How To Decoupage

Decoupage is a fancy word that simply refers to the art of cutting and pasting paper cutouts onto a surface, giving the image of intricate painting or inlay work. You can decoupage just about anything, from furniture to picture frames. The process is very simple, and you don't necessarily have to invest in a lot of expensive equipment or supplies in order to get a beautiful result.

Wood, metal, glass, and even stone are all suitable bases for a decoupage project. If you can wield a pair of scissors and a paintbrush, you can turn your old coffee table or jewelry box into a work of art with a few simple steps.

What You'll Need:

  • Item you want to decoupage
  • Paper cutouts - these can be from magazines, old greeting cards or postcards, wallpaper cutouts, or anything else that looks pretty to you
  • White glue or sticky decoupage medium
  • Small sponge paintbrushes
  • Small bristle paintbrush
  • Acrylic sealant
  • Beads, glitter, or other trim (optional)

How to Decoupage:

  1. Make sure the surface that you're going to decoupage is clean and dry. Place your paper cutouts over the surface to be sure you have enough, and to give you an idea of how you want to arrange them.

  • If using white glue, mix the glue with water (three parts glue to one part water) in a small container. Alternatively, use the decoupage medium as instructed on the label.
  • Working with one cutout at a time, spread a thin coat of the glue mixture onto the surface of your item, and then onto the back of the paper cutout, using a sponge paintbrush. Carefully place the cutout onto the glued surface, and gently press it flat with your hands. Work out any air bubbles or folds in the paper by smoothing your hand over the cutout, being careful not to tear the paper.
  • Continue adding glue mixture and paper cutouts until the entire surface is covered, overlapping the cutouts to create a pleasing appearance. Set your project aside until the glue has dried.
  • Now you have to cover the entire project with several coats of the glue mixture or decoupage medium. Use the small bristle paintbrush for this task. Apply the first coat gently, being careful not to lift the edges of the cutouts as you brush. Let the project dry between coats, and keep applying more coats until you get the overall look you want. At least three coats is advised.
  • Add beads or trim with a hot glue gun, if desired. This works best on small decorative items like picture frames or trinket boxes. Set aside to allow the glue to dry.
  • Once your project is completely dry, apply a coat of spray acrylic sealant to give it a shiny finish and protection from damage. Allow the sealant to dry completely, and your project is finished!
  • Once you get started, it'll be hard to curb your enthusiasm for the art of decoupage. It's a fantastic way to revive old furniture and to add a touch of whimsy to small decorative items.


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