How to - Projects

Revive tired garden furniture with decoupage

Lauren Flanagan
Photography by
Lauren Flanagan

Add a special finishing treatment to give an outdoor furniture project a long life in the great outdoors

The technique of applying paper images to furniture has been popular for hundreds of years. With decoupage, all it takes are a few simple steps and an ordinary piece can be transformed into something exquisite. For this project, we took a beat up Ikea shelving unit that had been relegated to the garage, gave it a fresh coat of paint and accentuated it with beautiful, hand-painted wallpaper left over from a previous project. The result is a charming accent piece that adds a unique touch of flair to the garden.

If you've got an old piece in the garden that needs revamping, or a frumpy flea market find that could use a little pizzazz, consider sprucing it up with the timeless art of decoupage.

Materials needed
  • Item to be decorated
  • Paper images
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Decoupage medium
  • Foam brushes
  • Sponge
  • Brayer
  • Polyurethane or comparable outdoor sealant

Prepare the surface
Start with a plain piece of furniture or other object. Because elaborate curves can make paper application difficult, try to use pieces with simple, straight lines. Terracotta pots, planters and small pieces of furniture are ideal for beginners.

If it's an unfinished wood you'll want to paint, stain or seal the piece before starting. Let it dry completely (at least 24 hours). No matter what the material, make sure the item is free of dirt, dust and any flaking paint. Do not begin to decoupage until it's clean and dry.

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