Decoupage allows you to decorate just about any surface with images, designs and text cut from paper or fabric. Around the kitchen, decoupage turns drab, plain cabinets, tabletops or wall hangings into works of art, dressed up with your favorite themes such as vintage appliance ads or retro fabric prints. Decoupage medium is the “secret sauce” that holds it all together and serves as a top coat. Watered-down school glue can be used in place of decoupage medium.

Tabletop Transformation

Decoupage offers an ideal means of turning an outdated or less-than-attractive kitchen table into a piece fitting of the room’s decor. Cover the tabletop with pages from old or outdated cookbooks, photocopied images from vintage food packages, seed packets or advertisements for kitchen appliances. Mix text and images for a table that’s fun to read and explore while dining. Copies of retro cereal box packaging offers another option that’s both colorful and quirky. After the decoupage dries, coat the table with several extra layers of decoupage medium or polyurethane for a durable finish.

Placemats and Table Protection

Inexpensive plastic-coated placemats serve as starting point for decorative decoupage mats for each place setting. Decoupage each mat with its own theme, such as desserts, drinks or main dishes, using pages from outdated cookbooks or current cooking magazines. Decorative fabric can be used to create seasonal placemats: bright green for spring or summer, blues and whites for winter. Cover cork coasters with drink recipes or images — adult beverages for an adults-only table, or more casual drinks for all ages, such as lemonade or a Shirley Temple, made with a clear soda, grenadine and maraschino cherries. If the table is also a place where the kids like to color or work on crafts, create a craft-time table protector by decoupaging a piece of canvas large enough to cover the entire table, using several coats of decoupage medium to seal the piece. Tissue paper, pages from old storybooks or magazines serve as the decoupage material. Fabric scraps can be used instead of paper, creating a patchwork-style table covering.

Cabinet Upgrade

Open-fronted kitchen cabinets, or those with glass cabinet doors, show off everything inside, including the back wall inside the cabinet. Jazz up that uninteresting inner cabinet area by decoupaging the back wall with a bold decorative fabric, such as chevrons or a large black-and-white floral print. Use a different fabric in each cabinet for an eclectic, colorful kitchen. Drawer fronts are also subject to such an upgrade, using fabric or vintage images from women’s magazines or appliance ads.

Decorative Accents

Decoupage serves as backing material for framed art pieces for the kitchen as well. An antique kitchen tool such as a whisk, set in a shadowbox, displays a background of decoupaged text from a cookbook, or place painted cutlery pieces in the shadowbox instead. The decoupage background makes the painted pieces stand out as repurposed art. Exposed shelves can also be given the decoupage treatment, wrapped in boldly printed fabrics or even gift wrap that looks nice enough to display.

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