Monday, April 26, 2010

Homemade Translucent Paper Tutorial

When you think of making paper usually a blender, pulp and a mess from here to Halifax comes to mind. This approach skips over all that unpleasantness and gets right to the fun part. If you can rip, cut and glue then you can do this. To start you'll need a roll of paper towels and some dying supplies.

This is a really fun project to do with kids - middle schoolers especially, but craft inclined wee ones would get a kick out of it too. Teens and adults can take this simple idea to amazing levels.

I have Glimmer Mist on hand as well as Re-inkers and Mini- Misters, but this would work just as well with bowls of food-colored water; the result will be more pastel though. Spray the ink onto your paper towels; I do this in the sink and then use paper towels to swipe the sink clean producing a neat tie-dye effect.  Let them dry completely. When you are done you should have something like this:

Grab some paper napkins with interesting designs ( Paper Napkin Art Kit  from Gauche Alchemy is a great source) and select a few napkins that would look nice with your dyed paper towels. Most napkins are two-ply so you need to separate them before using.

Mix One Part White Glue with Four Parts Water in a plastic cup.

Stir to mix and then brush glue solution over a sheet of Freezer Paper cut to the size you'd like your finished paper to be.

Step One:
Separate the layers of dyed paper towel, cut or rip into strips and apply to freezer paper.

Step Two:
Continuing adding paper towel and napkin pieces in a pleasing arrangement. Overlap a little so your paper won't have holes.

Here's the finished product, I added printed script tissue paper (script), napkins (polka dots and flourishes) and paper towel (solid parts).

You can cut out flowers, imbedding their image, following the same process:

Allow to dry thoroughly, overnight is best, and peel off the freezer paper. The back side will be shiny from the glue - it looks pretty cool too. It's really important to wait until it's completely dry. I started peeking and ripped a section.

These papers are translucent enough that they are easy to trace through and would look marvelous in a window project. Here is one using dress-making pattern paper (my Gauche Alchemy parcel came wrapped in it) and the others showing how the light spills through:

Wondering what to do with it?
I liked the look of the paper so much I added an image to the open, lighter areas using the gel medium transparency transfer method and  made an art piece.

1. Take a piece of wood and cover it with Mod Podge.

2. Apply paper to gluey surface.

3. Ease paper around the edges of the wood, glueing as you go.

4. Make nice corners - gift wrap style is easiest for me, but Dowhatchalike :-) (CLICK AND DANCE)

5. Seal it down with a spoon, brayer or bone folder.

6. The back should look something like this. I decided glue is easier than scissors and trimming.

7. Add textural and visual interest with embellishments, use Mod Podge to attach them.

8. Fill solid areas with dots using Punchinella as a stencil, stamping through it. Also darken and distress edges with charcoal or chestnut ink.

Close Ups:

Thanks for sticking with this tutorial to the end. If you are wondering what to do with all your excess dyed paper towels, please check out my paper towel flowers wreath tutorial.

*Originally posted at Gauche Alchemy


chksngr said...

This is amazing!! i could have my boy help me with a project like this!

Alison said...

I am bowing down to your awesomeness. You are so incredibly inspiring... I need to spend a weekend with my computer set on your blog and just make all of your tutorial projects!!!

Eileen The Artful Crafter said...

Beautiful! What a nifty technique for paper making.

Cheryl Valadez said...

Fabbie! Another awesome tutorial! Love the finished art piece.

Also, 157, um "admirers"! Good for you, your blog is excellent ;D

Meg said... rock big time!! A couple of years ago I used a napkin that had a great image on it and decoupaged it onto a serving tray...very similar to this project. Great job on the tutorial :)

Amy Hadley said...

Too cool! Did you hang this somewhere?

BlondieBlueEyes said...

So beautiful. I love your stuff.

bev said...

I'm so loving this art! Got inspired today and ordered some of the napkins, punchinella and a few other little items to attempt one myself. Thanks for the idea and the inspiration:)