Do you decoupage or do you even know what decoupage is? I couldn’t leave this website without at least one article about the art of decoupage, as it is a craft I have dabbled in from time to time, and it is a lot of fun to do. The only part of decoupage I don’t enjoy is the sanding, as the noise grates on my nerves.
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What Is Decoupage?
Decoupage is derived from the French word that means to cut.
Decoupage is the art of decorating objects by gluing paper cutouts onto them, thereby giving an object the appearance of a delicate inlay. An object is also decorated with a number of effects, including paint, gold leaf and other innovative add-ons.
Generally, an object such as a small box, or a piece of furniture, will be covered with cutouts from different types of paper. Then they are sealed with multiple coats of varnish or modge podge, until it looks like it’s a beautiful painting.
Traditional decoupage techniques involved using thirty to forty layers that were even sanded to obtain a classy or modern polished look.
So in other words, decoupage is described as the art of permanently decorating any surface or item with various types of paper cutouts. This could also be called a form of collage and many consider decoupage a truly accessible art form.
Decoupage is so versatile that you can decorate any item in your home according to a theme or personalize them as you choose. This could be anything from vases to boxes to plates and lamps.
The cutouts that are glued to surfaces can be coated with glaze, lacquer, varnish or even quick drying glue.
The History of Decoupage
The art of decoupage has a long and unique history. Early versions featured cutout felt figures and designs that were used to decorate various objects.
In the 12th Century in China for example, the paper cutouts were used to decorate lanterns, gift boxes, wooden boxes, windows and other objects. After some time, artists started applying layers upon layers of lacquer to make their designs look more polished and more attractive.
During the 17th Century, lacquered furniture that came from Asia became stylish items in Europe. The demand was known to have exceeded supply, and so some European furniture makers, notably the Venetians, began to copy this method, and elevate it to a higher art form in the process.
In just a short time, decoupage artists began copying famous artworks and began incorporating them to their creations. Some antiques are believed to have been just copies which used skillfully made decoupage.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, decoupage flourished throughout the European continent. The works of a number of famous artists such as Pillement, Boucher, Fragonard and others were prized decoupage creations. A lot of wonderful creations are still found today in museums, offices, armories and other similar furniture pieces in Europe.
What Do You Need To Do Decoupage?
Because decoupage was often considered to be a “poor man’s art form”, common household items and materials were easily incorporated. For example, if you wanted to decoupage something, you may choose to do it in a photo album, furniture, picture frame, lamp, ceramic plate, dish, mirror, candles, shelves, and a lot more.
If you were looking for pictures to decoupage, you can get from a lot of sources, including:
- Wrapping paper as it is the ideal thickness
- Special decoupage paper – these are pictures selected specifically for this craft and are widely available in many designs
- Greetings cards
- Paper napkins
- Origami papers – these are small square sheets of paper with mini designs and patterns on
- Old Newspaper
Your cutting utensils may include a craft knife, scissor or razor blade. Standard easy-dry glue may also be used to stick together the items you want pasted to your item.
To help with spreading the glue or varnish, you may use a Popsicle stick, ear bud, or mini paintbrushes and cotton swabs. You can also use sponges, old rugs and even toilet paper to spread the glue around the object. To seal the items you pasted, you may also use polyurethane, acrylic spray and other lacquer.
How To Do Decoupage
Here is a video explaining the basics of how to decoupage a box. This type of thing makes a wonderful gift for someone special.
So in a nutshell your decoupage will come together by doing the following:
- Prepare your surface once you have selected the item to decorate. The surface needs to be clean and dust free.
- Cut out pictures of your choice.
- Arrange the pictures in place to ensure that you are happy with the positioning before gluing them in place. Use tweezers if you need to place smaller pictures.
- Glue your pictures in place and smooth out any wrinkles. Wipe away any excess glue with a barely damp sponge.
- Make sure the glue is dry, then varnish the pictures. Leave the varnish to dry thoroughly between each coat. You can do anything from 4 to 15 coats, depending on how thick the picture is and how smooth and durable you want the finish to be. To achieve a finely lacquered finish, you will need to sand lightly after a few layers of varnish and then make sure to wipe away all the dust.
Decoupage Kits To Purchase Online
Here are some kits that you can buy online so that you can start a project and have everything ready for you to begin without having to run around to different shops to look for supplies. Simply click on the link or and picture to find out more.
Melissa & Doug Decoupage Made Easy – Piggy Bank Children’s Arts and Crafts Kits (Great Gift for Girls and Boys – Best for 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Year Olds and Up)
- This piggy bank decoupage craft kit for kids includes paper-maché piggy bank with removable plug, 4 sheets of stickers, glitter decoupage glue, eye and nose stickers.
- Patterned pre-cut stickers are mess-free and easy to apply.
- Stickers have coordinating patterns and assorted sizes.
- This kit is great for kids ages 6 – 9 and is the perfect stocking stuffer.
- This puppy decoupage craft kit for kid includes paper-mache puppy, four sheets of stickers, glitter decoupage glue, ribbon, eye stickers.
- Patterned pre-cut stickers are mess-free and easy to apply
- Stickers have coordinating patterns and assorted sizes.
- This Paper Bowls kit makes a great gift for teens and adults who love to create.
- This set includes all the materials needed to make 3 different-sized bowls – 8”, 6” and 4.75”. No special tools or additional supplies to buy!
These days, decoupage is a very accessible art form, that’s also elevated to higher artistic levels by many artists. Serious decoupage buffs are now even called “decoupeurs”, and there’s even a national association of decoupeurs in the United States today.
The National Guild of Decoupeurs, or NGD, is a non-profit entity that’s providing training and seminars to those who are interested in knowing more about this fancy art form. It also holds contests and forums, as well as encourages the exchange of innovative and creative ideas, and further widens the popularity of this “poor man’s art” form.
So now I ask you again, do you decoupage? I would love to hear your comments below.