How to Paint Over Paper Decoupaged to Wood

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Decoupage and paint plain furniture for an instant room makeover.
Decoupage and paint plain furniture for an instant room makeover. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Decoupage paste is an adhesive and sealer used to decorate surfaces with two-dimensional media -- like photos, magazine clippings, tissue paper and drawings. The paste is most effective on porous and semi-porous surfaces where it can soak in and create a strong-bond. Applied properly on a suitable surface, decoupaged decorations are spot cleanable, water-resistant and permanent. You can paint directly on top of decoupaged paper; however, the painted designs will adopt the texture of the underlying material -- if the paper is crinkled, the painted area will be crinkled as well. To remove the texture, you must remove the decoupaged paper.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Palm sander
  • Sanding block
  • Tack cloth
  • Spray-on varnish
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes

Put on gloves and safety goggles.

Sand the decoupaged piece down to bare wood. Sand the entire surface of the piece if you are going to paint the entire item; otherwise, just lightly sand the areas you want to paint. Use a sanding block or sand paper to smooth tight areas and corners where the palm sander cannot reach.

Wipe down the wood with a tack cloth.

Seal the bare wood with a thin coat of spray-on varnish.

Paint designs onto the wood surface.

Apply one to two coats of varnish over the painted designs and the decoupaged paper.

Tips & Warnings

  • Alternatively, paint on the decoupaged surface without sanding and then seal over the paint with decoupage paste. The paint will be preserved like the paper between two layers of sealant.

References

  • "The Michael's Book of Arts & Crafts"; Dawn Cusick et al.; 2003
  • "Manning on Decoupage"; Hiram Manning; 1980
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