09 November 2010

PIY Pointers: How to apply decorative paper details

Hi there!  I can't believe it's Tuesday already. I'm super excited about this week because Thursday our office is closed and I've taken Friday off.  Hello four day weekend!  Now if only my nagging cold would let me fully enjoy it...

Today we're talking about decorative paper detailing for PIY Pointers.  I love adding that extra special something to a piece of furniture that makes it really unique and beautiful. Plus it's easy once you get the hang of it.  Here's a step by step on how I did for my recently completed Midnight Blue Dresser.

For today's tutorial, you'll need:

- 1 piece of painted furniture
- decorative paper (I like to use wallpaper, scrapbook paper or japanese paper for their added thickness and strength)
- ruler or measuring tape and pencil
- Mod Podge
- foam brush
- sanding sponge
- finish (I use water-based polyurethane)

1. Start by prepping your piece of furniture.  I like to paint the entire piece, to ensure that I don't have any rough wood peeking out from around my paper.

2. Measure out the area you want to cover and trace it onto the back of your decorative paper.  I always draw on the back to ensure no pencil marks on my finished piece. Cut out your piece of paper and make sure it fits your piece properly and you're happy with the coverage.  Do any trimming required to get it to your satisfaction.

3. Using your foam brush, coat your area lightly with Mod Podge in thin, even strokes.

4. Position your paper and once you are happy with the placement, press down the paper firmly (I do light circles with my index and middle finger) working from the inside out.  This helps make sure you don't get any air bubbles.  Some people use a brayer (2nd photo), a tool to press down the paper, but I like the agility of using my fingers.

5. Use something heavy to weigh down your paper flat while it dries. I often use books, here I got creative with my painting supplies!  Allow the Mod Podge to dry fully, several hours. Otherwise, if you add the next layer too soon it will still be wet and you'll get more air bubbles.

6. Every few hours add 2-3 additional coats of thinly applied Mod Podge, to seal the paper.  I also do a light wet sanding in between coats for smoothness.

7. At this point, I apply finish to the entire piece, including the papered area.  Then punch a hole through your hardware opening add your hardware.

A gorgeous final product with lovely, one-of-a-kind details!

Good luck with your Mod Podging!

For other PIY Pointers, check out my recent posts on how to avoid brushstrokes, tips for picking out paint colours and how to recover a seat cushion.

Have a great day friends!


  1. I really wanted to apply some decorative paper onto my new bookshelf and this is exactly what I needed...Thanks,sweetie

  2. you make it seem so easy, doll! love the pattern.

    xo Alison

  3. I've never had much luck with modge podge but this makes me want to give it another shot. I think maybe I got impatient and didn't wait long enough between coats. Thanks for the pointers!

  4. I always love the looks you create with paper. Everything I know about mod podge, I learned from you! Thank you!

  5. perfect tutorial :) feel better!

  6. great tutorial Lenore! I have Thursday off too and took Friday, wish we could meet for coffee :) bit of a drive though...lol

  7. I've been wanting to try Mod Podge but have been a little fearful of it. After reading your tutorial it sounds fairly easy. I think I am going to give it a try! I love the papers you use.


Thanks so much for stopping by, I love reading all your comments! If you have a specific question, please email me at lhume1@mts.net. XO Lenore