How To Make Appliques For Furniture

I love furniture that is dressed up with appliques.  They add so much detail to a piece of furniture and give it a romantic touch.  I also enjoy redoing old furniture pieces and sometimes I want to add a bit of drama with some appliques.  The only problem is that I tend to really like the fancy ones and they can really be expensive.  If you need more than one then it can really push the price of that redo up.  I have found a way to cut the cost and still get the beautiful fancy ones.  It does require that you buy at least one applique (sorry, I haven't figured out how to get around that part).  The next step is what my post is about today.  We start out making some homemade playdough.  I know you are wondering if that is what we will be making the applique out of and the answer is no.  That is what we will make our mold out of.  Yes you can go to the store and buy your playdough but it takes quite a bit and it is so much cheaper to make your own.  I found an excellent site for playdough recipes here (there is even one for glow in the dark playdough).  I used a recipe that came from a cookbook that I illustrated years ago.  It has been a good reliable recipe for me over the years.  I doubled this recipe because it takes quite a bit for our project.


1 c. water                                        1 T oil
1 c. flour                                         2 t cream of tartar
1/2 c. salt                                       1 t alum
food color

Mix dry ingredients.  Add liquids all at once and cook 3 minutes in a pan on medium heat.

Be sure to stir mix it well and do not let it cook longer than 3 minutes.

Dump it out on a cool surface and knead the dough until it is smooth.

Add several drops of food color.  It takes quite a bit.

Fold the dough in half over itself. 

Fold it in half again.

Put the dough into a zipper bag(this keeps your hands clean) and knead until the color is thoroughly mixed into the dough.  You can then store your dough in the same bag. Stay tuned for my next post when we will learn how to make appliques with our playdough.  
Until Next Time

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Julia Gormley said...

Do you have the part two? I really need to spruce up a dressers drawers but don't have the money to buy those expensive appliqu├ęs! I love your idea and would be so grateful if you could post the second part. Thanks!!

Debra Howard said...

Yes, +Julia Gormley I do have part 2. You can find a link to part two in my sidebar under popular posts or you can just go to this link: http://bit.ly/1jSYZnu . I hope it helps you in your project.

Anonymous said...

Is there any way to make a right side applique mold from a left side applique? My right side applique from a very old headboard broke, but the left side is intact. thanks

Debra Howard said...

That is an excellent question that unfortunately I do not know the answer to. I would love if anyone stopping by has that answer to please leave a comment.

Juanita Bellinger said...

You'd have to make a negative of the side you have, use play dough to make side you have. It makes a mold, add plaster let it set up, remove and use the plaster piece to make the other side.

Debra Howard said...

Great information Juanita! That will definitely be helpful for anyone who wants to make a right side applique. It also answers the above question. Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

But why colour...only for fun or does it have some bindning effect ???��

Debra Howard said...

Food color is just for fun. It is primarily for those who just want to make playdough for their kids but it also helps to see the water putty better when it is dry.

KSB said...

I was wondering what "alum" is?

Debra Howard said...

Alum is found in the spice section at the grocery store. Cream of tartar is also found there

Anonymous said...

Does it matter which type of flour you use? Thank you!

Debra Howard said...

Just regular flour

Diane Haggart said...

Actually you can take play dough and do it. Spraying the inside with (Pam cooking spay) Then make a mould out of the( play dough) good side of the applicatie
Once dried you gently take the mould off filling with Bondo The kind you use for cars.
If you plan on staining it .Put stain in now. Then the hardner very important in that order and (just a little bit).smoothing on to your broken side.
If you have any broken parts before repair with Bondo before hand then start the process.
I repaired a chair with curvy top this way and you couldn't tell what side was broken.
Also if stain isn't dark enough.Use Gell stain over the top.
Comes out rock hard

Diane Haggart said...

You can also make applications with calking .you take a stencil tape down and fill with calking take top part off of calking flat . Not removing the stencil once dried remove and paint. I wish you could see my head board and my bed stand They turned out beautiful. Love this and doing Bondo It fixes everything.

Unknown said...

Can you reuse the same playdoe for multiple pieces or do you have to make a new batch Everytime you make a new mold?

Debra Howard said...

Sometimes you can reuse the playdough. It depends on how long you have to let it dry and how large and thick your project is. That is why I elected to make my own so that costs can stay lower.