Comics/Graphic Novels

Crafting with Comics: How to Decoupage

I have a confession to make: I’m a huge hoarder. We’re in the process of packing up our flat for a big move right now, and this week I found a huge stack of Free Comic Book Day comics gathering dust under the bed. Now, Free Comic Book Day is great! Who doesn’t like free comics? Once the excitement is all over, though, you probably aren’t going to read most of the books you get again. What do you do with them, then? Or all the other comics you’re never going to pick up again? Don’t be like me and leave them mouldering under a bed for three years – put them to good use!

Decoupage is fun, simple, and comics are perfect for it. The mix of art and text, the variety in colour and style and the thin, glossy paper will leave anything looking fantastic. It’s a great activity to do in a group, particularly with kids, people new to crafting, or those who have trouble with fine motor skills, as there’s no need to be delicate. It’s also the perfect way to get comics into the hands of the non-comics readers in your life!


What you need to decoupage

What You’ll Need:

  • Whatever you want to decoupage! I’m decorating a magazine file here because they’re great for storing comics, but you can choose almost anything.
  • Comics – your Free Comic Book Day haul would be perfect, but you could also check out your local comic book store’s bargain bins, or the $1 reprints that many publishers release. If you can, try to choose comics with a range of art styles.
  • PVA glue (also known as Mod Podge, Elmer’s glue or school glue)
  • An old paintbrush
  • Something to hold your glue in (a mug will do fine)
  • A cat (optional)


STEP 1: Make up your decoupage glue! You want a mix of 2 parts water to 1 part glue. 1 tablespoon of PVA glue made more than enough decoupage glue for this magazine file.

OPTIONAL: If the surface you’re planning to decorate is particularly smooth, you may want to apply a layer of decoupage glue and leave it to dry for a few hours before you begin. Alternatively, if you’re planning to decoupage on wood, you could sandpaper it. Both options will roughen the surface and work against your paper creasing as the glue dries.

Tearing comics for decoupage

STEP 2: Tear up your comics! You might prefer to cut them instead for cleaner lines – it’s up to you. Don’t just go through all your comics one by one; try to choose bits you like from lots of different comics so there’s more variety in your finished piece.

Bowl full of decoupage paper

STEP 3: Mix all your pieces up! This is important because the human brain is designed to notice patterns. If you stick too many similar looking pieces next to each other, it’ll make your final piece look patchy. Though that can look good too!

Applying decoupage paper

STEP 4: Time to stick your pieces down! Use the paintbrush to brush a thin layer of the decoupage glue mix onto a part of your object and stick one of your torn-up pieces on top. Use your brush again to make sure it’s stuck down nice and flat. Then keep going until your object’s covered! Your pieces should overlap one another so you can be sure you’ve covered everywhere.

Decoupaged magazine file

OPTIONAL: Once my object is completely covered, I like to coat it in a final layer of decoupage glue. This evens out the surface and gives it a nice shine – just make sure the layer isn’t too thick, as that can lead to the ink in the comics running a little.

STEP 5: Leave your object to dry! How long this can take depends on everything from the size of the object to thickness of your glue mix. If you’re a risk-taker, you can see how it’s doing after a few hours, but I like to leave it overnight. Be careful with your object while it’s still drying, as the damp comics are easy to tear.

Decoupaged magazine file filled with comics

STEP 6: Enjoy your cool new decoupaged whatever! If you make anything from your Free Comic Book Day haul this year, post a picture in the comments – I’d love to see it.