How to decoupage

Updated February 21, 2017

Decoupage is the art of sealing paper cutouts to a surface, giving the appearance of a delicate inlay. Decoupage can add a creative and artistic touch to picture frames, lamps, furniture and dishes.

Choose a surface to cover with cutouts. Wood, metal, stone and glass are all suitable materials for decoupage.

Prepare the surface for decoupage (see Related eHows for instructions).

Make paper cutouts to place on the surface you've chosen.

Place the cutouts in their intended pattern on the surface, without using glue. This will help you figure out how to arrange the cutouts, how much area you'll need to cover and how much glue you'll need.

Apply a small amount of glue or decoupage medium, such as Mod Podge, to the area of the prepared surface where you want to place the cutout. Smooth the glue out with a small foam paintbrush.

Apply a small amount of the same glue to the back of the cutout, and smooth with a small foam paintbrush.

Place the cutout on top of the freshly glued area.

Smooth out bubbles and wrinkles in the cutout using your thumb, being careful not to rip the cutout.

Apply the rest of the cutouts in the same manner. Cutouts can be overlapped to suit your taste.

Apply three or four coats of decoupage medium or clear varnish to the finished surface after it has completely dried. Allow the surface to dry between coats.

Apply a final coat of acrylic sealant to the surface after the varnish has completely dried.


When cutting out intricate designs, use cuticle scissors or a modeling knife such as an X-Acto. Wallpaper, greeting cards, wrapping paper and pictures from magazines all make good cutouts for decoupage.


Avoid using photographs as cutouts. If you must use photos, make laser copies to use instead. Allow varnish to dry in a well-ventilated area to avoid fumes.

Things You'll Need

  • Decoupage Mediums
  • Hobby Paintbrushes
  • Sponge Paintbrushes
  • Old Cards
  • Glues
  • Varnish
  • Manicure Scissors
  • Old Magazines
  • X-Acto Knives
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