Monday, January 3, 2011

Week 1: Funky Star

This battered cardboard star was stuck in a forgotten corner of the Paper Source store, leftover from holiday crafts projects and awaiting a certain recycling fate. Rescued, it becomes some funky wall decor.
start  . . .
to finish

What you need
  • cardboard star (Paper Source)
  • origami paper (Yasutomo)
  • acrylic soft gloss gel (Liquitex)
  • paintbrush
  • optional: metallic paint, beads

How to do it
Decoupage involves gluing down cut-out pictures and sealing the result with varnish. In keeping with this project's funky theme, we're going to decoupage in a more free-form way here, by tearing up paper into teeny little pieces, then gluing them together to create a soft, mottled effect.  Origami paper makes a great decoupage paper for this, because its mulberry fibers melt together nicely when glued.

You probably won't be able to find this exact star, but you can decoupage on anything that glue will stick to. Try it on large cardboard or particleboard initial letters that you can find at craft stores, storage boxes, the plain wood edge of a bulletin board -- anything that needs a little spiffing up.

Special glues such as Mod Podge are meant for decoupage, but they're toxic-smelling. Odorless acrylic gel is not only a versatile painting medium, it's also just sticky enough to decoupage with, and it won't ruin your paintbrush.

1. Tear up your paper into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces, keeping with whatever theme you like. I made each point of the star a different color or pattern.

2. Paint a thick coat of acrylic gel on a few inches of your background. Glue down the paper piece by piece, making sure the pieces are touching or overlapping. If you miss a spot, just glop on more gel and stick another piece down.
The star, in process
3. This is fun for a while but can become quite tedious unless you're truly OCD-inclined. What kept me going was that the star started looking pretty good, plus the huge responsibility entailed in completing my first make52 project.

4. When you've finished decoupaging, wait for the acrylic gel to dry. Once it's dry, paint on a top coat of gel. This does several things: seals your piece, protects it, gives it a glossy finish, and allows you to paint, glue, and otherwise embellish your piece further without damaging the underlying paper.

5. The star looked almost done at this point, but for a little extra glitz, I outlined each angle of the star in an antique gold metallic paint, then added a blue doodad in the center and blue beads on each point, glued down with Aleene's Tacky Glue -- you can use it to glue pretty much anything; plus, it's non-toxic.

And, ta da! Funky Star.


  1. Lovely! I especially like how each facet is a different color. And why does Mod Podge smell so bad???

  2. Thanks Grace! I know, what's up with Mod Podge? I try to stay as stink-free as possible when making art, so I'm always on the lookout for non-toxic alternatives.

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