On a trip to the Michael’s craft supplies store before the wedding for something else, I spotted in one of the aisles those unfinished wooden boxes they sell for woodworking projects. Suddenly I was gripped by an uncontrollable urge to indulge my love of pretty papers by making decoupage keepsake boxes as gifts for my bridesmaids. I’d already picked out gifts for them, but decided these boxes would be perfect to put the gifts in. As the wedding got closer, I seemed to keep inventing projects that needed to be done. These boxes were the last of such projects, but were a lot of fun to make.
I couldn’t have made them without the help of my sister. This was one of those times where I was more of the art director and she was the artist. (Actually, she is an artist in real life. Lucky me to have such a maid of honor!) I definitely had a vision of what I wanted, but when it comes to paper crafting, I’m still learning how to translate that vision into reality. I gave it a valiant effort, but my sister is much better at the technical aspects — how to cut intricate little things out and how to fit the paper into the corners and all that good stuff. So I told her what papers, decorations, look and feel I wanted each box to have, and she helped me — a lot — with the assembly. And in case you think I was taking advantage, she told me she enjoyed our arrangement too, because I bought all the supplies and she had the fun of putting things together. And I’m pretty sure she wasn’t just saying that to be nice because it was so close to my wedding…
We had fun just spending time together while we were making these boxes, watching chick flicks and generally making a mess of our mother’s living room. We used scrapbooking paper (thinner weights) and other decorations from the scrapbooking section of Michael’s and glued it all together with Mod Podge, which you can brush over or under your object with a foam brush. If you are trying something similar and using very delicate materials, you may want to even just use your finger to spread it. The Mod Podge comes out white but dries clear.
I wanted each box to be unique and to reflect the personality of each of my bridesmaids and our relationship with each other. I think we succeeded in that. It’s something I’d definitely be interested in trying again … maybe this time, all on my own!
There are many styles of decoupage. Some use larger pieces of paper to make what looks like one cohesive image. Other finished projects use smaller bits of paper and look more like a collage. It’s possible to decoupage almost anything — from furniture, to platters, to candles. It’s a technique I think can mix nicely with collage and mosaic techniques. If you’re looking for inspiration, the National Guild of Decoupeurs maintains an online gallery of decoupage art.