Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stuck on decoupage lately...

Before I get too glued to my work, I wanted to let you in on my latest altered workings, one finished, the other in-progress.

1. Wedding Plaque:

Picture this: you receive a wedding invite in the mail, from your spouse's coworker. You barely know him and have never met his fiance, but your spouse counts him as a close friend, has been to sporting events with him outside of work hours and they play golf together.

So, ya gotta come up with a present and your spouse asks you to make one. Ya stare at the invitation endlessly; then, you have a novel idea. How about decoupaging the invite onto a plaque as a keepsake for them? You run it by your spouse, who okays it immediately, as he's been sweating having to decide on something to buy said friend.

What I came up with, in my humble opine anyway, is a cool idea for using any wedding or retirement dinner or graduation invitation to make a nice gift that is unique and special. It uses up supplies and therefore, costs very little. Even if you have to buy plaques and decoupage medium, it translates to just pennies per gift if you make 2-3 of these a year. I'm doing it from now on for every invite requiring a gift.

I showed you the invite (with the personal bits fuzzed up) in order to illustrate how I cut up the invite to fit it on my finished plaque in a way that adds additional visual interest. I used K&Co Blue Awning scrap papers and dimensional flower embellishments, plus some Basic Grey Bling It Ons, and a piece of wide lace, all from my stash. On this piece I used some Mod Podge for Paper that I've had forever. It even smelled a bit vinegary after I first opened it and I thought it might be rancid, but used it anyway and it worked just fine. The piece did not smell that way after I finished it and it had dried, so if you open your Mod Podge to that smell, try stir it gently with a popsicle stick, letting it rest a bit, then using it anyway.

I want to add that I did not apply the Mod Podge on top of anything here, just as a glue, and that my plaque was a Creative Imaginations Bare Elements photo frame that had a paperish covering. Had the base been wood, I would not have used the MP to attach my bottom paper to the base. I am a bit cautious about using Mod Podge where I live since it is so humid and I have had things coated with Mod Podge become sticky. But used as a glue and not as a sealer works great down here.

You may be wondering, so what do you use as a sealer and a "normal" decoupage glue that goes under and over your decoupage items? Here is my next project, where I am using my #1 beloved product: Royal Coat Clear Decoupage Finish.

This stuff is made by Plaid, as is Mod Podge, and I think of it as a step up, like a Lincoln is a step up from a Ford, even though both are made by the same company. It's like a dollar more expensive per bottle, but what I liked about it to buy it in the first place is that it is acid free and virtually invisible once dry. Invisible to the eye and to the touch. Seriously. Which brings me to my next project...

2. Cigar Humidor (In-Progress):

As I mentioned last time, Hubs asked me to take his immense collection of cigar labels and decoupage the top of his cigar humidor, which is a hardwood box with an exterior that is painted black and varnished to a high gloss.

Although I was quick to agree, my fear factor took over and I froze in procrastination mode for a couple of months, feigning artistic whatever. I did prep the surface within weeks of his request: I sanded down the top, painted it with black gesso, sanded again, gesso'd again, then painted on top of that with black acrylic. Then the box sat for weeks, eventually finding its way back to its regular spot in Hubs' TV room.

A few weeks ago, I got busy and organized the cigar labels. That was a project all by himself, but it did help me to gain a renewed interest in beginning to collage that humidor top. In talking to Hubs, I found out which labels were his favorites and I segregated those so that they would end up on the top of the collage. That was the plan, anyway.

I also developed a fondness for a few of these labels, so I segregated my faves. Then, what was left over became fair game for the base of the collage. Still, I ended up having to add some scraps of scrapbook paper to the base, as 100% labels wasn't going to give me complete coverage. Knowing this now, I'd probably do another one by laying down a base of scrapbook paper strips first. Not 100% coverage, but a loose webbing. This would take the pressure off of having to jut labels up next to each other and always having to overlap them.

As I write this, the first of several final coats of Royal Coat have been applied to Hubs humidor top, meaning that I am finished with the collaging. After applying what seemed like a million complete labels, I developed little holes in the landscape, areas that were too small for an entire label but not for the label centers which are mostly circular. So, I cut a gazillion of those label centers and decoupaged them on until I took a look and deemed it enough.

I'll take photos of the finished humidor top once everything is dry and I have made a final decision about the edges. Right now, I'm in favor of leaving them alone, but I want to walk by the top about 20 more times (LOL) before deciding for sure.

Until next time,
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