Decoupage is a French craft that originated in the eighteenth century. Literally translated, the word "decoupage" means "applied cutouts." It is a method of decorating a three-dimensional object with paper cutouts.
To begin a decoupage project start by first cutting out paper illustrations or designs from any paper source. For example, you can use greeting cards, wrapping paper, calendars, wallpaper, stamps, dried flowers or leaves.
The next step is to arrange these cutouts in any order that is pleasing to the eye on a base for your decoupage project such as a plate, tray, box, furniture or glass.
Italy - done on desks
Once cutouts have been arranged and glued to the surface, many coats of lacquer are applied to create a smooth, transparent finish. When completed, a simply painted piece of wood can turn into a fancy art piece. Creating a piece with decoupage can be a relaxing leisure activity.
A variety of faux, or "false" finishes can be used to create an interesting textured background onto which you can apply decoupage designs. Techniques that can be used include, antiquing, sponging, splattering, crackling, ragging or glazing.
Hopefully the inspiration to learn decoupage will lead you into a wonderful new craft project. Finding objects to use for decoupage can present an interesting challenge. However, once you begin your decoupage you will soon have the feeling of accomplishment and a lovely piece of art!
Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff