Decoupage Pro Tips?

My brother is looking to decoupage some book pages to a flat wooden shape and has asked for tips. I’ve given him mine – put the glue on the surface, not on the paper, and go over it to seal – but I don’t do a ton of this kind of craft, so if anyone with more experience has further suggestions, we’re all ears. Thanks!


Depending on the thickness of the book pages he may have better luck if he soaks them first to make them pliable. Other than that, I’d just recommend Modge Podge in particular since that’s the best brand I’ve found for decoupaging.


I covered a nightstand with book pages, and have done a number of other projects, too. Definitely not a pro, but let me share my mistakes, so you can make your own.

I used full book pages, with margins, all lined up. That made a white grid :frowning: and the edges were very visible.
Would have looked better if I’d torn off the edges. less definition between pages, and the edges would glue down better.

I just used water based adhesive (either mod podge or glue, don’t remember which, and will call it all “glue” from here on) all over. I should have put a waterproof coating at least on the top, one the adhesive dried. I used a piece of protective plastic instead; moisture got trapped under it, and it got moldy.

I tried a variety of different decoupage techniques a couple of years ago. I watched a bunch of youtube videos for ideas. Some worked better than others. For instance…

“Use a bunched up piece of plastic wrap to press the paper down.” Ehh. It works, but I mostly use a wide, soft brush to apply the glue and smooth the paper.

"Burn the edges off the applied paper." No, it’s a fire hazard and didn’t work that well; some edges burned off too much, and there was a black edge.
The idiotically clever youtuber covered her smoke alarm with plastic so it would not go off. I did it outside on a cement patio, on a windless day, with a water bucket at hand, and still don’t recommend it.

“Sand the edges off once the glue is dry.” Works great

“Apply the mod podge all over a flat surface, and let dry. Apply the applique dry, put a piece of parchment paper on top, and iron in place.” I used this with a single piece of fabric that covered the whole tabletop. It doesn’t feel like the center is stuck well, and I don’t want to rip it apart to fix. Overlapping edges wouldn’t stick down, either.


Thanks so much! I’ll pass these along.

I know Mod Podge works great for many people, but I’ve never had much success with it. (I suspect sometimes different climate/humidity might affect it?) So I’d recommend a test patch first.

Personally, I find a good acrylic medium/varnish works better for me (I use Liquitex matte medium or gloss medium - gloss is probably more durable). If the test Mod Podge misbehaves, it might be worth a try? Disclaimer - not a decoupage expert!

:grimacing: I don’t even know how to respond to that …


I suggest, “Tsk, tsk, what an idiot!”

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I enjoy using Mod Podge. It works well for me and is economical. Watered down white glue will work in a pinch. Gel medium would be better quality. Whatever I use, I apply at least 2 coats or more depending on how the piece will be used. If it is a Mod Podge piece, I would add a final layer of gel medium, especially if gifting. Sometimes Mod Podge can be slightly tacky over time. Paper and things may lightly stick to it.

I love decoupage, whether matte or gloss, because of the way that a collage design is fused together and because of its shiny surface. I’m always so excited and can hardly wait for the project to dry.

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Thanks again, everyone! I’ve passed these along.