decoupage paper

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So I’ve been sharing quite a lot of decoupage paper projects…and many of you might be wondering where you can find pretty decoupage papers to use for your mixed media art and collage crafts.

Well, I will tell you my secrets for getting great papers to use for decoupage…without spending a lot of money!

So if you’re wondering to yourself where to find decoupage paper, you’re in luck! This post will go right out and share everything I’ve learned!

How to Find Decoupage Paper From Old Books

Okay, so you might wander into a thrift store and see shelves and shelves of books. Which is great if you’re looking for a specific type of book.

If you’re going to buy books at a thrift store, make sure you get the “best” ones they have. And by “best” I mean make sure they have ones that are suitable for your project. Look at the typography and the words inside…do they resonate with you?

I really like to look for Children’s illustrated books at the thrift store. For starters, since they are children’s books, they might be 50 cents or 99 cents…and they have awesome pictures you can use in your collage or decoupage projects.

If you really want to do well with books however, wait for the “bag sales”…and by that I mean go to church rummage sales and flea markets and library book sales towards the end of their sale.

What I do for my favorite used book sales is scout it out early at the beginning of the sale for the “good stuff”, then stop by again later to get my bag full of whatever might be interesting and leftover. For bag sales, you might pay $5 or $10 for a giant bag of books that you’ll be swearing over it as you carry it to the car because it’s so heavy!

How to Find Decoupage Paper in Magazines

Thrift stores often have a good selection of magazines that can be used for decoupage paper…but they are usually newer magazines – not cool vintage old ones.

If you really want vintage original magazines, be prepared to pay top dollar for it at auction sites like eBay or if you’re lucky, try going to Craigslist – once in awhile you’ll find a collector who is having a clear out sale.

Half Priced Books can also be a decent source, as they often have used magazines for 50 cents each – not a bad deal, but not the best bargain in town. You may however find some special interest and hard to find magazines here that you may not be able to find easily elsewhere.

My library sells magazines for 10 cents and 25 cents. Now there’s the bargain I was looking for! The pickings aren’t great {most are home and garden or fashion mags} but they aren’t terrible either. You can get lots of images of flowers in the garden magazines, and tons of faces and textures in the fashion ones.

Also – always check your local community places for free community magazines – sometimes they have some good stuff in them! Next time you’re sitting in a waiting room at a doctor’s office or the mechanic’s, you may also want to ask if they have any old magazines they are looking to get rid of.

Using Napkins For Decoupage

Awhile ago I wrote about Decoupage Napkins…basically, you use decorative napkins as your decoupage material.

These are very common and easy to get. You can often find many different designs and patterns simply by asking friends and family to save them for you. You can also find often a pack of decorative napkins for decoupage at the thrift store for only a dollar or two.

Junk Mail as a Decoupage Supply

I love junk mail! {Well, not really…why do they keep sending it to me, seriously? I never buy anything because of it!}

But … if you get those Valpak offer envelopes – you know, the ones with a zillion ads in them – you can often find some cute things that you can cut out to salvage to use for your designs, such as flowers and pets and words and phrases.

Working With Your Community

Make friends with people who work in places with waiting rooms and magazines – for example doctor’s offices and hair salons and mechanic shops. Often times they get rid of their old magazines and this can be a great opportunity for you to get them!

One of my friends owns a hair salon and I love it that every few months she sends me a pile of her magazines!

Also – always ask family and friends to save things for you. Most are happy to know you will make something with their stuff.

Online you can also find many local Facebook groups to trade/swap/sell/buy paper ephemera for decoupage also. I was able to get nearly 75 magazines simply by asking my neighborhood FB group if anyone had some old ones they wanted to get rid of that I could use for art. It really is that easy!

Printable Decoupage Paper

Printable decoupage paper has several benefits – for starters, you are not damaging any original works. If you wanted to use your old family photos for example – you wouldn’t be worried about damaging the original images if you were to scan your photos and then print them out.

The downside to printable decoupage paper of course is that it can be very expensive for the ink unless you have an Epson Eco-Tank printer. (Which we highly recommend!)

Yes, You can find decoupage paper for free and very cheap!

I hope you’ve found this post very helpful in finding out where to get the best decoupage papers without spending a fortune on specialty things at the stores. You can make lots of cool stuff at home without buying all the latest and greatest in papers and craft supplies!

Have any tips for finding decoupage paper you want to share? Comments are always open and welcome below!!!


  1. For music lovers, it’s cool to use sheet music. I’ve found a few Beatles, classic 70s rock, James Taylor….etc. You can print the sheet music of someone’s favorite song from the internet and use that to decoupage. It makes a pretty and very thoughtful gift.

  2. another source are calendars. I receive 8-10 full size calendars each year for donations and you can get some really neat pictures to cut out.

      1. Since all of these ideas for sources of decoupage come in different weight, thicknesses an texture of paper, is it actually possible to create a somewhat even surface with mixed materials, say for a table top?

        1. Hi Becky! There are a lot of ways to get an even surface if you are doing something that has a lot of texture – you can use a glass tabletop cover over the design or could do a resin finish. If you have a particular project in mind let me know + I’d be happy to take a look at it if you want me to!

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