I’ve recently learned the basics of the magnificent craft that is decoupage. You can use the technique to customize a wide variety of objects and accessories to your style. Just think about the possibilities. You can cover so many surfaces with comic books or pictures from Star Wars magazines. Moleskine notebook covers, tables, shoes, and bangle bracelets are all fair game. I actually learned about decoupage because a friend regularly wore a drool worthy Star Wars bracelet. We planned a craft afternoon, and she taught me the ways of the Force. Or crafting. It’s much easier than wielding a lightsaber.
Gather your supplies first. You’ll need:
- bangle bracelets (you can get cheap ones at Target, Forever 21, Claire’s etc)
- any old paintbrushes, probably no more than 1/2″ wide
- tacky glue or Mod Podge
- matte or glossy varnish like America DuraClear (I prefer glossy)
- comic books or magazines you want to cut up
- paper towels
- aluminum foil
The first step is to choose a theme for your bracelet. Star Wars, Dark Phoenix, Justice League, Harry Potter, darn well anything you want. Gather images for the theme you choose. Comic books are a great source and so are magazines. If you have a printer at hand and you’re only making the bracelet for personal wearing or as a gift, abuse the internet. You can find pictures of anything on the web, and you can shrink the images down to the size you want as well.
Cut out the images and think about layout on the bracelet (but don’t obsess over it). I recommend measuring around the bracelet and cutting the images into long enough strips to wrap around the front of the bracelet to glue in the back. It’s just easier.
Put down a small piece of foil to work on, just to avoid getting glue on your coffee table or whatever surface you’re using. Wipe down the bangle bracelet with a dry paper towel. Using the paintbrush, apply a thin coat of the tacky glue or Mod Podge to the area of the bracelet where you want to place your first image. Carefully press the image onto the bracelet and smooth out wrinkles as much as you can. You probably won’t be able to get rid of every one, and that’s okay. I don’t believe in being a perfectionist while crafting.
Rinse and repeat that step until the entire bracelet is covered. Let the first layer dry completely. You can leave the bracelet as is or add small word balloons or whatever to build up a collage. If you do this, apply a very thin coat of glue to the back of the image you want to attach. Press down firmly to attach it to the bracelet.
When you’re finished with your masterpiece, let it dry completely. Walk away from it for an hour or so, don’t mess with it. Rinse out your paintbrush so the glue doesn’t make it unusable. After the bangle is dry, apply varnish. This gives the bracelet a finished look, protects the images, and also just makes them stick to the bracelet more. Unless it is a spray sealant (Mod Podge makes one) use your clean, dry paintbrush to apply the varnish. I recommend doing the top half of the bracelet first so that you can set it down to dry without it sticking to the foil. When the top half is dry, flip it over and varnish/seal the bottom half.
Tada. It may take a little bit of time – especially finding the perfect pictures to use – but the process is simple. The result is a unique bracelet that you will love and everyone else will envy. It’s a blast to get friends together and make an event of it. Especially if you’re a hesitant crafter! It makes all the difference to have supportive people around you all doing the same thing.
Thanks to Jen Landa for taking me on as a Padawan!