"Dé - cou- page [ dey-koo-pahzh] 

Decoupage ( french term for cutting out)  is  the art or technique of decorating something with cut-out of paper  over which varnish is applied."

Although paper cutting started as a popular folk art in Europe in the 12th century, the now classic style of découpage has its roots dating from the 17th century when lacquered furniture from the Far East became very fashionable in Europe. 

Despite the high cost of these cabinets from China,  demand in Europe started to exceed its supply which is when Venetian cabinet makers started producing fake copies of these works in order to keep up with the demand. Venetian cabinet makers would employ apprentices to hand colour the prints and engravings of leading artists. These handpainted prints would then be cut up carefully and pasted to the surface of objects or furniture and covered with many layers of lacquer. Hence an alternative form of decoration was created which at the time was often called "l'arte del povero- poor mans art; a quicker and cheaper way to simulate the original art form.