Making a decoupage box is one of my most favorite past time activities. With Women’s day approaching, I brainstormed a few ideas for my mother’s gift, made a short trip to the hobby store and fell in love with a cute MDF box and lovely purple decoupage paper. Now I had the perfect gift idea for Women’s day and not much time to complete it. I grabbed some more paints, napkins, and contours (you never know when you’re gonna need them) and stormed back home to get started.
Thankfully, this decoupage box is super easy to make and it doesn’t require too much time so by doing things at the last possible moment (like usual) I won’t disappoint my mother. With its romantic gentle feminine look, the box is not only a perfect mother’s gift but it would be a great surprise for any woman in general.
So let me show how you easy it is to do it.
Super Simple Romantic Decoupage Box – A step by step tutorial
Approximate time needed: 4 hours (including drying time)
- An MDF or wooden box
- Primer paste (gesso). In case you don’t have one, you may use simple white paint.
- Decoupage glue (I’m a true fan of Mod Podge)
- Acrylic paint for the outside and inside of the box. It’s better to choose the same color as the background of your napkin or paper. In my case, I will be using a matte light purple and the background of my paper is white so I will need to hide the white of the paper using paint a bit later.
- Acrylic paint for the bottom of the box. I’m using metallic dark purple.
- Decoupage paper or napkin
- Decoupage varnish
- Contour liner (optional)
- Sponge brushes
- Hairdryer (In case you want to speed up drying)
- Screwdriver to unscrew the top of the box
Steps for making the decoupage box:
Preparation of the box.
The first step we always have to make when creating boxes is to unscrew the lid of the box from the bottom part using a screwdriver. By doing this it will be easy to paint the box and you won’t paint the screws by mistake (unless you want to). Don’t forget to put the screws and the metal parts aside so you don’t lose them in the process.
2. Primer paste (gesso).
Note that if you are using wooden decoupage box you might need to sand it a bit using sandpaper in order to smooth the edges and make the surface even. The MDF box is quite smooth and doesn’t need any sanding so you can continue with the next step – applying a layer of primer (gesso). Gesso is similar to white paint but with a bit different thickness. It’s important to use it in order to prepare the surface for the acrylic paint and to preserve the artwork longer. If you don’t have gesso, you might use a layer of white paint to cover the whole surface of the box.
Tip: If you are impatient and you want to speed up the process of drying, you may use a hairdryer by holding it approximately 20cm from the box.
Once the gesso is dry, using sandpaper, smoothen all the surface of the box, especially the edges. This is important in order to make the surface of the box even after the layer of gesso and prepare it for the paint.
4. Acrylic paint.
Using a brush or a sponge, cover the outside, inside of the box and the lid with the desired acrylic paint (matte light purple in my case). I will be sticking a whole image on the inside bottom of the box so I will leave that one white.
After the outside and inside of the box are dry, using a brush cover the outside bottom of the box with the darker color (metallic purple in my case).
Once the paint is dry, using sandpaper, smooth all the surface of the box, especially the edges. This is important in order to make the surface of the box even. If necessary, cover with one more layer of paint until you reach the desired color and smoothness, and sand again.
Tip: If you are using metallic paint (like the bottom of my box) you should not sand it as this will destroy the paint.
6. Preparation of the napkin.
Using a small brush dipped in water, separate the pictures you want to use from the paper or napkin. Slightly circle around them with the wet brush and pull them with your hands. If you are using a napkin, you have to remove the bottom two layers and use only the layer with the image.
7. Gluing the images.
Once the paint is dry everywhere, it’s time for the fun part – gluing the images. Using decoupage glue or Mod Podge and a flat brush, cover the surface where the images will be with a thin layer of glue. Carefully place the napkin or paper image which you already prepared on top with your fingers. Dip the brush in the glue and pass on top of the images with gentle strokes of the brush until the image is glued. Make sure you are not using a brush that is too hard or you are risking to tear the napkin apart. The glue will look white in the beginning. Don’t worry, after drying it will become transparent.
Tip: Always start with the brush strokes from the middle of the images and gently press the brush towards the ends. This way you are taking the air out and you will avoid bubbles. Don’t press too hard or you will break the napkin.
Tip: You might use some type of transparent foil to press the napkin after you have placed it on the selected glued spot. The foil will not destroy it.
8. Fix the decoupage napkin or paper (if needed).
If you are using paint with a different color than the background of your napkin or paper, the image will look a bit ugly and the edges will stand out unnecessarily (see the flowers in the corners of my box above). That’s why using a small brush dipped in the same purple paint we will cover the visible white parts of the paper until it’s mixed with the background. You may need to use more than one layer of paint in order to achieve a natural looking image.
Once the glue is dry, use decoupage varnish to cover all the surface of the box. I’m using glossy varnish but matte is always a good idea.
10. Contour liner decorations (optional)
In order to make the decoupage box funkier, I decided to add a few dots using mauve contour liner. You can add lace, dried flowers or any kind of ornaments of your choice.
And the super easy romantic decoupage box is ready! It wasn’t hard at all, was it?
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial which I wrote for you with lots of love. Hopefully, you have liked the box and my mother will also appreciate it like you. Well isn’t any handmade gift better than an ordinary gift?
If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the romantic decoupage box, I will be glad to discuss them with you in the comments below.
And you, what gifts did you get on this year’s Women’s day? Did you prepare any gifts for your loved ones too?