Designing decoupage

Amrita Prasad
Friday, 15 September 2017

We The Artists is organising a workshop on decoupage in the city that will help you learn this ancient Victorian art and recycle and upcycle products

Decoupage (French for cutting) is the craft of decorating household objects, usually wooden furniture or papier-mache boxes, with picture cutouts made from paper. At an upcoming workshop on decoupage, which has been organised by We The Artists — an organisation which works towards providing a platform for artists and art enthusiasts, and encourages different art forms — participants can learn the various techniques of this French art from Pune-based artist Rashi Gupta.

Smita Pandeya, workshop head of We The Artists, says, “Decoupage is an ancient Victorian art where coloured paper or fabric cutouts are pasted on a smooth surface and varnished to make it appear like a painting or inlay work. The workshop will familiarise you with the basics of decoupage which will help you develop a skill set to create and upcyle anything. At the workshop, you will be taught tissue paper decoupage on a glass bottle. However with experience, you can decoupage various surfaces like bottles, boxes, furniture, plates, glasses, trays, garden pots, photo frames, vases, candles, shoes, etc.” 

It’s not complicated
Decoupage can often give you an impression that it is very complicated, however it isn’t. “Basically, you cut out pictures, glue them onto an object and then cover the object and pictures with a few coats of glue/ decoupage medium to protect the art and make it appear like a painting. The ancient Victorian art was traditionally done on furniture to beautify them and give them a makeover. It is a good way of recycling and upcycling products that we usually throw away. Decoupage is a great way to infuse a new life to odd objects,” says Pandeya. 

Decoupage will help you create personalised gifts, customise utility products and upcycle treasured objects. For the varnish that is used, Pandeya says, “Any kind of varnish can be used to give it a coating and smoothness. You can use layers of glue for varnish to make the surface waterproof, so that you can wash the object later.” 

The type of paper needed to do decoupage should be preferably thin. “We will be using tissue paper for decoupage on a bottle. Coloured design papers are available at stationery shops which you can aesthetically cut and place on the bottle so that they look like one single picture. You can use different coloured tissue papers to create more detailed designs or can also use thin magazine cover cutouts to form decoupage on bottles or any desired flat surface. Painting it with acrylic colours will help the cutouts blend with the surface and make it look like one painting,” she informs. 

Once you start doing the art, you slowly understand how to achieve precision. According to Pandeya, getting the right surface is very important. 

It is one of the most pocket-friendly ways to own famous paintings without spending much! All you have to do is you can take printouts of famous paintings of your choice and create a decoupage with them. Pandeya says that decoupage can be practically done on everything, from ceramics to glass, plastics, trays and so on. “A table top can be transformed through decoupage making it new and fresh. Depending on your taste —  whether you want a trendy or a traditional look — you can select the paper designs,” she adds. 

Pandeya feels that creating art together boosts a sense of community and doing decoupage or any craft together is a great time to bond. “Whether you come with your parents, grandchildren, friends and so on, you forget all the differences and focus on one particular activity which is so positive and constructive and really helps psychologically. For a while you break away from the monotony of life. And once you complete the art and take home the finished product, you feel a sense of achievement too,” Pandeya concludes. 

The decoupage workshop will take place at Aksharnandan School, Shivaji Housing Society, behind JW Marriott Hotel, Senapati Bapat Road, on September 17, 11.30 am-1.30 pm. For registrations, visit  All age groups can participate

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