Transformations Using the Craft of Decoupage

4 Materials
1 Hour

Decoupage is a traditional paper craft – the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cutouts. The word decoupage comes from the French verb decouper, ‘to cut out’. It was in the 17th century that the craft reached its height of popularity with aristocrats, noble ladies as well as the more humble practitioners trying out the art of decoupage. Today, decoupage remains a popular craft with far reaching variations and many crafters’ use decoupage to add dimension to their work.
Lets look at an up cycling project today using this versatile technique.
1. Prepare surface
Once you have selected your item to decorate, make sure its surface is clean and dust free and apply a coat of gesso.  Gesso prepares (or “primes”) the surface for painting, making the surface slightly textured and ready to accept acrylic paint.
2. Glue the pictures in place
Select your pictures and cut them out, ensure you are happy with the positioning.  Apply a coat of decoupage glue and glue the pictures in place.
3. Paint the background 
Use acrylic or chalk paints to paint the surface around the picture.
4. Embellish 
I’m using a jute chord and crochet lace to add dimension to this decor element.
5. Seal the decoupage
Ensure the surface is dry before starting to varnish and leave the varnish to dry thoroughly between each coat.

Here are a few more of my decoupaged home decor projects:

Suggested materials:

  • Acrylic paints
  • Decoupage paper
  • Gesso
See all materials

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Ann Geo

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 20 questions
  • Gail Rich Casparian Rolfe
    on Jul 8, 2019

    You mentioned varnish when done but it's not in your list of items needed. What do you use for varnish?

    • Julie Deane
      on Aug 21, 2019

      They make clear acrylic paint, or do you mean the clear acrylic paint sealer? May I please ask what brand and what exact type you use? Is it UV and weather protectant spray, or brush on?

  • Annie pinho
    on Jul 15, 2019

    how make it gesso in diy???

  • Annie pinho
    on Jul 15, 2019

    love it work!!! beautiful

    • Val
      on Aug 24, 2019

      Thanks for sharing the glue and water ratio. My grandson likes to paint plastic bottles and of course the paint would not stick. Can this be stored for future use or is it better to make a new batch each time?

Join the conversation

2 of 25 comments
  • Dee
    on Aug 28, 2019

    Yes, I too love to decoupage. Here are a few things I have done using napkins.

    As you can see, I love Crabs, since we have them here in MD.

    The 2 pics with the flowers and pumpkins, are just pictures that I printed on regular paper, trimmed to size and the burned the edges a tiny bit with a long lighter.

    ( I don't have anything else to use to burn the edges, so I just experminted.)

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  • Meera
    on Jan 29, 2020

    It’s great work. I do crackling and decoupage too. You explained so well step by step. Have many bottles waiting to be decorated. I’m going too do with craft paste, air dry clay and decoupage. I loved your craft. Please come up with more ideas. Thank you. God bless.🙏🕉

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