Decoupage—from the French word découpe, meaning to cut out—is a craft or art form that entails pasting cut-outs (typically paper) to an object made of wood, paper, glass, stone, clay, metal or plastic and then covering them with several coats of varnish or lacquer. It is a known since the 18th century and combines collage with painting. Decoupage is a fun and easy way to decorate just about any object, including household items from small vases to large pieces of furniture–the possibilities are endless.

What kind of surfaces 
In any kind of decorative objects, furniture, wooden boxes, paper cartons, book covers, serving trays, platters, vases, candles, flowerpots, pebbles, frames, mirrors. Generally, on anything you can paint, you can apply the technique of decoupage.

1) Glue for decoupage. Also, you can use plain white glue mixed with water ratio of 50% glue and 50% water.
2) Varnish or lacquer. In art and hobby stores you will find specially-formulated decoupage but it makes no difference from any transparent protective varnish water for wood that you will find in glossy or matte finish.
3) Brushes. You can work with any brush but the foam (sponge) special brush will ease you to large projects-patterns.
4)Paper. You can use just about any materials for decoupage, including cards, tissue paper, wrapping paper, paper shopping bags, magazine clippings, rice paper, thin fabric pieces, or (of course) decoupage paper. Generally, however, the softer and more flexible the material, the easier it’ll be to work with if you’re decoupaging a curved surface. For this reason, rice paper and napkin are the most suitable.


  • Don’t use any images printed on an ink-jet printer as the color will smear with the top-coat. Instead, make copies on a color copier which uses toner that won’t blend.
  • Try using fabric or wallpaper to cover a large surface area very quickly. You can even use these as a background before adding other decoupage items.
  • Avoid using anything too thick, as it will stick out from your project and be more likely to be knocked off accidentally. You want to keep your surface as smooth as possible.
How to decoupage simple tutorial

Step 1. Select an object you want to decorate, and collect materials to decorate it with.

Step 2. Cut your cut-outs. You can use whole pieces of paper, you can tear it, or you can cut your paper to make interesting shapes and designs. Use scissors or a craft knife to cut around out the shapes you desire, holding the scissors so that they are angled slightly to the right. This will create a smoother, beveled edge.
  • Tearing your paper will help to create smoother edges. To tear your paper smoothly, fold it along the tear-line and create a strong crease with your nail. Do this again in the opposite direction, and then tear the paper. 
  • Don’t feel like you must completely cover your surface area with cut-outs. Only prepare as many as you feel you will use for your project.

Step 3. Plan your decoupage project. Make a sketch of the layout or simply put the cut-outs into place without gluing them and then take a picture so you’ll remember the arrangement. 
  • If planning isn’t your style, feel free to glue your pieces as you go without deciding ahead of time. Keep tabs on your composition to make sure that you are gluing things in a consistent manner. 
  • Consider the color and texture of the things you are gluing. Mix and match different colors or try color-blocking areas of your project.

    Step 4. Prepare the surface. Make sure the object you are decorating is clean and dry, fill in deep gouges, and sand it down to remove bumps and imperfections if necessary. If you want to paint it or refinish it, you should do this before pasting anything onto it. 
    • For some materials, such as wood and metal, you may need to prime the surface with a coat of latex paint to help the cut-outs stick better. 
    • If you wash off the object, make sure it is dry before you start gluing so that everything sticks better.

    Step 5. Protect you work area by covering it with newspaper.
    Step 6. Apply the glue. Use a paintbrush to brush a thin layer of glue onto your surface and onto the backs of the cut-outs. Make sure you apply the glue evenly and over the edges of the cut-outs.
    Step 7. Glue the cut-outs, piece-by-piece, to the object. Lay a piece of your cut paper onto the area to which you applied the glue. Apply the paper carefully to avoid bending or crumpling it, and smooth it out with a brayer (a small roller) or with a Popsicle stick, rubbing outward from the center. Repeat with each piece.
    • For a more complex appearance, make several layers of cut-outs. Lay down the first layer and then glue subsequent layers on top, partially overlapping the layers below.In any other type of paper except paper towel and rice paper before glue, dip them for a few minutes in water and dry slightly with paper towel before using them.

    Step 8.
    Let glue dry. Make sure the whole piece is thoroughly and completely dried before proceeding. If you are applying several layers, make sure each layer is dry before starting on the next. 
    If there is a rim or an edge that the decoupage wraps around, you can trim it with a razor for a cleaner look.
    Step 9.  Seal the decoupage with a couple coats of an appropriate sealant, such as specially-formulated decoupage finish, varnish, or lacquer. Let each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next.
    Step 10. Sand the sealed decoupage. When the sealant is dry, sand it with 400 grit sandpaper to remove imperfections. Use a damp cloth to remove residue from sanding. Do not sand until you have enough coats of sealant to completely cover the underlying surface and cut-outs.
    Step 11.  Continue applying varnish or lacquer. The unique appearance of decoupage is created by multiple coats of sealant. The number of coats is up to you. Depending on the sealant you are using, you may need as few as 4 or 5. Some decoupage artists use as many as 30 or 40 coats. Remember to let each coat dry before applying the next, and sand the decoupage after every couple coats for best results.

    Expert Tips 
    – For not to be created striations and air gaps when you glue the paper, it should be totally tangent at every point on the object so that in the end it will seem like really “printed” or painted.

    – On a light background the decoupage is much better and a safer way for amateurs, is to start working on painted objects with white or colored paints and with small decorative motifs of any type of paper.

    – The decoupage technique is perfect for seasonal decorations (Christmas, Easter or Summer) depending on the patterns that you choose.
    – Well wrung cloth or sponge is sufficient for cleaning decoupage objects.

    – The light rice paper is perfect for decoupage on glass due the transparency it creates. After you glue it on any such object, you can add with the same technique any decorative pattern you want.

    – The ideas on which objects / surfaces can be applied this technique are truly endless and some of them like clay pots, decorative tiles, wooden boxes, trays, dishes, candles, picture frames, even cans could become very economical and impressive gifts.