Beginner’s Guide to Decoupage – The All Time Prettiest Papercraft

Beginner’s Guide to Decoupage – The All Time Prettiest Papercraft

Coined from the French word ‘cut’, decoupage originated in the 18th century. In the beginning, it could have been considered a child craft. Namely, it involves cutting pieces of paper and layering them over each other to create a 3D image.

Today, decoupage is one of the hottest decorating trends. And it is becoming increasingly sophisticated. You can utilize the technique in personalizing any item in your home. The items may include vases, boxes, utensils, mirrors, frames, lampshades, and furniture.

While it can deliver complex-looking effects, it is a quite simple technique. And this article aims to teach the basics of decoupage.

 Decorating old milk churns with lavender pattern
Image Source: Agata Kowalczyk


Decoupage art
Image Source: drobacphoto

The good thing about this technique is that you don’t have to buy everything. Most of the supplies you need for a decoupage project could be readily available in your home. Let’s dive in.

What’s the Right Paper for Decoupage?

You can get pictures for decoupage from a wide range of sources, including:

  • Magazines
  • Wallpaper
  • Wrapping paper
  • Fabric
  • Greeting cards
  • Origami papers
  • Paper napkins
  • Special decoupage papers – they are available in a variety of designs

It is advisable to choose pictures that have a clear outline, especially if you are still a novice. You want pictures that are easier to cut out. Copied or scanned pictures of the original can turn out great.

Cut out flowers from a paper napkin
Image Source: onlynuta

Can You Use any Glue for Decoupage?

The best glue for decoupage should be versatile, quick, easy, and dries clear. They include:

  • PVA glue
  • Gloss Varnish
  • Permanent spray glue
  • Special decoupage glue – can be used as both glue and varnish
Decorating an old suitcase
Image Source: Prima

Tools You Need for Decoupage

Must-have tools for decoupage are:

  • A sharp pair of small scissors – You want to cut clean edges
  • Craft knife with a sharp blade – For cutting out detail and intricate areas
  • Soft cloth – For wiping away excess glue
  • Sandpaper – To sand the layers of varnish if necessary
  • Buds of cotton wool – For dubbing away small amounts of excess glue
Paper napkins, glue and a sponge
Image Source: Girl in the Garage

Once you have the requisite tools and supplies in place, follow the instructions below carefully:

Step 1: Prepare Surface

Select the item to decoupage. Make sure its surface is clean and dust free. You don’t want varnish to accentuate any flaws on your item.

Step 2: Cut out Pictures

Cut out your desired pictures. You may cut them out roughly with scissors first before trimming them out more accurately with a craft knife.

Paper napkin with flowers
Image Source: Girl in the Garage

Step 3: Arrange the Pictures

Position the pictures properly as you desire. You can use tweezers to place tiny pictures. Then glue the pictures in place.

Step 4: Gluing the Pictures

Once you glue the pictures, smooth out any wrinkles. Then wipe away any excess glue with a somewhat damp cloth.

Decoupage technique
Image Source: Girl in the Garage

Step 5: Varnish the Pictures

The glue should be dry before you start to varnish. Leave the varnish to dry properly between each coat. You’ll need between 4 and 15 coats depending on the thickness of the paper. The desired smoothness and durability also determine the number of varnish coats.

Sand the pictures lightly after a few coats of varnish. Be sure to wipe away all dust. The result will be a finely lacquered finish. Repeat the process until you get the desired finish.

Sanding the paper
Image Source: Girl in the Garage


Finished decoupage project
Image Source: Girl in the Garage

Final thoughts

This guide will be of great help when you decide to do your own decoupage project. The finished item can look so attractive that people will assume it is professionally painted. It is imperative that you have the right tools when creating a decoupage.


Resources & Credits:

Girl in the garage


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *