How to Decoupage Table Top

Decoupage is the art of decorating surfaces with paper cut-outs and varnishing them to give the impression of hand-painting or inlay. Traditionally used on screens and boxes, it has vast decorative potential for almost any item and surface. Decoupage became popular as an art around 1 700, when it was first imported from China to Europe and was spread by merchants. A century later, repro­ductions were produced in Italy, where cabinet mak­ers started using prints. It was sometimes known as I’arte del uomo povero, or ‘poor man’s art’, which perfectly describes this inexpensive craft and its widespread application.

You can find good paper pictures and shapes in magazines, greetings cards, wrapping paper, and old catalogues such as seed catalogues. Some museum and craft shops may also sell modern copies of origi­nal cut-out print books or you can also hunt out old drawings and prints. If you copy these on a colour photocopier they will reproduce more realistically. Alternatively, cut out your own decoupage pieces from coloured paper. Before you start, make a draw­ing of the object on paper and arrange the pieces until you are happy with the composition, then trace around the shapes as a guide. Make sure the surface you are sticking to is smooth and dust-free.

You will need:

  • A glass-topped table
  • Paper patterns or images to cut out. In this project, a piece of fabric has been photocopied.
  • Scissors
  • Glue for sticking glass. It must be a glue that dries absolutely clear.
  • Paintbrush (for applying glue)
  • Sheet of off-white paper
  • Pencil


  1. Cut out the images carefully and then arrange them on the glass.
  2. Once you are happy with the arrange­ment, glue the pieces in position face up on the back of the glass using the paintbrush. It is very important that you use clear-drying glue and that you apply it carefully, as you are applying the glue to the side of the cut­outs that will show beneath the glass, so any smudges will spoil the finished piece.
  3. Once the images are glued on, take the piece of off-white paper and place the glass table-top over it. Draw around the out­side edge with a pencil. Cut around the pencil mark so that you end up with a piece of paper exactly the same size as the glass. Place the sheet of paper between the table and the glass top.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance


About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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