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For the aleatory literary technique, see cut-up technique.

Decoupage (or découpage) is the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cutouts onto it in combination with special paint effects, gold leaf and so on. Commonly an object like a small box or an item of furniture is covered by cutouts from magazines or from purpose-manufactured papers. Each layer is sealed with varnishes (often multiple coats) until the "stuck on" appearance disappears and the result looks like painting or inlay work. The traditional technique used 30 to 40 layers of varnish which were then sanded to a polished finish.

3D decoupage (sometimes also referred to simply as decoupage) is the art of creating a 3D image by cutting out elements of varying sizes from a series of identical images and layering them on top of each other, usually with adhesive foam spacers between each layer to give the image more depth.

Pyramid decoupage (also called pyramage) is a process similar to 3D decoupage. In pyramid decoupage, a series of identical images are cut into progressively smaller, identical shapes which are layered and fixed with adhesive foam spacers to create a 3D "pyramid" effect.


The origin of decoupage is thought to be East Siberian tomb art. Nomadic tribes used cut out felts to decorate the tombs of their deceased. From Siberia, the practice came to China, and by the 12th century, cut out paper was being used to decorate lanterns, windows, boxes and other objects. In the 17th century, Italy, especially Venice, was at the forefront of trade with the Far East and it is generally thought that it is through these trade links that the cut out paper decorations made their way into Europe.

Florentine decoupage[edit]

Further information: Florentine crafts

Artisans in Florence, Italy have produced decorative objects using decoupage techniques since the 18th century. They combined decoupage with other decorative techniques already popular in Florence, such as gilt with gold leaf and carved wood designs. These older techniques were already used to produce articles such as furniture, frames for paintings, and even tooled leather book covers. Known as Florentine style crafts, these items are now highly collectible antiques. Florentine artisans made use of decoupage by adding it to the space within a carved gilt frame, or by adding the decoupage to a wooden plaque. Artisans used pasted reproductions of famous artworks, nearly always religious depictions. Florentine triptychs using decoupage images of such Biblical scenes as the Crucifixion are a common motif. As society became more secular in the early 20th century, and nonRoman Catholic tourists began buying more crafts from Florentine artisans, decoupage images became less religious in orientation and more reflective of famous Italian artworks in general.

Materials for decoupage crafts[edit]

Decoupage Florentine style box

Common household materials can be used to create effects. Here is a short list of supplies:

  • Something to decoupage onto. Examples include: furniture, photograph albums, plates, ceramics, shelving, frames, mirrors.
  • Pictures to decoupage with. These can come from myriad sources: newspapers, magazines, catalogs, books, printed clip art, wrapping paper, greeting cards, fabric, tissue paper, lace, paper napkins
  • Cutting utensil. Scissors, craft knife or razor blades can be used.
  • Glue. Standard white glue works best if it is diluted with a little water. Specialty glues can be found in most crafting stores.
  • Smoother. Popsicle sticks work well. A brayer is a specialized tool like a miniature rolling pin designed to help remove wrinkles, remove excess glue and smooth pictures.
  • Glue spreader. Many things around the house can be use for this: cotton swabs, paint brushes, sponges.
  • Rags, sponges, tissue paper to help wipe up glue and other clean up.
  • Sealer. Glue or other decoupage medium can be used as a sealer. Alternatively, polyurethane, spray acrylic, epoxy resin or other lacquers are usually used.

Notable decoupeurs[edit]

Someone who does decoupage is known as a decoupeur, or "cutter".

At the age of 71, Mary Delany achieved fame at the court of George III and Queen Charlotte of England thanks to the 18th century decoupage craze. In 1771, she began to create cut out paper artworks (decoupage) as was the fashion for ladies of the court. Her works were exceptionally detailed and botanically accurate depictions of plants. She used tissue paper and hand colouration to produce these pieces. She created 1,700 of these works, calling them her "Paper Mosaiks [sic]", from the age of 71 to 88 when her eyesight failed her. They can still be seen in the Enlightenment Gallery at the British Museum.

Further reading[edit]

Manning, Hiram (1980). Manning on Decoupage. Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-24028-2.  Rice, Durwin (2008). New Decoupage. Potter Craft. ISBN 0-307-39611-8. 

External links[edit]

  • Peter Mundy manuscript, 17th-century illustrated manuscript incorporating numerous paper cutouts at the British Museum

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decoupage — Please support Wikipedia.
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836 news items

Mainline Today
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 06:30:00 -0700

“Just as we view the world in three dimensions, so too is my form of artwork viewed three dimensionally,” says Dale Dunoff, who taught herself to create 3D decoupage. The native Philadelphian – a resident of Bala Cynwyd – will have her intriguing ...
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 13:34:37 -0700

Each month, San Rafael artist Wendy Gold painstakingly scours the Alameda Flea Market in search of vintage globes and wall maps for ImagineNations, the map-art studio she launched in 2010. Inspired by the decoupage mastery of John Derian, Gold layers ...

Appleton Post Crescent (blog)

Appleton Post Crescent (blog)
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 06:56:16 -0700

Recently, Reppert taught a workshop at the Appleton gift shop and idea center where participants learned many ways to preserve colorful fall foliage and other decorative fall items in wonderful ways using the art of decoupage. These wonderful projects ...
Reading Eagle
Sat, 11 Oct 2014 21:03:53 -0700

Mod Podge, long used for decoupage crafts, has morphed in recent years. Now there's a glue-and-sealer product for virtually every surface, from fabric and wood to glass and metals. Other decoupage brands exist, as well. And decoupage crafts? Projects ...


Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:07:30 -0700

n Decoupage the outside of any glass jar in orange tissue paper and add a pumpkin face using whatever is on hand -- a permanent black marker, stickers or googly eyes. n For a mummy look, wrap a glass jar with gauze bandages and glue on two googly ...

La Croix

La Croix
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 08:22:30 -0700

La France compte actuellement 22 régions métropolitaines et 4 régions d'outre-mer. Ce découpage est basé sur les circonscriptions administratives des « programmes d'action régionale » lancés en 1956 en vue de « promouvoir l'expansion économique et ...
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:41:15 -0700

Dal 24 al 26 ottobre il quartiere fieristico di Forlì ospiterà la quinta edizione di "Passatempi e Passioni", il salone degli hobby creativi, che ogni anno accoglie circa 15.000 visitatori e 100 espositori. Stand, corsi, dimostrazioni e ospiti nella ...

Plattsburgh Press Republican

Plattsburgh Press Republican
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:22:29 -0700

Others include Jan Garrant (porcupine earrings, dream catcher necklace, birch bark votives); Amy Guglielmo (paintings/books); Judy Guglielmo (paintings); Mark Hobson (photography); Yvonne Hoyt (photography); Pamela Jackson (decoupage); Christine ...

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