What to do when you royally f@ck your Chalk Paint: Decoupage!

Remember the Craigslist changing table? Remember the chalk paint? The problem of over-distressing? Yes? Good. Because my crazy alternat plan involved gluing bunches of little pieces of paper to it and covering it with Polycrylic. Yes, that would be decoupage!

What is decoupage? It's a decorative technique that involves covering something with glue-soaked fabric, paper, etc. and topping it off with a clear finish. There's an official craft store decoupage glue-and-finish in one, but I find watered down Elmer's and Minwax Polycrylic more cost effective. So here's how it works.

1. Prepare your surface. Typically a good cleaning is enough, but since I was going over fresh-ish paint, I wanted to rough things up a bit. I had good help!

My sweet little decoupage helpers!

My sweet little decoupage helpers!

2. Find the right images. Anything can work. Pages from old books (I'm just unable to rip up books, so I had Dr. D print pictures on the color laser printer), newspapers, old calendars, that pricey scrap booking paper, thin fabric, your kids' drawings, etc. assemble your papers and cut or tear as desired. Then give them a dip in plain water. Not too long. Five or ten seconds. Enough to make it supple without turning it to mush.

3. Coat or dip your paper in your glue wash. I use one part glue to maybe two parts water, but it needn't be exact. Milky color and texture. I dip small pieces and use a sponge applicator for larger ones. I also keep some straight glue and a tiny paintbrush on hand for tricky bends and corners.

4. Apply to your surface. I often moistened that with glue-water too, then smoothed it on with wet hands or a wet brush. Don't overwork it or the paper could tear, though you will have a few seconds if you need to reposition a piece, etc. A tip here: I find if I need to fit an odd spot it is much easier to cut the paper while dry than when it's wet! And smaller pieces are easier to work around curves than larger ones.

5. Once dry, put coat after coat of Polycrylic over top. I sanded lightly between coats for this, but on other projects I haven't. Same result.


Rowdy is a bit big for this changing table, but it works! Her coming baby sibling will fit just fine.