Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Arts and Crafts/Decoupage

Arts and Crafts
General Conference
Skill Level 1
Year of Introduction: 1975

1. Give the meaning and history of decoupage


The art of Decoupage, from the French word meaning to cut, is simply cutting out pictures and pasting them on furniture or home accessories to simulate painting by covering them with several coats of varnish or lacquer. The process makes cut-out pictures look like they were painted on the surface.

This art was also known as poor man's art because in the olden days those who couldn't afford to hire an artist to decorate their furniture could obtain quite elegant effects with cut-outs pasted on and covered with multiple coats of varnish or lacquer, traditionally as many as 30-40.[1]

Decoupage dates back to the 12th century, but gained mass popularity in the late 17th century with the Western discovery of Oriental art composed of pictures lacquered onto items. It flourished in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries and many elaborate decorations on boxes, trays, chests and tables, formerly believed to have been hand painted, were later found to be merely cut outs cleverly applied by a crafty artisan. Some people who have enjoyed decoupage art include Lord Byron, Marie Antionette, and Pablo Picasso.[2]

2. Make a list of the materials and equipment needed in decoupage.

  1. Something to decoupage on: Wood, tile, a box, pictures, furniture, photo albums, plates, ceramics, shelving, frames, mirrors.
  2. Pictures. They can come from magazines, greeting cards, calendars, catalogs, books, wrapping paper. You can also use fabric, tissue paper, lace
  3. Cutting Utensil. Scissors, craft knife, razor blades. Sometimes, tearing the paper works well to create a softer edge.
  4. Glue. Standard white glue works best if diluted with a little water. Specialty glues can be found in craft stores.
  5. Roller or Smoother. Something to remove glue bubbles. A brayer is a specialized tool like a miniature rolling pin that will help remove wrinkles and excess glue.
  6. Glue spreader. Can be cotton swabs (be sure not to leave lint behind), popsicle sticks, paint brushes, sponges, your finger.
  7. Cloth rags, sponges, tissue paper to wipe up excess glue and for other clean up.
  8. Sealer. Glue or other decoupage medium can be used as a sealer. Traditional sealers were varnish and lacquer. Polyurethane or spray acrylic can also be used.
  9. Other tools. Any other tools that you may need to prepare the surface of your decoupage item. This could include sand paper, steel wool, tack cloths. After enough layers of sealant are applied, imperfections in the sealant can be sanded out with 400 grit sandpaper and more sealant applied.


3. Describe how to prepare a wood or metal object for decoupage.

To prepare the surface of the object you will be working with, you may need to sand it so that it is as smooth as possible. Once you have sanded to your satisfaction, rinse (if practical) and dry it. You can also use tack cloth to remove any dust from it. Additionally, you can also prepare the surface by painting with a water-based enamel.

4. Describe three ways in which a print may be used in decoupage.

  1. A print can be placed on top of a surface and then treated. e.g. Tile or wood item.
  2. A print, after varnishing, can be soaked in water, then excess paper rubbed off the back and the print may then be stretched over a plaster-of-Paris dome.
  3. A print can be placed on the back of a transparent item (plate, bowl or tray, window) and then treated.
  4. Identical prints can be cut out, and using globs of cold glue between prints to make a 3D effect. Each layer must dry 100% before proceeding.

5. Use the basic steps in completing two of the following objects


a. Modpodge print


See for information on Mod Podge prints.

b. Keyring


c. Bookends


d. Bottle


e. Tissue box


f. Reasonable choice



  1. Wikipedia Encyclopedia, term "decoupage"
  3. Wikipedia excyclopedia, term "Decoupage"