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What are the Different Types of Decoupage Projects?

By S. McNesby
Updated Feb 22, 2024
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The different types of decoupage projects include items to accent a home, give as gifts or sell for a profit. Decoupage can be done on just about any hard surface, including glass, tile, cardboard, paper, wood and metal. With proper preparation, rigid plastic can be used for decoupage as well. Soft, porous items do not make good decoupage surfaces, because the glue will not adhere properly.

Glass items such as plates, wine glasses and Christmas ornaments can be used for decoupage. One of the benefits of completing a decoupage glass item is that the glass creates a built-in protective finish for the piece. Glass decoupage projects can be completed on the front or the back side of the glass, depending on the type of piece and its intended purpose. Drinking glasses are decoupaged on the outside, and glass plates are decoupaged on the back so that the artwork does not come into contact with food.

Tile decoupage projects can be created on wall tiles that are in place or on tiles that have not yet been installed. Decoupage is one way to update dated bathroom tiles or to cover up a damaged tile in the kitchen. A set of coasters can be made by decoupaging colored paper cutouts onto 4-inch (10-cm) tiles. Projects such as these make excellent holiday gifts.

Decoupage projects for the home can be made from any small decorative home accessories, including trash cans, decorative boxes, tins and wood plaques. Basic decoupage supplies and paper cutouts can be used to complete home decor items; colors and images can be customized to match any decorating style. Wood furniture is an ideal surface for large-scale decoupage projects, provided that the original finish is prepared properly.

Even the walls of a home make ideal surfaces for decoupage projects. Decoupage can be used to cover up flaws or damage, to call attention to a design feature or to accent a mural. The same products and supplies used to make small-scale decoupage products can be used to decoupage on walls, though a mini paint roller or over-sized foam brush might be needed for large areas.

No matter what surfaces are used, decoupage projects are completed in the same way, using the same basic supplies. Specialty decoupage glue might be needed for projects that use metal or plastic as a design surface, but the same paper cutouts can be used on any hard, non-porous items. As with any craft, beginners should start with a simple decoupage project before tackling complex or over-sized designs.

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Discussion Comments
By pleonasm — On Jul 03, 2012

@croydon - I've seen some really gorgeous examples of decoupage where they have used a really minimalist style and not added all that much to the basic object that they were covering. Decoupage is associated with a more crowded style, I think but it doesn't need to be like that. Some decoupage ideas might be to just put a few dried flowers over a bit of wooden furniture, or to cut out a few construction paper silhouettes of the family to add to the mantelpiece.

Have a look around to see some examples of a variety of different projects so you know what you want to do with your own.

By croydon — On Jul 03, 2012

@Mor - It is important to make sure you have a really good composition and not to rely entirely on the finishing varnish to complete the look of your decoupage crafts.

But even back in the day people would use all kinds of things in their decoupage artworks, including dried flowers and felt and gold leaf and different kinds of paper. So, melding different textures into a composition that works is not just a modern problem. They don't have to look completely organic, in my opinion, you can celebrate the different textures and make that contrast part of the appeal of the project.

I actually think it's a really good alternative to scrap-booking. I've noticed that it's difficult for scrap-bookers to keep themselves from adding too many elements to each page, when they have so many things they want to include. With decoupage, you actually want to fill up the page most of the time and a busy composition is encouraged.

Plus with layers of varnish on top your creation will be protected and safer than it might be in a scrapbook.

By Mor — On Jul 02, 2012

Apparently decoupage used to be known as Japanning because the British thought that it originate in Japan. I'm not sure that it did though, I think it's more likely that they were copying the look of the beautiful lacquered and inlaid furniture that was produced in Japan around that time.

Traditional decoupage art involves using a lot of layers of varnish over the top of the cut out pictures until they look as though they were all painted in one scene, rather than cut from several different scenes. I think it's more difficult to achieve this effect when you're doing it with modern magazines because the pictures you're using are often a mix of photos (taken with different lights) and cartoons and paintings but it can be done.

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