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Easy Collage Decoupage

Updated on June 11, 2016
Kylyssa profile image

Kylyssa Shay worked as a florist for eighteen years and has created and taught an assortment of crafts to adults and children of all ages.

Tea tin covered with vivid images of saltwater fish and corals
Tea tin covered with vivid images of saltwater fish and corals

Collage + Decoupage = Simple Creative Fun

Decoupage is one of the earliest, easiest crafts I can remember making when I was a little girl in the early seventies. People were putting decoupage on just about everything, even soap! That is, they glued images onto things and put a glaze over them.

Another craft I recall from my early childhood is making collages. Collages are collections of images arranged to be visually interesting or pleasing to the eye. Sometimes, collages even tell a story.

This super easy craft project combines decoupage with making collages.

All photos by Kylyssa Shay unless otherwise noted.

Blank tea tin
Blank tea tin


  • Old magazines
  • An empty tin or box
  • Elmer's Glue All
  • Spray Varnish
  • Scissors
  • Eye Protection

Remove any existing labels from your tin. I used a tea tin and soaked the label off in warm water. Carefully dry your container before beginning this project.

Images cut from magazines laid out on black paper
Images cut from magazines laid out on black paper

1. Cut Out Images You Like

Cut out little images you like from your old magazines. I chose little saltwater fish from my old aquarium magazines mainly because I have a lot of old aquarium magazines and I like fish. Any small, colorful images will work well. You could certainly get a lot more artistic with the collage aspect of this project than I did here.

Gluing a base layer of paper on the tin
Gluing a base layer of paper on the tin

2. Choose Magazine Paper as a Background

Choose pieces of magazine page to serve as a background. I chose some big pictures of vibrantly colored soft corals to go nicely with my little fish.

Apply a thin layer of glue to the outside of the tin and allow it to get tacky.

A covering of magazine paper creates a background for the collage
A covering of magazine paper creates a background for the collage

3. Smooth Background Paper on Tin

Apply your background magazine paper to the tin, covering the whole tin, smoothing as you go. If it isn’t perfect, don’t worry, it will still look OK and you may be able to hide some of your mistakes with pictures you add to the collage.

Apply multiple layers of varnish after the images are all in place and glue is dry
Apply multiple layers of varnish after the images are all in place and glue is dry

4. Apply Images to Tin

Once the magazine papered tin dries, apply a very thin layer of glue to the back of each image you cut out, one at a time, and apply them to the tin wherever you want them to be on the finished tin. Keep applying pictures until you've used them up or until the tin looks the way you'd like it to.

Apply spray varnish to the completed tin and allow it to dry.

Always use eye protection and work in a well-ventilated area when you use spray varnish.

Always use eye protection and work in a well-ventilated area when you use spray varnish.

The finished tin is ready to be used
The finished tin is ready to be used
A slightly different angle on the can
A slightly different angle on the can

Would You Try Decoupage or Collage?

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    • Sparrowlet profile image

      Katharine L Sparrow 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I love both collage and decoupage, but haven't done it in ages. I especially like doing it on tins and boxes, as you suggest. I made small boxes for each of my children and they still have them! I look in recycling shops and swap shops for old tins. Where I live they have such shops at most of the town dumps. The boxes I usually buy at a crafts shop, since they are so inexpensive. Very enjoyable hub, thank-you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Your mug looks fantastic!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      very nice

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This really looks beautiful. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 

      8 years ago

      Maybe...its very beautiful.

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 

      8 years ago

      YES! I love the results and tins are sooooo useful for organizing. :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      wonderful ideas to repurpose and recycle items around your house.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Lovely lens! What a beautifully simple idea and so effective! ....might give it a go :-)

    • profile image

      Essentially Ind 

      8 years ago

      Hey nice tutorial...........:)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thank you very creative what do you do instead of magazine if you only want your own art paint over it?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You make it look so simple.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      8 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I love your upcycling and crafting lenses, Kylyssa! I love to decoupage... and should write about some of my projects. This easy collage decoupage project looks like fun. Have a happy day... dear Kylyssa...

    • lillyannsmommy profile image


      8 years ago from Danville, IL

      This is a great idea! I've never tried decoupage it before but I'd love to give it a shot sometime. Oh, and I love the fish! I have done collages before and I enjoy doing glue books. Great lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I used to do this as a kid... brought back a lot of memories!! Thanks for sharing :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I remember doing lots of decoupage during those days.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I'd be willing to try it out! Cool lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i have tried Decoupage after reading this lens and its so exciting

    • Kylyssa profile imageAUTHOR

      Kylyssa Shay 

      8 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @anonymous: Mod Podge is a great product but I had none on hand. Wow, I'd actually completely forgotten it existed but you've brought back all the associated memories. For some reason, it made me recall my sister was obsessed with Precious Moments characters and thus decoupaged them onto everything, including a piece of soap though I'm mystified as to why she chose a bar of soap. And, yes, Mod Podge even worked on soap.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I've done both but never used spray varnish. We always used Mod Podge which is brushed on sealant and glue. No need for the varnish. The more layers you use the shinier it got.


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