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Decoupage picture frame ideas

Updated on August 14, 2014


Decoupage, also referred to as 'decopatch', is a hugely popular craft, allowing massive freedom and creativity in designs. It is a fun and inexpensive way to decorate almost any object. In this hub is a quick idea for some original and personal picture frames.

The term decoupage comes from the French word, 'decouper' which translates literally as 'cut out'. The craft consists of cutting out images or strips of paper and pasting these onto the object you wish to decorate.

Decoupage picture frames

In this hub is an idea and 'how-to' for creating decorative decoupage picture frames.

An example of some completed frames.
An example of some completed frames.

What you need...

  • Paper - You can use pretty much any form of absorbent paper for this craft (glossy papers will not be as easy to paste down), which is what makes it such an inexpensive way of decorating. Newspapers, vintage magazines, comics, printed photographs etc. are perfect; the world is your oyster!
  • PVA Glue.
  • Scissors/craft knife - to cut out the desired images.
  • Some picture frames (or any other object you desire to decoupage!)
  • A clean area to work in - bear in mind that this is a messy craft!
  • A ruler and pencil - to measure out the size of the paper you need.

  • Clear Varnish - This is optional. If you are decoupaging a piece of furniture and you would like to protect your design/add a glossy finish, it could be a good idea to add a few layers of clear varnish when dry, though this is not vital.

After the first coat of paint, it looks a little messy, but improves with each coat.
After the first coat of paint, it looks a little messy, but improves with each coat.

Decorating your Frames: Preparation.

  • Firstly, paint the frames in a colour of your choice using acrylic or household paints.
  • You may need to paint more than one layer in order to make it look neat. (In my case, I needed three layers of paint.) Allow each layer to dry before adding another.
  • Also, remember to paint the back of the frames too so that the entire thing looks neat.

As well as for aesthetic purposes, the paint acts as a primer during the decoupage process.

If you are making more than one frame, painting multiple frames at the same time a lot of time.
If you are making more than one frame, painting multiple frames at the same time a lot of time.
Strips of decoupage paper.
Strips of decoupage paper.

Preparing the Decoupage Paper

Whilst the paint is drying on the frames, you could get started on preparing your decoupage papers. Here, I have used labels from jalapeno food jars and Spanish beers as the decorative paper as I would like to display a Spanish theme throughout my frames.

Note: In this case, I intend only to cover the front face of the picture frames with decoupage as I would like the painted colours to show through on the frame sides.

  • Measure the width of the frame faces you would like to cover.
  • Use this measurement of the frame face width and draw onto the back of the paper you wish to use, using a pencil and ruler.
  • Cut out these sections. Try to be as exact as you can. You can cut the strips as long as you like, as long as they fit the width of the frame.
  • Keep cutting out strips of paper until you feel you have enough. (As I was using mainly short beer labels, it meant that I had to cut out a lot of strips until I felt I could cover an entire frame.)
  • Keep these strips together somewhere safe.

Glue the strips down, one by one...
Glue the strips down, one by one...


Now the messy part!

Find a clean space that you can easily tidy up afterwards.

  • It's a good idea to plan out your design a little, before gluing anything down. Decide where you want to place the strips of paper you have cut out and bear this in mind as you proceed.
  • To decoupage the frame, first coat the area that you are decorating with PVA glue. Press the desired strip of paper firmly into place and then coat the top of the strip of paper with PVA glue to paste it down firmly.
  • Do this repeatedly, until the whole face of the frame is covered with paper.
  • Allow to dry.
  • When dry, either coat the entire frame with another layer of PVA glue, or coat with a layer of clear varnish to protect your design.

Your personalised frames should now be complete!

An example of a finished decoupaged frame.
An example of a finished decoupaged frame.

Multiple designs...

Decoupage is limitless in the way you use it. In this case, I chose to cover the entire face of the picture frames, but you could cover the picture frame entirely, or literally just paste a few of your favourite images on, leaving most of the original frame on view.

Decoupage frame: video tutorial

Decoupage anything!

Picture frames aren't the only thing you can decorate using decoupage. The video below shows an idea for creating a decoupage side table. This craft can literally be used for anything, from chairs and tables to kitchen cupboards and notebooks.

Buying Decoupage Papers and Kits

Although you can use almost any form of paper to decoupage, there are some companies that sell ready made decorative papers just for this craft. They can be worth looking at as there are huge varieties of designs available. You can also buy ready-made decoupage kits from most craft shops, containing everything you need to begin crafting.


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