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Deb Trombley

DIY Decoupage Wall Art with a Flair for the Exotic

How create DIY decoupage wall art

Do you want to know my secret for creating exotic yet inexpensive wall decor and accessories rich with pattern and personality? It’s scrapbook paper! It is my go-to medium for DIY decoupage wall art. Even if you’ve never scrapbooked you need to check this stuff out. It is easy to find, and comes in a myriad of colors, textures, and patterns and it makes it super simple to create a unique home decor piece designed to tell a story.  A big part of MY story is that I am inspired by the cultures and ornament of the east and often daydream about gazing out at exotic scenery through a Jali-screened arch window….

What IS Jali?

Jali Panel Inspiration

Some examples of Jali patterned screens in windows and doors

Jali is carved stone or wood lattice screens found in windows in India, Africa and the Middle East. It’s usually an open trellis-type design carved in geometric or floral patterns.

It’s actually known by different names in different parts of the world. It’s called jali in India, mashrabiya in Morocco and fretwork in China and Europe. You can find it decorating famous places like the Taj Mahal in India and Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Beyond being decorative, these screens have practical purposes. They provide shade and privacy, while still allowing air to flow which is needed in the hot climates where you often find jali windows. Can you imagine peeking out on the world through these beautiful window screens?

I would love to! So with the inspiration to make decorative “windows to the world,” using a combination of decoupaged scrapbook paper and stencils. I was so happy with the result of this technique I actually two fun ways to work this DIY decoupage wall art project-so read on to find out how!

Stenciled Jali Windows to the World

How create DIY decoupage wall art with scrapbook pape

The first set of panels I created incorporated many different stencil patterns that I had on hand, representing China, India, Africa, and Europe-all the places you can find Jali-screened architecture. I stenciled the framework for my art with a Moroccan stencil pattern from Royal Design Studio.

Main stencil: Casablanca Trellis Moroccan Stencil

Stencils used inside lattice: Flower Chain BorderIndian Paisley DamaskMarrakech Medallion Stencil Moroccan Arches Stencil Oriental Brocade  Stencil

Other supplies:

  • 12″ x 36″ MDF shelf from a home improvement store (or you can use wood plank or canvas)
  • Variety of patterned scrapbook papers, available at most craft stores
  • Your choice of acrylic paints or Stencil Creme paints from Royal Design Studio
  • Mod Podge Matte
  • Foam Brush
  • Ruler or other hard straight edge
  • Xacto knife
  • Protective surface for cutting
  • Template cut from heavy paper or rigid plastic

Start by decoupaging scrapbook papers (found in any craft store) onto a wood board or canvas. For this project, I repurposed some long 12″ x 36″ shelves. I liked the shape because it’s an unexpected shape for wall art, and three 12″x12″ scrapbook papers fit perfectly on each board. When choosing your scrapbook papers, you can mix colors and patterns as I did in this Stenciled Canvas Wall Art Post, or you can use one single patterned paper as shown here. I chose light neutral paper with tiny printed patterns because I wanted the focus on the stenciled patterns. From trial and error, I’ve learned that small patterns on the scrapbook paper work best, because they complement rather than compete with the stencils.

  1. With a foam brush, spread a light layer of Mod Podge on the board. Be sure Mod Podge covers the entire board with no bare spots.
  2. Lay your paper on the board. Be careful to get it straight because after the paper dries it won’t move. Smooth with a hard straight edge, such as a ruler, from the middle toward the edges. Then brush a light layer of Mod Podge over the paper. If you see bubbles, press them down with your fingers. The Mod Podge will dry fast!
  3. Stencil the Casablanca Trellis stencil allover using Bronze Age Stencil Creme from Royal Design Studio.
  4. Cut a template of the inside shape of the arch from heavy card stock or mylar. You will use this to isolate the paint area of the stencil patterns that you apply in the arches.
  5. Details of different stencil patterns
  6. Final Stenciled Windows on the World

Scrapbooked Jali Windows to the World

 

DIY decoupage wall art with scrapbook paperand stencils
For an interesting variation on the first project, I decided to try placing coordinating pieces of scrapbook paper to inside the lattice in place of the stenciled patterns. It’s easy to do! 

 

 

  • Choose your scrapbook paper. You could go for a coordinated look, as I did here, or create a lot of contrast with a mix of bright colors and patterns.
  • Make a template for cutting the paper, the same way as you would make a template to stencil inside the lattice as above. Place the template on top of your scrapbook paper and cut the shapes out of the scrapbook paper.
  • Arrange the paper cut-outs on your stenciled canvas. Play with the arrangement until you find one you like best. Then, glue the paper pieces permanently in place.
  • I painted solid Smoked Oyster Stencil Creme inside a few trellis shapes for color contrast.
  • The final look!

So, you can see that you could combine ALL of these techniques together: Stenciled trellis, stenciled patterns on paper, stenciled patterns on solid colors, scrapbook paper shapes, etc. to create some really one-of-a-kind, amazing looks! Besides wall art, I would love to try this technique on a plain chest of drawers, a floor screen, or may even an interior door. How about you-where do YOU see using this technique?

Please share your ideas in the comments below!

3 comments

  1. Regina

    OMG, I loooooove this! My local store has a gorgeous selection of paper and of course I love Royal Design Studio Stencils. I really enjoyed learning about Jali, too. Beautiful project, Deb!

    • Deb

      Thank you Regina! The paper patterns are sooo fun to play with! Also the thicker papers are easier to decoupage – the Mod Podge tends to wrinkle and bubble less with thick paper than thin papers. Or, you could even use a liberal layer of stencil adhesive to adhere any paper.

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