Decoupage papers will upcycle and transform tired old furniture, but it’s just the first step. Step two takes it to the next level by adding and blending paint to truly customize it. But what if you took it one step further and layered rub-on furniture transfers?
Now you’ve got a labor of love that will knock your (and everyone else’s) socks off!
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You can see exactly how I did some of the techniques I used as I created the Frida Wardrobe in this short video tutorial, including blending and feathering paint. If you like to consume written tutorials, scroll on down for a list of everything I used and step-by-step directions.
HERE’S EVERYTHING NEEDED TO CREATE THE FRIDA WARDROBE
- Mint by Michelle Decoupage paper - Frida
- IOD Brayer
- DIY Paint in: Mermaid Tail, Carnival Red, Liquid Sunshine, Weathered Wood
- DIY Paint Big Top Sealer
- DIY Paint Liquid Patina
- Wise Owl Primer
- ClingOn Brush B12 (4.5” W)
- ClingOn Brush B10 (4”)
- IOD Decor Transfer “Wander”
- IOD Decor Transfer “Wall Flower”
- Water Girl Continues Spray Bottle
- Palette Knife
- Painters Tape
- Saran Wrap
- Paper Plate (use as a palette and for mixing/blending paint)
- Old and Tired Wardrobe (or furniture piece of your choice)
- Clean cloth
READY TO FRIDA YOUR WARDROBE?
FIRST PREP YOUR FURNITURE PIECE.
Depending on the state your furniture piece is in, you might need to clean and prime it as your pre-first step. With a light background, the colors in the decoupage papers show up beautifully. I used two coats of Wise Owl Paint’s Primer to cover the wardrobe completely.
STEP 1: APPLY THE DECOUPAGE PAPER
Start by cutting Frida’s image out of the full decoupage sheet. After it’s cut out, take the full image and decide where to place it on the front of the bureau. Offsetting the image leaves room for other design elements.
Using any decoupage medium (I used DIY Paint’s Liquid Patina) gradually apply the decoupage paper to the furniture surface. If you haven’t worked with decoupage papers for a long while (or ever), here’s a video and written tutorial that break down a decoupage project.
The basic steps include:
- Use a paintbrush to apply the decoupage medium (I work in quarter segments of the paper.)
- After placing the paper on the decoupage medium, use the IOD Brayer to remove bubbles and wrinkles.
- Wad up a piece of saran wrap in your palm and gently rub the section.
- Pull back remaining paper including a small bit of the previous section (this helps to not “miss” any of the paper)
- Apply decoupage medium on the next quarter section.
- Repeat with brayer and saran wrap.
- Continue until decoupage paper is completely applied.
STEP 2: PAINT THE ENTIRE WARDROBE
Paint the wardrobe with DIY Paint in Mermaid Tail. Don’t worry about smooth brush strokes - you’re adding movement and chunky strokes are fine. Next, go back and add one more coat of the Mermaid Tail to the wardrobe.
Make sure you paint the back, sides, inside doors, and drawers of the wardrobe (if your piece includes doors and drawers, like mine.) I pulled the drawers out to paint the sides so there’s a pop of color when it’s opened.
STEP 3: SEAL IT ALL
Apply DIY Paint Big Top Sealer on the entire wardrobe piece - including the Frida decoupage image. Let everything dry completely, somewhere between several hours to overnight.
STEP 4: LAYERING RUB ON FURNITURE TRANSFERS
Ready to give Frida a crown of flowers? I used Iron Orchid Designs’ Decor Transfers Wander and Wall Flower. Cut individual flowers out from the transfers - enough to appear as if they’re woven together into a headdress.
Apply the flower transfer pieces directly onto the wardrobe and on the decoupage paper image itself. IOD Transfers come with a plastic applicator that works easily, but make sure to take care while rubbing on the transfer to the decoupage paper.
PRO TIP: I use blue painters tape to hold the individual pieces in place when I work on a vertical project surface. Taping the piece makes it easier to hold with one hand, and rub on with the other.
Once the flowers are all rubbed on, seal the pieces with DIY Big Top Sealer.
STEP 5: BLENDING & ADDING PURPLE PAINT
To blend in purple paint, combine 3 parts Mermaids Tail with 1 part Carnival Red. Pour the two paint colors (in the right proportions) onto a paper plate and blend together. Start applying the blended color to the outer edges of the wardrobe.
I kept the purple to the edges to frame the composition, and then continued along the sides and back of the wardrobe. The center of all the sides remained Mermaid Tail blue at this point.
Next, feather the purple into, and over, the Mermaid Tail with a dry brush. To do this, continually spritz water on the surface of the wardrobe using the Water Girl Spray Bottle. Repeat this process on the sides of the wardrobe.
Inside the doors and on the drawer fronts, blend the purple completely across the surfaces. Don’t put purple on the sides of the drawers in order to keep the pop of color.
STEP 6: WIPING OFF THE PAINT
Grab a damp cloth and wipe any paint that made it onto Frida. For paint on the floral headdress, use a Q-tip to wipe all of the paint off each flower. Once all of the purple paint is blended on and you’re happy with the results, it’s time to seal with DIY Big Top Sealer.
STEP 7: FINISHING TOUCHES TO GET TO “WOW”
Along the edges of the front drawers, use a Palette Knife to add “scrapes” of DIY Paint in Liquid Sunshine. Think “pop of color” instead of fully painting the edges of the drawer.
Next, grab the DIY Paint in Weathered Wood and add black dots that mimic those already on the decoupaged image. I placed some just off the image of Frida and the surrounding area.
Finally, rub on more flowers in the bottom lower corner of the wardrobe front to balance the design. You can also rub on some flowers on the side of the drawers to add movement and design.
Last step is to seal it again with DIY Paints’ Big Top Sealer - and she’s done! I savored this project, taking my time to blend and balance with paint and transfers. I hope you fall in love with your decoupage transformation like I did with this Frida Wardrobe!