I'm Tammy


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    Crazy Fun Tissue Paper Backgrounds

    "Taking photographs can assuage the itch for possession
    sparked by the beauty of a place;
    our anxiety over losing a precious scene can decline
    with every click of the shutter."
    ~Alain de Botton

    This all started at Create + Live Happy, where Hanna wrote about painting tissue paper for backgrounds in The Power of Tissue Paper and shared her enchanting rainbow of artwork in More Tissue Paper Collage in my Art Journal. Hanna's journal pages are always fun to explore especially when a close-up is shared. So here's what I did! {Click for more of the story if you are reading the RSS Feed, as there are lots of photos}

    I read through Hanna's posts and ideas started to swirl in my mind over the past week. This weekend I finally pulled out the box of tissue paper collected from oh so many birthday bashes. In the states, a lot of moms wrap kids' birthday gifts by placing the unwrapped gift in a nest of lovely tissue paper inside a fun themed gift bag. So you get a bunch of fun bags at your kids' birthday and use them throughout the year for their friends' parties.

    The process is pretty easy, albeit goopy! I started with 9x12" watercolor paper that had been used for excess ink on a brayer. Above, photos of my first page which I'll call Flower. Using a plastic gift card, I layered Golden extra heavy moulding paste on the page. This is easier than using a brush and the card can be used to flatten the layer while you go. This was all a big experiment. After placing a torn bit of tissue paper on the cardboard, I smoothed it gently with the edge of the card. After that first layer, I put a piece of tissue where I wanted it and swiped a bit of moulding paste across with the card. It adhered because the paper was absorbing the adhesive. It's quite thin! Some papers bleed, others do not. Multiple layers of the same color result in nicely opaque sections and individually, a soft translucent layer. The resulting page was heavy and wet, and starting to warp, so I put parchment paper on top and placed it under a bunch of hardbacks.

    For page two, below, I tried a heavier base since the watercolor paper in the first page was so saturated. The heavy cardboard back of Strathmore wire-bound watercolor or sketch journal is wonderful for creating loose art journal pages. Even though the paper was quite thick, by the time I was done the page was fully warped! Under the books it went. The moulding paste is very heavy, so I am curious to see how it dries and how compatible the background will be with additional layers!

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    Reader Comments (7)

    I LOVE this so much. Wow. Yet another thing to put on my "TRY NOW" list :)

    03.22.2010 | Unregistered Commenterchel

    just yummy. love the colors.

    03.22.2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

    Wow your experimenting came out very cool! I love the bleed effect, I didn't get that from any of the papers I used. The flowers in the papers looks like they are pressed flowers, makes me think it would be cool to press flowers when summer comes and cover it with white tissue papers... :-) So glad I inspired you, coz you inspire me so often!

    03.22.2010 | Unregistered CommenteriHanna


    03.22.2010 | Unregistered CommenterIngrid

    Fantastic! I love everything you do and this technique is yet another that's just perfect for both me and my kids to try!

    Question: Where do the flowers, balloon, et. al., come from? Graphics on a different type of paper? Graphics on tissue paper? Graphics you sketched?

    Many thanks and keep up the EXCELLENT work!


    04.3.2010 | Unregistered CommenterVal Christy

    Ooops, I forgot to ask...

    Do you think this project works well for preschoolers thru 2nd grade -- ages 3-7?


    Please email me any thoughts/recommendations you have! potteryplayground@yahoo.com

    Many thanks for your time!

    04.3.2010 | Unregistered CommenterVal Christy

    *Chel, I hope you'll post your tissue art!

    *Kelly, The random colors are so cool...

    *Hanna, In the states you can buy tissue paper that "bleeds" although most of the paper you get with gifts is the non-bleeding type. With the bleeding paper, you can get very interesting looks but it's harder to manage... and I LOVE the idea of pressing little flowers within tissue paper backgrounds.

    *Val, The papers in our little collection had balloons and flowers and patterns, as well as matte colors. I would love to try polka dots!

    Thoughts about this as a kid project.. it uses a LOT of glue and could be a massive mess. That wouldn't bother me, but it's something to plan for as far as workspace! My kids did tissue paper art with the type that "bleeds" when they were 3+ and we used a wooden popsicle stick to apply the elmer's kid-safe glue. The brush can tear the tissue paper and get tissue paper on it, if pushed too hard. We filled just part of the page and focused on mixing colors together. So yes, it's a good kid project but with some alterations for very little people.

    ~ Tammy

    04.3.2010 | Registered Commentergypsy

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