about us newsletter press view cart  


Eco-Art Crafts Made by You

Personalizing Painted Furniture

Does your living room need an accent of color, pattern, or a dash of whimsy? If so, you don't need to waste time trekking through stores looking for the right piece. You can easily paint that accent piece yourself. The Art of Painted Furniture, by Anita Rosenberg, provides varied (and ample) examples of furniture, lamps, lampshades, picture frames, serving trays, bowls and more that have been spruced up by no more than paint, brushes and imagination.

About half the book is devoted to specific instruction on techniques used for different effects (including the "toile" technique of tone-on-tone, layering colors, and sponging, among others). The book features designs by the book's author, Anita Rosenberg, whose hand-painted pieces are collected by many celebrities. The book also includes the works of six guest artists with distinctly different styles.

Sterling/Chapelle, the publisher, has granted us permission to share the following decoupage design by Tony Mack, one of the book's guest artists. The book explains: "Decoupage, the art of applying paper with an adhesive in a decorative fashion, was coined in France sometime in the 1700s. The sources of inspiration for Tony's decoupage are peeling billboards, old show signs, advertising images, old stained newspapers, trading stamps and theater leaflets."

Decoupaged Chest


Materials & Supplies:

  • Assorted papers
  • Latex paint: porch or floor
  • Razor blades
  • Sandpaper: 80 grit
  • Scissors
  • Vintage chest of drawers
  • Water-based varnish: satin
  • Wood glue: yellow
  • Paintbrushes: 1 1/2"; 2"; 3"

Do's and Don't in Selecting Paper for Decoupage:

  • Do not use glossy paper (including postcards). It slips, slides and curls.
  • Do not use pre-1940s red ink, it tends to run
  • Use color copies or laser-printed images (color copies have intensified color and are colorfast).


  1. Paint any trim areas that will not be decoupaged, with latex paint, using 1 1/2" paintbrush. Allow to dry.
    Repeat with second coat.

  2. Lightly sand paint to give an aged or distressed appearance.

  3. Cut paper as desired for decoupage.

  4. Lightly sand paint to give an aged or distressed appearance.

  5. Apply layer of wood glue onto top surface of chest (in a space no larger than one square foot), using 2" paintbrush.

  6. Position paper on glue. Apply a layer of glue on paper. Note: if a smooth surface is desired, wait 10-15 minutes for glue to set up before applying second layer of glue.

  7. Continue applying glue and paper onto chest, completing one section at a time. Note: An area may be allowed to dry, then added onto later. Allow glue to dry 24 hours or until completely dry.

  8. Sand the surface and edges, wearing through some of the decoupaged paper. Go slowly, surveying the overall appearance. Gently remove all dust.

  9. Apply three coats of varnish, using 3" paintbrush. Allow varnish to dry between coats.

See what you've missed

If you've enjoyed this project, don't miss our crafts archive with projects including:

Return to top