1. Determine size, measure top and add a minimum of 1 1/2 inches (3/4 inch on each of 4 sides) to allow for frame. It can be larger. Our original table top was 18"x30". The minimum size, and a tight fit would have been 19 1/2" x 31 1/2". We needed it to be 36" wide so we made it 20"x36" which allows for about a 1/4 inch front and back to slip it onto the table.
2. Cut a piece of 1/8 inch particle board to desired measurement of the top. You can use thicker particle board if you want but it is not necessary because it will not be supporting any weight on its own. The table underneath is doing the work.
This is the size it was pre-cut at my local store
Once the glue was dry, I took over to do the decoupage finish.
I cut a section from an Etiquette book (published in 1956) I found at a thrift store in Payson, AZ for 25 cents (it was half price day on books!). I used the section on letter writing since the table was going in the booth in the new stationery section. The chapter on stationery had pictures of handwritten cards that I cut out individually and used over the pages in the final steps of decoupaging the table top. This one is my favorite. You might ask if I inked the edges of the pages...no, I was lucky the book just came that way and the Mod Podge enhanced the color. Funny, I almost passed up the book because I thought the pages were too dark.
You can see all the pieces of paper on the table top that I have precut for this first part. I used a disposable foam brush and Mod Podge (matte finish) to glue the paper to the wood (see second photo). I am only gluing the papers down in these first steps. I will add the Mod Podge to the top at the very end once all the papers are in place.
Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles...when you are working with a liqud medium and paper (no matter if its vintage or not) you will have some bubbles. I do my best to not have bubbles in the first place by:
1. Applying the liquid medium, in this case Mod Podge in a thin even coat.
2. Use a brayer or bone folder to adhere the paper well and "push" out any bubbles.
3. Leave it alone! I have found 9 times out of 10 the bubbles disappear once the paper is dry. You don't think they will, but they do.
Okay, so now the sides are done and we are moving onto the table top. Again, have enough pieces cut to cover the top. You don't want to be cutting paper with goopy hands! Layer paper so that some are vertical and some horizontal. I found it is best to lay out a section to see how the papers will work before I actually glue them down. Once I was pleased with the section, it only took me a few minutes to glue it down before laying out the next one. Again, I still am not putting any liquid medium over the papers, just under.
Once all the papers are in place and I have gone back and added in the pieces that I have saved out for overlays (the pictures of handwritten cards mentioned above) I am now ready to do the top layer of liquid medium. I am using Modge Podge because it dry's fast and is easy to clean up.
I covered the entire surface with a thin coat, waited for it to dry and then added another coat. I have a Heat Dish from Costco that I place about 6ft from the table top so it dried pretty quickly. I just stood the table top on it's side and turned it a couple times between coats. If you don't have a Heat Dish then just wait a hour or two between coats. Note: if this table top was going to be used as say a hard working desk or countertop you might think about using some kind of shellac finish.
Here's the table, now in my living room. I may eventually paint the table underneath, but for now it's fine.
part of my collection of metal historical buildings and paperweights that picture a historical building
Hope you like the tutorial and that you will try it. I would love to see what you do! -paula