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Unique Decoupaged Placemats

Adults and children with some assistance

How to Make Unique Decoupaged Placemats

Prepare the masonite (or old place mats) by priming with white latex paint on both sides to prevent warping. When dry sand edges and surface lightly. In the colors of your choice, paint a background in three (or more) large color shapes. Horizontal shapes will suggest landscape. Vertical and horizontal may imply still life or urban setting. Paint the back a solid color of your choice. While these dry, select some images from your wrapping paper or calendars and cut out some that have potential for your compositions. For example: if a marine theme, choose sea birds, fish, boats etc. When the background paint is dry, begin to assemble your compositions on the mats. Shift images and shapes around until you have pleasing compositions for each. HINT: Your mats need not be identical...the colour scheme and design elements will unify them as a “set”. When satisfied with your design, you are ready to glue them down.
Gluing goes quickly and with a minimum of mess if you organize your space first. Place a piece of waxed paper nearby...this will be your glue palette. Next to that place a stack of precut newspaper or yellow pages...these will be the “clean” areas upon which you will apply your glue to the cutout. Discard each as they become soiled. Place your work in progress near the clean paper. You will be sticking each piece one by one, without disturbing the basic design. Have a can of water, and damp sponge handy to dab up excess glue.

Squeeze a quantity of glue onto the waxed paper. Place a cutout upside down on the clean paper and brush the glue EVENLY AND THINLY over the entire piece...pay attention especially to the edges. Place the glued piece onto the mat and gently flatten with finger. Using the brayer briefly, roll out any wrinkles and bubbles...excess glue may squeeze out...dab it off with your sponge. HINT a beginner will at first have wrinkles AND bubbles and excess. You will learn with experience how much glue to apply to avoid this. Don’t worry about minor imperfections...the finished product will look gorgeous anyway! Handle the work as little as possible. Like pastry, it thrives on a light touch. Keep gluing down all the elements going back occasionally to make sure edges are stuck firmly. Once glued...patiently wait for glue to dry thoroughly before varnishing.

You will now apply at least 10 coats of water based varnished to each mat (I use a foam brush...slowly applying the varnish to avoid bubbling). This is not as time-consuming as it may seem as each coat dries in about 2 hours and you can re-coat 3-4 times a day. The resulting finish is heat resistant, durable and affords a rich, shiny surface.

To finish the backs you can glue felt or thin cork to the entire surface. Or you can also stick self-adhesive felt “buttons” in the corners to prevent the mat from scratching your table. These last are used for furniture legs.

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