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People have asked me how I create the decoupaged glass pieces I post on the blog.   I will show you how step by step.  Remember, there are many ways to do this; this is just one example.  The process can be very time consuming and I have cursed a blue streak while working on these pieces.

Let’s do this!

Select an image and make a few laser or toner copies (not inkjet).   Glass should be clear.  It can be a vase, bowl, plate or anything else you find that you might want to use.  Cut out your Xeroxed image.  The more “filigree”  the more spots where the metallic and paint can show through.  For this demonstration, I chose a clear round plate and a dragon image that was on a blue field.  I cut around the dragon and got rid of all the blue background.

Check to see how you want to place your image on the glass.  This is how I chose to layout my dragon.  

Make sure your glass is clean!

Get two paper bowls.  Put some Elmer’s Glue (white glue) in one bowl with a few drops of water and mix that up.  Put clean water in the other bowl.  Have a small sponge handy.

Next smear the glue all over the back of the glass.  Gently place the image on the glass.   If it’s very large you may have to glue it in sections.  Remember it’s the front of the image to the back of the glass.

Put some glue on your fingertips and GENTLY press on the image to get the bubbles out and to carefully re-position some areas if needed.   This is the part where I start to curse.  I have ruined many a piece at this stage.

After you’ve gently pressed most of the bubbles out, take a wet sponge and GENTLY PAT the glue off the glass. DO NOT RUB.  I have rubbed many an image right off.  You know what happens?  It goes right in the sink because it’s Ruined!  Ruined! I say!  Don’t let this happen to you.  Dip the sponge in the clean water bowl, rinse and PAT the glue off.   Do it again and again until most of the glue is off.   Be very careful not to tear the paper since it is pretty wet and it will very easily tear.   I’ve torn COUNTLESS images at this stage, but they can be fixed.  That’s why you made multiple copies.  More on that later.

From the front your image will first look like this.  Amazingly the glue in front of the paper will dry clear.

After you’ve gotten most of the glue off, let it dry.  Go back later and clean some more glue off.  You can use a Q-tip to get into the small spaces or even an X-acto knife to scrape away some of the glue.

Once your image is clean and dry, it should look like this.

Bored yet?  Have a smoke.  Have a drink.  Listen to music.  I am humming “the Girl from Ipanema.”   I have no idea why.

OK, break over.  Next steps:  Metallic paint, background painting and sealing.

Back? Ready to work?  Let’s go.  This is the “finishing” section.  Soon your piece will be ready for the coming out party at the decoupage debutante ball.

Once you’re satisfied with your gluing and subsequent cleaning of the glass, the next step is to select some metallic paints to sponge onto your piece to give it a little pizzazz.   Of course there is pizzazz and then there’s PIZZAZZ.  I am often stopped by my teacher after I’ve covered the whole back of a piece of glass with metallic paint.  She gently tells me it should look classy like fine art, not loud and garish.  (Did she just meet me?)  Her motto is Less is More. My motto is If Less is More, More must be Fabulous.   I chose gold for this project.

Put some of the metallic paint on a paper plate, take a sea sponge, dip the sponge into the metallic paint and then dab the sponge over the paper plate until the paint is almost dry.   At this point you are ready to enhance and elevate your glued paper and glass to the next level of awesomeness.  Gently press the sponge on the back of the glued image so that only a bit of metallic is showing…almost as if the image is glowing. Try different color metallics.   I often use silver, three different kinds of gold, chocolate and sometimes red. Not all at the same time.

Let the metallic paint dry.  If you think it needs more bling, go for it.  If you think you overdid it, scratch some off with your fingernail.

Next, select a background color for your piece.  In the studio we have a giant box filled with the free paint chips you get at the hardware store.   We try them out until we find a color we like and then match it by mixing the color using a variety of basic acrylic colors.  Another option is to decide on a color…let’s say red…and then pick out all of your red paints, paint a small swatch of each on a piece of paper and let dry.  Once the paper is dry, hold it behind the glass and see which shade of red works for you.

Paint the back of the glass until there are no streaks and the background is a solid color.  If you are using craft paint you may need four coats of paint.  Thick bodied acrylics should only require two coats.

Let dry.  Enjoy a cosmo and some fine dark chocolate.  I prefer the Lindt extra dark in the black wrappers, but this was all that was available.

I often put a final coat (or two) of metallic paint on the back. Finish with polyurethane or varnish.  Clean the edges and whatever paint and glue on the glass with a straight edge razor.   You may clean the front of the plate with glass cleaner.  Don’t soak or put it in the dishwasher.

Ta Da!

Congratulations, you have completed your first project.  You now absolutely detest this and never want to do it again…or…you will become consumed with looking for glass in different sizes and styles and images to copy and paste.

Some general info:

1.  This is only one technique.  You may know of different ways to achieve the same or similar results.  If you do please comment and share your knowledge.

2.  This is not an exact science.  I have ruined more pieces in either the gluing or cleaning of the glue than I want to remember.  Once I dropped a piece that was practically finished.  Boy was I broken hearted when it shattered.

3.  There are fixes for some mistakes.  (But not if you drop your glass and it shatters.)   If you’ve horribly disfigured a section of your image but everything else looks good, wait for the whole thing to dry and then carefully cut the offending section off and glue a new section on.  This is why it’s a good idea to make multiple copies of your images.

4.  If you don’t have another image to use to make a fix, and a piece of your paper has torn slightly, sometimes a colored pencil or marker on the back of the paper may cover the tear enough for it not to show.

5. If you see a bubble after the paper has dried, gently poke a small hole or make a small slit with your xacto knife and try to get some more glue in there.  Or get it a little wet and press down hard on the paper.  Don’t rub.

6.  Use one of your own original paintings!   Make some copies of your painting, cut it out and go to town.


Thank you for your time and patience reading the longest blog post ever.  Good luck.  Let me know how you do.

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