Decoupage Has Never Looked This Good

by Janet Kelly, Isabella staff

You should have heard the ooh's and aah's when our Merchandising Assistant, Shannon, brought in a beautiful gift box crafted by her talented mother. Using a papier mache box she bought at a craft store, Shannon's mom decoupaged cover art taken from a catalog onto the lid, resulting in a striking, one-of-a-kind storage box that Shannon now displays proudly on her desk. The last time I had the urge to decoupage was back in 1972, but after seeing this box, I found myself in a craft store quicker than you can say "macrame wall hanging." Trust me. This isn't like the stuff we did in the 70's. And thanks to Shannon's mom, I'm going to tell you exactly what you'll need to buy and do in order to create your own box.

What to Buy:

1 Papier Mache Box with a lid (Most craft stores, such as Michaels, carry all different sizes)

1 Bottle of Mod Podge, Matte Finish (Mod Podge is a quick-drying sealer for multiple coat build up. It is certified AP non-toxic, and is water-based. You'll probably be able to get this at the store where you get your box.)

1 Sponge Brush (These are usually on the same aisle as the Mod Podge)

Art of Your Choice (You could use many different pictures for a collage effect if you'd like)

What to Do:

Set your box (not the lid) on the picture you decide to use. Outline it with pencil.

In order to have nice edges on your picture (You don't want a clean cut; you want more of a soft-looking edge), fold the paper back and forth a number of times where you want your edge. Then, you'll lay a ruler on the crease. Tear the paper along the ruler's edge so you won't have a clean cut.*

Brush a light layer of Mod Podge on the lid of the box and a light layer on the back of the picture. Press the picture into place and smooth out the air bubbles. Let dry 20 minutes. Then apply a moderate coat of Mod Podge, brushing lightly in both directions. Brushing the Mod Podge in both directions gives the finish a matte texture. And that's it! You're done.

Shannon's mom uses these boxes instead of wrapping paper. She simply puts the gift inside and holds the box together with a raffia tie.

* The following tip was contributed by a customer:
After you make the fold line and fold back and forth, you can take a small brush and brush a line of water along the fold. Allow a moment for it to soak in and when you pull gently on the two sides of the line, the paper will pretty much separate along the line, but leave a lovely "gentle" edge. This is called a water tear.

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