Free Project: Decoupaged Boxes

decoupaged box

There are all sorts of reasons you might want to make decoupaged boxes. Decoupaging a variety of boxes, from shoeboxes to check boxes, with the same or similar paper can make them look like they belong together. Decoupaged boxes can make a boring gift a little more interesting, and they become part of the gift as well.

Decoupage is a fun, easy craft that is quick to learn with this basic project of making decoupaged boxes.

What Is Decoupage?

Decoupage comes from the French word decouper, meaning to cut out. It's a relatively old genre of home décor that can be either very simple or immensely complicated.

The only skills you need to be able to decoupage are cutting and pasting. To make simple decoupaged boxes, you just need to cut paper to the size and shape of your box and glue the paper to the box. Another layer of glue or varnish is applied over the paper to give the decoupaged box a smooth, slightly shiny finish.

Of course, like most crafts, it can get a lot more complicated than that. Master decoupage artists (called decoupeurs, according to their guild website) have great patience and skill at cutting out individual flowers, bird, people or other motifs that are then arranged in a sort of collage and glued down to the box, picture frame, wooden object or just about anything else you want that is smooth.

Decoupage can be used on vases, mirrors, lamp shades, ceramics, glass, tables, chairs, boxes and much more.


  • A plain box to decorate (use a check box, a shoe box, or any other small to medium sized box you have lying around the house)
  • Paper to decorate the box with (I used decorative tissue paper, but wrapping paper, newspaper, magazine pages, photographs or pictures printed on plain paper would work)
  • Decoupage medium (I use Mod Podge because it's a classic, but any thin glue that dries clear will work)
  • Foam brush
  • Scissors

Instructions for Decoupaged Boxes

Cut out a piece of paper the size and shape of your box. You can simply trim a rectangular piece and have some overlap at the corners, or cut out the corners that would make an overlap when you put the paper on the box (drawing the shape of the box in pencil on the back of the paper will make this much easier). Make your cut out a little bigger than the box so you can secure the edges to the inside of the box.

You could also cut out an individual piece of paper for each side of the box, with a little overlap on all sides. The seams will be visible and this won't look as smooth as decoupaging with one solid piece, but it is a lot easier to get the paper down smooth this way.

Using the foam brush, apply a layer of decoupage medium to one side of the box. Press the paper onto the glue, being careful to align it properly. Smooth it out so there are no air bubbles or ripples in the paper. Use a little more glue to secure the edge to the inside of the box.

Repeat this procedure until all sides are covered. Let the glue dry. If you would like to make a collage or place other paper over the first layer, do so now. When everything is dry, take your foam brush and apply a thin layer of decoupage medium to the paper, making sure you get all sides covered evenly. Allow to dry overnight.

Your box is now ready to use! If you'd like to make your box shiny or sparkly, you can buy decoupage medium that has extra shine built in.

Other Decoupage Ideas

This is about as basic as decoupage gets. Here are some more ideas for things you can decoupage:

  • picture frames
  • wooden boxes
  • tables, chairs and bookshelves for the kids' rooms
  • glasses, glass vases or glass votive holders
  • terra cotta pots

There's no end to the cute projects you can make with a little bit of paper, a little bit of glue and your imagination. You don't even have to use paper to decoupage. Have fun and see what you can come up with!

Free Project: Decoupaged Boxes