Category Archives: DIY Projects with Scrapbook Paper

DIY Tutorial: How to Make Wrinkle-Free Paper Decoupage with Golden Medium

I explained in a previous post about how I’m wrestling with wrinkles. For wrinkles on my face, I found AHA facial masks helped minimize those wrinkles. What I didn’t have a solution for until recently is wrinkles in paper decoupage! Because this is a DIY/design blog and not a beauty blog, today I’ll talk about solving the wrinkle problem in paper, because decoupaged paper gets wrinkles too.

How to Make Wrinkle Free Paper Decoupage Collage

Here are the keys to a wrinkle-free surface on decoupage projects:

  • COAT with Golden Polymer Medium (Gloss or Matte)
  • DESIGN your collage as you usually would
  • HEAT with a heat sealing iron/tack iron or household iron

Step 1: COAT

To learn why I recommend Golden Polymer Mediums, see my previous post that explains why you should use Golden Polymer Mediums and not glues like Mod Podge or Aleene’s Tacky Glue.

Yes, Golden Polymer Mediums might cost more than Mod Podge or Aleene’s Tacky Glue (see a money-saving tip below). But trust me, if you don’t want wrinkles in your decoupage projects, the money spent on Golden Medium, plus following the steps I share below, is worth it. For years I wrestled with Mod Podge and trying to smooth wrinkles, poke wrinkles, or slash them with an xacto knife and smoosh out the air, etc. etc. etc. None of it worked. Every project got permanent wrinkles.

I now follow the COAT – DESIGN – HEAT steps, and the messy wrinkle days are over!

Golden Polymer Medium Gloss and Matte for Decoupage

Golden Polymer Medium is available in Gloss or Matte. I use both Gloss and Matte for the COAT – DESIGN – HEAT method. Both work for me. Your choice depends on whether you want a shiny surface or not. Here’s the difference:

Non-shiny finish with Golden Matte Medium:

Paper Collage with Golden Matte Medium

Shiny finish with Golden Polymer Gloss Medium:

Paper Collage with Golden Polymer Medium Glossy

The shine is showing where light hits these pictures, but the whole collage is shiny like that.

Golden Polymer Medium is a professional artist supply, so you’ll find it at art stores like Blick Art Supply (Gloss and Matte). You can get it on Amazon (Gloss and Matte). I’ve seen it in the art aisle at Michaels.

Coating Paper with Golden Polymer Medium

Once you have your choice of Gloss or Matte Golden Medium, next follow these steps:

  • Choose the pieces of paper that you want to use for collage. I usually use colored, patterned scrapbook papers.
  • Using a soft paint brush or foam brush, brush a thin layer of Golden Gloss or Matte Medium over one side of the paper.
  • Let the medium dry. It will dry quickly. Your paper may bend a bit when it’s wet with the Medium, but it will flatten out. (Note: Don’t let the papers touch each other when the Medium is wet – the papers will get stuck together!)
  • Turn the paper over and brush a thin layer of Golden Gloss or Matte Medium on the other side of the paper. Let the medium dry.
  • Choose a surface you want to adhere the papers to. You can use a heavier scrapbook paper as a base. Some collage artists recommend using thick 140 lb watercolor paper. You can also adhere papers to wood boards, canvas (be sure the canvas is stretched very taut), foam core board, etc.
  • Brush a layer of Golden Gloss or Matte Medium onto the surface you want to adhere the collaged paper to. Let the medium dry.

Papers for Decoupage

Golden Medium on Decoupage Collage Paper

Drying Paper

Coating Substrate

STEP 2: Design

Now it’s time to create your collage! The fun stuff!

  • Arrange the papers into a collage.
  • Cut the papers, rip them.
  • Layer the papers and build up papers on top of each other.

Layering Papers in Collage

If you coated papers on both sides with Golden Medium, just layer your papers on top of each other — after the next heating step, they’ll all stick together. You can even add other things like string or yarns, lace, etc. Just be sure to coat these things with Golden Medium too, so everything will fuse together in the next step.

This Design step is all up to you — your time to have fun and be creative!

STEP 3: HEAT

When the papers are arranged the way you like them, next you will set the papers with heat. This will activate the medium and make everything fuse and stick together. Without wrinkles!! For this step, you can use a “tack iron” or “heat sealing iron.” It’s a small iron:

Hangar 9 Heat Sealing Iron Collage Decoupage

I got the Hangar 9 Heat Sealing Iron. Because it’s small, it’s good for decoupaging on smaller surfaces where a regular size household iron won’t fit. I’m decoupaging papers in boxes to make decorative niches, and this Hangar 9 iron is perfect for getting into the little corners:

Heat Sealing Iron for Decoupage with Golden Medium

If you don’t want to invest in a heat sealing iron, you could use a household iron, but be careful to test it first at low settings, so you don’t heat it up too hot.

You will also need a special paper between your Medium-coated collage papers and your iron. You don’t want to put your iron directly onto the Medium or it will cause a mess and possible flammable hazard. I used the Release paper from collage artist Jonathan Talbot. Look for silicon and teflon papers that are designed to protect things while heat pressing. The good thing is, the papers are reusable for a long time to stretch your dollars — you can re-use them for years. Here’s some Teflon sheets at Amazon.

Fusing Everything Together with Heat

  • Plug in a heat sealing iron, also called a “tack iron,” or use a household iron.
  • Lay a release sheet (silicon or teflon sheet) over the paper collage.
  • Push the iron lightly over the release sheet, heating all areas of the collage. It doesn’t have to get too hot. I set my tack iron at heat setting 3, the mid-way point, and that’s working fine.
  • Take a look at your collage, check to be sure all papers are adhered. If some areas are still loose, run the iron over those areas.
  • It’s also possible that if you missed applying Medium to some edges, the edges won’t adhere. Simply dab some Medium on areas where it’s missing. Let it dry. Then heat the area with the iron.

Heat Sealing Decoupage Collage

Sealing Decoupage with a Tack Iron

The final result should be a wrinkle-free collage! Woo hoo! Yay!!!

No Wrinkles in Decoupage

I know it’s hard to see here, but this surface is as smooth as glass! No wrinkles or bubbles anywhere!

I’m not done with this project yet. You’ll see in posts to come, this will become a bejeweled niche with a Rajasthani-style arch, inspired by Jaipur, the Pink City of India. I cut an arch with the Cricut Explore Air, and next need to cut the arch from plywood with a jigsaw. This is what’s next:

Arch

Storing extra papers

You might have pieces of paper left over that are coated with dried Medium. You can use these papers later for more collages. But when you store them, separate the Medium-coated papers between pieces non-stick release paper or wax paper. This way, your coated papers won’t get all stuck together.

Supplies Needed

Here’s a summary of the supplies:

  • Golden Polymer Medium in Gloss or Matte
  • An iron: a heating sealing/tack iron or typical household clothing iron
  • Silicon or teflon release paper
  • A surface to adhere paper to: thick 140 lb watercolor paper, or other surface like thick paper, wood, canvas, other hard panels
  • Soft paint brush or foam brush
  • Scissors
  • Paper towel

MONEY-SAVING TIP

I’ve used 40% and 50% off coupons on Golden supplies at Michaels, which cuts the cost considerably. My local Michaels has both Golden Matte Medium and Golden Polymer Gloss Medium. I do enough decoupage that I buy the 16 ounce size bottle.

I will also buy Golden products on sale at Blicks Art Supplies. If they have 40-50% coupon discounts, I am not aware — if they do, someone please tell me!


This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage of compensation at no cost to you if you purchase after clicking the link. I post affiliate links when I have purchased from the company or used the product, and I can confidently share the company or product. This helps offset the cost of running this blog for you! For more info, see Disclosures & Policies.




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DIY Tip: Wrinkle-Free Decoupage with Golden Polymer Medium Instead of Mod Podge

Oh my goodness, how I’ve wrestled with wrinkles! Not so much on my face (yet …) but with paper! If you’ve ever decoupaged with papers, you know what I’m talking about. Some people say wrinkles make texture, and that’s a good thing. I suppose they can be a good thing. It depends on the look you want. Maybe I need to loosen up, but I so hate wrinkles that I’ll even iron a t-shirt and jeans before wearing them! So I personally don’t want wrinkles in my scrapbook paper collages. But, wrinkles have happened:

Decoupage Wrinkles

Again and again, wrinkles happen. And again and again I spend hours Googling, trying to find a solution to the problem. I shared some wrinkle prevention tips on my most popular post about scrapbook paper wall art:

  • Try Aleene’s Tacky Glue instead of Mod Podge.
  • Use thicker papers.
  • Let glue dry for a bit before applying paper.

But those aren’t fail-safe solutions. Wrinkles still happen to me, and probably to you too.

I recently decoupaged scrapbook papers on a big 4.5-foot by 5-foot wall art project:

Scrapbook Paper and Stencil Wall Art

There are some wrinkles in it, but not too bad. I used a professional grade bookbinding glue found at Blick Art Supplies. It worked much better at preventing wrinkles than Mod Podge or Aleene’s Tacky Glue. But I’m setting the bar high, like zero tolerance level. I’d really love a 100% wrinkle-free decoupage project.

Now, I found the solution!

The Solution: Golden Medium + Heat Seal Method

I found this solution at Laura Lein-Svencner’s website. I learned more and got some products from Jonathan Talbot’s website. Both artists are collage artists. Today I’ll share what I learned from them, and then I’ll post separately a DIY tutorial to show how to create wrinkle-free collages using these supplies:

Decoupage with Golden Medium Supplies

The three most important keys to a wrinkle-free surface are to:

  1. Use Golden Polymer Mediums
  2. Coat papers with the Golden Polymer Medium
  3. Heat the papers with an iron

The Golden Polymer Mediums come in Gloss and Matte finish and I’ve tried both. They both work to adhere papers. So the choice depends on your personal preference. I personally prefer a Matte finish. Here’s the Matte finish — it is non-shiny and looks like the original paper surface:

Paper Collage with Golden Matte Medium

Here’s the Gloss finish — it has a shiny finish:

Paper Collage with Golden Polymer Medium Glossy

The shine is only showing up where light hits these pictures, but the whole collage is shiny like that.

Also note: Do you see any wrinkles? While there are some brush strokes, no, you don’t see wrinkled paper! Woo hoo! So far I’ve made many paper collages using this method, without any wrinkles.

In the next post, I share the step-by-step tutorial that shows how to make wrinkle-free collages with Golden Polymer Mediums, and how to use heat from an iron to fuse the papers together. Visit that post to see how to do this yourself!

More Info

If you want learn more:

  • Laura Lein-Svencner put together a useful reference list about various glues and mediums for decoupage and collage. It explains Mod Podge vs. Yes Glue vs. Golden mediums and more. She shares pros and cons like what to use if you want craft vs professional-level results, what glues might yellow over time, etc.
  • Jonathan Talbot wrote an easy-to-understand post that shows how to fuse papers together with Golden Medium and heat.
  • Here is another post about this heat fusing method.
  • Another another post describing the method, along with some pretty and inspirational collages.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage of compensation at no cost to you if you purchase after clicking the link. I post affiliate links when I have purchased from the company or used the product, and I can confidently share the company or product. This helps offset the cost of running this blog for you! For more info, see Disclosures & Policies.


 



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DIY Glittery Christmas Tree Ornaments That Don’t Make A Mess!

I’m a huge Scrooge when it comes to glitter. Glitter is banned from my house. Yeah, even at Christmastime. All violators must eat fruitcake. Why? Because while glitter brings a festive spirit to a Christmas tree, it also puts the festive spirit in your hair, carpet, furniture, everywhere.

But now, I can put the festive spirit only where it belongs – on the Christmas tree! The solution? Glitter scrapbook paper. The glitter DOES NOT COME OFF. The glitter stays stuck on the paper, not on your hands! Yay! So, today I’ll show you how to make no-mess glittery Christmas tree ornaments.

DIY No Mess Glitter Ornaments

Project SUPPLIES

  • Glitter scrapbook paper
  • Flat ornaments
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue
  • Foam brush

OPTIONAL stenciling (DIY tutorial shared in part 2 of this post):

  • Stencil
  • Stencil brush
  • Paint

How to Find Glitter Scrapbook Paper

First, look for glittery scrapbook paper in craft stores like Michaels, JoAnn and Hobby Lobby. You can find single pieces of glitter paper, and you can buy books full of glitter paper. Most craft stores have aisles for scrapbooking supplies, and you will find these papers and books there. Here are some of my papers:

Glitter Scrapbook Paper Book

Glitter paper can cost a bit more. The regular price of single sheets at JoAnn and Michaels is $1.99, but you can buy scrapbook paper on sale or use a coupon. All craft stores will email coupons to you. And you can use iPhone and Android apps to pull up a coupon on your phone. So any time you want to buy, you should get 40 to 60% off. The price of books of papers is usually $19, but use a half off coupon or buy during a frequent half off sale, and for $9-10 you get a whole big pack of papers. Look at all the papers in this pack:

I’m sorry. I’m one of those people who forgets to hold the phone horizontal for videos!

Scrapbook paper makes affordable ornaments. You can make many ornaments with a single piece of paper:

One Scrapbook Paper Many Christmas Tree Ornaments

I used copper color glitter papers for today’s project, but glitter paper comes in many colors.

How to Find Ornaments with Flat Surfaces

You also need ornaments with flat surfaces, like the ones shown above. You can use paper mache, ceramic, wood or chipboard. You can buy these ornament shapes at Michaels, JoAnn and Hobby Lobby. Again, buy during their frequent sales and use coupons.

Also, search paper mache and unfinished wood Christmas ornaments on eBay and Etsy, under their craft supplies categories. I found there are a lot more choices of unfinished wood ornaments than paper mache.

HOW TO MakE the Ornaments

This is so super easy and fast!

Step 1. Paint the edge of your ornament with a color to match or contrast with the glitter paper color. I’m using copper papers today, so I painted the edges of my ornaments with metallic copper/bronze paint:

Painted Edges

Step 2. Trace an ornament on the scrapbook paper. If your paper has a pattern on it, you might want to center the ornament over the pattern. I usually draw cutting lines on the back of the paper.

Tracing Ornament on Paper

Cut Paper Shapes

Step 3. Cut the shape. Cut just barely inside your tracing line. Because your tracing lane will be slightly larger than your ornament.

Glitter Paper on Ornament

Step 4. With a foam brush, spread Aleene’s Tacky Glue over your ornament. You can use Mod Podge or other glues. I like how Aleene’s Tacky Glue is thicker and tackier, and less likely to wrinkle the paper.

Glue Paper

Glue Paper 2

Step 5. Smooth your paper onto the ornament. Press with your fingers from the inside out, to be sure all the paper adheres to the ornament. Pay extra attention to the edges. Sometimes you will need to press down on an edge for a few extra moments to be sure it adheres.

If any glue oozes out the sides, wipe it away with paper towel. Be careful to not get glue on the glitter paper, because it might make dull spots.

Glitter Christmas Tree Ornament

Now repeat the steps above to apply paper to the other side of the ornament. You can use the same paper, or a different paper, so you can flip the ornament around for a different look.

If any paper is sticking out beyond the edge of the ornament, you can cut it with scissors, or lay the ornament on a hard protected surface and slice the extra paper off with an Xacto knife.

TIP: WORK ASSEMBLY LINE STYLE FOR FAST DIY

Set up an assembly line so you do all the tracing, then all the cutting, then all the gluing, then all the paper-applying. You’ll make many ornaments, fast.

That’s it! You have made a no-mess glittery ornament!

No Mess Glitter Christmas Tree Ornaments

Now have fun decorating and enjoying the holidays, not cleaning up glitter!

OPTIONAL: ADD PAINTED STENCILS

The glittery ornaments are pretty just like this. The Christmas tree lights will bounce off of the ornaments, and make them sparkle. But if you want to add something more, how about painting stencils on the glitter paper? Come back for Part 2 of this tutorial, where I’ll show an optional step … adding stencil patterns with paint!

 

 



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