How to Transfer Paper to Wood

Written by carol taber
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How to Transfer Paper to Wood
Make a plain box special with découpage. (box image by Bartlomiej Nowak from

Transferring or bonding paper to wood is a decorative technique called découpage. Découpage (from the French for "to cut") was developed into an art form by Venetian artisans in the 17th century. First used to decorate cabinetry, découpage was a favourite pastime among the upper class women of France and Italy by the 18th century. Modern products make transferring paper to wood an excellent craft for both the beginning crafter and the experienced artisan.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wooden box
  • Découpage glue
  • Paint brush
  • Sponge brush
  • Decorative paper shapes
  • Scissors
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth

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  1. 1

    Lightly sand the wooden box inside and out. Wipe with the tack cloth.

  2. 2

    Paint the box the desired colour inside and out. Allow the paint to dry completely. Découpage glue will also bond easily with unpainted wood.

  3. 3

    Cut out the decorative paper shapes using the scissors.

  4. 4

    Arrange the shapes where you want them on the box. Use a little découpage glue on the back of each individual shape and press it to the desired location on the box. This will keep the shapes from shifting when you apply the découpage glue to the box.

  5. 5

    Apply the découpage glue using the sponge brush over the surface of the box where it is covered by the decorative shapes.For example, if you only decorate the top of the box, you will not need to apply découpage glue to the undecorated sides or to the bottom of the box. Allow the glue to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  6. 6

    Apply a second coat of the découpage glue. Allow the glue to dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Use this decorative technique on glass, tile, metal or any surface that will bond with glue.
  • Make your own découpage glue instead of buying it.

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