Decoupage – Making Gifts Personal

We all want our gifts to represent how much we care. We hunt for that perfect gift that says “I think you’re special” and “I thought of you”, or even ” I was paying attention.” Sometimes it’s a funny scarf or a beautiful centerpiece, but other times it can be difficult to find the “gift with their name on it”. That’s when home-made crafts really shine.

The art of decoupage most likely originates from East Siberian tomb art, where they layered felts to decorate the final resting place of the deceased. This was cultivated by the Chinese in the 12th century and became wildly popular in Europe during the 18th century, where it was called “Japanning”, hinting at its Oriental background. It’s a fairly simple process, and it produces amazing results. You can take any object: furniture, boxes, chests, journals, or picture frames to name a few, and paste layer after layer of cut colored paper to the surface in any order or design you like. Traditionally, a Decoupeur (person who makes decoupage), would seal each layer with multiple coats of varnish to create a 3D inlay look. They apply about 30 to 40 layers, then sand it down to a polished finish.

Today this process can be simplified using a special decoupage paste, which can be found at most craft stores such as Mo’s Art Supply in Downtown Covington. You can use scrap-booking materials, personal mementos, fabric, photos and more. The end result is a beautiful, unique gift that will be a cherished memento.

Example of decoupage
Antique decoupage purse.