Beginner’s guide to Decoupage

Decoupage is a brilliant and addictive craft for people of any age and it’s not too difficult when you get the hang of it. If you don’t already know what Decoupage is; it’s where you layer images, paper and tissue paper over an object and then coat it in Decoupage medium. This glues the items down onto your object, seals them in place and then you also use it as a top coat varnish. After this process, you are left with a brilliant piece of art. 

You can decoupage almost anything, from wooden furniture to a cardboard box. We recommend that if you are a beginner; a good place to start is decoupaging mache models, such as this Elephant or Triceratops, and using printed tissue paper that is easy to manipulate, rather than glossy images. With this tissue paper you can more easily drape it over objects, and it will take on the decoupage medium very well.

Once you have got the mache model that you want, and have sourced your tissue paper and decoupage medium, you are ready to get started!

Sticking the printed printed tissue paper to your object

Using a paint brush, put a light coat of your decoupage medium onto the surface of your object where you are going to put your piece of tissue paper.

Stick the piece of tissue paper onto the object, and then place another layer of medium over that piece.

Be careful to smooth out any wrinkles in the tissue paper as you are gluing it down, and burst any bubbles from the glue with a small bamboo pick (like the ones you put olives or cheese on).

Continue this process, until you are happy with the way you have covered your object with tissue paper.

Seal the decoupage with layers of the medium

Once you have finished decorating your object, and the first layer of decoupage medium that you put over the tissue paper has dried completely; you then need to seal the object with more layers of the medium. Brush several more layers of glue over the entire surface of the object 3-4 more times, until you have the desired finish. This protects the tissue paper design you have applied and helps make it last.

Optional Step: Once the medium has cured, spray the object with varnish

Whilst the decoupage medium does work as both a glue, a sealant and a varnish; if you are really proud of your creation and want the varnish to last, it is best to apply a final coat of a dedicated spray on varnish.

It’s a good idea to do this a couple of weeks after you have finished your decoupage. This allows the decoupage medium to completely “cure” before you apply your varnish.

Hopefully you find this beginners guide to decoupage helpful. Once you become familiar with the decoupage medium and how it works with different tissue papers, you can then gain the confidence to decoupage almost anything!