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The Magic of Decoupage

When times are stressful, decoupage can make things better.

I don’t mean to sound frivolous. We have all been living in extraordinary circumstances these many months. If there ever was a time when we need ways to reduce stress, it is now.

With decoupage – the art of decorating things by gluing on paper shapes and images – you can create new artwork, transform old surfaces, give your home a fresh new look, and find peace and solace in the process.

That’s why I recommend decoupage as a solo or group activity. Think of it as painting with paper.

Here are six reasons why painting with paper can help you in these difficult days.

  1. The materials are easy to find. Decoupage can be done with magazines, calendars, computer printouts, gift wrap, and tissue paper, as well our Decopatch® papers, which are made specifically for decoupage. While any paper will work, results will vary depending on the thickness of the paper, how soft or hard it is, and how stable the inks are (we’ll tell you more about papers in another blog post).
  2. You can tear things up. Literally. And that’s very satisfying. Paper rips easily, and you usually need small pieces for your projects anyway, so take your frustrations out on paper if you need to.
  3. It’s easy to do. All you need is paper and glue. A glue made for decoupage works best – think Mod Podge® or another glue/glaze combo made for the purpose – but if you don’t have that, a thin craft glue can do the trick. Simply brush a spot of glue onto your surface, press the paper in place, and brush another layer of glue on top. Slightly overlap the papers as needed to cover your surface. This repetitive action is relaxing and calming. Decoupage can be done in stages, as you have time. While the process is easy, planning ahead and taking care with each step will give you the best results.
  4. Anyone can do it. Even toddlers can help tear background papers, and older children and adults can tear or cut the more delicate designs or shapes you want to use. [Tearing makes rough edges that help patterns blend more easily, while cutting generally makes edges stand out more.] Gluing takes some care, and you learn what works best as you go along (we’ll tell you more about gluing in another blog post).
  5. You can make meaning. The way you choose and combine images, patterns and colors can tell a story, express a feeling, create a mood, or simply please your eye. With both visual and tactile components, decoupage is an easy way to get into your own happy zone while creating memories.
  6. You can make it better. Decoupage is very forgiving. If you make a mistake, decoupage over it. Got bumps? Add layers of glue/glaze to even them out. And finally, reserve your good work with a layer of varnish.

That’s the magic of decoupage. Before you know it, your world is transformed. And really, isn’t that what we all want –  to have made a better world?

A Note About Papers

We’ve used all kinds of papers for decoupage, everything from tissue to washi. But once we discovered Decopatch® papers, we’ve seldom used anything else. Why?

They’re super thin. As a result, they almost melt into each other when layered, so there are no unsightly bumps.

They’re strong.  Unlike regular tissue paper, they don’t easily tear or dissolve when wet.

They are fade-resistant. Deep-dyed all the way through, the colors won’t run when wet.

They’re beautiful. Designed in France with patterns based on textiles, and colors that coordinate with any décor, they can be used to highlight motifs or simply used as colorways.

If you’ve ever looked around your home and thought time for something new, this is the perfect time to try decoupage. No need to buy new things, you can refresh that old table or chair or dresser or picture frame – almost any surface – with Decopatch® papers. Get the whole family involved!

The papers work equally well on our mache animals, vases, and desktop accessories. Great for a party activity, too (we can package up sets for a Zoom party, just ask!).

Here is a sample of the wide variety of Decopatch Papers we have available.

Written By Jan

Jan thinks of herself as a creative dabbler, and loves trying out new materials and tools, especially sand, paper, fabric, and kathunkita machines*. Jan started out as a letterpress and offset printer, and gauges her happiness on how many things she can make happen each day. Her motto is “Try something new, it will change you, and when you change your life you can change the world.” With this philosophy she opened a walk-in art studio in 1996 that still serves as an incubator for new projects and products. Jan is a Certified Play Expert (CPE) and an MBA.