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How to Use Paper Napkins to Decoupage a Frame

Updated July 20, 2017

Use paper napkins to découpage a frame to match your decor. Découpage means to decorate an item by applying paper then coating it with a finish. Most commonly, découpage glue is used, which resembles glue but also includes a sealer and finish in one medium. Paper napkins come in all sorts of designs such as stripes, flowers, butterflies, cherubs, holiday themes, cartoons, baby shoes and chilli peppers. Unlike some other papers, paper napkins are inexpensive making them a good choice for découpage.

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  1. Wipe the frame with a damp cloth to remove any debris, then remove the back and the glass from the frame. Set the frame on a plastic place mat or tablecloth to protect the table. Plastic is better than a layer of newspaper because the découpage glue sticks to newspaper, which will become decoupaged to the frame.

  2. Decide what design you want to découpage on the frame. If you want part of the frame to show through as a background component, find designs from the paper napkins and cut them out to découpage to the frame to create a simple cutout design. If you want to cover the frame entirely, tear the paper napkins into small pieces or cut out specific designs with scissors. If the paper napkins have more than one layer, use only the top layer for the découpage project.

  3. Apply découpage glue directly to a small area of the frame. Carefully place each piece of paper napkin to the glued portion of the frame, taking care not to tear the thin paper. Continue adding glue and paper in small increments until the frame is covered in a design of your liking.

  4. Paint a coat of découpage glue on top of the paper napkins. The glue goes on white but dries clear. Apply several layers to protect the napkin design.

  5. Tip

    Layer paper napkin designs over one another for a collage look.


    Paper napkins are very thin and fragile and they may wrinkle, so apply them slowly to the frame.

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Things You'll Need

  • Frame
  • Cloth
  • Plastic place mat or tablecloth
  • Paper napkins
  • Scissors
  • Découpage glue
  • Paintbrush

About the Author

Peggy Hazelwood

Peggy Hazelwood began editing engineering reports in 1987, then textbooks for major publishers and now writes articles online. She has written business articles for the "Boulder County Business Report" and has completed writing courses through EEI and Career Track. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in speech communication from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

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