Divine Decoupage

Use these step-by-step instructions to easily apply decoupage to your favorite surfaces and create one-of-a-kind crafts.
By: Holly Christian

Materials and Tools:


Photo by Charles Brooks

object or surface to decorate
decorative images or paper
white glue
sharp scissors or craft knife
acrylic varnish (polyurethane or Mod Podge)
small sponge


paints, pastels, color pencils or India ink (for coloring black-and-white images)
gouache (to mix with last coat of varnish for a tinted finish)
aging varnish (to give an aged or crackled finish)
gilded powder (to mix with last coat of varnish for a metallic finish)
measuring tape
spray fixative (to prevent images from smearing if you've colored them)
steel wool (to reduce the shine of high-gloss polyurethane)
paste wax (to buff up the shine)


1. Prepare the surface of the object, and decide what you want to decoupage onto the surface.

2. Use a photocopier to enlarge, reduce and/or copy images.

3. Use scissors or a craft knife to cut out the images.

4. Thin the white glue with a small amount of water. Apply glue to the back of the image with your fingers or a small brush.

5. Adhere the images to the object and let them dry.

6. Remove the excess adhesive with a damp sponge. Let dry.

7. Apply several coats of varnish. You can brush on polyurethane of Mod Podge or use spray-on polyurethane. Let dry between coats. If you don't like too much shine on your decoupage, use satin polyurethane and rough it up a bit with steel wool. To buff a finished surface, use a little paste wax.

Tips and More Ideas:

  • Use a sharp craft when cutting complex images such as birds and flowers.
  • Decoupaging glass votives with holiday tissue paper has long been an easy Christmas craft. Consider decoupaging fall votives, as well.
  • Stamps look great decoupaged onto small boxes. You can also use foreign money, or buy clip-art books, which are full of designs and images that are copyright-free.
  • Give dime-store mirrors a makeover with decoupaged paper and stickers.
  • Use silk and real leaves to create templates from which you can cut tissue-paper leaves. Layer the leaves for a great effect.
  • Cut images from colorful wrapping paper to dress up inexpensive wastebaskets.
  • Rescue an old coat rack from the trash. Paint it black, decorate it with designs from a clip-art book and varnish it. You're old coat rack can become a new mug holder in no time.

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