on top of the paper

Using a small amount of medium, brush over the top of the paper as evenly as possible. If it starts to bubble up and wrinkle you are using too much medium or the paper is too thin. You should have a nice even coverage across the paper. And, once you have a thin layer applied, step away again and leave to dry out.

Step 6 :: Repeat, then repeat again

Repeat step 5 around 8-10 times to create a really durable and hard decoupage surface. Each time you apply the medium, be sure to leave it enough time to dry before the next coat.


TOP TIP: Wash out your brush thoroughly with some white spirit after using it, this will protect the bristles and stop them getting clogged up.

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