interior design

Decoupage Mania

Decoupaging the Cabinets
Decoupaging the Cabinets

Since we got the RV I knew I wanted to do something to the interior and just had a little faith that the mechanical stuff would fall into place. I put off doing too much until I took it for its first checkup and the mechanic (the lying one) said everything looked amazing, it was in great shape and he was jealous. After he told me this, I immediately went to town painting and decoupaging.

It’s taken quite a bit of time to finish, a couple months of here and there, but I finally got all the cabinets finished – inside and out. I decided at the last min to make a little tutorial though whats written in the blog will be more helpful than it will.

Basically to start you need Mod Podge. You can get it at any craft store – especially the chains, but I found a bigger bottle for the same price as the smaller one at Micheal’s at a local art supply store. I had gotten a small bottle, 16oz, and promptly ran out – costing $11 at Michale’s, the larger one 32oz, was $15. Shopping online isnt a bad idea. Mod Podge comes in gloss, matt, satin and “for paper” though I have used both “regular” and “for paper” and seen no difference.For this project I used Mod Podge Matte-Mat in a yellow bottle.

I like to shake the bottle before opening it, or you can filthy up something stirring it and open the container on a big piece of mat board or poster board (any kind of work area you don’t care much about. You will drip.

Decoupage Wallpaper:

First hint: The thicker the paper the harder it is to keep out the wrinkles. On my wall behind my monitor (see bottom images) I used a framing quality poster, very thick, and I just gave up trying to fight wrinkles. It still looks ok but with printing paper, like the .10cent kind Kinkos uses for basic stuff – It is not see through, even the white, and it easy to keep wrinkles out with practice.

Place the paper face down on the surface, and slather Mod Podge all over the back. It doesn’t need to be white (thick) just a thin layer. If you are doing large pieces of paper the paper will curl when its wet with the glue so careful it doesn’t stick to itself.

When you place the paper on the wall only start with an edge, whether the long or short edge, do not let the whole pieces lay down yet. Line up the edge as you want it and smooth the edge top to bottom or left to right so it has no wrinkles.

Slowly start to work your hand down or across the sheet, going back and forth while pulling the paper slightly to keep it tight/straight.

You will mess up quite a few before you get the hang of it and there is no amount of tutorial that can change that. I learned from just trying – I don’t read instructions for anything usually but I did look up “decoupage wallpaper”. The only thing I could find was a method with brown paper bags where the person wrinkled the paper up on purpose and put it up messy for a textured wall. This is fine but wont really work with printing paper. for most materials this will probably look silly so unless you’re using paper bags I dont recommend it.

If you see wrinkles and they look terrible – I cant get them out without them looking worse – I would just tear it off the wall before it dries too much. If you still have paper leftover on the wall you can use soap and warm water to get it off, I use the scrubby side of a sponge to get it all off. If the paper is dried on, sometimes you can put a sheet over the top of it and it will somewhat convincingly look unwrinkled. To get off a dried sheet you will need time, hot water and something to scrape with.

You can lay down new pieces while sheets are drying on the wall but be sure the piece before isn’t wrinkled too much because you wont be able to go back and take it off if you are overlapping the edges. You will have to take off the new sheet and the old sheet. Annoying!

For things like lights or pipes, in my case I had several to decoupage around, I removed the light and cutout a small gap in the side of my paper lined up with the wires. You can fill in the gap you see with a small piece of deco’d paper but since the light will just be covering that area it’s not too important. With pipes I had to be more detailed. I kept the piece I cut out and glued it back into place on the other side of the pipe.


Decoupage a light cover / plug cover:

Basically the same instructions from above except for the cutting part. Measuring the paper to have enough to cover is something I screwed up so being more precise might be a good idea.

I use an exacto knife to cut things but for most stuff you can probably use scissors.


Other things I’ve decoupaged!


My mirror for my bathroom door is clippings from a Life magazine from 1969. It was an issue about Tigers and had a run of photos of them gorging themselves on zebras and the like. Awesome.
I just cut out the pieces and supplemented and missing tigers with grassland images. I was fairly strategic and made sure that all the tigers were facing the directions intended for how the mirror was to be viewed while using it.

This is the wall behind my 19″ LCD monitor which I mounted on the wall. Its a mix of some of my favorite art from magazines I collect and a movie poster for Metropolis that I didn’t want to leave behind.

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  • Karyn

    Where did you get the pattern for the kinkos paper? I have been wanting to decoupage shelves that will hand on my office wall. Also, did you use laser or inkjet?

    Thanks, you did a great job.

  • admin

    Hi Karyn, I got the print from an artist I found out about in Argentina, I wanted it to be something I really liked and wanted to see a lot – but wasn’t too distracting. I looked through artists I liked online – the pattern is not repeatable, meaning it doesn’t match up perfectly but almost no one would notice. I had kinkos print the paper and since they don’t print to edge I had to get a cut on all sides to take off the blank border. Kinkos uses laser printers. They might try to get you to go print it yourself on the photocopier but the quality is way worse so insist or even submit an order to pick up if you have to. (don’t forget the cuts – all sides 1/4 inch probably).

    Thanks so much! It was fun and there’s still lots to go. I’m hooked on decoupage now haha

  • Karyn Kirtland

    OMG! I never saw that you responded. That was 4 years and two houses ago. I found you post again because we just purchased a camper and again, I am thinking about decoupage…and came back across your post. I looks like you have had a great time in your camper and I hope we too can get out a bunch. The trick will be finding a way to finance all of our travel desires. We are renting out rooms in our place with Airbnb. It is a great way to make a bit of extra cash for rooms that aren’t being used.

  • Katya Laroche

    That is a good idea :D. We have been renting vacation houses in the winter ourselves, near ski resorts, then back on the road in the spring. We have a new trailer now that wasn’t as easy to decorate as the first but one day I’ll get to go all out again! A lot of people seem to get into editing work. We’re still at the web design/programming thing. So nice to be somewhere new every couple weeks and get away from the computers though. I wish I could get paid to go on hikes in the forest haha.

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