What is Decoupage?

Decoupage is a decorative technique where cutouts are glued to a surface and then varnished.


Decoupage, reigning from the French verb "decouper", meaning "to cut out", is a craft technique that transforms ordinary objects into visual feasts of pattern and color. It involves adhering paper cutouts—be it from magazines, special paper, or fabric—to an object's surface and then sealing them under layers of varnish or lacquer. What begins as a simple pasting task evolves into a work of layered depth once the varnish not only seals but also gives a painted-like appearance to the project.

The appeal of decoupage lies in its simplicity and the personal touch it offers. The technique allows for immense creativity, enabling anyone to customize items—furniture, boxes, picture frames, and even larger interior surfaces—into unique pieces that reflect personal style or to achieve a specific interior design aesthetic. By choosing different themes or types of paper, the technique can adapt to fit any design style, from vintage to modern, rustic to eclectic.

Decoupage can also be applied to fabrication and craftsmanship, integrating it within the realms of furniture restoration or bespoke creation, making it a versatile and accessible technique for both hobbyists and professionals in the interior design field.


Decoupage is commonly used to personalize and rejuvenate furniture, create custom wall art, adorn picture frames, and transform household items into decorative pieces. It's especially popular among DIY enthusiasts and interior designers looking to add a unique, crafted touch to their projects.


  • Is Decoupage durable?

    Yes, when properly sealed with varnish, decoupage can be quite durable and resistant to wear. However, the longevity of a decoupage project depends on the type of varnish used and the object's intended use.

  • Can Decoupage be applied to any surface?

    Decoupage can be applied to many surfaces including wood, glass, metal, and ceramics. Preparing the surface properly is key for the best adhesion and finish.

  • How many layers of varnish are needed for Decoupage?

    The number of varnish layers can vary depending on the object and desired finish. Usually, several thin layers are applied, allowing each to dry thoroughly before adding the next, to build up a strong seal.

Practical Application

For those looking to delve into decoupage, start with a simple project like a small box or picture frame. Gather your materials—a piece to decoupage, cutouts of your choice, glue, and varnish. Ensure your base item is clean and smooth. Apply glue to the back of your paper cutouts and position them on your item. Once satisfied, coat the entire piece with a layer of glue to seal the paper. After it dries, apply multiple thin layers of varnish, allowing ample drying time between coats. Enjoy the process and remember, decoupage is as much about creativity as it is about technique.