Distressed Wallpaper Finish (made easy)

Updated: Apr 7, 2019

Hello all of you lovely DIY'ers! I've hummed and hawed about the topic of this weeks blog and have finally decided on a fairly easy finish technique that sort of blew up on both Facebook and Pinterest. Hoping that means there's a lot of folks out there that still like it :) It's a distressed wallpaper finish using decoupage. I used it on this end table....

Poor little table started out looking like this......

And I also used the technique on this sample board. Isn't it sweet? I swear it's not a difficult technique - even if you haven't ever decoupaged before.

You will need a either a board with "slats", a crate or a table top with "planks" for this project.

Hint: You can buy these boards at Walmart and other craft shops. They're about 10x10 inches and make fabulous stands, trivets, backgrounds for staging pictures of small things etc etc. Great way to practice before you try it on a piece of furniture.

Step #1 - Paint your board with a lighter color chalk paint. Remember that your napkins are thin and the color of the paint will show through. If you have napkins with white on them - use white. Just one coat - no wax or top coat or anything fancy like that. Doesn't have to be perfect. Just a good base coat of light colored chalk paint please.

Now Step #2 - Gather some napkins. Yes -plain old dinner napkins. People ask - where do you get pretty ones? There will soon be napkins available in the Decoupage Supplies section on my website https://www.tracysayerstrombetta.com/decoupage-supplies - but I tend to collect them wherever I go - craft shops, dollar store, department stores, - even Amazon. I walk out of the stores with a basketful of napkins looking like I'm about to have the biggest garden party this side of the Mississippi...... (not happening- just a decoupage lady :) ) So.... collect the napkins you want to use

decoupage. napkins, distressed, wallpaper, tracysayerstrombetta
Napkins for decoupage (or tea party)

And THEN- Step #3 (this is very important - listen carefully....) SEPARATE THE LAYERS Almost all napkins have 3 layers. Some only 2 but almost all have 3. You simply cannot decoupage with napkins unless you separate the layers. You ONLY want the pretty top layer. It takes a little practice - try blowing directly at the edge of the napkin or kind of rubbing it at a corner. Once you get the hang of it - you've got it. Kind of like riding a bike......

Once you have them separated - Now you need some scissors. Sharp ones. Don't run with them. Step #4 - Cut each of your napkins into strips that are approximately the same size as the "slats" on your board (or table or whatever you're covering).

Very good! It's starting to look like it's supposed to isn't it?? Right - On to Step #5 - Decoupage glue. There are several different techniques for decoupage and I'll be doing other blogs on the different techniques but for this project - we're going to use the Saran wrap technique. If you're in another country - that's just plain clear plastic wrap. You also have a choice of decoupage glue. When I did this project I used matte Mod Podge. Since then I've discovered Frenchic Finishing Coat. Either product will work well and I've learned that in other countries neither is available! One of the BEST things about this particular project and method is that you really don't have to be too worried about the infamous DECOUPAGE BUBBLES. You know - the ones you prick with needles and cry about when they mysteriously appear on your perfectly smooth project?? Yeah - you don't have to worry about those with this distressed wallpaper technique. (Go ahead and cheer if you'd like)

Ok where was I ? Ah yes - Step #5 - Brush your decoupage glue directly on to one slat of the painted wood. You want to cover the entire slat but with a thin coat - too much glue and you'll have a mess on your hands. Then gently lay your first strip of napkin on the board. This is a style of decoupage that lets you have wrinkles. DON'T worry. Don't touch the napkin with your fingers. They are very thin and I guarantee you'll make a hole with your finger. Just lay the strip of napkin onto the board with the glue. Then - Tear off a piece of plastic wrap, lay it on top of the napkin and smooth your napkin out by pressing lightly up and down the slat a few times. Be gentle. Light touch. Then throw that piece of plastic wrap away because it will have glue on it. Now repeat that process for each one of the slats. Glue, napkin, plastic wrap, glue, napkin, plastic wrap....

Step #6 Let it dry. It won't take long - take a break. Go have a cup of tea or a glass of wine, check your messages, take the dog out etc. Should only take about 10 minutes to dry. If you're really in a hurry you can use a hair dryer but this is your chance to take a break.

Step #7 is sanding. You can sand with a block or sheet of sandpaper but nothing too rough. 200 or higher grit sandpaper as the napkins are quite thin. Gently sand the edges and spots that might have wrinkles. You can use an emery board or nail file to get in between the slats if you need to. The amount of sanding/distressing you do is up to you. Some people like very distressed. Others not so much. Just remember that once you've sanded it off, you really can't get it back.

Your board is now starting to look pretty cool isn't it?

Step #8 is entirely optional. There are not many craqueleur (crackle) finishes out there that are clear. Most of them involve a base coat of paint, a coat of crackle varnish and second coat of paint which crackles and your base coat color shows through. Annie Sloan makes a clear craqueleur. You brush on the first coat and let it dry, then brush on the second coat and aged crackles magically appear.

Pretty cool isn't it? BUT - like I said - it's optional. It's a bit pricey AND the crackles will only show up if you also use wax which brings us to Step #9.

If you do NOT use the crackle varnish (which will seal your decoupage) - Step #9 will be a light coat of Frenchic Finishing Coat or decoupage glue. Again - only do this if you did NOT use the craqueleur varnish. You may see some wrinkles appear - but don't be alarmed. As the decoupage medium dries, the wrinkles will magically disappear. Let this top coat completely dry (another break!!)

Step #10 is also optional. If you like your piece as it is now - you are done! But I personally am a bit of a wax addict and LOVE to use browning wax for aging. And I'm a huge fan of Frenchic waxes. They are very soft and easy to use but here is my #1 wax tip. ALWAYS put a coat of clear wax on before you use the brown aging wax. ESPECIALLY (sorry to keep yelling) if you are waxing something light in color. The clear wax lets you move the brown wax around. If you don't use the clear wax first, the brown wax will absorb into your paint/decoupage exactly where you put it on. You can also use clear wax to REMOVE browning wax if you get carried away and put too much on.

So..... for Step #10 - Apply a coat of clear wax (just paint it on like you would paint) and then use a paper towel or lint free rag to gently wipe it off. You don't want to wipe it ALL off -just gently wipe off the excess.

Then use the brown aging wax. If you have used the craqueleur varnish - you can put a thin layer of browning wax all over and when you wipe it back off - your crackles will magically appear. If you didn't use the craqueleur - start at the edges - brush on a bit of browning wax and wipe it back a bit. How much you use depends entirely on how much aging you want to do!

And Voila! You're finished!!

I hope you've enjoyed this project and will visit again for the next blog post! If you haven't visited yet - please visit the website at www.tracysayerstrombetta.com. You'll find my original paintings and supplies that will help you create your own masterpieces - including #woodUbend moldings, #Frenchic chalk & mineral paint, #Satlwash texture additive, #decoupage supplies and more!

And so we come to the end of my second blog. If you've stuck with me until this part - THANK YOU!! I would appreciate any feedback and comments as I'm planning to do this regularly and would like to have a happy bunch of customers and followers. Take care and have a great day!!I


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