How to Use Tissue Paper in Art

Written by jennifer streit
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Tissue paper is kept on hand in many households and child care centres because it can be used for many different art projects. Most art projects using tissue paper leave the paper as is to create collages and faux stained glass. There are basically two different kinds of tissue paper. The kind used in wrapping presents is generally bleed-proof. That's good for a project using tissue paper as butterfly wings, but for painting, such tissue paper should bleed. Tissue paper of all colours can be used as a cheap, simple project for any theme you need.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tissue paper
  • Clear contact paper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Water
  • Scissors
  • White paper
  • Black marker (optional)
  • Construction paper (optional)
  • Newspaper (optional)

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  1. 1

    Gather all your materials into one place and set up your work area. Lay out the newspaper, if desired, to cover your work area.

  2. 2

    Cut and tear tissue paper. Make small squares, strips and pieces but not smaller than about an inch diameter. They won't bleed right for painting if they are too small.

  3. 3

    Lay out the contact paper or white paper. For "stained glass," you will need contact paper, sticky side up. To paint, you need white paper.

  4. 4

    Draw an outline of the design you want in black marker for the painting. If you just want a free-form collage, you can skip this step. Alternately, if you want a border on your "stained glass," cut a design out of construction paper, then cut the inside out, leaving a border that is empty in the middle and about 1/4 inch thick around.

  5. 5

    Lay the tissue paper on the white paper or the sticky side of the contact paper in the design that you want. If you are using a border, lay that out first on the contact paper.

  6. 6

    Saturate the tissue on white paper with water. Wait 10 seconds, then remove the tissue and discard or lay out to dry for another purpose. The colour will be revealed on the white paper below.

  7. 7

    Place another piece of contact paper, sticky side down, on top of the "stained glass" design and smooth.

Tips and warnings

  • Clear contact paper is available at most craft and school supply stores.
  • For the painting, use craft-grade bleeding tissue paper instead of wrapping tissue paper.

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