This beautiful decoupage project has a lot of steps but is easy to do because I put together most of the design steps in the artwork. It is beautiful enough to use in your living room, or wherever you use recycled bags. My style is old world with a whimsical perspective and to achieve it I take samplings from history and alter them. In the Pompeii art, mostly from the Villa of Mysteries, I filled it in to be legible at a small scale and make it family friendly (no nudity). My decoupage is a unique twist from the classic style, because I build areas up dimensionally.

   The box I used was designed especially for this project by Steve Harvey Miniatures. It's beautifully made right here in America. I have seen much smaller boxes hand made for the price of this one. Your hard work on this box will last generations. Last I checked it was $32.50 including shipping. There will be other design themes for this box in the coming year. I have a Halloween theme that is hilarious.

   An important element of this project is a stamp called “arch element” made by Stamp Francisco. If you like architectural style boxes, this stamp will get a LOT of use. They have a super website.. Stamping on card stock will raise it a little above the background which is my own variation on decoupage.This stamp is $8.99 mounted, or $5.39 unmounted. It's a workhorse for any kind of box project. Miniature buildings are popular right now, too.

   Here is where I sing the praises of Dover Books. Without them much of the older visual ephemera of our world would be lost. They are a public service, and I still mourn the day they closed their New York City store. I have depended on them for instruction, magnificent images, and re-issuing out of print books all through my art career.

Step 1: What you need:

  • Wood bag dispenser box from Steve Harvey Miniatures, (my art work is precisely sized to fit these boxes). If you make your own, you will have to figure out how to size the art to fit.  This box will last to hand down.

  • White primer and sandpaper to smooth the surfaces (I use Kilz).

  • Artwork; I use copyright free clip art for the most part, and when I use art from institutions like the Pompeii archeological site, I actually do quite a bit of altering and tweaking so that it fits the project. There are seven templates of art. Make more than one copy, preferably a color laserjet print, which is ready to use. TIPS: It really pays in saved labor to print your art on good quality paper. Cheap, thin paper tears very easily when damp. If you get the artwork printed at a copy place, ask for good paper and get more copies than you need in case of mistakes cutting.

  • The arch element (#22-010) stamp from Stamp Francisco,

  • A black permanent ink stamp pad (I used Brilliance Graphite Black),

  • Small sharp scissors,

  • Tweezers,

  • Pencil,

  • Bone folder, not absolutely necessary but handy, for creasing paper

  • 12” T square ruler,

  • A spray bottle of water that can make a fine mist (I use Judi Kins extra Fine Mist Spritzer), or a slightly damp sponge

  • Matt finish Mod Podge. White glue has too much water in it to be effective on color copies which repel water.

  • A good acrylic #10 square or filbert brush (any nylon brush that is about an inch wide will do) plus smaller detail brushes, a small round and small squared brush for painting shadows, and a thin squared brush about  two inches wide, for painting on the sealer/varnish. Do not use any natural hair or bristle brushes with acrylic mediums. They are too thick and will absorb too much water to be useful.

  • A cup or jar of water for the wet brushes, which you should keep wet while in use.

  • A Black Sharpie,

  • Paint-- I used white, red, black, and  gray

  • Acrylic glazing medium, satin finish; you can get just the little 2 oz bottle Windsor Newton makes (this is for adding shadows).

  • Paper towels, and a shallow tray (I used a metal baking pan),

  • Two soft rags

  • A faux crackle finish kit, if you want the box to look old. I personally love the crackle finish, because my style of decoupage is more dimensional than the traditional methods. When you make the elments thick enough it almost looks carved. I prefer any two part kit for fine crackle or porcelain crackle.

  • White card stock for printing arches and columns

  • Spray matte varnish or Clear Coat  to seal all your hard work.

  • Use my artwork, and if you don't want to spray seal your inkjet prints take the prints to Kinko's to copy them on a color copier. Otherwise spray inkjet print-outs on both sides with the spray mentioned above

  • White card stock to stamp your arches, and to print the arches and columns on—it really looks nice when they stand out a little.

  • Hanging hardware (I prefer two small D ring hangers that screw on)

  • Felt or cork pieces to protect your wall (I used plain white craft felt)

  • Tacky glue for the felt or cork

  • Optional: black embossing powder and heat gun.
  • blue masking tape, to help with the dry fit of the cut-outs.


Beautiful!&nbsp;I&nbsp;also love the crack finish. This would be cool to make a bird house out of =) Great job very clear instructions!<br /> <br />
Crackle not crack <br /> My bad &gt;.&lt;<br /> <br />
Thank you for that idea. You know I was also thinking of a bat house, because they like the close fit, but the lid would have to be attached against the wind. I&nbsp;have been trying to find out if they texture the inside walls of bat houses. A board on the bottom inside, glued down, plus a new little hole on the front! I&nbsp;read an article that many places are making their bird house entries smaller so that cowbirds can't get in them--they lay eggs in other bird's nests like the cuckoo and are enjoying a population explosion. I&nbsp;am going to make sure and tell the carpenters about any multi-use Idea, and think up a decoupage for a bird house--which could be sealed with outdoor epoxy. Great idea!<br />
Thanks!&nbsp;Ya&nbsp;I heard about that too. This is my new account =) (so same person)<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Cheers,<br /> Meheh<br />
Wow, great project, I love the crackle finish.<br />
Thanks! I&nbsp;only wish manufacturer's would stop messing with crackle kits. The best one on the market, Anita's, went out of business!&nbsp; It was all the rage, and then suddenly no longer &quot;cool.&quot;&nbsp; <br />

About This Instructable


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Bio: Am a full time artist/artisan and love all things handmade. I teach people how to make personal shrines, and design home decor accessories that ... More »
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