Why NOT Give John Derian Decoupage A Try For Your Mothers Day?

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By Linda Lee

Let’s see. Scrapbooking, Color Me Mine, Paint by Numbers… Oh, right, Decoupage.

Say day-coo-pahgh. It was all the rage in the 1960s. Still, it’s Mother’s Day, so here is our salute to the man who has made a brilliant career of decoupage: John Derian.


Cascading Flowers John Derian decoupage

It’s not too late, if you live in New York City, to rush to one of his shops at 6 East Second Street between 2nd Avenue and the Bowery, 18 Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, and one more outpost, the one in Provincetown, on Law Street (back of 396 Commercial Street) for one of these sweet decoupage gifts for mum.

A Floral Butter dish Decoupage

John Derian is the master of instant nostalgia, of handicraft and of French sensibility. Decoupage comes from the French word “to cut,” and that’s exactly what it means. Each image is carefully cut out, and then pasted into a piece of furniture, a bowl, platter, wall hanging, whatever. After which it is glazed, sealed and perfectly finished.

A Floral Geranium tray Decoupage

These are not cheap. The smallest charms are $6.50 and the bowls run $250, platters are $400 and other pieces go up from there. But a small butter dish, not to be immersed in water, can be had for $125. After all, wouldn’t anyone want something as sweet and special as that?

Some like the vase above, the 12.5 inch-high Cascading Flowers for Astier de Villatte, is $445, and out of stock.

John Derian Six Pelargoniam Decoupage

If those are out of your price range, or driving range, how about a little do-it-yourself? Find a magazine, old book, something with pictures you love. Get a sharp scissors.

Wait, is there a Michael’s near you? Because you need to get in the car and drive there and pick up some “Mod Podge,” created in 1967. It’s the decoupage version of the glue gun.

Mod Podge is a multipurpose glue, sealer, finisher, sealant, tint, sparkle sheen.

People laugh now at the idea of cutting out pictures and pasting them onto something, but in France it had a rich tradition and none other than Jean Michel Frank did it on, horrors, his original Parsons table.

John Derian 1890 Hydrangea Decoupage

The Parsons table, with its inviting blank top, is an inviting surface for decoupage, but might be a little bulky as a gift.

In any case, decoupage is a playground for anyone. Try it on a clay pot, or maybe a small wastebask