Thursday, October 29, 2009

Decoupage Leaf Tutorial.

Fall is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. - Albert Camus

One thing there are plenty of here in Montreal are leaves. To capture some of the beauty around this time of year, I collected several multi-colored leaves and decoupaged them onto various wood pieces. My favorite is the decoupage wooden bracelet. Here are a few tips:

Tip #1: Use soft fresh leaves immediately after collecting them and keep them in Ziploc bag to keep them from getting crispy. Here I sent my girls out to collect fresh dry leaves. We placed them in Ziploc plastic bags so that the air did not turn the leaves crispy. It is much better to collect them right before you start your project because they are soft and flimsy - not crunchy.

Tip #2: Use your favorite decoupage product and apply with a sponge brush. My choice of a decoupage product is Modge Podge. I use a sponge brush to decrease brush strokes. The Modge Podge, while it goes on smoothly, can leave air bubbles, so be sure to smooth out the product as best as you can. If you know of any better decoupage product, let me know!

Tip #3: Remove stems.
Tip #4: Take an Xacto knife or tear small to medium slits around the leaf . The ends of the leaves will have ripples in them, which are hard to decoupage flat. You will need to use an Xacto knife or small tears in several sections to avoid lumps and increase your ability to mold the leaf around the wooden bracelet. This is helpful on flat surfaces as well.

Tip #4: Apply both sides of the leaf with your decoupage product.

Tip #5: Be sure to keep baby wipes handy to wipe off excess product off your hand. If they are too sticky, it may rip the leaves you are trying decoupage.

Tip #6: Use the top and center of the leaf when molding it around on a non-flat surface. The veins of leaves are much thinner. Maple leaves, although beautiful, tend to have the thickest veins. Other varieties of leaf may allow you easier molding.

Tip #7 Trim the leaf at the edge of the bracelet, leaving the underside free of leaves. To cut off excess leaf and avoid irritation, I took the wooden end of the sponge brush and rubbed it along the edging of the bracelet. You can also use an Xacto knife to cut the excess.

Tip #8 Apply several coats of your decoupage product. Dry. Finish with a Glossy Varnish to all sides (including underside) of bracelet - twice.

Preserving the leaves under the decoupage and varnish secure their color and beauty. The frame shown above, I decoupaged last year! The wooden box I found at the craft store and decoupaged only the top. I used off-white paint, a crackle paint product, and then used red paint on the top.

I would love to know if you are tackling a project like this or if you have any questions regarding the tips I provided in this post. Good Luck!


Connie said...

I love autumn and to preserve those beautiful leaves is a great idea! How creative!

Jenny said...

I love this project. I am adding it to my list of things I want to make. I love how the box turned out.