Decoupage is a decorative technique in which you adhere paper to your chosen surface with glue and then seal it with varnish. Since any image will have the tendency to run when wet, it's best to use images printed with a laser printer. You can decoupage images printed with an ink jet printer by lightly coating the image with a base coat of white glue mixed with water, and letting it dry before proceeding. Using a water-based varnish will further eliminate any risk of theink bleeding.
Things You'll Need
White glue (or PVA glue)
Cloth, sponge or paper towel
Prepare your intended surface by sanding unfinished wood surfaces, cleaning glass or painting metal with rust-proof paint. Make sure the surface is clean and dry before proceeding.
Cut out your image using a craft knife. Angle the blade to the outside of the image to bevel the paper. This will keep the background from showing in your final piece.
Mix white glue with a small amount of water if you are using ink jet prints or pages from magazines. Thin the glue until it spreads easily but is not too watery. Skip to Step 5 if you are using a laser printer copy or color photocopy.
Coat your image with the watered-down glue and let it dry.
Dip your brush in water, then in the decoupage medium. Apply the mixture to the back of your image, starting from the center and working outwards.
Place the image as you wish on your prepared surface. Apply decoupage medium to the top of your image. Keep your brush wet, and work from the center outwards.
Use your fingertips to smooth out any air bubbles.
Use a damp cloth, sponge or paper towel to wipe off any excess glue. Let the decoupage dry completely.
Seal your decoupage onto your surface with water-based varnish or multiple coats of white glue. Let each coat of varnish or glue dry before applying the next. Multiple coats of varnish or glue will enhance the illusion that your image has been painted onto the surface.
Keep your brush wet while applying glue, and clean thoroughly after use. Wear rubber gloves if you have sensitive skin.
Do not let the glue or decoupage medium dry on the brush. It will ruin the bristles and leave brush marks on the finished piece.