Thursday, 14 July 2016

Floral & faded wood tutorial - using napkins! (plus how to make a fire-pit table)

I absolutely love the old worn and faded ‘floral-pattern-on-wood' look, and I've been meaning to have a go at achieving it for some time. I finally got around to it this week and I'm so happy with the outcome. It's incredibly effective and so easy to do. You can achieve this lovely faded worn look on any wood surface, and it looks especially good on tables, drawers, chairs, welsh dressers and wooden trays. I'm going to try this on my welsh dresser next but first I wanted to give my copper fire pit a makeover. Since I have a small garden I decided to make use of space by giving the fire pit a dual purpose - so I had a piece of wood cut for the top of it, so when it's not being a fire pit it can be used as a table! this provided the ideal surface for my experiment!

decoupaging wood with floral napkins

A floral wood tabletop tutorial

How to make a fire pit table top

My cosy little seating area looks so pretty now, and if you're admiring my new Peru wooden deckchair loungers you'll find these at Homebase, and they cost £99 for a pair. I absolutely love them, they look so natural and blend into the garden perfectly, they're also incredibly comfy and come with a head rests! I also headed to Homebase for my varnish and hand-held sander (links are below.) You could use simple sandpaper sheets for this, wrapped around a wooden block but I love the smooth finish of a sander, and I’ve used it on a range of projects time and time again.  

You will need:

A table top - or cut a piece of wood to size
Pretty floral paper napkins - these were from eBay.
Mod podge - with matt finish
Ronseal exterior varnish - clear with matt finish
Hand held sander or sandpaper

Step 1: 

Separate the very top layer from each napkin so your are left with just the patterned layer. 

Step 2:

Lay them out on your table so you can see how it’s going to look. I choose to lay them out in simple square form, but you can also tear them roughly and glue them one by one.

Step 3:

Now start the gluing process. Using your paintbrush spread an even layer of glue onto your table as big as the piece of tissue you’re laying.

Step 4:

Lay the napkin gently onto the glue. Then rather than smooth it down with the brush or your hand, lay a piece of clingfilm down first, then smooth the napkin through it with your hand. This seems to stop the tissue from tearing. 

decoupaging wood with napkins

Step 5:

Then gently apply another layer of glue over the top of the napkin. There will be a few wrinkles but don’t worry, this all adds to the ‘old and faded’ look. 

Step 6: 

Once all the pieces are in place, leave it to dry naturally. 

Step 7:

Once the napkins are completely dry, now you can begin sanding. Using a fine to medium sandpaper begin gliding the sander over the table section by section. Keep going until you are happy with he overall affect. Also don’t forget to spend a big of time wearing own the edges and sides.

Step 8: 

You’ll notice the wrinkles are now removed and the table is completely smooth, leaving behind faded cracks which just looks fantastic! If you’d like some extra protection now give you table a few coats of clear, matt varnish and allow it to dry in between each coat. This will protect it not only from the weather, but from coffee cups as well! Do bear in mind the sun could still fade the colour slightly so either put it in the shade or look for a marine / yacht varnish as that can protect colour, but  do bear in mind they are much thicker.

decoupaging wood with napkins

TADA! and thanks to Homebase for collaborating with me on this project. If you'd like to see the video tutorial for this project you can view it here.

JM x

Ralphy doing his Clint Eastwood impression 

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  1. KarenP (Wisconsin)Thursday, 14 July, 2016

    Love it!

  2. Those napkins are the best napkins I have ever seen! I would never in a million years have thought to stick napkins on a bit of wood but it looks beautiful :)

    1. They're gorgeous aren't they Susan?! I had no idea this was how that affect was achieved ... amazing what you can do with a bit of tissue and mod podge :-)

  3. Love this Jodie - going to give it a go on a few bits of furniture that are not looking their best and could do with a makeover. xx

  4. great effort great napkin great use and advice on how to preserve this is a wonderful example of this method x

  5. Absolutely love it and thanks for the brilliant idea!

  6. Hi Jodie,
    I just came across your post on Pinterest. I thought your tutorial was so easy to follow and I loved the photos that went with it. Your table is and absolute winner, you now have a new fan. So much so that I went a little crazy with the sharing on Pinterest.
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful craftmenship with us all, I look forward to reading and seeing more.
    Judith Sudulic

    1. Hi Judith! thank you so much, I'm so glad you like it and thanks so much for sharing ... happy to have you aboard! :-)

  7. don't you need to use 3-ply napkins?

    1. Most napkins are 3 ply but you need to remove the two at the back for this to work.

  8. Sheer brilliance. I hope my projects are as inspirational as this. Very very clever x

    1. Thanks Lynsey :-) I'm glad it's inspired you x