Craft with decoupage

Rachana uses decoupage to decorate kettles, purses and chopping boards.

Rachana Shenoy, a software professional, started dabbling with art and craft as an eight-year-old. It was three years ago that she picked up the art of decoupage and hand painting on different mediums.

She has worked with acrylic and explored different techniques in art like Mysuru, Madhubani, Ganjifa and more.

“I was always excited by art and craft. I was a part of the WhatsApp group ‘Creative Bangaloreans’ and the Facebook page ‘Bangalore Craft Lovers’ where I kept noticing innovative designs and works by fellow crafters. I went online on YouTube and watched artiste Divya Thallap’s decoupage works which impressed me,” she says.

She kept watching more videos and slowly started working with decoupage on body lotion bottles and simple containers.

“Initially it was tricky, but once I got the hang of the craft, it was addictive. I started working on nameplates and personalised gifts for friends, and the interest kept growing. The feedback from people around was encouraging which helped me try unique things,” says Rachana.

She’s worked with decoupage on nameplates, boxes, purses and chopping boards.

“Each of them needs time accordingly. I understood that decoupage is a very versatile art technique over time; it can be done on glass, metal, plastic, and wood. I get my ideas from all around me and according to the raw material I have. I worked with a chopping board and tissue papers; the designs on them suited a kitchen’s ambience,” she says.

From the designs on the tissue papers to any idea that she sees online, Rachana takes inspiration from everything around her.

“I like nature-inspired themes; birds, flowers and similar patterns are my favourites. Such images suit many occasions. When I am making something to gift newly-weds, I try to create a nameplate or something with birds working on their nest, symbolising new beginnings,” she says.

Rachana made a decoupage nameplate for a cousin with the Eiffel Tower and a vintage scooter in the background. “She is a traveller, and the imagery was supposed to depict her passion.”

She has been working with decoupage regularly. “I have been making at least two pieces a month. The process is simple and can be perfected with time. After choosing the medium, one has to sand the surface and apply gesso on it. Use mod podge to carefully stick the tissue on the surface and blend into the colours of the area around, with paint. The background is blended by stencilling on it,” she says.

A couple of coats of varnish is applied to the work, and it can be embellished. “One can use spoons, twine or suitable embellishments to give the work a 3D look.”

While a nameplate can take up to two hours, Rachana takes six hours to complete a decoupaged box. “I never sit on it at one go as I do not get the time. A project is usually spread to two or three weekends.”

Rachana has also worked on handpainted works on different mediums like a kettle. “I had seen someone’s work on kettles. I was in Kodagu and on my way back I got an aluminium kettle as a souvenir. Later on, I decided that I wanted to paint on it,” she says.

There are many new things that she wants to try. “I want to try decoupage on canvas tote bags and milk cans. Many are even trying the art on furniture, and I want to try something on a chest of drawer soon,” says Rachana.

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Craft with decoupage

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