Decoupage is the art of applying colored paper cutouts to wood, glass, ceramic and other smooth surfaces. The different types of decoupage supplies include those used to prepare the materials, the materials applied to the object and the things that are used to finish the project. The supplies include to prepare the materials include scissors and sandpaper. Those used for applying the material to the object include paints, glue, sponges, brushes, tweezers and paper cutouts, which can be from magazines, greeting cards, catalogs or other materials. The decoupage supplies needed for finishing a project include varnish, rollers and brayers.
The choice of a decoupage object usually is based on the artist’s personal taste and skill level. Flat objects are easiest to decoupage. Trays, boxes, photo albums and frames are good choices for a novice. Curved decoupage objects can be a bit more of a challenge. Vases, candles, cans, lamp shades, bottles and jars are great choices for the seasoned decoupage artist.
Paper cutouts can be glued to glass, wood, metal, fabric, ceramic, plastic or paper objects with special decoupage glue or gloss. These decoupage supplies can also act as a sealer, sealing the design when completed. Oil-based varnishes will yellow in time, making them useful for any piece needing an aged look.
Sometimes, the artist chooses to paint the decoupage object before applying the paper or fabric cut-outs. Acrylic paints typically work best, and objects should have at least 24 hours to dry before the decoupage is applied. Light sanding between coats of paint will give the best results.
The decoupage method is simple, if the necessary decoupage supplies are gathered before starting a decoupage project. The decoupage artist selects his or her decoupage cutouts, then applies a glue medium with a paint brush. The cutouts can be placed them in position with tweezers or a finger centered in the middle of the cutouts. Afterward, the artist smooths the cutout outward from the center with a damp, soft sponge or cloth and wipes away excess glue. Applying a coat of sealer or varnish is optional, but using it will protect the piece.
Decoupage supplies can be modified for an age-appropriate activity for children. All-purpose glue can be diluted and used as an inexpensive alternative to higher-priced decoupage glue or sealer products. Less-costly acrylic paints, rounded scissors and old children’s books and magazines can offer many colorful decoupage cutouts.
Children can practice with larger decoupage cutouts that are easier for them to handle. Large sponge brushes are helpful when painting a decoupage object or applying glue to a cutout. A brayer or a small roller with a handle helps to flatten a large image onto a flat object.