20 February 2014

Paste Paper

I've been experimenting with fabric marbling again, trying to figure out what you can use as the base (or 'size') instead of carrageenan, which isn't easy to find where I live. I've tried wallpaper paste and a paste made from water and potato flour, and so far I've had mixed results. I will return to these experiments soon on this blog, but today I'll write about something else, which you could say is a by-product from my recent experiments.

Looking at the wallpaper paste that I'd mixed for my marbling trials, I was reminded of a workshop with Diana Trout (Playful Paper Backgrounds) that I watched a while back. She was making something she called 'paste paper', which I thought looked fun. Basically, it is mixing something like wallpaper paste with acrylic paint, applying the mixture to paper, and making patterns in the thick paste. After the paint paste has dried you can use the patterned paper for different things, such as collage, card making, scrapbooking, and so on. So having an abundance of ready-mixed wallpaper paste I decided to give it a try.

I got out a collection of different kinds of papers to see how each of them would react to the treatment. The heaviest paper was a 180 g/m2 drawing paper, and the rest were a cheap and thin drawing paper, Letraset Comic Marker paper, normal copy paper, brown wrapping paper and pattern tissue paper. I had my doubts about the last one, but threw it in anyway, just to see what would happen.

I soaked all the papers apart from the tissue paper in water a few seconds prior to applying the paint, to avoid buckling, but wiped off excess water before applying the paint paste. I mixed acrylic paint into the wallpaper paste and used a sponge brush to apply the paste. I then used different texturizing tools, including my favourites - the silicone paint shapers - to make patterns.

Here are some of the papers:

Cheap drawing paper

Copy paper

Brown wrapping paper

Pattern tissue paper

Pattern tissue paper

I really enjoyed making these papers, as it was one of those Zen 'back to kindergarten' activities where you are allowed to play with goopy things and make a mess.

I was quite surprised by the fact that all the papers worked well for this technique - even the tissue paper! True, it was very fragile when wet with paint, but being careful, I managed to move it to a safe place without it ripping up. And it turned out that the tissue paper, along with the copy paper and brown wrapping paper became my favourites. They are cheap, worked just as well as the more expensive papers, and are thin enough to work well for collage. I still have unused wallpaper paste mooching about, so I might just make some more, in different colours. Try it!

Thanks for visiting!
- Annika


  1. What fun!!! I watched that tutorial too and put it in the back of my mind for warmer weather outside. Have you tried shaving cream for marbling. I think there are some YouTube videos on how to do it. Have fun!!!

    1. Thanks for the marbling tip! I haven't tried shaving cream yet, but I might have to try it now that I'm getting to grips with the more traditional method. ;-)

      Let's hope the weather warms up so that you too can have some paste paper fun soon. I haven't made any more yet, but the paste is eagerly waiting for me to quit fooling around with marbling and to give it another chance.

  2. The shaving foam works really well, especially with silk paints.

    1. Thank you Michele! I will have to try that very soon!