Instructions for Decoupage

Kim Carson/Photodisc/Getty Images

Things You'll Need

  • Decoupage sheet
  • Scissors
  • 3D foam pads

Decoupage is a craft method by which crafters give their cards or scrapbooks a three-dimensional feel by adding layers. Purchase decoupage kits in a wide range of topics, from holidays to animals, or make your own decoupage from family pictures. There are many levels of decoupage, from simple images to advanced layering of family photographs. Learning decoupage is relatively easy, and practice makes perfect.

Look at your decoupage sheet. Most beginner sheets clearly mark each of the three ‘levels’ so you can cut them out one at a time, and prevent confusion. If you are using your own image, consider what aspects of the image would be where. The complete picture should be level one, with anything in the middle ground on the second level, and a few key pieces in the foreground as level three.

Cut out the parts for level one. Most decoupage sheets have precut pieces that simply need to be pressed out. If you are using your own image, use scissors or a craft knife to carefully cut out the complete image.

Move the level one creation slightly to one side, and press or cut out the level two pieces.

Pick up one piece at a time, and work out exactly where it goes on the level one picture, in what position.

Stick one side of a 3D pad to the piece, and place it where it belongs on the picture.

Repeat until all the level two pieces are in place. If the 3D pad seems too big for the picture, cut it in half.

Cut out the level three pieces, and repeat the above process. You may need to cut the 3D pads into thirds or quarters if the pieces are very small.

Attach the bottom of the decoupage to a card or scrapbook page using a strong adhesive or double-sided tape.


  • Always use a self-healing cutting mat when using a craft knife, to prevent mistakes and protect surfaces.


  • "Compendium of Cardmaking Techniques"; Judy Balchin, Melanie Hendrick, Julie Hickey and Michelle Powell; 2005
  • "Step-by-step Decoupage"; Letty Oates; 2002

About the Author

Elle Blake has been writing since 2006. Her articles regularly appear in "All Women Stalk," "Parenting," "Education Plus" and "Glamour." She has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in early childhood studies and primary education and a Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in animal welfare and behavior, both from the University of Warwick. She is currently studying towards NCTJ Certificate in Magazine and Journalism.

Photo Credits

  • Kim Carson/Photodisc/Getty Images