Forget everything you’ve ever thought about decoupage! It’s so much more than a sweet little country-casual Welcome Goose motif pasted onto a coat-peg shelf and covered with clear-coat or shellac.

Simply put, decoupage is a quick and easy method to make almost any piece of furniture look like a hand-crafted original, or turn any ordinary wall into a one-of-a-kind work of art…

decoupage blanket chestI’m thinking here especially of Megan Jeffery, freelance illustrator and Decorating Diva with a remarkable sense of color and whimsy. We’re talking something like, oh, Mary Engelbreit, back before she started styling like Martha Stewart, but with a sort of free-wheeling joie de vivre

This blanket chest of hers, for example — Meg took an ordinary wooden trunk, painted it, distressed it, and then decoupaged it with images that she color-copied from a book on Czecheslovakian Folk Toys… instant heirloom!

The great thing about decoupage is that it can styled to suit any decor, depending on the images you pick and the treatment you give, and you don’t need to be an accomplished artist to get some amazing effects.

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You can buy printed images that are specially made for use in decoupage projects, but why go bland when decoupage is so easy to make absolutely one-of-a-kind and personal? I agree with Meg that the very best source of images could be your local library’s collection of big giant art books — and a photo-copier machine.

cupidA few years ago, to perk up a boring little powder room, I just pasted black-and-white photo-copies of Botticelli cupids all over the white-painted ceiling, then went over the entire thing with a sienna-tinted glaze. It looked (a) expensive, (b) antique, and (c) so interesting to look at that our guests kept taking a long time in the powder room — line-ups started to form outside the door during one particularly large party!

My advice? Take an hour right now and go browse Megan Jeffery‘s blog. Guaranteed, you’ll emerge feeling all arts-and-craft-inspired like never before.

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