One of my favorite ways to transform old furniture is to add beautiful paper accents. The main reason I love to use wallpaper, tissue paper, wrapping paper or even napkins to decoupage a furniture piece is because it is such an easy and affordable way to add that wow factor. Our secret: Mod Podge! Below we share with you how to decoupage furniture with any paper using Mod Podge.
What is mod podge used for?
Have you ever wondered how people get those amazing images and designs on their refinished furniture? One answer is that they decoupage using Mod Podge. Mod Podge is a glue-sealer-finish combo that makes decoupage fast and easy and eliminates the need for layers of varnish and sanding. It was invented in the 1960s by Janet Wetstone to speed up her DIY projects. Mod-Podge is actually short for “modern decoupage”! It really is the best answer to how to decoupage furniture with wallpaper (or any other paper or fabric product). You can read more about the origins of Mod Podge here.
How to decoupage furniture with wallpaper (or tissue, napkins, posters or my favorite, wrapping paper)
You may be wondering, can I put this pretty [fill in the blank] on my furniture? The answer is almost always yes! You can use Mod Podge to add wallpaper, wrapping paper, tissue paper, napkins, posters or fabric to your furniture. Our personal favorite is wrapping paper because it is so affordable and light and easy to work with. You can check out another of our paper projects here.
Below are the easy steps for how to decoupage furniture with wallpaper or any other woven material:
Step 1 – clean surface of furniture
Even if your furniture looks clean, it’s probably not. Use a good degreaser to remove dirt, grime and oils from your furniture surface so your Mod Podge will have a good surface to stick to. We like to use a TSP alternative or this.
Step 2 – apply Mod Podge to furniture
Pour your Mod Podge into an old container with a wide opening. We like to use empty yogurt or cottage cheese container. Mod Podge is very sticky and we prefer not to spend our time trying to cleaning it out after our project is complete.
We like to use a foam brush, like this, or roller to apply Mod Podge but a paint brush will also work.
Use your brush to apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to your furniture surface. You only need a thin coat – it is very effective!
Work with only one side at a time so your Mod Podge doesn’t dry before you get to all sides of your project.
Step 3 – apply wallpaper, tissue or fabric to decoupage furniture
Eyeball where you want your wallpaper or other paper/fabric to go. Gently press the paper down and smooth it down. Work from the centre out. You can use a special squeegee, like this, but I like to use a soft, dry cloth. Use a damp cloth to wipe up any excess Mod Podge that squeezes out the side.
Step 4 – seal furniture with Mod Podge
Pro tip: we don’t use varnish to seal paper to furniture, we just use more Mod Podge!
Let your paper dry on the surface of the furniture for at least an hour. Use your brush to apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the top of the paper to seal it. You’ll want to apply at least 2-3 layers of Mod Podge to the top of the paper to make sure it’s well sealed. Be sure to allow each layer to fully dry before applying the next. We typically wait 2-3 hours between coats.
If you have any paper overhang, you can trim or gently sand it off the edges of your furniture.
That’s it! Mod Podge makes decoupaging furniture with wallpaper, or any other paper or fabric, super easy!
But what if you don’t have or can’t find Mod Podge? No problem! You can make your own super, duper paper adhesion/sealer.
Mod podge substitute
If you can’t find Mod Podge or you need A LOT and are looking to save costs, this recipe for a Mod Podge substitute it pretty darn good.
- Mix 1 cup of PVA glue to ⅓ cup of water.
PVA (polyvinyl acetate) glue is the yellow glue you use for woodworking. You can buy it in large quantities for not too much money, like here. Water is free. Do not use regular white craft glue! It will not work the same. You don’t want to go through all the work of decoupaging furniture with wallpaper only to have your Mod Podge substitute fail.
Mod Podge is an awesome product that makes decoupaging furniture with beautiful images pretty easy, for a fraction of the cost of expensive furniture transfers. Mod Podge is the perfect glue, sealer, and finish for many craft and art projects and we encourage you to give it a try on your next furniture makeover project!
This project was completed with Fusion’s Champness, wrapping paper and, of course, Mod Podge!