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 3D Online Workshop


There 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.

What 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.

All 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'.


  • Your first print is always your 'base print', that is to say, the print you build directly on top of.

  • Study 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.
  • Cut 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.

  • Cut out your main subjects and stick them directly on top of your background.

  • Practice '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 for you.

  • 'Dressing 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 effect.

  • Using 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.

With 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 you.

These are only guidelines but are the basic ground rules for any 3d picture. Always read them thoroughly before you start any lesson.

Practice 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.

When 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.

Finally enjoy yourself and remember 'if you love this craft long enough it will love you right back'.






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