How to make tissue paper collage art

Written by gryphon adams
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How to make tissue paper collage art
White tulip collage with light blue background (blue tulips collage image by Tamara Kulikova from

Tissue paper collage projects create delicate effects in a wide range of colour. Tissue paper works well for both figurative art depicting known subjects such as flowers, people, animals and landscapes, and for abstract arts. Tissue paper also makes a stained glass substitute for kids' craft projects. Due to its shapable texture, tissue paper makes a versatile medium for textured collages. You can use crumpled, wrinkled, folded and otherwise textured tissue paper to add dimension to the collage.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Art paper or parchment
  • Tissue paper
  • Scissors (safety scissors for kids)
  • Paper mache mixture (optional)
  • Glue
  • Foam brush (optional)

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  1. 1

    Set out tissue paper colours for the subject. Use a pencil to draw the design on paper or parchment if desired.

  2. 2

    Tear tissue paper in narrow strips for a soft effect or cut it with a scissors in strips and any other desired shapes.

  3. 3

    Apply tissue paper to the background. Place the strips evenly for a basic background, or experiment with textures by overlapping the strips, adding small wads of tissue paper, tissue paper stars, wrinkled tissue paper or any other design. The 92nd St. Y website recommends putting some glue in a bottle lid and using a cotton swap to apply glue. This allows you to control the amount. Paper Crafts suggests using a foam brush to smooth bubbles out of the tissue paper.

  4. 4

    Create the main design from the outside to the centre. For example, for a sunflower, apply the stem, then apply the outer petals. Wad bits of grey and cream tissue paper up and glue into the centre.

Tips and warnings

  • Handle tissue paper gently; it tears easily.
  • You can pre-cut tissue paper in the desired shapes.
  • You can make a paper mache mixture in a bowl and dip the tissue paper in the mixture, then press the strips on the parchment with your fingertips.
  • Avoid getting the tissue paper too wet with the mixture as it will deteriorate.
  • Allow time for the background to dry before adding the next layer.
  • Applying the outer elements first and working toward the centre allows you to cover any errors or rough edges.
  • Parchment paper provides a strong surface for building a tissue paper collage. Due to its translucence—the ability to allow light through—it works well for faux stained glass and other artwork to display in a window or in front of a non-flammable light source. Light coming through the parchment brings the tissue paper colours to life.

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