How To Decoupage With Mod Podge

How To Decoupage With Mod Podge


If you’re looking for arts and crafts ideas, learn how to decoupage with every crafter’s dream: Mod Podge. As both beginner and Master Crafter, you’ll be able to enhance furniture, picture frames… you name it. Decoupage, je t’aime!




What is decoupage? It’s awesome. More than that, it is a craft that has been around in one form or another for centuries; it gained popularity in 18th century England as a way to imitate thickly lacquered Asian decor and art. In short, the word comes from the French for “to cut” and is at its most fundamental, very simple.

How to decoupage in 3 easy steps:

  1. Obtain an item to cover.
  2. Obtain pictures to cover said item.
  3. Glue sh*t together.

The specifics get only a little more complicated. True decoupages as an art forms can involve up to 40 coats of sanded and highly polished varnish. Most people are not going to do that nowadays and so beyond the few supplies required, there are only a few things to keep in mind.

First off, know what you are going for. Is this a decorative item? An art piece? Will it see a lot of handling? Indoor or outdoor? I have covered everything from canvases to tables to mirrors; many people have decoupaged ceiling fan blades, garden implements, and cell phones. The only limit, as the old cliche’ goes, is your imagination, and maybe how bored you are on a Saturday night.

Collect pictures and fabrics ready for decoupage

Collect pictures, papers, even fabric, anything flat that can be glued over the object you wish to cover. IKEA catalogues, with all their lovely colours and spreads are wonderful to cut up and use, as are old magazines.

Start off with something easy at first, like a box or frame, with no curved edges, since those can be difficult to smooth flat without a bit of practice.

If you are cutting up a magazine, consider getting a small file to keep your little cut out treasures in until use, filed by colour or whatever system suits you. I use a coupon file or envelopes from bills that I don’t need and organise by colour. Then when you are ready to create, you aren’t having to cut cut cut, which while necessary for mosaic type pieces, can be a bit stumpingly dull.

Mod Podge – the perfect glue for decoupage

To glue your paper or fabric pieces down and seal everything down to get a beautiful finished look and shine, use a decoupage medium like Mod Podge. Mod Podge is probably a combination of the best known, easily accessible, and least expensive of any you could use. Other forms use a varnish or sealer, and you can finish off your project that way for extra durability, but Mod Podge is easy and fun to use. Die hard “Mod Podgers” will probably gasp in horror at this, but an extra cheat, if funds are a bit tight for craft supplies, is to buy and use white school glue, lightly watered down, to glue down your pictures and scraps, and save your precious Mod Podge to seal the whole thing up. The proper sealing is an absolute must, though.

The process is simple. Lay out your design, or simply start gluing bits down with your glue or Podge, making sure everything is pressed nicely flat and there are as few bubbles or wrinkles as possible. Lightly seal the edges down with more glue and continue until you have every scrap laid down as you want. Using a paintbrush or foam brush, you will then paint a fairly sturdy, but even layer, not too thick or it will get, and this a technical craft term, “gloopy”,over the whole project, smoothing out any bubbles. Wait and let it dry (Mod Podge is surprisingly fast at this) and then put on another layer. You can lightly sand in between coats if you wish to minimise brushstrokes; personally, with most projects, I kind of like the way they add to the painted effect. There are many types of Mod Podge available, and the finish you use (satin, matte, glossy) will determine the final level of shine. You can put on as many or few coats as you wish, as long as there is at least one or two to seal the project up throughly.

What to make with decoupage: Arts & Crafts ideas

So…What do I make? you may ask. Anything you wish. I made a lovely set of mirrors that were entirely constructed of little tiny pictures in one colour per mirror, in different shades; when you looked at it, you saw the colour and then saw the individual pictures up close. It resembled mosaic work and is very easy to do. If you decide on a similar project, make sure you cut out more bits than you think you will need in various sizes, and start with the biggest pieces first, ending up attaching the smallest bits to fill in as you go. That will give you the smoothest look. Another idea is to find a piece of fabric or paper (origami or scrapbook papers have lovely patterns) that you cover the whole surface with, which gives an object a really nice patterned appearance without having had to paint it that way, wonderful if you don’t necessarily paint well but have a good eye for colour and design. This works nicely on furniture pieces, like bureau drawer fronts, etc.

The real trick is that a good eye for colour and pattern will be your biggest assets here when you first learn how to decoupage. There is no real special “technique” when learning to start crafting with decoupage as there is with knitting or quilting. It’s a great way to get your feet wet creating your own works of art and you can make lovely gifts. For more ideas on how to decoupage with Mod Podge, you can go to mod podge rocks, a fantastic site for ideas and tips for creating your own decoupage masterpiece. Soon you will find yourself wanting to cover the world in glue and paper. Hide the cat.