Storing hats has always been a struggle for me: they end up everywhere, collecting dust when I’m not wearing them… So, a hat box has been on my wish list for quite some time. No unneccessary luxury with 10+ hats and berets lying around. At Søstrene Grene I found this blue round box that could pass as hat box. However, I wanted to pimp it into an antique style by using the decoupage technique.
The French word ‘decouper’ means to cut out. Simply put, decoupage is the art of decorating an item by covering it with paper cutouts with several layers of glue. This can be done with paper from magazines, for example, but also with napkins like I used for this box. The result? The object seems to have a certain print or texture.
Neccessities for decoupage with napkins
– Decoupage glue (I used Mod Podge)
– Napkins with your favourite pattern
– A pair of scissors
– A brush for applying the glue
– A box, preferably with a neutral backdrop
Because the box I bought did not have a neutral colour, I first erased the blue layer with some pain (cut my finger) and hassle (#takesalongtime). Sometimes I accidentally tore the white layer off too, so here and there the brown cardboard layer is showing. For this box I don’t really mind, as this actually gives it a nice ‘old’ effect.
Step 1: Prepare the napkins
Carefully remove the under layers of the napkin. All of them! It is really annoying to discover there is still an extra layer left when you’re already in the process of gluing, because then it doesn’t stick that well. If you want you can cut/tear the print to ensure the pattern of the layers flows over in a subtle way.
Step 2: Apply the napkins with glue
Now, you can apply a layer of glue on the box and stick the layer of napkin on it. Press it with the brush and don’t be afraid to apply some extra glue right on the napkin if needed. Pay attention to stroking the napkin with the brush gently. The thin layers are really vulnerable and break easily – especially when moist.
Step 3: Dry
Before moving on to the next layer, let the box dry for a bit. This prevents the old layer from damaging. Fortunately, the glue dries quite quickly!
Step 4: Create as many layers as you like!
Basically, you can continue the steps above until you’re satisfied! It is fine to glue multiple pieces on top of eachother. Especially for the lid I noticed I needed to cover some extra corners. To do so, I cut a piece of napkin to a certain size and checked beforehand how this would match the layer below it, before applying it.
The fun part about this project was that it wasn’t neccessary to work very neatly. The floral pattern blends beautifully and a little crack here and there is not really noticeable. The box has a retro, battered look that matches my interior nicely.
I store the retro hat box in my wardrobe. It can contain about five bowler hats and some berets: ideal! Maybe I’ll make another one soon…