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FAQ's - Using Paper Other Than Napkins for Decoupage

Do I need to prepare rice paper in any way before applying it?

One of the advantages to using rice paper is that it requires no special treatment before adhering it to your surface.  Separate your image from the large sheet as you would with a napkin or just gently tear around the image.

Does rice paper bubble or crease when applied and if so, can this be prevented?

I have had no bubbling or creasing with rice paper when I lay it out on a glued surface and gently smooth it out with my hands or with a J-Cloth type towel.  If you do notice bubbles, place a piece of plastic over the top (page protector) and smooth it out with the edge of a gift card or credit card.  As with anything, accidents happen and care is needed with any paper application.

Do you need a white surface under rice paper?

I have always started with a light or white surface under my rice paper just to be on the safe side.  Generally, when I use rice paper, that is what I want to see, not the images under it.  Not all rice paper is opaque.

Why would I choose rice paper over other types of paper?

Ease of application if probably one of the factors in choosing rice paper over other papers.  Subject matter and artistic style also make rice paper a popular choice.  Background patterns which are subtle and muted make rice paper a go to for mixed media, decoupage, journaling and card making projects.

Do I need to prepare other papers before using them in decoupage?

Anything that is heavier than rice paper (scrapbook paper, wrapping paper. magazine cut-outs) should be dampened with a water filled spray bottle or drops of water spread about, before applying them to any surface other than paper.

Is there any way to avoid dampening first?

If you are using these heavier papers on anything other than a journal page or card, I suggest dampening.  If you are applying to paper, a good quality glue stick can be used with a coat of mixed media glue, gel medium or Mod Podge over the top once everything is glued in place.

Do I need to dampen sheet music or vintage book pages before applying?

No.  These apply perfectly well with no dampening.  If using in a journal or on a card, glue stick can be used as well.

Why would I use papers other than napkins or rice paper in decoupage?

Different and unusual images are often found in magazines, on wrapping paper, in an old calendar, on memo paper, on tissue paper etc.  I recently saved an image of two nuzzling zebra which I found on the front of a craft catalogue.  Keep your eyes open for these images as using other sources is an economical plus to these finds.  

Is there any disadvantage to using found papers?

Unlike rice paper which can be re-purchased for repeated use, found images are generally a one use option.  I usually use them in conjunction with rice paper.