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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, floors.[1]
  • 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
  1. ^ "Redecorate Your Home in London on a Budget". medium.com. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decoupage — Please support Wikipedia.
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15347 news items

Le Monde

Le Monde
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 08:41:15 -0800

Si ça n'évolue pas, ou si ça évolue dans le mauvais sens, nous en tirerons les conséquences pour le vote, qui pourrait aller jusqu'à un rejet de ce découpage. » Interrogé sur les propos de M. Cazeneuve, qui l'a accusé jeudi matin, lors du débat, d ...
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Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:45:00 -0800

Both events will feature "The Treasure Trove," a collection of treasures and collectibles, "Something Special" offering work handcrafted by women of the Round Hill Art Studio, including decoupage plates, decorative lacquered boxes, wood wastebaskets, ...

The Daily Star-Journal

The Daily Star-Journal
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 04:00:00 -0800

Mrs. John Morehead demonstrated decoupage and new Christmas craft ideas. Nov. 21, 1979. • Chilhowee Senior Citizens met recently for a turkey dinner with Mary Miller and Anna Bell Hill as hostesses. Mrs. Joe Wallace baked the turkey. • Leeton – Debby ...

The Daily Meal

The Daily Meal
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 04:11:15 -0800

Create a leaf decoupage using a liquid glue that works best when painted on with a brush made from a foam spatula. Simply gather colorful leaves from the garden, cover the outside of a mason jar by sticking them on and then drop a battery-operated tea ...
Las Cruces Sun-News
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:03:45 -0800

The Mesquite Historic Preservation Society is sponsoring a children's craft table where a child can make a decoupage Christmas ornament at Nopalito's Galeria. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will arrive at Klein Park at noon, and then continue on the tour.

Kane County Chronicle

Kane County Chronicle
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:22:33 -0800

All supplies for painting, sculpture and decoupage are provided. And for budding artists who find themselves inspired by the season, Tony & Friends Art Studio will hold three one-day Winter Workshops Dec. 22, Dec. 23 and Dec. 30, where kids ages 5 to ...

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 ...

Baxter Bulletin

Baxter Bulletin
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:00:00 -0800

The wood and leather items created by many prisoners in the Arkansas Department of Correction system are beautiful, durable and well worth the prices that seem low for such talented craftsmanship. A recent social media post by the spouse of a Baxter ...

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