What Is 3D Decoupage?

A sharp knife and scissors are required when performing 3D decoupage.
3D decoupage may be used for card-making.
3D decoupage can be applied to the pages of a scrapbook.
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  • Written By: Kathryn Vercillo
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2014
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Decoupage is a paper craft in which images are cut out and applied to cards, scrapbooks or other objects. Typically, the same image is repeated multiple times, although this is not always the case. The result often is an image that looks more like a painting than a collage. 3D decoupage is a type of advanced decoupage that uses traditional two-dimensional flat prints of standard decoupage in new and interesting ways. Through a skillful approach to design, these flat objects are layered to create three-dimensional decoupage. Also called paper tole, it can be used for many crafts but is most common in the art of card-making.

3D decoupage takes cutout images and layers them in such a way that the result looks three-dimensional, even though the paper cutouts are two-dimensional, flat pieces of paper. Varnish is typically added in layers to the top of the work. Most people who do this craft will use special paper, although magazine images and other types of paper cutouts can also be used. Embossing tools are often used as well to give more texture to the paper, making it easier to create the 3D look.

Essentially, 3D decoupage involves cutting out individual pieces from multiple copies of exactly the same print. The original print serves as a base and each duplicate piece is layered onto it. The technique sometimes requires a fairly complex paper art skills set.


One of the most important skills needed to properly do this form of decoupage is the skill of exact cutting. It is important for the artist to cut out the image from the paper as precisely as possible with a very sharp knife or other cutting tool. Another important skill for making this art is having a lot of patience. In addition to the precise cutting, patience is needed to layer the pieces together exactly to create the right 3D look and to properly apply and layer the varnish that seals the piece.

3D decoupage can be used for many different types of crafts, including scrapbooks and framed works of art. It is most commonly seen in the art of card-making, however. With advanced card-making techniques, a simple card can become a work of art.


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