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April 2009 Issue 54

From the President:

Greetings Fellow Decoupeurs

By the time you read this, the weekend workshop at Crows Nest will be just a memory.  However, I believe it was a great success and a good time was had by all.  I was very disappointed that I was not able to be a part of it.  A big thank-you must go to the organisers and I understand another is already being discussed.

I was very pleased to hear that our new members were able to attend.  I am sure that they found, like I have, that this Guild is more than a group of talented people, it is also made up of very friendly and helpful members who are willing to share creative ideas.

Now to the meeting on Sunday 5th April.  Don't forget everybody to bring along your paints, two cleaned egg-shells and a small practice board to work on.  This workshop promises to be very interesting and thanks must go to Val for taking the initiative.

Looking forward to seeing you all again.          Regards.     Carol

decorative scroll

Secretary's Jottings

A special welcome to our 3 newest members -- I hope your time spent decoupaging and as a member of the Guild is most rewarding and enjoyable.

In casual conversation after the February meeting, an idea was floated that the Guild buy bulk purchases of Aqualac and other materials for on selling to members. May I suggest that if you wish to restock it may be financially to your advantage to be part of such a scheme. It is necessary to have glass bottles with plastic lids, preferably wide necked -- so keep saving for yourself and others if you use such containers.

Reminder -- Have you given thought, or even better, started your entries for the 2009 EKKA? Time is running out ! Entries do not necessarily have to be recently completed works. Entry Forms usually need to be returned some time in May, and articles completed and delivered about mid June. Support is needed from as many members as possible to present a worthwhile display - and remember the prize-money depletes the Guild's scant resources - better in Members' pockets than that of the RNA.

Barbara Chapple

Oriental Writing Box with Marble Background

Barbara Chapple - 2007

Barbara's Oriental Writing Box


  • Gesso (or all purpose undercoat)
  • sponge/brush
  • sandpaper
Remove hinges and apply 2 or 3 coats gesso both inner and outer areas), allowing time to dry, sand to a smooth finish (NB.  Brush marks will require more sanding.)

Background Marbling Effect

  • Acrylic Artists Paint (white, gold)
  • Water Colour Pencils (black, green - chosen to blend with green in image, yellow ochre)
  • small sable or other soft brushes with round tips (sizes 0 0 &. 3-5)
  • Spreader or Retarder
  • tissues or dampened soft cloth, dampened sponge
  • Sealer (Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish).
Apply marble effect to both sides of lid, on upper side of lid far enough so as the decorated area will overlap the marbling, then outer areas(base is covered with felt).

Create veins with black pencil (when worked the black results in a soft grey) by drawing irregular lines.  Prepare a watery mixture of equal quantities of white acrylic paint, spreader and water.  Dip brush in paint and gently "push" pencil line "dissolving" it completely (any small dry residue may result in a smear at some later stage).  You will find you can "move" and "reshape" or break the line if desired.  Any unwanted areas may be removed with a second clean wet brush and dabbed dry with tissue.  Repeat with green pencil, and then in small selected areas with the yellow ochre pencil.  To add delicate shades of colour between veins I scribbled heavily on a piece of card, and applied by picking up colour with brush dipped in the watery paint mixture.  (In hind site it may have been better to shave small amounts of the water colour pencil onto a second palette).  Dab and remove excess paint with tissue/sponge until desired result is achieved.  To highlight apply very fine lines of gold paint over small sections of the yellow ochre. Once marbling is completed seal with 1 or 2 coats of GMV.

Decorated Area and Trim

  • Oriental Images sourced from greeting card and Japanese paper
  • Acrylic Artists Paint (white, 3 primary colours to achieve similar grey in marbling, gold, burnt sienna, yellow oxide, medium cadmium yellow and yellow light hansa)
  • sponges/brushes to apply paint to background areas
  • glue (3 parts Clag and 1 part Aquadhere was used)
  • brush to apply glue
  • sponges and roller to secure and wipe images
  • masking tape or sealed paper to create a definite line surrounding picture, small template for gold corners, gold stickers (scrolls and straight lines)
  • Sealer.

Images were prepared and cut as follows.

2 copies were laser copied (picture needed to be extended to the left to fill area).  I chose to seal images before cutting.  The background of the card was originally gold, silver and old gold. This was largely cut away -- left remaining was the lake, rocks and small amount of foreground surrounded by  the rocks to the left, the birds legs and tree base at bottom and tree trunks and birds wings at top.  Tree branches were cut in 3 sections for ease of handling.  From the second image extra lake, rocks, leaves and roots were prepared to complete design. A piece of Japanese paper (photocopied) supplied image of crane in flight for the underside of the lid.

A template was secured to define edge of picture.  A line was chosen for an horizon (which the original picture did not have), and the "sky" was applied with shades of grey to match marbling allowing some of  marbled area to blend with "sky".  A blend of yellow oxide and white was roughly applied to bottom half of picture with a view to detailing after image was applied.  The original template was gently removed and a small template prepared for corners which were painted in gold.  Background was sealed.

The image was carefully glued in sections applying glue to lid and using original copy as guide (the birds legs were a particular challenge).  Trial and error was employed to extend the lake and extra foreground of rocks and plants.  Care was taken to remove air bubbles and wipe off excess glue.

Detail was added to bottom foreground with various mixes of white, burnt sienna, yellow oxide, cadmium yellow and yellow light hansa.  With a fine brush lines of burnt sienna were extended to complement those in image, and small sections of the shore were highlighted with extension colours until the picture was unified.

The moulded edges of the lid and base of box were painted gold. Gold stickers were secured to complete design -- straight lines and scrolls created a border extending from the gold painted corners.  Gold scrolls added interest to the front of the box, as well as around the "pencil groove" at top.

Several coats of GMV were applied over all surfaces before lacquering began.


  • Aqualac and brush to apply
  • various grades of sandpaper (240 to 1200)
  • Soft lint free cloth
  • Micromesh for high gloss finish
  • Adhesive felt for bottom.
Approximately 20 coats of Aqualac were applied to decorated areas of box, keeping in mind that lid had 2 sides and this would take longer to complete.  2 (sometimes 3 -- if the day started very early and the weather was dry) coats were applied each day.  After the 20 coats were left to cure for a week a major sand was undertaken, for a short while with 240 and then 320 grades sandpaper.  Problem areas, mainly on corners and on gold trim were touched up and resealed before continuing with about 25 more coats of Aqualac.  Allowing a second curing time the work was re-sanded with 320, 400, 600, 800, l000, and 1200 grade sandpapers until all shiny areas had been removed, while doing so cleaning away dusty residue from surface and sand paper.  Article was polished with Micromesh (as per directions on pack).

The Lining

  • Grey  polyester satin
  • thin polyester wadding
  • stiff card
  • double sided adhesive.
Card was cut slightly smaller than inside measurements of box  for front, back, sides and base (exact measurements are governed by thickness of fabric)  Separate layers of wadding to achieve a thin padding, cut to shape and attach  to card with double sided adhesive.  For  sides of box, keeping straight of grain, cut pieces of satin 5cm deeper and 3cm longer than card.  Apply strips of adhesive to top edge of "wrong" side of card.  Attach wrong side of satin and fold to front over wadding. Commence with back section.  Adhere to box close to top edge -- you may need to trim card a little.  Fold top corner of excess satin so it lies against side edge of box and will not be visible when side lining is inserted. The excess fabric will lie on bottom of box. Repeat with front lining.  Sides are inserted in the same manner, except excess on ends is folded under  and adhered to card.  Each piece should fit snugly and card may need to be trimmed to prevent buckling (check this before removing cover from adhesive tape).  Now simply fold piece of satin and secure to base card and insert gently to bottom of box -- once more you may have to trim card.  This should also fit snugly and as it does not need securing may be removed if anything needs adjusting.

To prevent lid from "sticking" when closed a small piece of white felt may be glued to front corners of inner box.  Cover bottom of box with Adhesive felt or similar.

Re-attach hinges, and your project is complete.  Screw holes will need to be re-drilled.

decorative scroll

Meeting Dates

Held in the Chermside Library, Kittyhawk Drive, off Hamilton Rd Chermside (near the R.S.L. Club)
Starting time 9.30am for a cup of tea & a 10am start
April 5th
June 14th
Aug 9th
Oct 11th

President Carol Carpendale
Vice President Val English
Secretary Barbara Chapple & Di Loxton
Treasurer Glenda Lloyd

Pine Ceramics Active Abrasives

I would like to apologise for the incorrect address for Pine Ceramics in a recent issue.  The mistake has also been fixed in our Web site.        V. E

Method of Eggshell Preparation for Inlay Decoration

Method: To prepare the eggshells requires several days. There are two membranes in a shell.  Both must be removed.  The top one is easy, but the second requires a bit more patience. You will be able to feel the rougher surface of the shell if it has been removed.

Wash the egg shells well, then I put them in a bucket with household bleach and leave them there for a few days.  Remove them from the bleach, checking to see that all membrane has been removed, then rinse them well.  Spread them out to dry, and they are ready.

Tips for Laying Eggshell

by Anne Khul

  1. Make sure the egg shells are cleaned & bleached
  2. It is essential to ensure that all membrane layers are removed in the preparation. The first membrane is easy to remove, but the second is more difficult.  Keep running your fingernail over the inside of the shell. You will feel if there is anything there. Any left behind may shrink as your work dries, and cause the shell to lift off the base.
  3. Nowadays we seek beautiful "tanned" eggs for our cuisine. I've never seen "white" free range eggs yet ! If you want to use white, but can't find suitable hen eggs, look for duck or goose eggs. As there are so many shades in the browns, keep each prepared and dried shell separately in a small package. This will allow you to keep the option of matching shell for banding and accents as opposed to random blending.
  4. Try to find strong shells. If a frail one breaks up into tiny pieces while you are trying to remove the membrane, it will be weak and unsuitable. DISCARD SUCH A SHELL.
  5. Hark back to your high school maths lessons and hunt out that old compass and protractor, and from any child's desk borrow a plastic sheet of template shapes. Throw in a ruler and pencil and you'll have a great set of equipment to hand. Drafting geometric design will be a breeze! Work using a pastel pencil as it will rub off easily. Geometrics are so well-suited to this medium.
  6. Useful gear you'll have on hand are a tooth-pick, satay stick and a small brush for gluing. A small board for pressing the shell on, into finger-nail (pinky) size, complete requirements. Do not make the pieces too small at this stage!
  7. Both PVA and GMV work well, but PVA will remain "open" for longer and allow you to manoeuvre pieces into place. Whichever you use, work in very small sections at a time.
  8. Conquer the SKILL of the gluing and placement process. Once you have selected a nail-size piece of shell, apply the glue underneath. Turn it over and when placed, gently press on this little "dome" with your index finger to break up further. Carefully use tooth-pick to move these 3 or 4 elements apart to allow a sliver of background to show in-between. Pieces manipulated this way will dovetail perfectly.
  9. Examine work continually to ensure you haven't "piggy-backed" any pieces.
  10. Experiment with backgrounds. Some of the jewel-like colours could help stress important features or create contrasts. Anne has used two reds in her monotone design for round place mat. The bright red accentuates the radial sections, with dark red filling in-between.

Thanks to the "Cut Out" magazine for permission to use this article

Crows Nest Weekend Workshop 2009

Because the web is not subject to the same space constraints that paper is, we've included more pictures in this online version of the newsletter than the paper one.

Caitlin Claire display (1) display (2) display (3) display (4) Gaylene Gaylene's work Glenda Meaden Meaden's work Roger