i've been waiting to post this for a while! a few of my friends received decoupaged initials (or other items) for Christmas - and here's how they were made:
start with a chipboard letter. you can also start with a wooden letter, or a ceramic letter, or a picture frame, or a mirror, or a papier mache box - you can cover almost any surface at the craft store. i bought these chipboard letters at Hobby Lobby.
i picked out around 10-15 sheets of scrapbook paper for each project. they weren't too matchy, but coordinated in my mind. small patterns work well.
i already had a paper punch. for some of these, i used this scalloped circle from EK Success. for others, i used a pointy circle from Martha Stewart. i like circular shapes for this project. i made sure to punch into the corners of the scrapbook paper to get circles with good right angles. that's much easier than trying to eyeball a perfect right angle.
i cut at least half of the circles. some circles were cut into halves, while some were cut into a large and a tiny piece, until i had a pretty little pile of semi-circles.
i painted the chipboard with regular acrylic paint. it took a few coats to sink in.
decoupage is the next step. curvy borders are tricky. that's why i like the circles with scallops - when glued next to each other, they can fool the eye into thinking there's a straight border.
there is no wrong way to position the shapes. for one project, i started with the borders and worked inward. for another, i started in the center of the letter and worked outward. both had nice results. if i had to recommend one way, i'd suggest laying the borders down (with the cut semi-circles) and working inward.
i use matte mod podge for decoupage projects, in the yellow container. gloss is fine, too, if you prefer it.
i use at least three layers of mod podge:
1. beneath the paper (as a glue)
2. over the paper (to make sure the edges stick down)
3. over the entire project (to even out any uneven parts)
i am very liberal with the mod podge use - but always smooth it out with a flat paintbrush. i also have a separate paintbrush and water jar for mod podge, to keep everything clean and clear.
after the last coat of mod podge, let it dry for a long time. a day is good.
the project can be finished at this point. if you'd like, you can put a sawtooth hanger or some other hardware on the back, so it can be hung on a wall. for the "j", i looped some ribbon and glued it together under a button. i used e-6000 glue, which also needs to dry for a long time.
here is another letter, with a different assortment of papers:
there will definitely be more decoupage in 2011.