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How to Make a Decoupage Greeting Card

Updated on February 21, 2013

How to Make a Decoupage / Paper Tole Greeting Card

Illustrated step by step instructions showing how to make a 3D decoupage greeting card.

Decoupage greeting (or paper tole) cards are cards which have layered elements built up to give the card a three dimensional effect. Depending on the picture you choose, these projects can have a difficulty level ranging from easy to quite tricky.

3D decoupage cards can be suitable for any occasion - birthday cards, wedding cards, Christmas cards, get well cards, new baby cards - you name it!

To make a layered decoupage card, you will need a repeating picture. My first decoupage cards were made from wrapping paper pictures. Now I print my own pictures at home using photo paper on my own printer. But you can also buy pre-printed decoupage kits.

For this project, I am using a printable card which I bought from craftsUprint. They have thousands of printable cards to choose from.

Collect your Supplies

printed decoupage card
printed decoupage card

You will need:

  • decoupage pictures
  • scissors
  • card
  • silicone glue or sticky pads (use the acid-free type)

Optional supplies:

  • craft knife (necessary for cutting out fiddly bits in the middle of your design)
  • self-healing mat
  • metal edge ruler (if your design has straight edges)
  • extra decorating supplies

Cut Out the Decoupage Card Elements

cutting out the elements for the decoupage card
cutting out the elements for the decoupage card

First you will need to cut out your card pictures. You can use scissors for this or a craft knife, ruler, and craft mat. For normal cutting I like to use scissors. For straight edges I like to use a transparent ruler. That way I can see exactly where to line up my ruler before cutting. I place the ruler over the top of the picture so that if my knife slips, I don't cut into the picture.

I like to use a craft knife for any fiddly bits. I have found it much easier to cut out any small holes in the design before cutting out the bigger part. This gives you more to grip onto as you cut out these little bits and will help avoid ripping the element.

cut out any fiddly parts first
cut out any fiddly parts first

Cutting out your decoupage card elements

Which do you prefer use for cutting out the card pieces?

See results
Cut Out Decoupage Card Elements
Cut Out Decoupage Card Elements

I like to cut out all the elements first. Just be careful not to lose any small parts!

Assembling the Card

Assembling the Card
Assembling the Card

Some people like to darken the edges of the cut out pieces so that the cut white edges are not so visible. To do this you can use a dark felt tip pen (being careful not to let the ink soak into the card / paper). If I do this step, I prefer to use a soft (6B) pencil. Usually I don't bother with this step though.

Now you will stick each layer onto your card in the correct order. I like to use sticky pads (because that's what I'm used to!) but you could also use blobs of silicone glue.

Building up the layers on your decoupage card

Do you prefer use sticky pads or silicone glue?

sticky pads because ...

sticky pads because ...

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    • suzy-t 5 years ago

      sticky pads because there is absolutely no mess

    • intermarks 5 years ago

      Sticky pads will be much convenient and cleaner.

    • SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      I've never tried but as a beginner I think sticky pads sound easier.

    • OneNewVoice 5 years ago

      I love sticky pads.

    • ektacis lm 5 years ago

      they are easier.

    • Oikouros 5 years ago

      Sticky pads are so much easier, especially for teaching my 8 yr old daughter!

    • oceanfaerygoddess 5 years ago

      Tabs for sure - easier and better for the 3D effect!

    • Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Sticky pads because it clean and neat.

    • writerkath 5 years ago

      I think that the 3-D effect is very cool!

    • Linda F Correa 5 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      They are neater

    silicone glue because ...

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      • Canvas-Art-Shop 5 years ago

        Silicone glue FTW!

      building up the layers in your decoupage card
      building up the layers in your decoupage card

      When building your layers for your 3D card, you can either start from the top and work down, or start from the bottom and work up. It's your choice. On this card I am starting from the bottom and building up. You could stick your bottom element to your folded card first if you wish.

      side view of my completed layers

      completed layers in a decoupage card
      completed layers in a decoupage card

      Completing the 3d Decoupage Card

      Completing the 3d Decoupage Card
      Completing the 3d Decoupage Card

      Stick the 3d decoupage to the front of your folded card and decorate with any extra things such as ribbon, raffia, bows, lace, buttons, beads, glitter.

      Use your imagination to decorate the card


      This card has been further decorated with pearls, ribbon, and glitter.

      This card (which is actually a slightly different

      color) has been arranged on the backing card

      in a different layout.

      Have you ever made 3D decoupage cards?

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        • Rhonda Lytle profile image

          Rhonda Lytle 4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

          What an absolutely beautiful card!

        • HomeDecorKnight profile image

          HomeDecorKnight 4 years ago

          Amazing! very nice design, good lens with good instruction to make a decoupage greeting card.

        • suzy-t profile image

          suzy-t 5 years ago

          Beautiful cards. Cards are so expensive and usually get tossed. These will be appreciated and saved for a long time.

        • intermarks profile image

          intermarks 5 years ago

          This is really interesting. I every try to make one but it turn out too ugly and finally I discarded it.

        • SheilaMilne profile image

          SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

          No, never, but I think I'll give it a try.

        • profile image

          OneNewVoice 5 years ago

          No, but I would love to. I am a teacher and I am right next to the art department. One of the teachers were having their classes make these last year and it looked like so much fun. Plus, my wife likes to scrapbook and it looks like a lot of the same elements go into both. Nice lens!

        • cgbroome profile image

          cgbroome 5 years ago

          No but it looks really interesting. I might have to try it this year during the holidays! Thanks for the tips and instructions.

        • ektacis lm profile image

          ektacis lm 5 years ago

          Nice lens! Easily understood and learned.

        • profile image

          Anna2of5 5 years ago

          I don't think i have done this before. I have some Eileen's Tacky Glue that would be great gor this project. I like your finishing touches with the little pearls, very sweet.

        • Deadicated LM profile image

          Deadicated LM 5 years ago

          Excellent Lens and beautiful work you do.

        • Lynda Makara profile image

          Lynda Makara 5 years ago from California

          Very nice tutorial.

        • JoyfulReviewer profile image

          JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

          Your 3D decoupage cards are beautiful! Your photos and instructions have given me lots of ideas for re-purposing the box of old greeting cards I've accumulated over the years. ~~Blessed~~

        • Oikouros profile image

          Oikouros 5 years ago

          I haven't done this in ages. Now I want to get back into doing it!

        • SimplyCanvasArt1 profile image

          SimplyCanvasArt1 5 years ago

          Simple but effective, love this lens!!

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Thanks for sharing.

          Thit k Web

        • WildFacesGallery profile image

          Mona 5 years ago from Iowa

          You know I've seen so many wonderful lenses on decoupaging lately (this one is exceptional) I may just have to get me a bottle of the stuff. Lovely lens. Blessed.

        • profile image

          fivestarfairings 5 years ago

          Very useful, creative and informative lens. Thanks a lot for sharing. Will definitely try to make one...!!

        • oceanfaerygoddess profile image

          oceanfaerygoddess 5 years ago

          Yes, I love making decoupage cards! I confess I am lazy though I prefer the die cut press out decoupage to cutting it all out myself :) I love using decoupage in other crafts as well. Lovely tutorial!

        • flinnie lm profile image

          Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

          Hi this is a cool craft, will have to try it. Thanks for sharing.

        • ptruc profile image

          Adam Turner 5 years ago

          I've ever made 3d card, but I'll try after reading this lens :)

        • cupcakeideas1 profile image

          cupcakeideas1 5 years ago

          I haven't made a card like this before, but your instructions are so clear I have the confidence to try!

        • writerkath profile image

          writerkath 5 years ago

          When I was younger, I made cards for people all the time, but never something as lovely as these! You are extremely creative! Gorgeous results!

        • Kumar P S profile image

          Kumar P S 5 years ago

          Nice lens ! Thanks for sharing.

        • TheresaMarkham profile image

          TheresaMarkham 5 years ago

          Decoupage - an old-fashioned art making a come back! Love when that happens! Used to make decoupage crafts in the '70s! Definitely want to do some decoupage cards this summer now!

        • linfcor profile image

          Linda F Correa 5 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

          Great lens.This craft is on my list of projects to try

        • anne mohanraj profile image

          anne mohanraj 5 years ago

          No, I've never made a 3D decoupage card , but your lens has me wanting to give it a try! A wonderful lens!

        • profile image

          atomicgirl24 5 years ago

          No, I haven't made a 3D decoupage card, but it's about time I started! Great lens, BTW, with very easy to follow instructions and pictures. I'm a visual learner, so I always appreciate it when someone adds photos. Pure text makes my eyes glaze over.