Decoupage Techniques

Written by deborah jones
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Decoupage Techniques
Find suitable images for découpage work in old magazines. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

There are various styles of découpage, each of which creates a different effect. The style or technique which you use depends on the item you are working découpage on and its intended use. Découpage images can be specially bought from craft stores, or you can source your own images from magazines or books.

Flat Decoupage

Cut out your images and arrange them on the surface you wish to découpage, until you find a layout you like. Suitable surfaces for découpage work include the tops of wooden boxes, the surfaces of occasional tables, or even headboards. Working in sections, apply a thin layer of craft glue, or découpage glue, to the surface and to the back of the image. Smooth the image onto the wet glue on the surface, easing out any air bubbles with your fingertips. Continue in this way, until the surface is covered in the images you have selected. Allow the glue to dry, then coat rigid surfaces, such as furniture items, with several layers of varnish to seal the images, or use several coats of a clear-drying craft glue or découpage glue on either furniture or paper decoupaged surfaces.

3-D Decoupage

Découpage that is applied to greeting cards is normally 3-D découpage. In this technique identical copies of the same image are laid on top of each other, starting with the whole image, then building up using sections of the repeat images. For instance, to découpage a rose first stick the entire rose to the greeting card surface. Next, cut out individual petals from a copy of the image and stick these directly on top of the whole-rose image, separating each layer with either foam pads or silicone glue. On greeting cards there is no need to seal the découpage images.


Cloisonné in découpage is a technique which imitates the process of separating enamel with thin wire, creating a similar effect to a stained-glass window. To create a cloisonné effect, first cut out your image, then glue the image to a shiny, metallic paper. You could use aluminium foil or a metallic wrapping paper. Cut around the image again, leaving a narrow border of 1 to 2mm of the metallic paper showing around the edge. Glue this to your surface as normal. Seal the images after the glue has dried using either a light, transparent varnish or a découpage glue.


This découpage technique allows glinting metallic highlights to shine through your main image. After cutting out your image, pierce small holes in strategic places on the image. Depending on how large you'd like the holes, use either a needle or an awl to pierce the holes. For instance, you might want to highlight the brim of a lady's hat or create a lighted effect in windows. Once the holes are pierced, glue the image onto metallic paper, taking care not to allow the glue to show through the holes. You may find it more effective to use varnish to stick the images onto the metallic paper. Seal the images with either varnish or découpage glue once they have dried on the surface.

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