Sunday, 16 February 2014

Ideas for Decoupage

Decoupage is a lovely way to create unique pieces of homewares, stationery, gifts and many more things (anything you can stick paper to really!). It's a great way to use pretty papers you have and want to display and also to reuse objects that are looking past their best by recovering them.

The French word d├ęcouper means 'to cut out' and is where decoupage gets its name. And basically it's as simple as that; cut out papers and use them to decorate.

The first thing I can remember decoupaging when I was little was a small set of drawers made from cardboard which help little items of stationery - paper clips, rubber bands, drawing pins etc. They'd gotten a little tatty so I covered them with used postage stamps I'd collected and I had myself a unique little decoration.

The basics of decoupage

Decoupage is very simple in its basic form (which is really all I do!). You simply cut out some pretty papers and glue them to the object you want to cover. Then you need to coat them to stop them getting tatty or marked. For this I simply mix some PVA glue with a little water to thin it out and use a paint brush to to spread it thinly over the papers (you don't want to get them too wet or the paper will bubble). Depending on the type of paper I've used I might do this a couple of times.

To get started you'll need:
  • various papers
  • scissors
  • PVA glue
  • a paint brush
  • water
  • objects to cover
If you're trying decoupage for the first time and want to practise before you unleash your creativeness on an object, try decoupaging a small cardboard packet/box or a blank piece of thick card first until you feel confident (or as I usually do, get stuck in and make a mess!)

Things I've decoupaged

This is a clip board I've had for more years than I can remember! It had sticky marks on it, tatty corners and a faded checked pattern. I used strips of vintage dictionary pages and music sheets which I inked the edges of and then slightly layered over each other and stuck them to the board. Then I cut out some bird pictures from an old bird book and stuck these on top. Finally I coated the whole thing with the PVA and water mixture to seal it ready to use.

ideas for decoupage - clipboard

decoupage using paper ephemera

I made this tissue box cover to match my new wallpaper when I decorated it. I bought a blank wooden cover from a craft shop and glued strips of paper to it, slightly overlapping each strip. I didn't realise it at the time, but the Laura Ashley wallpaper I'd used was also also available in the same pattern as scrapbook paper - and I had some in my paper collection! I cut out the birds and flowers and added them to the box to match the wallpaper.

Decoupaged tissue box by Pink Flamingo Handcrafting

how to decoupage by Pink Flamingo Handcrafting

I love to keep boxes to store bits and pieces in and often cover them with decoupage to make them look prettier. This started out as a chocolate box which I've simply covered with cut out pieces of paper. 

Decoupaging old Pink Flamingo Handcrafting

Papers you could use

Craft shops sell 'decoupage' papers which are usually thin tissue paper type sheets but basically any thin, flexible paper will work. You could try using:
  • maps
  • postage stamps
  • wallpaper
  • book pages
  • newspaper
  • magazine pages
  • old envelopes
  • pictures cut from books
  • old tickets
Find this post in my gallery at


  1. I LOVE the birds on the clipboard! I'm a total "bird nerd." Pinned this and will definitely give try to find some birds to mod-podge over sheet music. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad I found your link at the "Three Mango Seeds" party!

    1. I'm so glad you like it Teri and it's given you an idea to play with! Have fun with your birdies!

  2. Love the birds on the sheet music. So pretty and dainty.

  3. Clipboards seem to be all the rage right now and I love the idea of customizing them! Thanks for linking up to The Makers!

    1. I like the idea of my clipboard being 'all the rage', I just wanted something to stick birds on!

  4. Those little birds on the music sheet is so precious - lots of great ideas for using decoupage - always wanted to do more of this so thanks for some wonderful ideas. (Sharon)

    So glad you shared this on your gallery at #simplybebetsy!

    See you soon,