Ageing Decoupage Paper Crafts


White Undercoat


Enamel or Gloss Paint

Fine Grade Sandpaper

Images for Cutouts
Cuticle Scissors
Wallpaper Paste
Ageing Varnish
Crackling Varnish
Raw or Burnt Umber Artist's Oil Paint
Soft Cloth
Clear Matt Polyurethane Varnish
final ageing decoupage


Give a decoupaged surface an antique appearance by applying two different varnishes, one to age it and the other to crackle it.

Ageing can enhance the effect of decoupage and take it back to its Victorian origins. Decoupage lends itself well to ageing or dis-tressing, which is achieved with crackle glaze. The effect is achieved using two special types of varnish -ageing varnish and crackle varnish. Ageing varnish is applied to the finished item and is then left for between one and three hours to dry. A short drying time produces fine cracks while a long drying time creates larger cracks when the second type of varnish is applied. This actually produces the cracks although they may not be wholly apparent until the raw umber oil paint is rubbed over the surface of the item. The paint sinks into the cracks, creating the aged effect.
To finish, rub over the surface with a soft cloth to remove excess paint and leave the surface to dry, adding a coat of varnish if desired.


Apply an undercoat to the surface to be decoupaged and leave it to dry. Apply an enamel or gloss paint to the surface. Leave to dry then sand lightly. Apply a second coat and leave to dry.

Cut out the decoupage images using cuticle scissors for the details. Apply wallpaper paste to the back of the cutouts. Arrange the images on the surface and leave to dry.

Apply a coat of ageing varnish over the whole surface. Leave between one and three hours, depending on the size of cracks required.

4While the varnish is still tacky, apply a coat of cracking varnish. Cracks should start to appear within one hour. If not, warm the surface lightly with a hair dryer

Squeeze a little raw umber paint on to a soft rag and rub it over the surface. Leave for a few minutes, then 'polish' it lightly with a soft cloth. Leave for a day or so before applying a coat of clear varnish if desired.



Historically, decoupage was considered “the art of the poor man.” Today, original Victorian decoupage items are expensive collector’s items and store-bought decoupage products are not inexpensive either. With practice, you could turn this craft into a profitable business.