What is Decoupage and How to Learn it?

Both collage and decoupage involve cutting (or tearing) out images or shapes and sticking them down.
A collage is a form of artwork, intended to be displayed as other pieces of fine art would be, usually hung on a wall. Decoupage is a crafts technique used to decorate an object which is used, such as a box or table top, not to create an artwork that stands alone. The word collage comes from a rather literal French term meaning ‘gluing’ and the tactile sensation of gluing pieces of media is certainly present in this work.

Decoupage as an artistic practice, and a particular method of creating visual juxtapositions, provides us a similar and yet distinct mode for thinking about compositing. As with collage, Decoupage is a world of French origin and stems directly from the term meaning to ‘cut out’. In traditional practice decoupage involved the cutting up of elements (usually paper images, photos, drawings, patterns and textures) and then pasting these down on a surface (most often furniture) and sealing them in place with layers of lacquer or vanish. By the nature of this process of cutting-up and pasting-down, decoupage invokes a kind of decorative aesthetic; an act of decorating something by juxtaposing layers of other visual elements on to and over it. 
A collage is a form of artwork, intended to be displayed as other pieces of fine art would be, usually hung on a wall. Decoupage is a crafts technique used to decorate an object which is used, such as a box or table top, not to create an artwork that stands alone. Decoupage is a very popular craft form which came from French term meaning “cutting up.” It is a similar craft form like collage . It is the creative art of assembling, pasting and varnishing paper cutouts for decorating objects. This article helps you get some basic techniques and ideas to create crafts with decoupage. I personally like decoupage as it is a form of recycling. You can easily use materials such as old magazines, pictures, used wishing cards, or packing stuff from used gift boxes to create new beautiful work of art.

Decoupage is a simple process of cutting and pasting in one layer or many layers. Basically, you cut out pictures; you glue the pictures onto an object; and then cover the object and pictures with a few coats of glue to protect it. You may use other materials like picture cut outs from magazine, your old pictures, postcards, seed packets, greeting cards, wallpaper and old childrens story books,  fancy buttons, ribbons, glitter or whatever material you choose.

Variety and creativity go side by side in this creative crafts form.

This form of handicrafts is quite old, and even today is still done by many people. It is an old Japanese technique of decorating using thirty layers. It was the Europeans' way of inexpensively decorating furniture. But, decoupage became a popular pastime during the Victorian era. Victorians saved Valentine cards, magazines, and books of printed motifs. Favorite subjects for decoupage crafters have traditionally been flowers and fruits, birds and butterflies, and angels and fairies.

other paper was designed specifically for this medium. Today, we don't use so many layers and decoupage designs usually come from magazine pages or paper cut. Decoupage can be very simple or very intricate, and you can create decoupage crafts or homemade gifts easily. Traditionally, wooden objects are used in decoupage. Furniture is commonly decoupaged. Any surface that is relatively smooth can be decoupaged, such as metal, plastic, or glass. 

The best way to learn and start creating crafts with decoupage is by starting on simple projects.
Pencil boxes, used gift boxes and inexpensive picture frames are a great way to learn the basics of the craft. If you make a mistake you can simply start over or recycle it and start again until it looks the way you envisioned.

Once you have mastered decorating little things, you can go for big things like coffee tables or decorative lamp shades.

Basic techniques to start decoupage:

Collect the tools needed to start it.

Basic tools are scissors, utility knives, straight edge paper cutter, crafts glue (or pva which is an excellent medium) and varnish.  
Supplied needed to create decoupage:
– decorative paper cutouts 
– item to decoupage(trays, frames,furniture, etc)- scissors, manicure scissors, x-acto knife

– white glue or Mod Podge

– tweezers
– 3 paintbrushes for applying paint, glue, and varnish
– sandpaper 
Before you begin, be sure the surface of the item is clean, free of dust or flaking paint. If the piece is unfinished wood, it must be painted, stained, or sealed before decoupaging. If the item needs to bepainted, use the appropriate paint for the item. Let dry 24 hours. It will also need to be lightly sanded so the glue will adhere better. Use a very fine grit sandpaper.         

Useful links:

* Decoupage Ideas for Furniture
* 'Art and home studios' offers many easy tutorials to create decoupage projects.
* There are many projects at 'Zimbio'

* There are many online sites which offer more ideas and tips. Like 'Fave Crafts' offers '33 fabulous decoupage ideas and tutorials.'

* The art of collage

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