The art of spring cleaning

The art of spring cleaning

Banish boring from everyday tools and get inspired to spring clean with beautiful gear. 

Styling and craft Sarah Heeringa. Photography Amanda Reelick

Découpage comes from an old French word for “cutting out”. There are variations in découpage technique, but it basically involves using small scissors to cut out paper pictures, arranging them in a pleasing way, gluing them to a surface, possibly adding embellishments using special paint effects such as gold leaf and finally applying a number of thin coats of clear lacquer on top. Traditional technique used 30 to 40 layers of varnish which were then sanded to a polished finish. 

Découpage can be applied to wood, metal, glass or other surfaces if first painted or covered in paper mache. A découpage effect can also be created using single layers of printed tissue paper. 

You can use a simple découpage effect to spring life into boring everyday tools such as this basic outdoor broom and tire-rim garden hose holder. Visit your local tire dealer to see if they have a spare tire rim they can give you. 

You will need

To prepare the broom 

  • Wooden broom
  • Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat

To prepare the tire-rim garden hose holder 

  • Tire rim 
  • Detergent
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Resene Smooth Surface Sealer 

For the découpage:

  • Topcoat in Resene Lustacryl waterborne enamel in a colour of your choice
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paper prints
  • Small sharp scissors
  • White carpenters glue, diluted by half
  • Resene Aquaclear waterborne urethane varnish 

Step 1: Scrub the tire rim clean with hot soapy water. Once dry, coat all surfaces with Resene Smooth Surface Sealer. 

Undercoat the broom with Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat and allow to dry.

Step 2: Topcoat the rim and broom in Resene Lustacryl waterborne enamel. 

I used Resene Half Duck Egg Blue. 

Step 3: Use small sharp scissors to cut out a series of pictures from old magazines or printed onto paper. Avoid using thick or textured paper. Use the diluted glue to paste these into place. Brush a layer of glue over all the images. Allow to dry.

Step 4: Coat all glued surfaces with Resene Aquaclear waterborne urethane and allow to dry. Apply a second coat as necessary. 


Sarah is a contributing editor for Good and author of Reclaim That: Upcycling your Home with Style. 

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