Upcycling can be great fun. You can paint on a used bottle, an old box or a mason jar or a flower and voila´ you have something beautiful in your hands. You can also decoupage it and take it to a whole new level. I've oohed and ahh-ed over decoupage items; always wondering how its creator made it so beautiful. It was quite by chance that I met an avid decoupage artist Nargis Khan who runs the Mr.Muffin Art Studio. I was lucky to be a fly on the wall at one of her workshops.

Decoupage. What's that?

It is a fantastic way to use household materials and scraps of paper, along with a little glue, to make something beautiful. It is a technique that requires patience, neatness and eye for design and colour. It requires the correct materials for stunning outcomes. Decoupage is a fab skill to pick up. Children who learn this skill greatly benefit from it, because it opens their eyes to reusing things, exercise patience, build fine motor skills and become makers. They can make beautiful gifts that their friends and family will cherish for a lifetime.What drew Nargis to Decoupage, we wondered.

Since I was a kid, I loved to create. After learning the art of Decoupage, a whole world of creativity has opened up for me. What I find interesting about decoupage is that it can be done on any surface and can turn anything into an art form. Here, only your imagination is the limit.It is important to teach children as it improves their creativity and imagination power. Another aspect is that children learn to upcycle, thus making a contribution to the environment as well.

The Workshop Begins

Nargis gave her participants three different projects. Tea coasters, a mini-drawer, and a pen stand.The coasters had printed tissue paper as the print, the shelf patterned paper and the pencil stand comic cutouts. The shelf and coasters were sourced in the bare basic form from Craftslane.

The students started out by applying paint on the inner surface of the pencil stand and the coaster stand got a coat of primer. The patterned paper was cut to the requisite size for the shelf.Once the primer was dry, the tissue paper was separated into 3 layers. The printed layer was then cut out slightly larger than the coasters. The student used Modge Podge -it helps glue the paper to the surface. After the tissue is stuck, another layer of Modge Podge is used. This time it works like a varnish and sealer. The extra edges are carefully torn off and the edges are shaped with sandpaper.The coaster's edges were painted. A layer of dishwasher-safe Modge Podge was used as a final layer for waterproofing. It is left to dry for 15 minutes. Varnish can be sprayed on the surface and left to dry for a further 15 minutes. This gives it a glossy look.In the case of the pen stand, the same procedure is carried out, though the comic paper is stuck as is to the stand. All the three decoupaged objects came out beautifully, under Nargis' gentle supervision.

The Pillars of Decoupage

Mod Podge in two variants; non-water proof and water-proof

Varnish in a convenient spray can


Patterned paper

The Projects

Coasters laid out to dry after a coat of primer

The patterned paper gets cut into appropriate sizes on a cutting board

The printed tissue paper is put on the coaster

The Finished Goods

Decoupaged coasters on a hand-painted stand

A comic decoupaged pencil stand


An old bottle gets a facelift and how!

The Teacher

Nargis Khan (center, holding Piku her cat) with the workshop participants

Watch Nargis as she decoupages a tissue holder

You can follow Nargis' facebook page at: