What To Know About Applying Onlays and Appliques To Furniture copy

Posted  on by Heartwood Carving, Inc.

What To Know About Applying Onlays and Appliques To Furniture

Is your furniture lacking detail? Wondering how to transform it from a cookie-cutter piece to one with personality? If you're looking for a quick, effective, and affordable way to give your furniture new life, look no further than wood appliques. With a bit of effort, you'll be able to turn your once-bland furniture into a masterpiece. Not sure what wood appliques are or how to apply them to your furniture? Here's what to know about applying appliques to furniture.

What Is an Applique?

An applique, also known as an onlay, is a decorative architectural item that's used to embellish an object, such as furniture. They're three-dimensional with a carved look and a flat back that allows you to adhere them to a surface. You can get appliques in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and designs, so you're sure to find something that suits your stylistic preferences. The most common types of material for appliques are wood or resin, with rubberwood, oak, alder, cherry, and maple being some popular wood types. In terms of style, rosettes, swags, vertical drops, acanthus, and decorative centers are some of the better-known categories.

How To Apply Your Applique

Applying appliques is a quick and easy process. You won't need any special, heavy, or expensive tools, and it shouldn't take much of your time. To apply your applique, you'll need:

  • Wood glue
  • C-clamps (or something else that's heavy)
  • Q-tips or cloth

Once you've picked out your applique, you'll need to prepare the surface you're applying it to. If any parts of your furniture are rough and bumpy, sand them down. Clean the surface with the appropriate cleaning tools and wait for it to dry. If you haven't picked out a spot for your applique, now's the time to do so. Measure the area to make sure your applique fits and—if you need help remembering the exact spot—mark it with a few light pencil strokes. Once the surface dries, apply a small drop of wood glue and spread it around the back of the applique. If you put too much, wipe away the excess before applying.

You'll want something to hold your applique in place while it dries. Blue painters tape or small C-clamps are an effective choice, but other objects, such as a stack of books, will work just as well. As your applique dries, watch it carefully. If glue oozes out when you apply pressure with your clamps, books, or otherwise heavy object, wipe it away with a Q-tip or cloth. Wait for your glue to dry. Depending on the type of glue you've bought, the size of your applique, and other factors, the drying process can take anywhere from several minutes to several hours. One important thing to know about applying appliques to furniture is your customization options. Once your applique dries, you can paint, stain, or decorate it to match the overall feel and aesthetic of your furniture.

If you're looking for somewhere to get custom, high-quality carved wood appliques and onlays, Heartwood Carving has everything you need. Come check out our wide selection of wood carving designs or contact us about ordering a custom-made piece.

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