What is Decoupage

The craft or art of Decoupage is decorating any old or new item by gluing different coloured and patterned paper napkin, or rice papers, or any other specially manufactured paper cutouts onto it. This can then be further enhanced by additional special paint effects and other decorative elements. Often old furnitures, jewellery boxes, plant pots, shoes, wooden picture frames, glass jars, are used to reinvent their look, in very creative ways.

The word “decoupage” actually derives from the french word “decouper” that means to cut out, or cut from something.

Decoupage is a fantastic craft that gives anyone the opportunity to make beautiful art, without requiring any particular talent of painting for example. It is often picked up as a hobby and people get totally immersed in the creative flow. Unbelievable how much encouragement, aesthetic pleasure and sense of achievement can be gained from such a simple, yet creative craft.

How to make Decoupage

It starts with the selection of the object to decorate, this can be of almost any material: wood, plastic, glass, porcelain, china, candles, etc.

A number of layers of paper cutouts are then glued on, and varnished with several layers of top coats. These require drying times of course in between the layers. The final results will eventually look like beautifully painted object.

What tools to use for decoupage

Almost any papers can be used, however generally, the more flexible the paper is, the easier is to work with, and these are the most common specially manufactured papers:

Paper napkins – various sizes, and designs
Rice papers – many sizes & many beautiful designs

A professional primer is highly recommended on plastic, glossy wood, metal, glass, MDF, stones, other porous surfaces, to help repair small imperfections  and to create a perfect base for the next layers.

Additional light coloured acrylic paints are also recommended to use as a background colour. These are available in varying finishes, such as matt, silk, or glossy, depending on the required effect we would like to achieve.

Glues and varnishes are also particularly important to use professional materials.

These include a wide range to use on specific surfaces, and to achieve different level of matt/silky/gloss effects, as well as different levels of protection and longevity. Quality is of course very important when choosing varnishes, as poorer quality varnishes may turn yellow over time.

To apply the glues and varnishes, synthetic brushes are the easiest to use, although many people use sponges to achieve different effects too.

Finally sand paper is another key tool, that is often used of polishing, and cutting edges, so different grades of sand paper is very useful to keep at hand.

Here are some useful video links to visualise the art of decoupage easier:

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