How to Make a Unique Marimekko Bench

Using Paper Napkin Decoupage to Make a Marimekko Bench

How do you transform a grotty old garden bench? How about some cool decoupage with designer paper napkins and transform it into a Marimekko bench.
I am a huge Marimekko fan, I just love their fabrics and Scandi/Nordic style. For those of you who don’t know Marimekko is a Finnish home furnishings and textile company.
I wanted some of that Marimekko style in my garden. Therefore, instead of just painting a neglected bench in my garden that was in dire need of cosmetic attention, I decided to Marimekko it!
I got the idea from some Marimekko shoes I’d made a few months ago. I still had some *Unikko napkins left over from the shoe revamp, so I decided to use these to upcycle and pimp my bench.
(*Unikko is probably Marimekko’s most iconic print it was actually first designed in the 1950’s, very mid-century modern)
Upcycle an old bench with decoupage.  This Marimekko bench was achieved by decoupaging with paper napkins.  It is a lot easier than you think and can be weather proofed.
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What you need to make a Marimekko Bench


marimekko unikko napkins for bench decoupage

How to Decoupage a Marimekko a bench.


  1. First thing I did was to prepare the bench by sanding it and then giving it a coat of white paint. One coat of white paint will be enough as this is not the finished look.
    Sanding garden bench ready for decoupage


  3. Next I prepared my Marimekko napkins by separating them so that only the top printed ply was used (most napkins are 3 ply). Then I tore flowers out. It helps if you wet the napkin where you tear. It is better to tear rather than cut the napkins as you get a feathered edge which blends in better.

    Preparing paper napkins for decoupage.

  5. When I had cut out all my napkin flowers I then spread the glue on the bench and placed the napkin flowers on top. The napkins are too delicate to apply the glue directly to. I gently brushed out the napkins as you lay them on the bench.
    Decoupage of bench with Marimekko napkins

  7. I carried on until the whole bench was covered in Marimekko Unikko flowers. Once it was dry I applied two coats of crystal clear outdoor/yacht varnish. This varnish should protect the decoupaged Marimekko bench from the elements.

finished decoupaged Marimekko bench
Instead of upcycling an old garden bench with paint how about transforming it with paper napkin decoupage to create a unique Marimekko bench. It can be made waterproof to stay outside all year round.
I told you it was easy, and I now have a bench to match my shoes!
Marimekko Bench and shoes
If you’re not a huge Marimekko fan, you can of course use this method to upcycle a bench with the napkins of your choice.
Upcycle an old bench with decoupage.  This Marimekko bench was achieved by
Here are a few more of my Marimekko posts you may want to check out.
DIY Marimekko Shoes
Marimekko Stair Transformation
12 Marimekko Crafts
Giant Paper Mache Cactus


32 Responses

  1. so it is okay to have it look a little wrinkled, will the varnish help to smooth that look out?

    • Yes, the wrinkled look isn’t so obvious once the bench has dried. It’s hard to avoid wrinkles totally but if you smooth the tissue paper down with crinkled up cling film (saran wrap) as you stick it down this will reduce wrinkles.

      • Adorable bench! I have an old flea market chair that’s been waiting for a makeover. I feel inspired now! Thanks for a great post!
        And I completely understand your fascination with Marimekko! I fell in love with the prints early on—my mom had plates, sheets, and fabrics in our home. And now I’m adding it to my own home via a bathroom renovation completely centered around a Marimekko shower curtain!

  2. Absolutely love this idea. Would love to do this to two benches on my deck. Question: I wondered how well this process weathers over time? I leave my benches out,but covered, over the winter months. I live in a mild but rainy climate. usually does not go below 20’s in the winter.

    • Thank you, make sure you use an outdoor varnish like a marine varnish. Also, make sure it says crystal clear on the tin not just clear as the clear varnish often dries with a yellow tint,

  3. Love the tennis shoes and bench to match!!!

    • Thank you. I never thought I’d have a matching bench and shoes!

  4. […] a thing about Marimekko the Finnish textile designers, especially their iconic UNIKKO poppy print. (Click here to see my Marimekko Bench Upcycle). Therefore I decided that I would use Marimekko wallpaper for my […]

  5. Kimberly

    That is FANTASTIC!I never would have thought of useing napkins ! Adore the look and it is sure to last , thank u so much for shareing ! Creative & functional win win !

    • Thank you so much. Paper napkins are great for so many decoupage projects.

  6. Jen

    Wow. That turned out great. Love the colors and giving a new life to an old bench. Thanks for linking up with Be Clean Be Green With Kids

  7. Now I’m going through all my paper napkins wondering what I can decoupage! The bench looks adorable.

  8. Wow your Bench looks amazing I would have never thought of decoupage but it looks stunning Claire

  9. You have fantastic style and ideas. The bench is adorable. Scheduled to our Pinterest boards. Thanks for sharing at To Grandma’s House We Go.

  10. This bench is so bright and cheerful. It is a wonderful piece for your garden. Great work.

  11. A beautiful, fun makeover Claire! I never would have thought of using yacht varnish as a topcoat for an outdoor piece, just brilliant! Thanks for sharing your project at #FridaysFurnitureFix hope to see you at the party for the giveaway on the 22nd!

    • Thank you so much, it does brighten up the garden.

      • Hi Claire just popping in to let you know your project is tonight’s feature at Fridays Furniture Fix, I love the bold , fun decoupage design, and your tutorial too!

  12. What a beautiful bench! I love it and the color is my favorite! Thanks for sharing on the #WasteLessWednesday blog hop!

  13. What a great make over. Such a cute bench. Love the pooch too!
    Thanks for sharing at Waste Not Wednesday.

  14. Wow… it looks like a lot of work… but you have a very bright and fun-looking bench. 🙂

  15. So clever and creative and the end result is just gorgeous! Good job!

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