Don’t be scared of Decoupage

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What is Decoupage?

A Staff Craft brought to you by the Asheville Art Museum

First, as scary as it sounds, decoupage is actually very, very easy. It took me a staff craft to learn this. Fittingly similar to mosaics (with glue, not grout), you can really decoupage anything. My coworkers did pots for plants, boxes, and trays. I did some covers for a book I am making; my decoupaged bookboard will become the covers of a new journal.

The second thing is that decoupage is often unfairly stereotyped. You can pair stripes and patterns according to colors and style, add monogrammed touches, and incorporate all things floral. Or you can decoupage cardboard boxes (often found in your recycling pile) with skeletons and other images found in a medical supplies magazine. You can use comics from the Sunday paper, as I did. Everything is game- and I am sure that if you look around your house, you can find some things to decoupage- all you have to do is buy the glue…

Here it is- how to decoupage…

Required ingredients:

  • something to decoupage. If you don’t already have something around the house try the thrift store, dollar store, or big lots (you probably have something around the house). Pots for house plants, washed out aluminum cans, old picture frames under the bed, etc.
  • decorative papers (or any papers really)- look in magazines, family photo albums, newspapers, catalogs sent to you and you don’t know why…(it is better than recycling- or even worse, throwing them in the trash)
  • scissors- (or you can just tear if you want that rustic edge look- or if you lost all the scissors in your house..)
  • mod podge (good decoupage glue) and probably a paint brush for spreading glue.


  • Cut out and arrange the pictures onto the item you are decoupaging. Make sure the surface is dry and clean. (this is the planning out step)
  • Apply a generous layer of glue onto the item you are decoupaging- or onto the back of the picture. (this is the glue step)
  • Attach and smooth out. (no wrinkles!)
  • Repeat
  • Once all of the decoupage medium is dry, coat your item completely with decoupage medium. Let this dry.
  • Repeat until it looks good to you. Make sure it is all covered with glue. Dry completely.