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May 2008 Issue 49

From the President

Thoughts go on to paper as we prepare for our 4 month caravan trip to WA, and just after returning from the third DGQ live-in-workshop at Crows Nest. Unfortunately some members found it necessary to cancel, while those who attended are already looking forward to the next one. The emphasis was on canvas pieces and the results were most satisfactory. With Val's guidance Sue was justifiably thrilled with her finished piece -- we all agreed it was a prize winning effort; Val approached things a little differently by completing a landscape of a cool and green lagoon with background trees, then gluing on the cut out birdlife -- the sponged background gave the picture a wonderful depth; Glenda chose a serviette as her picture -- a good choice to allow the texture of the canvas to show through; Di was most ambitious with her large canvas and calendar print of Australian outback colours and was happy with her sponged background to finish the detail at home; Nancy and Meadan observed the techniques while working on their present projects; Roger was also an observer handicapped somewhat with one arm in a sling as a result of recent surgery. The wide variety of pieces displayed drew the attention of other guests -- Glenda's holiday snaps and Di's grandchildren on placemats under 2 pack, Nancy's small piano jewel box decorated with Japanese paper, Val's "seaside" plate, works under glass, soaps, shell pendants and more made a display of which we could be proud. We all went home to a very light Sunday supper after the wonderful cuisine and friendly atmosphere the venue offers.

I am sorry I will miss the "Reviewing Basics" workshop in May. Remember to bring your images, scissors and scalpel etc. to practise techniques and pick up some tips; and also bring any problem piece you may have. Keep in mind your experiences, good or otherwise, are of benefit to others.

I know Val has some great news to share about her recent communications through "Dialogue" and "Snippets". The American Guild would like to know more about us, our work and how we operate. I feel this could be a wonderful opportunity to broaden ourselves. Val will explain further, but please co-operate by supplying details she needs to pass on.

Closer to home and to September 26th - the DGQ Exhibition at the Chermside Library. Please be thinking seriously about pieces you are able to make available. It would be an advantage if members could bring to the next couple of meetings a list of articles suggesting appropriate category and approximate size. Suggested sections have been Victoriana, Floral, Australiana -- including Outback, Natural History -- birds and animals, Landscape, Miniatures -- including Jewellery, Work on Canvas, Using pre-cuts and stickers and Under glass.

By the way, are your pieces for the EKKA well under way. The Schedules should be circulated by now. Sally is the contact person for the RNA. Please contact her on 3888 1002 if you have any queries.

I will be somewhere in the approximate vicinity of Perth when you meet on May 18th, my thoughts will be with you - have a Friendly, Fruitful and Fun time.

Barbara Chapple (President)

At the meeting we will have the Nomination Forms to give out, so put on your thinking caps & let's see if we can make the AGM more painless.

This article has been reprinted from the January 2006 Volume 2 Issue 1 of "The Dialogue" with the permission of the National Guild of Decoupers-Worldwide.

Lesson: A Personal Approach to Design - by Joyce Roy

I have read books on design, followed suggested instructions and learned certain principles. However, I have found that the best approach to good design is hands-on trial and error. When I begin to decorate an object I have a bit of an idea what I would like to achieve and fiddle around with lots of different cutouts including shapes such as circles, squares, diamonds and strips of paper. Often my original idea is never achieved but in the process of fiddling, something I like usually evolves.

Designing is a technique which is difficult to master but seems to develop with practice. I have always liked Japanese design, which often looks simple but is really very studied and complex. Negative space is an important feature of many Japanese designs. I am always prepared to abandon any ideas for a piece if my original concept just does not work out. And whilst all those cutouts I have played about with may not be used at this time, they will be used later or the whole process may have triggered a design to use elsewhere.

There are a number of things I keep in mind when designing a piece. Color, tone and size of images must all be related. I try not to be influenced by the designs and images on the cards and papers I have before me. I look at how elements within a picture or border or decorative piece can be reworked and made into a new design. I avoid choosing a pretty picture and just cutting that out and placing it on an object. No matter how lovely the picture, it is instantly recognizable as someone else's work and dominates everything else with which you want to decorate the object. To me the real challenge of decoupage is to rework other people's designs to become mine -- not easy but immensely satisfying to do. I move cutouts constantly, take some away and add more until everything is in harmony and suits the shape of the object. Balance and proportion are very important so that no matter from what angle you view the object, the design is harmonious and from each view ,the top, sides and bottom complement each other.

My background color is the last thing I work out after I am satisfied with my design. The background is important in setting the overall 'look' of the design and a number of things need to be considered. Do I want a contrast so fine cutting is highlighted? Do I want the design to blend into the background? Do I want a smooth or textured surface? Once the color has been applied then I Blu-Tak on the cutouts, place the object where I can look at it easily over a few days, perhaps move things about and finally begin the gluing down process when satisfied. If I am still not happy then I will abandon the whole thing and begin again. Personally I prefer simple background color as I feel many intricate colors in a background whilst lovely in themselves compete too much with the design and both elements become lost and muddled.

Design Checklist:

  1. Experiment with your cutouts: Try many different shapes, sizes, etc.
  2. Be prepared to let go: be willing to give up your original design for one better.
  3. Practice makes perfect: Fiddling, or rather the time spent spent trying different combinations of cutouts, is never wasted.
  4. Negative space: just as, or even more important than those areas covered in images.
  5. Keep in mind your design rejects: They may trigger a new project.
  6. Design success: A pleasing relationship of color, tone and size of cutouts
  7. Make it your own design: Try not to be influenced by an existing picture.
  8. Harmony: Add and subtract cutouts until you reach it.
  9. Balance and proportion: Your finished piece should look good from every angle.
  10. Background comes last: It sets the tone for your overall design.
  11. Review before you glue: View your piece over several days before the final gluing.
Scalloped wooden box decoupaged by Joyce Roy
Large scalloped edge wooden box with black background, gold leaf edge, red silk lining and a design of 8 cartouches, butterflies and flowers.

Barbara Chapple's extension on canvas
Barbara Chapple's extension on canvas

Snail by Barbara

Barbara's jewellery
Shell jewellery by Barbara

tiny Under-Glass plate by Barbara

Nancy Rowley's trinket box with lid open
Nancy Rowley's Trinket Box
Nancy Rowley's trinket box with the lid closed

How to divide an egg

by Vera Nolan

diagram of how to divide an egg In my native country Poland, it is a tradition to decorate Easter egg, the most popular colour of course is red.

Decorating eggs for me is now a year round activity.

That is, whenever I feel inspired.

Mostly they are Christmas decorations that happily I bestow on friend and relatives.

For this design you can use any size egg from a large goose egg down to a small hen's egg.

The same marking instructions will apply no matter what size egg is used.

Measure the centre girth with a thin piece of paper. Very accurately divide this into six equal parts. (Folding this piece of paper into 6 parts is much easier than doing it mathematically.) Transfer these marks onto the centre of the egg. Then mark another 1/4" both up and down from the centre girth. This will give you a band in the centre of the egg measuring 1/2". Now you can go up towards the fat end two more girth lines 1/8" apart (see figure 1) . At the centre top draw a 3/4" circle If you wish you can mark scallops all around the egg in each of the 6 sections.

Of course you can divide an egg into 8 section or more or less. It all depends on the size of the egg and the design you have in mind.

P.S. Rub out any marks that are not necessary in your design.

Now you can do your design.

This is a fun design that you can decorate any number of ways and using a variety of materials eg. stickers., sequins, braid etc. You can make it Easter or Christmas or just general. Experiment and have fun with it.

Vera Nolan

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Begin it now.

Decoupage Guild of Queensland

President Barbara Chapple 07 3359 8937
Vice president Val English 07 4542 1522
Secretary Di Loxton 07 3351 2640
Minutes Secretary Sue Johnston 07 4635 2164
Treasurer Glenda Lloyd 07 3359 7606
Committee Roger Johnston,
Robyn Finden


May 18th (The date has been changed from the 4th May because of Mother's Day)
Meeting starting 9.30am for a 10am start. Followed by a "Reviewing Basics" workshop. Please bring along some paper to cut & scissors etc, plus any decoupage problems . Someone may have the answer.
July 20th A.G.M. (Annual General Meeting)
August 7 - 16
Applications close 21st May
Entries to be delivered on 25 or 26th June to the RNA Showground
September 27 & 28th DGQ Exhibition at Chermside Library.
With setup day being Friday afternoon 26th


Acrylic paint can be mixed with distilled water in a mist spray bottle, and sprayed onto a canvas for a light background effect. You can achieve various effects by misting dry canvas, or wetting the surface before spraying

Several members of the Caloundra Decoupage Guild recently attended a small workshop given by Eckersleys, the Art Supplies firm.

This was to show how to do Gilding using imitation gold (or silver) leaf. Our demonstrator, Kobe, had prepared a small canvas by painting it with a deep red acrylic paint.

She then painted a new water based size Xpress Graphx Gold Size over the part she wanted to gild. Then it was left to dry, taking about 10 - 15 minutes. The big benefit with this size is that when dry it will be tacky, but remains tacky until something has covered it, unlike the earlier size which had only a short "open" time. Kobe placed the gold leaf over the size and when she was satisfied that she had covered the space properly, she brushed off the excess gold leaf, and sealed with Matisse Poly U, a water based, poly urethane varnish. This should only be used on hard surfaces, such as wood, ceramics etc.

On another small section she put tiny dots and some very fine lines. When dry, the area was rubbed some of the waste gold leaf. After being brushed , the spots and lines showed up beautifully. Perfect for adding the touch of richness to a picture.

For one student who illuminates writing, it was a perfect answer.

To make the dots and the lines, the tutor used a bamboo pen, which is really a piece of bamboo with both ends shaped into a nib, one fine and the other end, thicker.

Being acrylic based, the size will wash out of brushes easily, in water, while still wet.