Collector’s Case

Make a special case for a decoupeur in which to keep source materials such as art prints, border patterns or geometric patterns and memorabilia.

This project will challenge you to apply unusual techniques such as background creation, transferring a print to a rounded surface and ageing by means of small and large cracks.

Dala’s new Decoupage Range makes all these techniques much easier to apply and makes Decoupaging pure pleasure.

You will need

  • Prints of pictures and edge patterns (2 Sets in case of an accident).
  • A sharp pair of scissors.
  • A roller to flatten prints.
  • Toothbrush.
  • Brushes / sponge applicators for paint and varnish separately.
  • Cloth lining.
  • Cloths / rags.
  • Scouring sponges (fine and ultra fine #1000)
  • Wet and dry sandpaper (#1200)
  • Finest steel wool.
  • Masking tape.
  • Blackboard chalk.
  • Glossy cardboard squares on which to test and practice cracks.
  • Smallish wooden box.
  • Plaster of Paris mould.
  • Bowl


  • Dala Craft Paints

Red Oxide

Pale Gold


Yellow Ochre

Planning and Testing

  • Paint different backgrounds on testing cardboard squares and place pictures over these to choose which combination works best.
  • Plan the layout / placing of these cuttings and the Plaster of Paris mould. Make sure which pictures will require fine and careful cutting and which need space allowance to transfer onto the mould. Also decide where you want the different cracks to be.

Surface – Preparation and Background

  • Sand case / box inside and out with medium and fine sanding sponge until very smooth.
  • Seal with two layers of Podge.
  • Dry between layers and sand with ultra fine sponge.
  • Background of inside with Craft Paint:Aged wood effect: Paint 2 layers of Green Oxide, dry and sand lightly between each layer. Paint the following mixture over that: Caramel and Ochre to create and ‘old gold’ effect. Paint 2 layers with a wide brush to achieve a ‘stripey’ look. Dry and sand until green comes through on the slightly higher areas. Seal with 2 layers of Podge, dry, sand and finish with steel wool for a satin smooth finish.
  • Outside background: – Paint applied with fine sponge roller to create smooth application finish.

This technique is called ‘tortoiseshell lace’. Gild by applying 2 layers of Oxides and 2 layers of pale Gold with roller sponge. Dry between layers and sand lightly. Apply black Drawing Ink very evenly with a flat sponge. Keep the applicator at 45° angle so that no strokes show. Use enough ink so that the Gold does not shine through, otherwise the Turpentine won’t work.
While the ink is wet, place the toothbrush in very little turpentine and splatter onto the ink. The ink pulls away where the turpentine hits and forms the most amazing little gold spots. Finish only one side at a time and seal after drying period, before you Podge the next side. Sand lightly, and finish off smoothly as you did with the inside.

Prints or Pictures

  • Cut pictures out with small nail scissors.
  • If the picture, to be used on the mould, has a very ‘busy’ background, cut picture out as above. Paint one of the squares the appropriate colour for the background. Stick the picture onto it with ‘Tic Tac’ (Pratley’s or ‘wondergom’) and make a colour photocopy.
  • Arrange the above pictures according to your composition onto the black lidand mark with chalk the positions of the pictures and edge patterns. Stick with Tic Tac onto the surface.
  • Paint Podge onto the back of picture and place in position.
  • Place cloth lining (rinsed in vinegar solution) onto the picture, roll all air bubbles out and wipe off superfluous glue. When dry, hold up against the light to identify any remaining air bubbles. Press them out/flat with a palette knife (Burnisher) or with the back of a nail file.
  • Dry well and build up layers with 10 layers of Podge at a time. ‘Wetsand’ after every 10th layer wit a lot of dish washing liquid and water and ‘wetsand’ sandpaper, wrapped around a sponge. Smooth with steel wool.


  • The inside of the box is now ready for big cracks.

Transfer Glaze and Plaster of Paris mould

  • Cut out about 3cm larger than the edge of the Plaster mould. Stick only one side, with masking tape, onto cardboard. Paint Transfer Glaze with a large flat brush, from the bottom, where the masking tape is in the other direction, away from the tape. Paint quickly before the product becomes sticky. Dry, and a layer across again. Dry and cut masking tape off. (In case the paper in thick, or large, more layers of Transfer Glaze can be applied.)
  • Soak for about 20 minutes, face down in warm soapy water. If the paper is thick, it can be soaked longer. Place onto board, face sown and rub with the ball of the finger. Be very careful not stretch or damage the print. Be very patient and keep rubbing lightly. Rinse the print in water and dry face up.
  • Seal the Plaster of Paris mould and dry. Paint Podge onto the backside of ‘transfer’. Place onto the mould. Without stretching the design, gently rub out air bubbles with fingertips.

  • As soon as you cannot see any more air bubbles, gently rub the transfer clean with the cloth lining.
  • Paint Podge onto the edge of the backside of mould and fold transfer around the Podge. Make sure that no folds form.
  • Keep building up layers of Podge and follow the same steps as with other designs on the box.
  • After the last ‘wetsand’ process, you will be applying small cracks.

Base Layer for Large and Small Cracks

  • Apply the milky substance with sponge applicator. Work fast and finish off smoothly.
  • Use Large Crack base for the inside of box and Small Cracks for the mould.
  • Allow to dry, approximately 30 minutes.
  • Apply Dala Crackle Glaze liberally with large flat brush.
  • This is a thick liquid, but it will be spread out by the brush. This can be applied from top to bottom and left to right until a smooth finish is achieved. Dry in a warm area and do not expose to direct heat. Where humidity is high or in overcast weather, cracks will take longer to form. Cracks normally form in about an hour, but do allow enough time for the cracks to from completely.
  • Thin Dala Burnt Umber Oil Paint 50% with Turpentine and rub into the cracks with a clean cloth.
  • Dry for approximately 24 hours.


  • Thin Dala Varnish of your choice 50% with water and paint on 2 layers with a softer, flat 25mm brush on the cracked areas. Repeat with the mould.
  • Finally you can apply 2 layers of unthinned varnish to the whole box, including the cracks. In my case I used Dead Flat, with a matt finish.
  • The 1st layer is painted from top to bottom and the second from bottom to top. Keep the brush at 45° and paint gently. The varnish will give a satin smooth finish and will lend a resin look to your final product. Omit this step for the Plaster of Paris mould.
  • Place the transfer mould on a bottle with a flat lid, in the middle of the bowl/plastic basin.
  • Pour the High Gloss Varnish over the mould until completely covered and let it drip down. Pour Varnish back into the container. Catch the drops with your fingers and let it dry well. Repeat the last step.

Stick the mould onto the lid of the box, using Dala Construction Glue and finish off with a cord or edge pattern.
Stick gold steel ‘corners’ on the corners of the lid.