Decoupage is thought to have its history all the back in ancient Siberia, where decoupage art was discovered in an East Siberian tomb. Nomadic tribes would cut out pieces of felt and decorate the tombs of the deceased. The practice made its way to China by the 12th century. The Chinese used to cut out paper to decorate lanterns, boxes, and windows among other objects.
The practice of decoupage made its way to Europe in the 17th century. It is thought that the link from China to Europe was through Italy, as Italy was at the forefront of trade with the Far East.
Interest in decoupage has held strong even until modern times, and it is still popular today. It is a practice of cutting out paper and gluing them to an object, and then layering with several coats of varnish. The layers of paper provide depth and can even give the appearance of the image being painted on.
How to Decoupage
- 1) Get your materials together. Start with the object you want to decorate, and then collect the materials you want to decorate t with. The materials can include tissue paper, old cards, wrapping paper, pages from a magazine, and thin fabric pieces even. Pages printed with an ink-jet printer will smear with the varnish so rather avoid this. Cover your work are with newspaper.
- 2) Cut, or tear, your pieces of paper. If you are cutting, hold the scissors slightly angled. This will give a smoother edge. Tearing the paper will give an even smoother edge.
- 3) Plan your layout. You can do this by sketching, or simply place the paper pieces in the desired pattern.
- 4) Prepare the surface. Make sure the surface is clean and dry. If you are using wood and metal, the surface may need to be primed first. If the items or surface is old, it may need sanding down first.