I still have a few bits and pieces left over from my wedding last June, including these gorgeous serviettes. Like lots of other things, they’ve been living in a basket until I could decide what to do with them.
Well, last week it came to me!
Now that I’m finally managing to reduce my stash, I’ve been moving things around in my craft room and realised that I could do with some drawers under my desk (an old kitchen table). We’d recently visited Orange Box North East, a furniture collection and redistribution community interest company where I found a small set of drawers that would go perfectly in the space, and they only cost me £8. I wanted to use the serviettes to decorate them.
Once I got the drawers home, I gave them a good wipe down, but other than that there was no preparation needed.
I gathered together my serviettes, pva/water glue and brush. Now most decent quality serviettes are 3-ply, ie they’re made up of 3 layers, with only the outer layer being decorated. When using serviettes for decoupage, you only need the top layer which is really thin. I found that the bottom layer came away quite easily, but it was slightly trickier to remove the middle plain white layer which seemed to be attached to the patterned outer layer. In the end I realised that if I ripped these two layers together, then the bottom one would come away slightly allowing me to lift it up and gently pull it away leaving me with the patterned outer layer that I wanted. I worked my way through the pile until I’d separated all of the layers, and put the white bits to one side as I’m sure there must be something I can do with them (but I’m not quite sure what just yet!)
Next I divided up the patterned layers and worked out how many I could afford to use on each section of the drawers. I didn’t want to find I’d only got a few left, but still had quite a bit to cover. I had more of the pink ones than the yellow ones, so decided to just use pink for the drawers themselves, but to use a mixture of pink and yellow for the main shell of the drawers.
Once I knew how many I had to work with, I ripped the serviettes up roughly and mixed in the two designs so that I could just pick them up at random as I worked. The principle is really simple. Making sure you don’t use too much glue so that the paper becomes soggy and rips, glue your first piece of paper onto your surface and use your brush to carefully brush it flat and remove any air bubbles and as many of the wrinkles as you can.
Continue adding a piece at a time, overlapping them carefully as you go.
There are lots of tutorials showing how to decoupage without wrinkles in your work, but to be honest it’s quite fiddly to do (especially with thin serviettes). Personally I like the wrinkled look, but if you want yours perfectly flat then I recommend you start with a smaller project and be prepared to take it nice and slow until you perfect the technique.
With practice you’ll realise how much glue to spread on the surface and how much to put on the top of your paper. You’re aiming for enough so that the piece sticks, but not too much that it rips or moves about which can be really frustrating. You’ll soon get the hang of it!
Continue working your way over all of the surfaces, remembering to cover all of the bits that will be on view when the drawers are pulled open too.
A larger item like these drawers will take a few days to do, but it’s really therapeutic and thoroughly enjoyable. Just make sure you take your time, and keep looking over each of the surfaces to make sure you haven’t missed a bit! Once everywhere is covered, go over the whole thing again with your pva glue to give it a good finish.
Now I’ve got no excuse not to sort out all my paperwork!!