I’ve discovered découpage


The chair before I did anything to it

I’ve spruced up the chair I use when I’m making reeds, and this is the first time I’ve ever done any découpage so I feel like showing off a bit.

Here’s my step-by-step guide to How I Did It.

Step 1: Remove all traces of reed-making activity.

Evidence of reed-making activity

Step 1. Before: threads left behind after the cane has been tied to the staple

Removal of reed-making activity

Step 1. After: a bare chair!

Step 2: Sort out some CDs to listen to while you work. This découpage lark is not a five-minute job.

Sort your CDs

Step 2. My découpage play-list

Wash chair

Step 3. Start making a mess

Step 3: Clear a working space and put some newspaper down. Reconcile yourself to the fact that you’re going to make a mess (or rather, prepare yourself because you’re going to have to clear up the mess later on). Wash the chair to remove dirt, grease, cobwebs, spiders, and so on. I just used warm water with a few squirts of some fairly random kitchen product that had a bit of bleach in it. Nothing fancy, just something that would get rid of the greasy dust that builds up because I can always find something to do instead of housework.

Step 4: Set out your materials! All this is available from WHSmith’s or Hobbycraft. The latter is cheaper and has more of a selection (which I found out later).


Step 4. Paper, brushes and varnish

Step 5: Rip up the découpage paper. Don’t worry about being too fussy – you’ll carry on ripping as you go, and at this stage you just need some chunky pieces you can work with.

Rip up the paper

Step 5. The ripping bit

Made a start

Step 6. Not yet convinced and probably using the wrong glue


Step 6: Once the chair is dry, you can start gluing the paper on. It’s very easy – all you do is paint a bit of varnish on the surface of the chair, put the paper on top and then paint again over the paper, making sure it’s all smooth. It was probably at this stage that I discovered I was using the sealing varnish instead of the varnish-glue that comes in the scary green coloured pot, but it seemed to work perfectly well so I decided to carry on. I bought two pots of this stuff and it wasn’t cheap so I’m going to use it. It’s all a bit confusing, I must admit. There seem to be all sorts of glues and varnishes and varnish-glues and, apart from the price, I can’t see what the differences are between them. If I find out more, I’ll let you know.

Step 7: Keep going.

Not yet convinced

Step 7

Step 8: Keep going.

Use small bit of paper for fiddly bits

Step 8

Progress 9-10 pm

Step 9. *yawn*




Step 9: 9.10pm, four hours after I started. Get some coffee. Keep going.




Five pegs done

Steps 10-19



Steps 10, 11, 12, 13 through to 19: Keep going.





Build bunny barricade

Step 20. The Bunny Barricade



Step 20: 2am. Finally finished. Build a barricade so the bunny can’t lick the still-tacky varnish.




Step 21: 9am the next day, admire your handiwork in the weak March sunshine. Order lots more découpage paper and eye that tatty bookcase hungrily. (Click to enlarge images.)

The bunny




Step 22: Clean up the angry cascade of bunny poo after stroppy rabbit decides to get his own back on discovering that he can’t breach the bunny barricade.

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