Friday, April 29, 2011

Painting Papers for Collage

I did it. You can, too. Here's how...

Paper, white tissue, wrapping tissue (not so strong)
...washi (aka Japanese rice paper)
...sumi paper
...copy paper (don't reuse paper printed with inkjet) pages
...children's homework
...old drawings (why didn't I think of that yesterday?)
...Large sheets of plastic such as painters use
...Cereal box inserts which are made of plastic. Cut off the rough edges.
...White trash bags, cut open at side and bottom to flatten
...Fluid acrylics or craft acrylic thinned with water to consistency of milk
Small plastic containers such as yogurt cups or deli cups, not paper cups
Brushes, cheap chip brushes or other flat brushes
Water bucket or two water bottles,
...spray bottle
* Optional: Several large trays covered with plastic wrap and taped to protect from paint. I use old plastic food trays once used in a school cafeteria.

You'll need a large table, several if you can manage, your kitchen counters, or a large expanse of floor or deck that no one will be needing for several hours.

1. Cover your surfaces with the plastic dropcloth.
2. Put a layer of the large white trash bags on top. (this is so you can move    the wet paper elsewhere to dry once it's been painted)
3. Place papers in a single layer to cover the surface.
4. Mix paint with water. I used about 1 measure of paint to 2 or 3 measures of water. It takes about 2 tablespoons of the mix per large sheet of tissue paper.

Work with one color family at a time, i.e. reds, oranges, yellows.
1. Spray the paper with water.
2. Paint the paper evenly with the paint/water mix.
3. Set aside to dry.
Continue until you run out of time and energy. 
Walk away from the papers and let them dry, depending upon the climate.

* The trays some in handy when I've run out of flat work surfaces and want to continue painting more papers. I protect the tray with plastic, build a sandwich on top of the try with painted papers interspered with layers of plastic. When I have 5 or 6 layers of painted paper/plastic sandwiched on the tray I stack the trays and set them aside. When other paper dries I peel it off the plastic and cover the surface with the individual wet layers from the trays.
I'm a bit obsessive about my painted paper. I iron it! I set up the ironing board, set the iron temperature to cotton, and iron everything flat.
There is absolutely no earthly need to iron your paper. I just like how it looks.
Many of my inks are iridescent and they create a wonderful sense of reflected light in the finished paper, but iridescent and metallic colors don't photograph well, so think of your end use. If you're making greeting cards that will be printed, don't use reflective paint.


  1. Thanks for the great instructional on creating all these wonderful coloured papers. Just beautiful

  2. Your papers are so very gorgeous!!! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Beautiful papers.....great tutorial = ) Thank You....

  4. Thanks, Jo, for your tutorial. The variety of colored papers will be great in your collages- what a treasure trove.

  5. every time I visit here I leave wanting to do more day!!

  6. Beautiful teaching and outcome! Now what are you going to do with all those gorgeous papers?

  7. Anonymous9:36 AM PDT

    ooh such yummy luscious, rich papers you make. They hold so much promise...

  8. Thanks for all the nice compliments on the papers. I've tucked them into my big drawer for future projects. It's great having an abundance of paper in a wide range of colors when one does collage my way. The next step might be to tear the big sheets down to manageable size and add further decorations using stamps and stencils. We'll see.

    This week I've picked up my paintbrushes, gotten my acrylics out of storage and I'm working on a piece that I'm liking so far. I'll show you soon.

  9. What a great post! Want to trade? An envelope. Of yours for sn envelope of mine..., 10x12 mamilla?


I appreciate comments and questions.

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