What is Decoupage?

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Decoupage refers to the craft of decorating wooden furniture and other household objects with the use of cut-out pictures. This form of art started during the 18th century with the aim of imitating the attractive hand-painted lacquer products that were imported from Asia.

It is fairly easy to decoupage an item and achieve an elegant look. Decoupage is commonly regarded as a children’s craft, but in the early days, it was popular among the gentility. Young ladies were encouraged to perform this craft on household objects, and even Lord Byron was said to engage in this activity.

There are some types of paper which have printed art on them, and are made especially for the purpose of decoupage. Alternatively, some people also cut-out pictures from old gift wrapping paper, storybooks, as well as greeting cards. Aside from those mentioned, another possible option is the cover of magazines. However, if the paper is too thin, the ones printed at the back might show when the paper became wet with glue.

The cut-out art must only be applied once the object has already been cleaned, and has been painted or applied with varnish (this is optional). Because the objective is to produce the effect that the art is hand-painted, it is important to make sure that the picture is cut-out from the paper carefully and with great accuracy.

Once the pictures are ready, decide on the best placement and apply a thin layer of glue at the back of the art. After this, lay the pictures on the surface of the household object and smoothen them out. It is advisable to press from the center going to the edges, in order to remove any air under the paper and to prevent the formation of wrinkles. After that step, the pictures are left to dry, and layers of varnish are applied subsequent to the drying process.

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