3 D Decoupage Tutorial and Tips

Recycled Cardboard Box
         Hi friends  this recycled cardboard box is the latest addition to my stationery set. I followed the same scheme as my earlier pen stands [Rose Pen Stand , Butterfly and Hearts Pen Stand] and Swinging Box and used Papericious floral paper, glitter strips and "over the edge" leaf stamping on the borders to create a box to hold my glue bottles.
Heat Embossed Butterfly
           The gorgeous butterfly was heat embossed in gold and water colored in a variety of shades of purple and pink!
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
        The floral pattern paper I used was so pretty I didn't feel like camouflaging its beauty by adding too many embellishments.
3 D Decoupaged Rose
 And my favorite 3 D rose created using the technique of 3 D decoupage or otherwise called Paper Tole or Pyramage.
This age old papercrafting technique will be known to many of you so my tutorial is mostly for the benefit of beginners + sharing a few tips!
What is Paper Tole or 3 D decoupage ?
3 D decoupage means creating a 3 dimensional image using multiple copies of the same image. The images are cut smaller in a graduating manner and layered with silicon glue [ a dimensional glue] or double sided foam tape with the smallest image forming the top most layer.
What images can you use for paper tole?

  • Printed sheets  with images specifically designed for paper tole - many companies have  lovely designs for 3 D decoupage . These images are printed on good quality paper and you just need to fuzzy cut each image to layer them. The downside is that many a times the sheets are expensive. Here are examples : Flower Fairy Altered Tin , Spinning Card tutorial , Cascading Card tutorial , Fancy Fold Card tutorial 
  • Digital Images - many crafters are comfortable with working with digital images and digis are awesome to be manipulated for 3 D decoupage technique with a little bit of photo editing. Even if you are not comfortable with photo editing you can simple print several images on good quality paper and cut the images to use!Here are examples : Swinging Card tutorial , Side Step Pop Up Card 
  • Photographs - You can print multiple copies of a favorite photo and cut progressively smaller images for layering .Example : Floral Paper Tole
  • Stamped Images - if you love stamping [ and no you need not be an expert stamper ] you can create beautiful 3 D decoupaged images. You can use any image but yes its easier to do with stamps that are not too tiny and have easy to cut lines. And you need to stamp on thick paper as otherwise it wont look nice when you layer multiple images

How many images are needed for 3 D decoupage ?
It really depends on you ! The whole of February I have shared 3 D decoupage roses with layers ranging from 2 to 5! Some of the printed sheets you can buy have even 9 layers to each image!
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
What is the best tool to cut the images ?
You can use a fine tip scissors [ to reach all the little corners] or a craft knife.
My personal favorite is the Martha Stewart spring loaded scissors as it has a fine sharp pointed tip and a spring action which takes the load off your hands on repeated cutting motions! You can carry around the images and scissors with you to cut comfortable curled up on your sofa!
If you are using a craft knife you need a craft mat [ you can make do with a kitchen cutting pad also] and you need to keep your knife blades super sharp so that means be ready to keep changing those blades. Compared to the scissors, handling a craft knife requires more adeptness and more care as a little slip and you cut more that you want and not enough force while cutting and you get an unsightly jagged cut edge!
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
Ink the edges of the images
For a beautiful 3 D decoupaged image do remember to spend an extra minute inking the cut white edges of your images. You can use marker pens or paint brushes to do this but I find sponges the easiest and quickest way!
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
Best adhesive to layer the images ?
You can use silicon glue  or adhesive foam tape of various thickness. I have tried silicon glue but found I didn't have the patience for it! The easier adhesive is the regular thickness double sided foam tape.
Buying Tip : When you buy foam tape do buy it in different widths as it will make your crafting so much quicker!
What scissors are best to cut foam tape?
           If you cut the Foam tapes with regular scissors you will soon end up frustrated with all the glue building up on your blades. Adhesive foam tapes are best cut with a non sticky scissors such as the Tim Holtz Scissors!
           And though initially I used to think the Tim Holtz scissor would never gum up;over the years and especially recently I find them gumming up frequently though not in the frustrating way normal scissors would! If this happens to your non sticky scissors use an alcohol wipe or a cloth dipped in alcohol blending solution/ spirit to clean the blades.
A buying tip : If you are debating which Tim Holtz scissor to pick up [ comes in 2 sizes now] and your main purpose to get it is to cut sticky tape then buy the smaller one as I have both and the big one is just not handy for tape cutting! In fact the big one I bought is lying neglected and unused most of the time!
You can read more about scissors and other paper cutting tools in this post : 10 Paper Cutting Tools
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
      You can start layering the smallest image first or go vice versa. The trick is to use enough tape to cover the central area and reach to the edges but not till the edges as otherwise it will   be visible from the outside when you layer
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
When layering you can layer bang on top or stagger it just a little bit for the layering to be clearly visible!
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
If you have foam tape of different widths ...layering images becomes a breeze!
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
When you reach the base layers be sure to add enough adhesive support to the center  so that it does not buckle under the weight of the top layers.
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
On the image below I added a bit of foam tape extra on the top as in this rose paper tole the maximum bulk of the layers is towards the top of the image.
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
         3 D decoupage is also a nice way to camouflage those improperly stamped or colored images ! Example of you are not happy with the central part of your image coloring use this image as your base layer and if you are unhappy about the outer  part chop it off and use that image as your top layer!
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
On the lowermost layer I have put the foam tape towards the lower part and left the top bare purposely as I wanted to raise the lower part of the image and leave a gap  to tuck in leaves!
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
I just love how 3 D decoupage though time consuming can create such a dimensional look to an otherwise flat image!
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
I hope you liked this simple though detailed tutorial . Do add any pointers from your experience too!
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
        Since this box was going to serve a utilitarian purpose I didn't want bulky embellishments on it but the 3 D decoupaged rose was just perfect!
3 D Decoupage Tutorial
Do tell me your views on 3 D decoupage my friends..do you use this technique in your crafting?

Supplies : Dies : Sizzix- Hero Arts  Stamp- Die Set Flowers and Butterflies 657773
Stamps : Winnie and Walter In Bloom Elsa's Flora Stamp Set , Sizzix- Hero Arts  Stamp- Die Set Flowers and Butterflies 657773
Papers : Papericious


  1. Beautiful work Sonia!! I didn't know we could use foam tape for decoupaging!! Thanks for sharing the tutorial!! I love this decoupaged rose!
    Moxie Craftie

  2. Thank you so much for this clear tutorial and the tips ! The rose is stunning ! Very sweet card !

  3. What a wonderful idea Sonia it is such a gorgeous design and the colours are wonderful.
    Debs xxx
    {Debs Cards}

  4. So pretty Sonia, the gold is so glittery. Terrific photos in the tutorial too.

  5. Beautifull, thanks for the tutorial!!
    ♥Hugs Valentina♥

  6. Another beautiful projects. This is a good tutorial tool.

  7. Sonia, your stationery set is truly a masterpiece. Each piece is not only inspired, but inspiring! What joy to be surrounded by endless beauty. Your heart holds endless ideas and I'm forever grateful for your creativity. This tutorial is so beautiful and I adore the results. Gorgeous! :o) Have a lovely night, my friend.

    Hugs and blessings,

  8. I do love that 3D rose you have created. Another fabulous make and in my favourite colours too. Hugs Mrs A.

  9. Absolutely stunning!! And what a fabulous, tutorial, too!! The flowers are amazing!! Love this my friend!! Have a great day!! Big hugs :)

    A Mermaid's Crafts

  10. Gorgeous! LOVING how you layered that flower!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. One more pretty addition to your set !

  12. Gosh....this is really pretty!

  13. Another fantastic project Sonia..Loz

  14. Gorgeous Sonia!! I really love the gold embossing, it's such a wonderful way to accent a feminine project! Great tutorial, the flower looks amazing. hugs :)

  15. Love the paper, the rose, the sparkle and the whole box, what a joy it is going to be with this set on your desk.

  16. Just beautiful Dr Sonia! I love pink, and think this DP and shimmery pink borders with your dimensional pink flowers are lovely!!!

  17. Wow Sonia .. I love the Papericious Paper Stack used here.. Thanks for the explanation on 3D Decoupage / Paper tole :)

  18. beautiful decoupaging as usual and useful tips

  19. Thanks for the tutorial on the "build-a-bud" decoupage technique, Sonia! Truly incredible how different the flowers can look done that way. Your storage box is sweet and oh-so-pretty! Nothing is as elegant and/or rich as gold embossing, and you've done such a wonderful job with featuring that! Hope your week has been extra good to you! hugs, de

  20. This is so beautiful and love that butterfly. TFS

  21. Another wonderful tutorial and thanks for sharing. The storage box turned out amazing. Love doing decoupage and the 3D.paper tole is beautiful.

  22. adorable flower with gold
    and love the tutorial
    do you believe me I just buy that thick adhesive double sided foam tape...I think I wrong buy to thick but you show how to used it
    lovely project doc
    love this too

  23. this is so pretty!

  24. Love how you built your flower! So pretty!


  25. Very informative post. Thanks for Sharing :)

  26. Very beautiful layering on this Sonia love colours you have used too.. great tutorial!
    I am bad .. I make up the boxes but never ever yet pretty them they just are used as is!! :D
    Thanks so much for sharing.
    Shaz in Oz.x

    {Shaz in Oz – Calligraphy Cards}


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