Here's How to Reverse Decoupage Glass Bowls Into Decorative Showpieces

7 Materials
30 Minutes

This post was transcribed by a member of the Hometalk editorial team from the original HometalkTV episode.

Head to the thrift store and grab some glass bowls for this gorgeous reverse decoupage makeover.

Pressed glassware in cabinet

1. Choose a glass bowl to reverse decoupage

I have a collection of pressed glassware, and I'm going to give some of them a facelift. 

Pressed glass bowl turned upside down

2. Place the glass bowl upside down on a table

Here is my bowl, nice and clean. It is just pressed glass. It is not cut glass. You can pick these pieces up in the thrift store.  

Floral paper napkin for the reverse decoupage glass bowl

3. Choose a decorative napkin

I have chosen to use this napkin for my reverse decoupage bowl.

Decorative decoupage napkin separated into layers

4. Separate the napkin into layers

I just need the top layer, so I carefully removed the printed layer from the other two.  

Gloss gel medium and soft brush for reverse decoupage project.

5. Add glue to the base of the bowl

Next, I’m going to use some Artist’s Loft gloss gel medium. It doesn't matter what glue you use, Mod Podge works too. I just really like to use this.  

You could even use school glue. It goes on white, but it does dry clear. 

Painting white glue to the base of the glass bowl

I've got a very soft paintbrush and I'm going to apply it all over the base of this dish.  

Gluing decorative napkin pattern side down to the glass bowl

6. Stick the decorative napkin to the base of the bowl

I placed my napkin pattern side down over the top of the bowl and carefully patted it down. I used the paintbrush as well because there are obviously all sorts of little nooks and crannies on these pressed glass bowls.

Painting the sides of the glass bowl with gel medium

7. Add gel medium to the sides of the glass bowl

My next step was to lift the napkin's sides and paint the gel medium around the bowl's edges.

Adhering the decoupage napkin to the bowl using a soft brush

8. Adhere the decorative napkin to the sides of the bowl

Obviously, I’ve put a square napkin on a round surface, so we are going to get a few folds, but that's fine because when it's on, you won't be able to see those.  

Allow the decoupage napkin to dry and adhere to the glass bowl

9. Allow the napkin to dry

Once it was all on, I left it to dry.  

Removing excess bits of the decoupage napkin

10. Remove excess bits of napkin

After it was completely dry, I ripped off any little excess bits. If you've got any missing areas where the tissue broke or made holes, you can fill those in as well.  

Adding a layer of gel medium over the dried decoupage napkin for gold leaf décor

11. Paint the bowl with gel medium

Now it was time to decorate the outside of the bowl. I will be using gold leaf sheets for this. The gold leaf was glued down with the same gel medium that I used on the napkin.

Adding a gold leaf sheet to the base of the bowl

12. Add gold leaf to the outside of the bowl

Then I laid the gold leaf on the base of the bowl and used a soft brush to pat it down.  

Covering the sides of the bowl with gold leaf sheets

I covered the entire outside of the bowl.  

Pressed glassware with gold leaf

Once it was covered, I left it to dry and then brushed away all of the loose bits.

I do not throw away the bits I remove, I like to keep them in a box for future projects.

Reverse decoupage bowl with gold leaf rim

I also put gold around the rim of the dish as well.  

Adding gold leaf to the rim of the bowl

I simply added some gel to the rim and then used the bits I took off to stick around any areas I missed.

High performance water based gloss painted over the bowl

13. Finish with a water-based top coat

Now that my reverse decoupage bowl was finished, I gave it a couple of coats of a water-based top coat in gloss. This is going to give it some protection in case it comes into contact with any water, which obviously it will if you want to give it a quick wash.

Remember the top coat makes it water resistant not waterproof.  

Reverse decoupage pressed glass bowl with floating candles

Here is my finished bowl.

I'm using the large one for floating candles. I've added some water to the bowl and tea lights that I took the metal casings off, they work really well as floating candles. 


Reverse decoupage tray with apples

This is a reverse decoupage tray I made.

I love this napkin, and I will use this all the time.

I'm no longer going to hide my pressed glassware in a cabinet. By adding decorative napkins and gold leaf, I have made pieces that should be showcased.

I really hope you enjoyed this reverse decoupage tutorial and are inspired to make your own. Please share what you create in the comments so we can all enjoy your artwork.

Resources for this project:
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Julie McDowell - Design Artist
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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3 of 4 questions
  • Tina Bates Tina Bates on Dec 08, 2022

    Is the top coat, fingernail polish?

  • Kim 'Kiewatt' Waknitz Kim 'Kiewatt' Waknitz on Dec 08, 2022

    You stated it’s not waterproof yet you have water with candles floating. Did you do something more to make it waterproof?

  • Tara Eason Tara Eason on Dec 15, 2022

    Does it have to be a glass bowl or can I use a plastic bowl?

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