Decoupage is a craft of decorating household objects by glueing printed paper cut-outs, sealing it with multiple coats of varnish & sand it to achieve polished finish. Each layer is sealed with multiple coat of varnish until the sticking lines disappear and the result looks like painting or inlay work. One can decorate items like vase, jewelry boxes, serving trays, table tops, various furniture,…..

The origin of decoupage is thought to be East Siberian tomb art. Nomadic tribes used cut out felts to decorate the tombs of their deceased. From Siberia, the practice came to China, and by the 12th century, cut out paper was being used to decorate lanterns, windows, boxes and other objects. In the 17th century, Italy, especially Venice, was at the forefront of trade with the Far East and it is generally thought that it is through these trade links that the cut out paper decorations made their way into Europe.

Decoupage was very popular in the late 17th and early 18th centuries in France and England, mainly as a hobby for young ladies. After disappearing as a hobby decoupage experienced a revival in the middle of the 20th century, especially in the United States, Australia and South Africa.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decoupage

Tools & Supplies

  1. Decoupage item: Vase, box, photo album, diary, furniture, frames, mirrors & the list is endless.
  2. Pictures: Pictures can be cut from wallpaper, wrapping paper, paper napkins, magazines, stickers, books, greeting cards, dried flowers foils(candy wrappers), color printouts (make sure  the color doesn’t bleed) etc,.
  3. Decoupage material: Purchase decoupage material from market or use white school glue.
  4. Craft knife & scissors: Scissors to cut images & embroidery scissors to cut fine details. Craft knife is used to cut tiny interior areas. Always use sharp blades.
  5. Popsicle Stick or Brayer: To smooth out wrinkles or any trapped air bubbles  and removed excess glue.
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  7. Foam Brush: This is used to spread the decoupage medium or glue.
  8. Tweezer: For positioning small & tiny images.
  9. Damp cloth: To wipe out excess glue and to help with other clean up.
  10. Varnish: They come in gloss, matte & satin finish.
  11. Sand paper: To remove bumps or any imperfections

Technique

  1. Prepare the surface: Select the object to be decoupaged. Make sure it is clean, dry & ready to work on.
  2. Preparing the image: Cut out the pictures that are to be used. Varnish the  the cut outs in case they are not colorfast. This will ensure that the color won’t bleed during gluing. Cutting of the image should be clean & crisp.
  3. Composition: Arrange the pictures on the object & do not apply glue until you are satisfied with the placement.
  4. Pasting: Now apply glue or decoupage medium on object covering small section at a time. Completely cover any area the picture will touch. Gently push down the picture and remove wrinkles and any excess medium. Continue gluing until the object is covered with pictures. Let the decoupage medium dry. Once again apply the medium & let it 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.
  5. Sealant: Seal the decoupage with a couple coats of varnish or lacquer. Let each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next. When the sealant is dry, sand it with sandpaper to remove imperfections. Depending on the sealant, you may need as few as 4-5 or as many as 30-40 coats. Remember to let each coat dry before applying the next, and sand the decoupage after every couple coats for best results.

External links for step by step instruction on “How to Decoupage”

  1. http://www.wikihow.com/Decoupage
  2. http://familycrafts.about.com/cs/decoupage/a/012201a_3.htm
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mekdg5_8RCI&list=TL6Iwir5Wte3I
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFyddV7BxUI&list=TL6Iwir5Wte3I
  5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvF_d-NbYYo&list=TL6Iwir5Wte3I

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