are no set rules in 3D decoupage / paper tole, the way I interpret
a three dimensional picture, may be seen in a completely different
light, when you yourself make it. This is what makes the craft
so interesting, original and self-rewarding.
I am going to try and do, is give you the keys to unlock some
of the doors to this craft so that you will have enough confidence
to attempt and succeed in creating your own pieces of 3d work.
pictures have a background and foreground. In between there
are hidden layers it is your job to untangle these layers
and piece them one on top of each other, to create a 3d picture.
Imagine if you will that the subject you are about to tole
is real, pretend stepping into the picture and walk to the
object farthest away from you and touch it. This will be the
first thing you cut out, then walk back through the picture
and touch what is closest to you, this will be the last thing
you cut out. As you walk back you will pass the hidden layers
we have talked about, touch them and remember their sequence.
This way you will know 'what piece to cut out' next and 'where
to place it'.
first print is always your 'base print', that is to say,
the print you build directly on top of.
your base print, look deep into it and separate the background
from the foreground. Find the hidden layers touch them
and remember their sequence. Background first, foreground
last this is what gives your picture its 3 dimensional
qualities. Don't get disheartened if you make any mistakes,
so forgiving is this craft that just about any mistake
can be repaired.
your background out and stick it directly on top of your
base print, using 5mm blobs of silicone. Apply the glue
like you would apply icing on a cake, hold the tube about
1mm above the print, squeeze and gently pull away to the
required height. Try not to show any silicone on your
finished picture. If your picture has no background just
move straight on to the main subject or subjects.
out your main subjects and stick them directly on top
of your background.
'Over cutting', this technique is used to make the 'layers'
in your picture look natural. By cutting into neighbouring
layers, you can create an overlap that will stop gaps
appearing in your work at a later stage. It is important
that you cannot see where the layers are joined together.
These overlaps or 'tags' are outlined in your lessons
up' is a term used for finishing off the main subjects
you have just cut out, for example cutting out and curving
sails on a ship, the petals on a flower, the wing on a
bird, arms, legs, hats, coats, dresses etc. Basically
anything that takes on a curved appearance, should be
cut out, shaped and glued directly on top of your main
subjects, giving extra depth and dimension. To shape a
cut piece of paper, place it image side down on a shaping
mat and using a shaping tool, rub it gently, the paper
will curve to your required shape. If you do not have
any shaping tools, try gently curving your piece of paper
around your finger until you have created the required
an artist's brush, apply a generous coat of varnish, only
to the top visible layer. Leave to dry for about half
an hour and then repeat the process. One to three coats,
depending on the quality of the paper, are normally enough
to give your picture that porcelain effect finish. However
varnishing is optional.
more difficult pictures you follow the same guidelines, but
a lot more attention to detail is used in the journey from
background to foreground and the dressing up of the main subjects.
If a particular picture is overpowering you, instead of looking
at it as one picture, break it down into several smaller pictures
and treat them all individually, you will find this will help
are only guidelines but are the basic ground rules for any
3d picture. Always read them thoroughly before you start any
is the 'key' the more lessons you complete the more you will
understand what I have been trying to teach you. Just like
learning to ride a bike, practice this craft enough and one-day
something inside you will 'click' and you will be rewarded
with beautiful pieces of 3d work that you can call your own.
You will never have to refer to instructions ever again and
the skill will remain with you for the rest of your life.
I am teaching in classroom conditions it takes a beginner
student about 7 lessons to gain enough confidence to tackle
a project without instruction. There is no reason why the
same shouldn't apply to lessons given over the Internet.
The amount of lessons will vary, depending on your level of
experience and confidence. You will know when you are ready,
as you will start to predict correctly the sequence of numbers
without referring to the lesson sheet.
enjoy yourself and remember 'if you love this craft long
enough it will love you right back'.