I picked up a fairly old hat box at an estate sale that was loaded with vintage sewing supplies. The box itself wasn't vintage and I knew it wouldn't sell so I decided to decoupage it. These napkins were picked up at Dollar Tree at a different time than the box... just waiting patiently to be used with Mod Podge.
I started with the lid. I put Mod Podge around the lip of the lid, then set the napkin on that so that the edges were even. Then on the other edge once it was dry, I cut it straight because I didn't want to tuck any underneath the lid. If there's too much material between the lid and the box, it's tight to open and close and will eventually tear even though the napkins are sealed.
So the top of the lid looked like this once I got the sides covered. Do you see how there is a slight gap between the napkin and actual lid? You won't have this when it is finished.
I cut the napkins apart in sections where the creased lines were. Then I started brushing Mod Podge on top of the lid, layering pieces of napkins slightly overlapping as I went.
This is what the lid looked like once it was covered. I did not fold over any of the napkins onto the side. I cut them straight across the lid. You'll see in the finished box... you won't even be able to tell that they are not touching, the small gap that is there, or the slight overlap from a cut that is not perfectly straight. It will have a complete covered look.
Once the lid top and sides were covered and the excess cut off, I brushed a layer of Mod Podge over the top. What I love so much about this product is that it acts as a glue and sealer all in one. One product for the whole project-- perfect.
The box itself was actually easier to cover and went much quicker. Isn't it funny how that worked out. Napkins are super thin and tear very easily where scissors would normally be needed... as in the second picture around the eyelet.
Once the box was covered, one coat of Mod Podge was brushed on top to seal the napkins. I brushed the glue on a little thicker than normal and the end result is a slight texture. When you rub your fingers across the box, you can feel little bumps. This adds to the vintage look that I was going for. You can see this texture a little bit in a few places in this close-up.
As you can tell in these last two pictures... once the edges were sealed with the Mod Podge, you can't even see the gap or slight overlap of the napkins. The glue seals the napkin edges to the box.
The main thing to remember about decoupaging is thickness. This means the thickness of the material you are using, and the thickness with which you apply the Mod Podge. It is a lot like glue in that it will make paper buckle and pucker, especially thinner paper such as napkins or tissue paper. Depending on the finished look you are desiring, you would normally go with a light coat of Mod Podge. If you are decoupaging heavier material as in fabric, you can get a straight, even lay. You would obviously need a heavier coat of glue than super thin material and you would just slightly push down and rub out the bubbles as you go.
What's really fun about decoupaging is that the possibilities are endless! You can use Mod Podge on just about any surface and you can use almost anything to cover with. There is a variety of finishes to choose from. But I'm old school and still use the same finish that I have for years... matte. I hope you see how easy it is to turn something drab into a pretty piece to display in your home, and it's fun in the process!