A-Z of miniature crafts: D for decoupage

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05 June 2020
Carol Clarke shows us how use a decoupage technique to transform an ordinary piece of furniture in your dolls house into something rather special. 

Decoupage is a wonderful technique that transforms furniture and decorative items into elegant pieces. The best bit is you don’t need many tools to create this impressive and professional finish and can make use of what you‘ve already got in your paper stash. 

What exactly is a decoupage technique?

Decoupage is the process of gluing pieces of patterned paper to decorate an item or object. The finish is extremely effective and will look as though it’s part of the original piece.

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What materials can be used for decoupage?

The possibilities are endless! There are special decoupage papers available, but you can use any papers you have in your stash. In this tutorial, Carol uses serviettes.

Decoupage in miniature – a tutorial 

By Carol Clarke.

You will need

  • Your item of furniture 
  • Spray paint (if needed) 
  • 3 ply serviette with pretty design 
  • PVA glue
  • Paintbrush 
  • Water based varnish (optional) 
  • Scissors

How to ‘decoupage’ miniature furniture for your dolls house

1. Choose a piece of furniture you wish to transform. If it’s a dark coloured piece you’ll need to paint it first – if it’s light it’ll be ok as it is.

For this tutorial, Carol uses a dresser which originally had a mirrored back and doors at the base. Carol removed these and then spray painted the piece cream. After painting, you could lightly sand if you want to achieve a distressed look. 


2. Choose a serviette with a small pattern and split the layers, keeping only the patterned top layer.


3. Take your serviette and carefully measure all of the sections you want to cover.

Carol cut a piece of card to fit the upper back, using her mirror back as a template and cut a piece of serviette large enough to cover the card. This will be trimmed into shape when it’s covered and dry.


If you love tutorials like this, you’ll love Dolls House & Miniature Scene magazine packed with step by step projects, expert interviews, endless inspiration and so much more to develop your skills and satisfy your passion for miniatures! 

4. Starting at the upper edge of the side of the dresser, brush the entire surface with a light coat of glue.


Top tip! The serviette is delicate so don’t apply too much force as it may tear. Should you tear any sections simply rip a small piece and glue it over the tear – it won’t be noticed!

5. Carefully line up the decoupage piece for the panel, place it onto the glued area and brush gently over the top with another coat of glue, making sure you don't get any air bubbles trapped.


6. Repeat the process to all other areas. For the shelves, allow enough paper to cover the shelf and to go around the lip and underneath. To apply the paper panel to the shelf, pick up the paper using the brush and quickly position it in place.


Top tip! The possibilities are endless but if you’re covering a small shaped item like the manikin you’ll need to cut your decoupage into little pieces to allow for the moulding around the shape. Simply overlap the pieces, placing your favourite images uppermost.

7. Allow all of the panels to dry thoroughly – overnight is best.


8. When completely dry trim the rear panel to shape and fix it into place at the back of the dresser. The PVA glue will give the surface a protective finish but if you wish you can add another layer of varnish.


Decoupage is simple yet effective and will bring character and style to any dolls house or miniature scene. Now it’s your turn to give it a go!

See Carol’s miniatures on her website: www.dollshouseinterior.co.uk.

Why not explore more of our A-Z series?! Go back to 'C for crochet' and learn how to crochet a miniature rug or skip forward to 'E for embellishing' where you'll learn how to embellish miniature furniture

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