How To Decoupage for Beginners – Plus 2 Project Ideas! Tutorial & Video
Updated: Sep 14, 2022
Decoupage Paper can make anything look like a statement piece. I love making handmade gifts & wall decor, but you can literally decoupage ANYTHING. In this tutorial, I show you 2 ways to Decoupage, along with 2 easy Home Decor Project Ideas to get you started.
There’s also a YouTube Video Tutorial to follow along here:
I’ll walk through all the steps for both the “Wet Method” & “Iron Method”, plus all my tricks for getting a bubble-free finish. Once you get the process down, you can use these two methods for decoupaging furniture as well.
You will see bold colored text in the product list, those are links to each product so that you can locate the products easily if you are wanting to purchase them.
Project #1 Supplies for the Traditional Wet Method:
Pallet sign (you can find these at Hobby Lobby or most craft stores)
Project #2 Supplies for the Iron On Method:
18” Rectangular Wood Board
For both projects, I used raw wood boards I bought from Home Depot for under $9.
I painted them white so the lighter parts of the decoupage paper don’t darken up.
As you can see on the board below, the colors are dark in some places. I didn’t paint it white before I decoupaged. The darker boards made the colors look different.
Project #1 Lazy Susan - How to do the Iron Method for Decoupage
I’m doing the Iron Method for my Lazy Susan project using Dixie Belle’s Native Rose Rice Paper.
I like this method best when working on large flat surfaces. It allows me to move around the paper on a dry surface instead of sliding around on wet clear coat.
I use Dixie Belle’s Scarlet Mini Brush for applying the Satin Clear Coat. It’s firm bristles help push any bubbles out and spread the product evenly.
Use a generous amount on your brush and apply it only where you’re decoupaging. Be sure to get an even coat with no missed spots, or your paper won’t stick.
Let the clear coat dry, then quickly move onto the next step. You’ll want to do the whole process in one sitting, so don’t let it dry overnight.
When you’re ready to start ironing, set your iron to the “Cotton” setting with the Steam turned off. Grab your decoupage paper & a piece of parchment paper to place over it.
Line up your Decoupage Paper exactly where you applied clear coat. Lay a piece of parchment paper on top, while holding them both in place.
Keep the iron moving without staying in one spot for too long, or you could risk scorching your paint. The iron will reheat & activate the clear coat, turning it into a glue.
TIP: If you see bubbles or wrinkles, iron over it once more. If it doesn’t stick down, it most likely means there’s no clear coat in that spot.
Wait 24 hours for it to dry completely before you apply clear coat on top.
When you do apply clear coat on top, the paper will bubble and raise up. As it dries, the bubbles will shrink and flatten back out. It’s normal, but it looks scary!
NOTE: If that area is still not sticking down, that means there’s not enough clear coat. But don’t worry, you can fix it! Take a razor blade, make a small slit over the raised area, then apply some clear coat over it. The clear coat will seep down into the slice you made. Once it dries, use the iron and parchment once more to smooth it down.
To finish this project, I painted stripes around the sides, and covered it with Epoxy Resin to give it a thick clear coating.
Below are all the products I used to get the look.
If you’d like to see how to pour epoxy resin without getting bubbles, you can watch my video here:
Project #2 DIY Wall Decor: How to do the Wet Method for Decoupage
I used the Wet Method for my wall hanging done with Dixie Belle’s Rice Paper in the “Floral Ballerina” print.
This is a fast and easy way to decoupage by laying the paper over wet clear coat in small sections at a time. Here’s my tips for getting a perfect edge and smooth finish!
Start with a generous amount of clear coat on your brush. I’m using Dixie Belle’s Satin Clear Coat & the Scarlet Brush.
I worked on 2 boards at a time, so my clear coat dries evenly.
Be sure to get a nice even coat with no missed spots, or your paper won’t stick.
Carefully line up the edges of your design, placing your paper down. Don’t use your hands to smooth it out.
To smooth down the paper, I wrap my hand in a plastic baggie. This protects the paper from getting damaged or wrinkled by the friction from your bare hands.
Hold up the paper with one hand while you apply clear coat to each section.
Once you get the whole image smoothed down, let it dry before moving onto the next step.
Wait 24 hours to dry before putting clear coat on top to avoid wrinkles & bubbles.