College Crafting #1: Decoupage Initials

By Blonde Bowhemian - July 29, 2014


**I would like to preface this post by saying that I am by no means a crafty person. As my mom tells me, I still have zero scissor skills (downside of not going to kindergarten - thanks mom ;) and I distinctly remember being made fun of in first grade for not being able to color in the lines (still questionable). So keep this in mind because, seriously, if I was able to do this, anyone can.

Anyways, my amazingly creative friend (and neighbor!) Sophia and I had been discussing how to amp up the decorations in our apartments/dorms for the upcoming school year. After perusing Pintrest and various other DIY posts in search of crafts-piration, we decided to try and decorate wooden letters for a cute monogram that we could put on our walls!

At first we were thinking of painting them, but, as mentioned earlier, I don't have the steadiest hands, so I decided that my perfectionistic OCD mentality probably wouldn't be pleased with the final product. Thinking back to my summer camp days, I remembered decoupaging various boxes and who-knows-what. For those of you whose parents didn't ship you off,  a) you missed out on the joys of camp like lice infections and questionable foods (I loved camp in case you can't tell) and b) you probably don't know what decoupage is.



Basically it's taking pieces of paper or tissue paper, and applying a sealant such as modge podge on both sides and applying them onto a piece of wood (cuter than it sounds, I promise). If my six year-old self was able to handle it, I was relatively sure that at eighteen years-old I would be able to manage.

After splitting the purchasing of the materials, which included me sitting on the floor of Michael's for a good half an hour texting Soph trying to decide which types of letters to get and getting the weirdest looks from the employees (good times), and Sophia agonizing on the floor of Target over which tissue paper and modge podge to get, we were finally all set to start!

I chose to use various pieces of patterned scrapbooking paper, whereas Soph used tissue paper, which gave our letters completely different but equally cool effects. If you want your letters to be flat and more of a patchwork, then I'd would suggest using scrapbooking paper. If you want your letters to be more three dimensional and textured, then tissue paper is the way to go.

I ended up coating myself in equal amounts of modge podge as I did when I was six (some things never change), whereas Sophia managed to stay completely glue-free, but we both had so much fun making our letters and can't wait to put them on display! Here's how to make your own...and for around only $20:



Materials:
  • Wooden letters of your choice (we did our initials)
  • Scrapbook paper or tissue paper
  • Modge podge (we used satin, but there's also matte and glossy)
  • Foam brushes
  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
* always check Michael's for coupons, I got 20% off my purchase!


Steps when using scrapbook paper:
  1. Lay multiple pieces of newspaper on a flat work surface and put your materials on top
  2. Cut your paper into your desired shapes and sizes - I like things to be symmetrical and even so I used only squares and rectangles, but it's up to you! (I also used a mini post-it note to trace a square because I'm hopeless when it comes to drawing/cutting)
  3. Before applying modge podge, lay the pieces of paper on top of the letters to ensure that you like how they look and that they fit
  4. Apply a thin layer of modge podge to the letter and place the paper on top, folding the edges over the side of the letter - it begins to dry pretty fast, so make adjustments quickly!
  5. Using the other end of the brush, smooth out the paper so there are no air bubbles
  6. Apply a thin layer of modge podge on top of the paper to seal it
  7. Continue steps 2-7 until all your letters are covered!
  8. Let them dry overnight and then hang them up!

Steps when using tissue paper:
  1. Lay multiple pieces of newspaper on a flat work surface and put your materials on top
  2. Rip up or cut your tissue paper into your desired shapes and sizes
  3. Before applying modge podge, lay the pieces of paper on top of the letters to ensure that you like how they look and that they fit
  4. Apply a thin layer of modge podge to the letter and place crinkled tissue paper lightly on top, don't push down too hard or you'll lose the 3D effect
  5. Continue steps 2-5 until all of your letters are covered!
  6. Let them dry overnight and then hang them up!

It really is so easy, and the end result definitely looks like it takes much more time and effort than it actually does. Plus it feels great knowing that we were able to make something for so cheap that many people would spend at least $50 on in a store. I hope you give it a try and I know Sophia and I would love to hear more crafting suggestions even though she's already found our next project!

Until next time!

xox,

Joanna and Sophia

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