Although it is more usually found on the walls of a room, paper is a very exciting medium to use on furniture whether wood, metal or plastic. In its many forms, it transfers particularly easily to flat, smooth surfaces such as table tops, drawer fronts, cupboard panels and even wooden chairs. Other than glue to paste it to the surface, the only other requirement is a top coat or two of clear varnish, to preserve it from tearing.
Paper can be matt and rough like newsprint, smooth and shiny as on a magazine cover, printed, embossed, plain, silver, thin, transparent, and much more besides. Once you begin to identify the different types available even those in everyday use its versatility becomes instantly evident. It offers numerous decorative possibilities, for while it can, of course, be cut with a knife or pair of scissors, torn, folded or scrunched, it can also be stitched and even woven.
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Do not assume that paper cannot be a sturdy material. The famous Lloyd Loom chairs are made from twisted paper woven together, resulting in a form that is very strong and hard-wearing. In addition, some types of card corrugated, for example are sufficiently rigid to make free-standing pieces, or ‘cut-out’ cases that may be dropped over or applied to a timber frame -as seating, for example. To achieve a lighthearted decorative element you could also explore the technique of trompe I’oeil by painting yourself a magnificent carved wood table or a whimsical chair on a free-standing silhouette of card.
Lay cut or torn pieces of paper on a flat surface under sheets of glass, or perhaps overlay fine black-and-white newsprint with tiny pieces of coloured metallic foil from sweet wrappers in a mosaic pattern. Try weaving strips of multicoloured images from magazine pages between strips of plain coloured paper to create a flat chequered surface which can be laid or pasted, like a mat, on tables or cupboards. Folded strips of newspaper could be woven in the same way and complemented by brown paper. Such a monotone surface lends itself to cool, clear interiors where natural materials, such as wood, stone or terracotta, feature.
Painted and decorated paper has been used to cover the structure and drawer fronts of this unusual chest of drawers. This effect is easy to achieve and works particularly well on flat surfaces, as it is easier to manipulate the paper and achieve neat folds and edges. Another advantage is that if you do not like it, you can rip it off and try something else.
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