The Craft of Decoupage

Decoupage Eggs
Getty Images: Anna Bison

Decoupage is a very old, traditional paper craft. The history of decoupage stretches back as far as the 12th century, however it was in the 17th century that the craft reached its height of popularity with aristocrats and noble ladies practicing decoupage as well as the more humble practitioners. Today, decoupage remains a popular craft with far reaching variations. In addition to the decoupage of furniture and the creation of other works of art, many rubber stampers and paper crafters use decoupage to add dimension to their work.

A fun way to use decoupage is shown in the handmade decoupage ornament tutorial.

What is Decoupage?

Decoupage is created by layering several pieces of paper on top of each other. The surface can be raised using double sided pads or tape or you can use ready formed shapes to decoupage over. Complex and intricate designs can be created by cutting out and layering different elements of an image. A floral scene, for instance, might be created with flowers layered to different heights.

Using Decoupage

Traditionally, one of the most popular ways that decoupage was used was to decorate items of furniture and home accessories. There are many other ways that this versatile technique can be used and it is increasingly popular with card makers and scrapbookers. The three dimensional images add depth and interest to projects.

Decoupage Supplies

Specialist decoupage papers are available from craft and art stores.

These contain a number of images that have been selected because the images are perfect for decoupage. These papers include contemporary and traditional designs. In addition to decoupage papers, pre cut or die cut decoupage kits are available. These are a quick and convenient way to create decoupage designs.

Decoupage is given the three dimensional, raised effect by the use of a thick double sided tape or self adhesive pads. Different effects can be achieved by using different thicknesses of adhesive pad. When layers are built up using glue without the added depth of a glue pad or tape a more subtle effect is produced. This is similar to paper piecing.

Rubber Stamping and Decoupage

Rubber stamping and decoupage are complementary crafts. Decoupage can be used in rubber stamping projects, rubber stamping can be added to decoupage projects and rubber stamping can be used as the images for decoupage. This wide range of options makes the combination of rubber stamping and decoupage an exciting mix.

More Information

About Decoupage Glue

Decoupage medium or decoupage glue is an essential part of decoupage. The glue adheres the decoupage papers into place.

There are many different types of decoupage glue. Almost any white glue (PVA, craft or school glue) can be diluted and is perfect for the job. Dilute the glue so it is three parts glue to one part water. You can also add mica, pigment powders or even glitter to the diluted glue to achieve different effects. Mod Podge is a popular decoupage medium and is available in different sizes and with gloss or matte finishes.

Buying Decoupage Medium

White (school) glue and Mod Podge are readily available from arts and craft stores as well as a wide variety of general stores. Remember that you can get some great deals on the Internet so don't forget to compare prices for school glue and Mod Podge.

Further Reading: How to Decoupage.