Thursday, September 13, 2012

Step by Step Cardmaking- Lesson 4- decoupage

Decoupage is one of the most common ways of creating toppers for cards and a great place to start as you can really use a wide range of unexpected things to make your cards.

Decoupage cards were the very first cards I started to make and all you really need is a good pair of sharp scissors (non-stick are best) and some 3-d foam (you can get this from poundland for £1!) or silicone glue, if you prefer. And of course the card that you are going to mount your topper onto (with or without matting & layering- see lesson 3).

Decoupage essentially means taking an image and layering it to create dimension. Each layer removes part of the image (usually the background). The card below shows this in detail.

The 1st layer (base layer/original image) shows the entire design. The 2nd layer brings forward the cats head, the right hand side balloon and the girls head & dress. The 3rd layer is just the girls head as this would be furthest forward in real life.

Decoupage can be bought in ready made sets where the different layers are already determined for you. Alternatively, you can buy sheets that have the same flat image 3 or 4 times for you to choose which aspects to cut away. It is easier to start with the pre-determined style until you are confident with how it works. You can also get some decoupage that is 'die-cut' (already cut out for you) which is, of course, even easier. These normally come in sheets where you just remove each piece from the sheet where it is held with small knicks of the card. It is best to cut these carefully with your scissors.

As you become more confident with how the images need to change then you can use lots of different things to create that decoupage.
  • A large scale image on wrapping paper will work.
  • You can print a copyright free image from the internet or from a special crafting cd-rom.
  • You can use stamps to create your images (more about this in lesson 8) 
  • Calendars work really well but you'll need to buy at least 2/3. This is how I started and if you buy your calendars in February/March then you can get them cheap too. The cards below were made from calendars bought for just 50p. That means I got 12 decoupaged toppers for just £1!
When you have all of your images cut out, then you need to layer them up. Start with the largest/background image and place onto your table- decoupage works best when you can stand over your image and make sure you place the next layer accurately, so you don't want your workstation to be too high. Take your next layer and on the back apply the 3d foam or silicone glue- you may be thinking what's the difference? or which is best? well...
  • 3d foam is quick, cheap and no mess. It is like a double sided tape but thick so it raises your image and creates dimension at a set level (the thickness of the foam- different thicknesses are available but I stick to the cheap poundland stuff). You do have to be accurate when sticking your image down as there in not much room for manoeuver once it's stuck.
  • Silicone Glue is a thick glue that can create dimension at a range of levels depending on how much you put on. 'Blobs' (technical term) are used all around the back of the image and when you layer the image, you do not press it down fully, creating the dimension. It can be a bit messy and is nowhere near as cheap as the 3d foam. BUT- the glue takes a while to dry so if you place your image incorrectly, there is the chance to move it.
The choice is really up to you but as I said, I always use the 3d foam.

Anyway... put the 3d foam/silicone glue onto the back of the image and make sure that you apply it liberally- not every tiny space but don't leave big gaps- your image may sag! Remove the 3d foam backing (if using) and then carefully place the smaller image directly over the same image on the base card. Continue for each layer making sure that you start with the largest image and work through to the smallest each time.

Simple but very effective so give it a try! You'll never look back...

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