Decoupage Ideas

Dana Hinders
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Decoupage techniques can give a new look to old furniture.

Decoupage techniques provide an easy and affordable way to decorate everything from composition books to furniture.

Finding Materials

The first step in any decoupage project is choosing the papers you would like to work with. Some of the possible materials you could use for a decoupage project include the following:

  • Wrapping paper
  • Patterned tissue paper
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Pages from old books, such as dictionaries or children's books
  • Comic books
  • Magazines
  • Maps
  • Sheet music
  • Posters
  • Travel brochures
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Scanned copies of photos
  • A child's artwork
  • Postcards
  • Greeting cards
  • Printable decoupage papers from online resources

When searching for materials for your project, you may wish to select a common theme to work with. These are some possible decoupage ideas:

  • A primary color
  • A holiday
  • Images relating to a specific person in your family
  • Images relating to goals for yourself, such as the desire to travel or learn to play a musical instrument
  • Images relating to a poem, quote, or song lyrics with special meaning to you

What Can You Make?

One of the main reasons decoupage crafts are so popular is that this technique is amazingly versatile. You can make practical items like desk organizers or large pieces of wall art to decorate your home.

Crafters who love to decoupage know that you should never throw away an item before considering if it can somehow be incorporated into a craft project. Old shoe boxes can be decoupaged to become stylish storage containers for magazines and important papers. A chipped picture frame can be decoupaged to make a new home décor accent. If you're feeling really ambitious, you can even decoupage coffee tables, shelves, dressers, and other accent furniture to provide a new look.

Dollar stores are another excellent source of materials for decoupage craft projects. You can often find composition books, file folders, desk organizers, bulletin boards, or mirrors for $5 or less. This gives you an inexpensive way to test your creativity, since it's sometimes hard to visualize how a decoupage project will turn out until it's early completed.

Most decoupage projects involve decorating some sort of small, flat item. However, decoupage can be used embellish almost anything. Did you know that you can even decoupage shoes? Tear small scraps of paper, then decoupage them onto a pair of unwanted ballet flats to make a pretty new pair. has several decoupage shoe projects that you can use for inspiration.

Combining Decoupage with Other Decorative Techniques

When looking for decoupage ideas, remember that you don't have to cover the entire piece in paper for the project to be successful. In many cases, selective decoupage can provide a more sophisticated look. For example, you could paint a dresser a solid color and decoupage flower cut out images to the sides. Or, you could decoupage the top of a coffee table with a collage of images and apply a wood stain to the legs.

Depending upon the item you are trying to create, you can embellish your decoupaged piece using other supplies in your crafting stash. A coat of glitter glue might lend a nice sparkle to a decoupaged notebook cover. You can hot glue buttons to the edges of a decoupaged picture frame to add a bit of dimension. Try attaching a pretty ribbon bow to the mouth of a decoupaged vase.

Protecting Your Work

When you're finished with your decoupage project, it's a good idea to consider how you plan to protect your work. A picture frame displayed on a shelf in your living room may only need an extra coat of Mod Podge to seal the papers. Howver, projects that are going to encounter more use will need to be sealed with acrylic gel medium, shellac, varnish, or polyurethane gloss. Taking the time to seal your project will make sure you're able to enjoy it for many years to come.

Decoupage Ideas