Friday, November 14, 2008

Decoupage your ceiling this weekend!

Mr. Peacock loves to collage! One uneventful weekend last year, I collaged the entryway ceiling in our apartment using black and white xerox copies. It’s a cheap and fun way to add some drama to a drab foyer! You could do a larger ceiling, but it would take more time, so I recommend starting with a small area first. If you rent or like to change things around—like myself, they’re relatively easy to remove. Just dampen the artwork with a wet towel and slide a blade or scraper under a corner and “peel them off.” Here’s how I created my decoupaged ceiling. (You can click on the image below to see the detail a bit better)

1. Pick your pattern
First you want to decide your theme or subject matter. I called mine—The Birds and the Bees, even though I didn’t include any bees. I used birds, flowers, butterflies, and beetles. An object, or animal, or something that you can silhouette (cut out) works better than say a photo of “a wheat field.” Although you could simply cut interesting shapes from an image like “a wheat field” and make more of an abstract pattern with shapes. You could also use clip art from a Dover book. The possibilities are really endless. My ceiling is painted white, but you could also paint the ceiling a color and decoupage the black and white images over it.

2. Find the images
I wanted to do something nature oriented, ie...The Birds and the Bees. So I selected some books on birds, flowers and bugs. I bookmarked pages I liked with a post-it.

3. Xerox
Then I went to the copy store and enlarged the images on a black and white Xerox machine. I used 11" x 17" size paper. You’ll have to play around a bit, adjusting the size and contrast to your liking. Don't worry if the copies look too gray or the dot pattern looks too prominent, you won't notice that after the next step. You could also scan images you like and play with them in Photoshop and then print them out at home.

4. Cut
Then I carefully cut out the images from the Xeroxed pages and piled them into groups, ie birds, flowers, leaves, and bugs. I used two different pairs of scissors and an exacto knife (see photo below). Your first trimmed image might be a bit sloppy, but don’t worry, once it’s up on the ceiling, nobody will notice. And besides, you’ll become an expert at cutting these images after the first few are done. (I even like the cut out images against the wood floor in the photo above)

5. Clean your surface
I cleaned and wiped the ceiling with a mixture of hot water and TSP, and let it dry thoroughly. Don’t skip this step! It is important your surface is clean and dry, otherwise your beautiful collaged images will curl on the edges and not adhere to the ceiling.

6. Glue
Then I got on my step ladder and just intuitively started gluing the cut out shapes to the ceiling, creating a organic “pattern” as I went. If you want it to be more structured, you could lay the pieces out on the floor before you start gluing. I used oversize glue-sticks and tried to cover most of the back surface of each piece, and gently rubbed it smooth when I pressed it to the ceiling. Be careful when you smooth the image, it can tear.

Actually I brushed on more of a light “wash” than a full on decoupage. I thinned some Elmer’s glue to a watery, but still sticky consistency. You want it thin enough to brush on and just lightly coat the surface and around the edges of each image. Normally when you decoupage, you would want a thicker consistency like Mod Podge, which you could also use (but thin out with some water). The glue "wash" will dry fairly quickly.

I think my ceiling is quite fetching. My photograph really doesn't do it justice and the light fixture is a bit distracting to see the final product in its full beauty. People ooh and ahh when they step into our home for the first time and notice the glorious "birds and bees" on the ceiling. It also adds some depth to the ceiling and makes the space feel taller. If you decide to decoupage your ceiling, send me a photo, I’d love to see what ideas you come up with!


New York Muhtari said...

this is brillant.. I cannot wait to try in my apt..

Great instructions, as well.

thanks, Mr. Peacock.

Jenny Lane said...

It looks lovely.

Why did you decide to go with the Elmer's glue mixture rather than tried-and-true mod podge?

Great work.

Uncle Beefy said...

I'd try it but fear that it would ruin my gloriously glamorous "popcorn" ceiling! ;) Color me jealous!

Unknown said...

I have two questions for you:

1) do you think you could decoupage acoustic tile?

2) have you ever decoupaged a floor (i am doing it now, and could do with advice...)


Fashion Serial Killer said...

awesome idea!! thanks

Lucky said...

so so so gorgeous!

Unknown said...

This is truely stunning. Now to convince the other half to let me have a go! :)

Manalena said...

hello hello!
lovely idea, great explanation!

I saw something really interesting in one of your photos (this post), but is something really out of context. Wanted to ask you something but off this comments' record ;)

could it be?

if you please...
thank you!!

Mr. Peacock said...

Thanks for the nice comments! I hope it inspires you to decoupage something. To answer a couple questions: 1) Why Elmer's glue? It was a spontaneous project and that's just what I had at home, but you could use whatever you have or prefer. 2) Could you do it on an acoustic tile ceiling? You could simply glue the images, and not decoupage them, however, over time the humidity in the air might make the edges start to peel, but by then maybe you'll be bored with it. 3) Floors? With floors, whether you're painting them, staining them, whatever—you have to meticulously prepare the surface of the floor: sanding, cleaning, etc...You also have to meticulously and carefully seal the surface of the floor afterwards: varnish, sealant, etc...If you skip those steps or aren't very meticulous with those steps you will have very disappointing results. You also have to take in account the amount of foot traffic the floor will get everyday, if it gets heavy foot traffic, I wouldn't recommend decoupaging a floor. As an alternative, maybe you could decoupage just around the perimeter of your floor, where there isn't foot traffic—more as a decorative accent. I hope that this information is helpful. Happy decoupaging!

Nikasha said...

I'm loving this ceiling! Great job.

Unknown said...

This project ended fantastically! What a great result! I used to decoupage pieces of furniture when I was in high school. Chairs, small tables, stools, nighstands, etc- and sell them to my friends. And as much as I wish I could try out this ceiling project in my own apartment, my complex has made the HORRENDOUS choice of the dreaded "popcorn ceiling"... *insert shriek here* I suppose I'll just have to admire yours from afar!

Elizabeth said...

this is unreal. i am so impressed by your creativity and patience. i want to do this but have to brainstorm on my theme. thanks for sharing.

Sara said...

This is really creative and beautiful! I think my next project is going to be decoupaging my wood craft table. :)

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

This is so beautiful - and I will definitely try it in the future. Thank you!

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily said...

This is beautiful! Would this be easy to remove--say, could i do this in a rented apartment without getting in trouble? How would i remove it? Just soap and water until the paper falls apart?

Paul Pincus said...

AMAZING and brilliant : )

i love it!


Anonymous said...

This looks beautiful!! Love it.
Question - where did you get the light fixture?

Anonymous said...

this looks amazing i cant wait to try it in my dorm! Do you think this would look as good with something other than birds?

Because ill do the birds because they look amazing, but do you have any ideas for any other collage? i'm not exactly the most creative person in the world!

But i really love this i would love to do this this weekend!


Anonymous said...

This is a great idea. Thanks for posting! The possibilities are endless. I was considering wallpapering the indented sections of my wooden closet doors, but this is such a more clever, unique (and cheaper!) way to add character.

jason said...

genius! If I didn't rent...grr

Anonymous said...

could this be easily removed without damage?
if so, how?

Alice said...

This is brilliant! Thanks Mr. Peacock :D I'm so excited.. I'm finally moving into my apartment in Beirut in two days, so this is definitely the first thing I'll do! I also love the moulding around your ceiling... I think this makes the decoupage look even more stylish!

Kitty Deschanel said...

WOW! I just found this through Google. It's such a fun idea! I would love to do something similar to our covered patio ceiling. If we ever wanted to change it though, could we?
I know this is an old post, but if you're still checking this, I'd love for you to stop by my blog on Sunday to link this up to Not "Baaad" Sundays with LambAround! :)

ladies tweed said...

my sister-in-law loves doing collage. I should inform her about this site

Miss B. said...

You did such a classy job!

Eclectically Vintage said...



I did my bathroom floor once, and i wud say a bathroom is probably the most challenging besIDes a kitchen as far as longevity becoz of the constant water from showering?! However, i had some quite surprising success with this!! The main thing , i think, is SEAL SEAL SEAL!!! THE BETTER QUALITY OF WATERPROOFING CLEARCOAT SEALER YOU USE, AND THE MORE OF IT(MANY LAYERS!!)YOU USE, THE LONGER YOUR FLOOR WILL LAST! If u can get hold of sum waterproof decoupage glue (??), then ur already ahead of the game before sealing! Unfortunately, my house burned in which i had done this bathroom, but it was almost a year after i did it, and although i never even finished sealing it (1coat, too many other projects so hadnt gotten bak to it!), it held up surprisingly well!! The only area i had the paper start to come up was by the shower, but that was due to 2reasons which were my fault, noneother!:
1)as i sed, i lamed out on properly sealing it with clearcoat, and
2) it was in the area where i placed my bath mat outside the shower, and if i had bin more diligent on picking up the wet bathmat from the barely sealed floor, it wudve bin fine!!
Also, a good idea if ur gonna do this in any area wer there mite be water on or near the floor on a regular basis, (like a mudroom, bathroom, by any sinks, or in a laundry room) is to buy (or build!?!) a wooden floormat, slatted, and /or invest in a plastic boot tray to put down or to set ur woooden doormat into to catch any water that may come from people/animals feet, sink, bathtub or shower splashover, or possible accidental flooding from an overflowing toilet, bathtub, sink, or washer!!!)Good Luck!!!

Prashanth Sirsi said...

WOW!very nice article and very clear steps.Thank you Mr.peacock.
Glue Gun

Unknown said...

This is a nice and simple . Thanks for sharing....Super Glue or Cyanoacrylate.

Unknown said...

That was really a nice share.. Thanks.. It was very useful....Super Glue or Cyanoacrylate.

Model Baju Gamis Untuk Orang Gemuk said...

this is brillant.. I cannot wait to try in my apt..

Great instructions, as well.

thanks, Mr. Peacock.

Unknown said...

Very Nice Post !!

This is very informative and helpful information. Thanks for sharing

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Anonymous said...

could this be easily removed without damage?
if so, how?

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