Decoupage comes from France originally and the english translation means 'cutting'. The french used to decorate pieces of bland furniture with cut outs of images from magazines or papers and varnish over them to seal it.
The craft that we call 'Decoupage' today is actually called Paper Tole which originates from Decoupage but is in fact much more than simply pasting a cut out piece of paper onto a piece of furniture. Paper Tole is the process of taking identical prints, cutting out its component parts, shaping and sizing these 'components', then layering them on the 'base' print to give the finished piece its special 3-D effect.
In order to do this, you would have several prints of the same picture, then using one of those as a base you would look for the layers that you need to cut working from the back to the front then from the other prints cut those layers out and after shaping them place them directly over the base. The first layer to be cut out would be the whole image disgarding the background of the print, then build up from there.
Originally, this 'Decoupage' was used to create 3D pictures that would be framed but has since moved in the card making craft, whats more, there are now many different types of decoupage.
In order to create items using this technique you will need some tools, these include: a good sharp pair of curved scissors, a cutting knife, good quality cutting mat, shaping tools (embossing stylus) and clear silicone glue. You can also use a glaze of some kind to add a sheen to your work and preserve the colours, normally this would be a clear craft varnish but if you are printing your own sheets for decoupage then I recommend a spray such as Ghiant.
So why is this craft so popular ? Who knows... ? But one thing's certain, if you recieved a greeting card with work such as is shown above, it's something you'll treasure forever.