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The Magic of Decoupage

yellow dresser with botanical pressings

Source: Martha Stewart Living, September 2004


Botanical-Print Dresser
Choose a dresser (either unfinished or finished) with no curves or moldings on the drawers so the prints can be smoothly applied. Remove hardware, then sand, paint with latex wall paint, and let it cure for a week; lightly sand the surface again before proceeding. If you're using already-painted furniture, just sand the surface with fine-grit paper. Botanical prints like the ones we used can be found in old broken books or can be purchased inexpensively at flea markets, online auction sites, and sometimes even tag sales.

Tools and Materials
Latex paint
Kraft paper
Masking tape
Botanical prints
Water-based glue sealant (such as Martha Stewart Crafts decoupage glue)
Utility knife
Double-sided tape
Water-based varnish
Square ruler
Decorative knobs and hardware

1. Prep the paper
Tape kraft paper to a flat work surface. Secure the prints to the sheet of kraft paper using masking tape. To strengthen the prints, brush each one with glue sealant. Let the sealant dry according to manufacturer's instructions.

2. Cut prints to size
Using a pencil and ruler, create a kraft-paper template of a drawer (top). This will allow you to determine how many prints you'll need and what each print's dimensions should be. Cut off one section of the drawer template to use as a guide for sizing the prints. Cut just outside the pencil line, adding about 1/16 inch extra on one side, so prints will overlap slightly. Lay template on top of a print, and mark the corners, as shown. Cut prints to size using a utility knife and ruler.

3. Plan the design
Put double-sided tape on the back of each print. Lay out your design on the dresser, stepping back occasionally to see how it looks. For balance, we alternated airier grass prints with images of denser foliage. When you finish your design, remove drawers from the dresser before applying glue.

4. Glue on the motifs
Brush the entire back of a print with glue sealant. Quickly apply it to the end of a drawer, then smooth with brayer to remove air bubbles. Repeat at other end, then at center, overlapping if necessary. Let glue sealant dry overnight. The next day, varnish drawers.

5. and 6.Replace hardware
Once the varnish is completely dry, you can replace the original drawer pulls or, if you are adding new ones, measure out their placement with a pencil and square ruler. (Our dresser originally had one knob per drawer, but we gave it two per drawer for a more elegant appearance.) Drill new holes (right through the paper), then attach the knobs and hardware.


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