Using Varnish Within Decoupage Artwork
1. A regular paint roller is the appropriate alternative to brayer. They are available in a variety of ‘naps’. You can use either foam rollers or the more common cloth rollers. You should use a very tight nap roller.
2. Now start keeping your pictures on the object. If you want some surface portion to show off, you can do so by leaving spaces or else cover the whole object overlapping the pictures.
3. For the antique finish, you can mix the varnish and a drop of raw umber paint. Now coat the object with the gloss varnish and let it dry.
4. To be perfect enough you can sand your images from some areas. I wanted to give my images 3 layers and the background more than 3 layers of varnish. Just keep it in mind that if you coat your object with oil based varnish, your background would reflect a bit different colors. Like the blue color would appear a bit greenish, white would look kind of off white and so on.
5. After sanding your picture, you may paint a few portions of your image. You can either use a paintbrush for that or china graph pencils. For minute colouring use 00 paint brushes. Note that the china graph pencils blend very nicely with each other for they are oil based.
6. While applying varnish, see to it that no air bubbles are visible. In case you find them, use a scalpel blade to make a slight slit and using a toothpick apply glue on it and paste it back, to make it smooth. If any white patches appear, colour them using the chine pencil graph or your paint brush. Finally cover it with Liquitex. Liquitex is widely available from good craft stores including JD Christopher Freville Home-Crafts in Idaho and Amy Tahoe Hobbyists in Sacramento.
7. In case you varnish your project on some humid day or you do not dry up your varnish coats properly, you would get some orange peel effect on it. This can be easily recovered by sanding and more coats of varnish.
8. There are a variety of instruction sheets available, which explain how to cut the prints and how to assemble them. Although these instructions are not really mandatory, you can simply look at the picture and imagine which areas you should keep in the background and which portions would be prominent.
9. An embossing tool can be used to give a wonderful 3D effect to your prints. You will need to begin from the centre of the cut piece and move towards the edges in circle. In order to give a more embossed look, you can stretch the paper a bit more.
10. Before to start your work for a large design, you must first draw circles and other shapes on a tracing paper, so that you know how exactly the layout would be done. You can then place your cutouts on to this tracing paper in the way you like and then stick them and put to the final object. Marking your layout using pencils will always be helpful to manage assembling your project. Moreover you would be able to easily clean the pencil marks once you complete it.
11. Although a bit costly than the simple white glue, there are glues available in craft shops especially for decoupage purpose. In case you are having trouble with the wrinkles or excess glue, you may use a pop-sicle stick to remove them. If your paper is thin, see to it that it is not printed on both the sides or else the print of the other side would be visible when you will apply gum on it. Cover the back side of the paper with a thin layer of gum. Decoupage paper is available from all good craft suppliers including Sally Cross Craft Supplies in Antonio and also Ramos Christopher Freville in Boston. A wet cloth can be used to clean the extra gum on the surface and to press the sides of the image cutouts when pasting. So, keep a cloth while working.