The Road Less Traveled


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Let's Do Lunch - Decorative Napkin Collage/USAQ DT Project #2

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I get strange looks whenever I go to a restaurant and see a cool coaster, or tea wrapper and I take it with me for my collage art!  Of course it was a part of my meal, ha ha. 

There are so many GoRgEoUs decorative napkins on the market, but I Never want to use them to wipe off food.   They are perfect for collage!!

I totally fell in love with USAQ's European Napkin Collection, a complete kit with napkins, PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive), and Crystal Effectz.   While the napkin has a patterned design on it, the sky's the limit in the way you can create!  I find myself playing with color, glitz, and textures, ways to make my art heart soar!

Perfect Paper Adhesive (PPA) is a staple medium I use almost every time I create.  I even bring it for adhesive when I teach.  Every art form can use PPA because it is archival safe, and acid free.  I always mention the fact that PPA is UV Resistant - I can hang art up on the wall and the colors won't fade or yellow.  PPA is a full-body adhesive yet light weight, the right consistency, and easy to use.  There is both a matte and gloss PPA so the finish can reflect your personal preference.  Although I will talk about PPA as an adhesive for napkin collage, I've used it for years to make paint from mica powders.  Check out the specifics on this product here.  

A Birdie Told Me Trading Card Project -  
European Napkin Collection (USAQ)
Draw and Guild Kit (USAQ)
Flat 1/2" Snap Brush (USAQ)
Water and Water Container
Painter's Tape or Masking Tape
Perfect Pigments: Blue Pearl, Green Pearl, Magenta, and Metallic Lt. Gold (USAQ)
Mica Flakes (USAQ)
Excel  board White (USAQ)
Wax Paper or Palette/Palette Paper

1.  Squeeze out small amounts of Perfect Pigments on wax paper or palette.  Start with the gold and paint  the mat board.  While still wet, blend in the blue pearl and green pearl around various areas.  Let dry.

2. Separate the napkin (there are usually 3 plys, 2  of the 3 are white).  Sue's TipTake 2 small tape pieces (tap on clothes to make less tacky), put one on the front of the napkin and one on the back.  Pull the tape pieces in opposite directions and the patterned napkin will pull away from the white backings. Rip the napkin so that the bird and word "imagine" will fit on the mat board ATC.  Pour a bit of PPA on your palette and brush PPA on the mat board, then take the napkin piece and lightly dip into the water (YES another Sue Tip), and then place down on the mat board, smoothing from the center out.  The water helps so there isn't texture or lines on the finished piece (unless you want the texture).  Brush more PPA over the top to seal the image.  Add another coat of PPA.  While still wet, add some Crystal Effectz to the birds breast, and background as well as a couple colors of Mica Flakes.  The PPA will not only seal the project but work as an adhesive to hold the Crystal Effectz and Mica Flakes in place.  Let dry.

3.  In the well of the fine line pen (Draw and Gild Kit) and fill with lt. metallic gold Perfect Pigment.  Go over the word "imagine" a couple times and also highlight areas on the bird.  Color the top of the head and breast with a little gold and then with your brush add a tiny bit of magenta so you get a red-gold hue. 

Napkin collage lends itself to many surfaces!  Once I started designing, I went CrAzY finding surfaces and coming up with ideas!!!  Napkins make it easy for beginners or those who do not draw, because the napkin has the art work on it.  Add Crystal Effectz, Mica Flakes and other USAQ embellishments and you have created a beautiful work of ART! 

In the photo I have designed not only the ATC, but a bracelet, a matchbox trinket holder, and even an necklace!  USAQ has gold Sty'line stickers which are great to add to these projects and even on their own with mica watercolor palettes.

A wood bracelet is fun and easy to create with.  Rip the napkin to fit the front and a little over the edges.  The inside of the bracelet I collaged bits of the floral motif with the words.  Add flowers and string beads on wire for a finished decorative touch. Accent with Pefect Pigment acrylic as well.

If you look at the pears and leaves, I have gilded the pears and areas.  Also used the fine line pen for some outlining as well.  The box has a flap that opens up and I put a button to look like a drawer knob.

I loved creating lots of texture with this piece to create an antiqued piece of jewelry.  Using a mix of painting under and over with Perfect Pigment, not wetting the napkin before collaging with PPA, and adding Sty'lines stickers, and a wire circle just adds to the aged look.  The paint can be added sort of blotchy to build up texture and depth.


  1. Lea,
    All your creations are splendid! Love the jewelry and design of each piece!

  2. This is a great tutorial Lea - thanks for sharing! I am definitely on the lookout for PPA. I'm so glad I discovered your site thru the USAQ Hop - what a fabulous time that was!


  3. Wow! What beautiful work and so many cool ideas with the napkins. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Awesome! You always do such beautiful work. I love the idea of the napkins and the wooden bracelet. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Ohhh Lea they are beautiful. All of your work with these is gorgeous. I love all the products with usaq and would love to know if you have a UK equivelant. Its lovely to see some unique art products available. As always thanks for sharing your gorgeous work
    hugs June xxxxx

  6. I absolutely ADORE your projects, especially the bracelet!

  7. Lea-these are beautiful!! I have PPA and I didn't know what I should do with it and now I do!!! Today I'm going our on the "hunt" for some neat napkins!!!!


  8. June, USAQ can ship to the UK, plus go to my links for the DT and hook up with Sarah Anderson! She's our ultimate UK artist!!! HTH

  9. Kathy, watch for the next tutorial in a couple weeks, we will be using PPA in a totally NEW direction!!! Check out USAQ's site and under PPA it gives all the neat uses for it (well most, the sky's the limit) - click on the link in my post for PPA!

  10. I love all your projects using napkins. The ATC is my favorite though. I think I will need to start looking for some cool napkins :)

  11. Beautiful projects. I have a whole iris drawer full of beautiful napkins! Love the bracelet.


  12. I will have to get out my napkins and start playing with them again. Thanks for the info and your art is soooooooooooo beautiful. Audrey of

  13. Oh the collage at the end! So integrated and so many layers. AND THE BRACELET. I have to make one now. xoxo

  14. The bracelet is my FAV to be sure, Lea...great job!

  15. What beauty! And some great ideas! I will remember that when going out to eat! Thanks!!

  16. Wonderful napkin ideas. The bird is beautiful!

  17. Thank you......THANK YOU......for sharing your talent with us. Simply gorgeous!

  18. Thank-you for all the inspirational ideas. Love that bracelet.

  19. Really fab! The bracelet is to die for! :)

  20. Oh WOW Lea......I just got over to your blog finally.......and these are AMAZING girl!!!! VERY pretty and I agree with the would have never thought them to be napkins!!!!

  21. Well I was going to say I like your birdy piece, but then I like the fruit one too! In fact they all look really good!!

  22. I love napkins too...and the best part is when you buy a package you get many many images...enough to evey share with my art friends.

  23. Very cool projects and easy to understand directions. Thanks for sharing these!
    Jennifer Rogers-Daniels

  24. Lea, your projects are beautiful and inspiring. PPA and beautiful napkins, 2 ingredients to an unbeatable recipe for creativity. Thanks for sharing. Sue

  25. Yowza! I'm all over that bracelet Lea! Gorgisimo!

  26. Paper napkins are fun to use in artwork. thanks for the reminder. stamping sue

  27. wow, i love how these came out...awesome

  28. I love your projects with the napkins. I just bought the kit and was wondering what I wanted to do and you gave me some great ideas. Thank you

  29. Lovely pieces of art, I love them all. I will look at napkins in a whole different light now. Have a good day, Tracy Evans x

  30. nice.What talent.I so want to learn more.
    Have a Super Day !!!