Decoupage Organ Decoration

by Wallace Venable

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Decoupage Organ Decoration
Partly because I'm not enthusiastic about doing wood carving, partly because I didn't like the off-the-peg "carved" decorations on display in the local builders' yard, and partly because I was in a hurry to complete a case, I chose to decorate EPONA, my Smith Senior 20 Organ, with the decoupage technique.

In the most basic terms, the decoupage method consists of gluing pictures on a surface and covering them with something like varnish. I used a commercial medium called Mode-Podge which is widely available in craft supply departments in the US. I think it is basically a form of PVA (American "white" or "Elmer's) glue. This commercial product costs about the same as PVA glue and comes with instructions on the jar. It acts as both an adhesive and as a primary top coat.

Just because you are using a technique taught in classes for children and dilatants doesn't mean you can't be creative and exercise a fair amount of artistry. Instead of simply cutting pictures from magazines, wallpaper, or stock art books I created my own illustrations on the computer.  Several pictures were derived from scans of historic circus posters. I used an Adobe PhotoShop competitor called Paint Shop Pro. I deleted some backgrounds, used copy-and paste to modify others, enlarged or reduced, modified color balance, and "picture framed." The two pictures below illustrate how radically I chose to work.

The scrolls were also developed from scanned material while the name badge and oval were pretty much original work.  I printed the final copy on a colour laser printer because, in general, laser copy has better water resistance than ink-jet copy.

For the ends I used 8 by 10.5 inch rectangular prints and framed them with wood pre-painted with gold acrylic craft paint.  For the front I prepared a rectangular plywood panel with white paint. I then applied seven different elements. (The large oval was made in two pieces in order to print it on letter size paper.) After applying a first top coat and letting it dry I cut the oval and top using a table jigsaw. A gap was left for the conductor.

I also produced and installed a Builder's Plate on the back with the same methods.

Wallace Venable

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