Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Tart Kit: Variations on Handmade Paper

This month we are using Kleenex tissue with a solution of glue and water to create backgrounds and molded embellishments. This technique allows you to experiment with mixed media by combining this lesson with fabric as part of a larger art piece.

Prepare a work surface so that you can work with glue and not worry about your project sticking. We used the shiny side of freezer paper. Using the recipe in the kit directions, mix up a solution of glue and water. We'll start with the directions for making a sheet of paper. Separate the Kleenex tissue into 10 to 12 plies and set aside.

Lay one ply on the freezer paper and paint with the glue solution.

Continue adding plies of Kleenex and painting with glue until you have one or two plies left. If you want to insert items for color and interest, you will do it close to the top surface. In your kit, you have rose petals, a cocktail napkin, and tissue paper. Split the napkin into its top ply before using. The tissue paper can be made into confetti or torn or cut into shapes before using. Consider adding threads, fibers, newspaper, or other papers.

The top layer of Kleenex will add an opaque finish.


Once the sheet has dried, it can be peeled off the freezer paper and used as the background or as part of a larger piece. It can be painted, stitched, or printed. Be sure to tape the leading edge of the handmade paper to another sheet of computer paper before running it through your printer.

To make a mold, use the foam sheets included in your kit. You can mold over the design or into the design depending on your choice.

Paint the mold with the glue solution before putting your first layer of tissue on the foam.


Cover each ply with the glue solution, making sure each layer is well saturated and the air bubbles have been removed. Use the brush to push the Kleenex into and around the mold.

You will notice when the glue dries, the top layers have the most texture and the layers next to the mold are more smooth. It is your choice which side to use.

Your paper can be left white if you desire. We have included watercolor pencils for you to use to color your paper. For this pear, the color was applied dry and a brush was used to blend the colors. You may also want to experiment with acrylic paints or markers. Try coloring the glue before painting the Kleenex.

As with any paper, it can be moistened and torn to give a deckled edge. Your finished paper can be sewn or glued to a background. Use a long stitch length to avoid perforating the paper.