Remember your school-day decoupage projects? Well, that experience could come in handy if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to craft the most charming guest favors for a vintage-look engagement party or bridesmaids’ brunch! As you may recall, decoupage is the art of decorating a surface with paper cutouts and using a varnish (or glue) to cover the surface. In our project, we’ve used this traditional craft to transform recycled perfume bottles into lovely decorative items using designs cut from vintage gift-wrapping paper. Perfect as art deco-inspired favors!
Excited to decoupage? Just follow these simple steps.
Step 1. Prepare the materials– Gather empty perfume, lotion, or cosmetics bottles; gift-wrapping paper with vintage or Art Deco designs; white craft glue; paintbrushes to apply the glue; and a pair of scissors. Instead of white glue, you can also use a crafting medium such as Mod Podge®.
Hint: Choosing bottles in a uniform color works best—all clear, all amber, or all a certain color in keeping with your motif. This ensures a pretty favor display come party time! And although we’ve used small bottles here, you can also recycle many other objects from boxes to plates and transform them into special, handmade gifts through decoupage. Check out our decoupaged gift boxes using mosaic.
Step 2. Make paper cutouts – Select the most distinct designs or patterns on your wrapping paper. Cut these out carefully with the scissors. Remember, mixing and matching designs from different gift wraps—as we’ve done here—can create a unique look.
Hint: For paper choices, use your imagination when it comes to recyclable items such as old newspapers, magazines, brochures, calendars, or even greeting cards that have been sitting in the attic for years. Depending on your party theme, these can bring just the right feel to your guest favors!
Step 3. Attach the cutouts with glue – Dab a bit of white glue (slightly diluted) on one bottle to hold the cutouts in place. Don’t hesitate to overlap the different designs to achieve an attractive effect. Dip a paintbrush in glue and brush it across the surface of the cutouts, applying enough pressure to make sure they adhere properly. Continue brushing on the glue until you’ve covered the entire bottle as well. Let the glue dry as you repeat the process with the rest of the bottles.
Hint: Transfer the white glue from its container into a bowl or saucer to make it easy to dip the brush in it and get a sufficient amount of glue each time. Once the glue dries, it leaves a light film on the bottle’s surface. That’s actually what gave our clear perfume bottles their “frosted” look—perfect for our vintage theme!
Step 4. Add the finishing touches – Finally, dress up each bottle in keeping with your party theme. For our vintage-inspired guest favors, slim satin ribbons in stylish copper complement the decoupage design just so. Then, artsy leaf-shaped tags not only say who each gift is for, they allow the bottles to also be used as oh-so-charming place card holders by positioning one at each place setting. Guests will be delighted to take these favors home to grace their night tables or dressers!
Hint: If you prefer to present these on a favor display table, see how pairing these bottles with colorful cocktails and a scattering of loose rose petals creates a truly striking presentation. The bonus is that the finished bottles can actually serve as quaint accent pieces on your party tables—starting off as pretty place card holders, then leaving the party as wonderful mementos of the occasion!