Sunday, May 4, 2014

Decoupaged Camo Dresser

When we switched a few years back from a Dodge cargo van to a Chevy cargo van, we needed something up front that would serve as a table/desk top and also provide extra storage. After scouring the thrift stores we found a little 4-drawer night-stand that was the perfect size for our needs. It fits snugly between the seats and is just the right height to serve as a desk top and dining table. (Yes, we eat many meals "on the go".)
When Spring hit this year (finally!!) I decided the butcher-block like top needed a sprucing up. I was just going to sand it and apply a new coat of wood stain and sealer but alas! When I took the orbital sander to it I discovered it wasn't actually solid wood. Having wrecked it with the sander and not being able to just stain & seal it as planned, I needed another finish that would be durable and easy to wipe clean, which ruled out simply painting it.

I knew from experience that Mod-Podge Hard Coat topped off with Folk Art Extra Thick Glaze makes for a pretty durable finish so like any sensible person would, I decided on decoupage. ;)
I knew my usual bright "Col Colors" would be out of place in the work van and thus wouldn't sit well with the Other-Half so I went with camoflauge as I already had camo patterned napkins on hand. And because I didn't think that would be hard enough I decided to place a rustic fishing scene in the center using another napkin pattern I had. (I tend to collect decorative paper napkins same way I do ribbons and beads; you just never know when that design will come in handy. ;) )

Decoupage with napkins is tricky because they tear so easily, especially after becoming damp with the glue. And I am here to tell you, if you want a perfectly smooth wrinkle-free surface this is not for you. You WILL have wrinkles if you are using paper napkins or tissue paper. (The fine wrinkling, however, mimics a crackle effect when all is said & done so if you are after a weathered/antique look, then by all means, use napkins!)
Napkins usually are two-ply: a top patterned layer and a bottom white layer. To decoupage with them you MUST separate the plies so you have just the patterned layer to work with. Separating these layers is a bit tedious but not all that hard. You just have to get a corner started and gently pull apart.
Having separated my camo plies I completed the camo border without much mishap. The trouble came when I applied the center napkin scene. It was bubbling up terribly and just not sticking. On closer inspection I realized, shoot! there is a third, very thin white ply in there I hadn't noticed. A rare three-ply napkin! :( So I had to scrape it all back off, ruining my camo border in the process, and start again after tediously separating that extra middle ply from the patterned one.
Applying a 13" x 13" napkin in one uncut piece without tearing it was more than I should have asked of myself but I went slowly and just as I thought, "Ha! Victory is mine!", yep, I tore a hole in it. :( And right smack-dab in the center of the scene. $%#@&! Using another napkin, I patched the dime-sized hole. I knew that where the patch overlapped the original layer it would be darker but I thought it would blend in. Boy was I wrong! The patched area stood out like a sore thumb. :(
At this point the Other-Half got involved. He was very much liking the new look of our van table so was as distraught as I was over the ugly dark spot now in the center of it. I was done though. I was not going to scrape it all off and start over from scratch nor was I going to attempt to excise the blighted area and re-patch. So as I nervously watched, he used a straight edge razor and a chisel to cut out a rectangular area, quite a bit larger then the blemish, from the table top, miraculously not marring any of the rest of it! He then cut a matching rectangle from another napkin and I glued it in. Ta-Dah!!! You can see the rectangular outline of the patch if looking from an angle, but overall it is WAY better than the dam dark spot from the first patch job was.
We then went on to add camo to the handles, orange paint to the drawer interiors (why not?) and black edging, followed by a fresh coat of white paint on the back, sides, and drawer fronts.
It ate up more time than I had planned on and will be seen by few as it's only going in the work van, but, I think it was worth it. Turned out to be a pretty cool little dresser. :)

*** Note about the Folk Art Extra Thick Glaze.
The product link above says it produces a "subtle" glossy sheen. ROTFL!! This stuff makes an insanely glossy glass-like shine when applied in multiple layers. I love it! (Drawback though is trying to photograph something it has been applied to.)


Adrianne Dailey said...

Decoupage with napkins sounds like a stress-test :) But the end result looks great. Nice job!

Mom said...

It looks great, Coleen. I like the way you coordinated the color inside the drawers with the border on the picture.

softailrider1 said...

Most Excellent ! Creative, aesthetically pleasing, very well executed. Camo handles and interior bright red are perfect. AND it was a collaborative effort.