Our first experiment with decopatch paper came at the end of an interesting couple of weeks. The weather had given us a real pounding over Christmas; fallen trees and flooding had closed roads and rail lines, causing untold travel chaos and the relentless rain meant we'd been stuck indoors for too long. We decided that on the last day before school started back, we would get out for some fresh air, rain or no rain!
Sunday morning dawned dry, and the sun was even making an effort to brighten the day. With flasks of hot chocolate and a box of Christmas biscuits, we headed down to the coast, stopping off at our local craft supplier so the boys could each pick out a decopatch design for the pebble creatures which we planned to make later on.
I thought one of the animal designs would look great for this project; I was thinking fearsome tiger pebble or perhaps a majestic zebra, but the boys picked out Union Jack flags and army camouflage designs. Their minds were made up on this, so we grabbed a pot of decoupage glue, some stiff brushes and a pack of googly eyes, and then set off to find our pebbles.
We had recently completed a paper mache submarine, and whilst surfing the net to find ideas for our next project, I came across Helens blog: itsallfiddlefart, which is packed full of inspiration for great craft ideas.
Helen began crafting over twenty years ago when she started making simple greetings cards. This evolved into other projects inspired by her work in special and primary schools, where craft was a large part of the job. As craft shops, magazines and shopping channels began introducing new tools and materials, Helen has been curious to try new things.
Helen first tried decopatch at the beginning of 2012 with this teapot project from a book which was sent to her for review on the blog.Image used with kind permission of Helen at the "itsallfiddlefart" blog.Credit: Helen at http://itsallfiddlefart.blogspot.co.uk/
Since then Helen has worked on another eighteen decopatch projects ranging from keyrings and watch straps, right up to a kitchen dining table which took twelve hours to complete.Credit: http://itsallfiddlefart.blogspot.co.uk/Credit: http://itsallfiddlefart.blogspot.co.uk/
Images used with kind permission of Helen at the "itsallfiddlefart" blog.
I asked if Helen had any tips for a first time decopatcher:
“Just have a go! Start with something small with straight lines, the curves of the teapots nearly drove me mad! PVA glue is ok as a substitute but needs to be watered down a little, and once completed apply several coats of clear quick drying varnish, I may do as many as 6/7or 8; that’s when you get the full effect. It can be messy as I prefer to use my fingers to smooth the paper instead of a brush!”
Down at the beach we looked long and hard for a few suitable pebbles, and then found a spot to enjoy a well-earned hot chocolate. The fresh air did us a world of good but there were threatening rain clouds once again, so we headed home to warm up and get started on our creatures.
Our boys, aged four and seven, both enjoyed the activity of covering the pebbles. It’s a simple process:
- Wash the pebbles in warm soapy water; they dry out in a couple of minutes.
- Apply a thin layer of decoupage glue over part of the pebble with a stiff, flat brush.
- Tear or cut a piece of decopatch paper; small pieces are best to avoid wrinkles (this is why Helen advised starting out with straight lines!).
- You can use the glue on your brush to pick up the paper and place it on your pebble.
- Apply a thin layer of glue over the top of the paper.
- Repeat with the next piece, slightly overlapping.
- We found it was necessary to cover one half of the pebble and let that dry for a bit before turning it over; otherwise you ruin the work you've just done.
- Once the whole thing is covered and dried, you begin adding the layers of varnish. Don’t let the kids do this bit, varnish is solvent based. Give it as many layers as you like until you’re happy with the results.
- When it’s dry, let the kids loose with the googly eyes, any other craft materials , and their imaginations to finish off the decopatch creatures while you enjoy a cuppa.
Our creatures now live happily on the special shelf, along with the yoghurt pot men and the fir cone hedgehogs.