The art of decorating an object by gluing coloured paper to it, and finishing with special paint effects, decoupage has had a resurgence in popularity of late and Melbourne’s Michelle Tither has been front and centre. Launched in 2016, Mint by Michelle initially began as a furniture upcycling business but soon became so much more.
“I had always been creative and wanted to explore that creativity professionally. I wanted to see whether I could make a living doing something that I loved to do and to see what I was capable of both artistically and in business,” says Michelle.
And while Michelle started out simply upcycling furniture, it wasn’t long before she became known in the space and was overrun with commissioned work. “Ultimately, that lead to running workshops, stocking products, setting up a shop and manufacturing my own products. Since then, the world of furniture art has opened up and I find myself smack in the middle of it – a manufacturer, distributor, retailer and artist,” says Michelle.
In its current incarnation, Mint by Michelle is a one-stop shop for anybody who is interested in furniture flipping and upcycling with advice, products, practical hands-on experience, after care and free tutorials on offer. “Our courses and workshops are very well regarded and it’s not unusual for us to have people travel from interstate to attend,” says Michelle. Online shoppers can purchase everything from decoupage paper to brushes, Annie Sloan paints and finished furniture pieces by Michelle.
Part of Michelle’s success is that she was the first manufacturer to produce large-scale decoupage images suitable for furniture and since then, almost every other furniture art supply business has followed suit. “Our papers are still the best quality – we have set the bar with our secret ingredient specialty paper and printing method and ink. And we are very proud that our papers are made and manufactured in Australia which is no mean feat!” Incredibly, Michelle’s range is now sold through 300 stockists in more than 30 countries.
And it was through one of the brand’s European distributors, Belen in the Netherlands, that Mint by Michelle had worldwide exposure via IKEA recently. “Belen entered a competition with IKEA and was one of 12 artists chosen to showcase her work on the IKEA website and socials,” says Michelle.
Belen painted and decoupaged an IKEA piece using the Mint by Michelle ‘balloons’ paper to great effect and it’s currently residing in a Netherlands IKEA store where it will remain for the next five weeks. “It’s a fabulous piece and we are so terribly excited to have Mint and Belen recognised by such an enormous company!”