How to Paint Using Tissue

Written by christy maxwell
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How to Paint Using Tissue
Using bright tissue paper colours creates vivid, artistic imagery. (tissue paper image by Christopher Hall from

One of the greatest challenges of a creative mind is to repurpose materials into an aesthetically pleasing display. Tissue paper is an incredibly versatile medium that can be used in a variety of ways to create visual displays bursting with bold, rich colours. Painting with tissue is one way to create beautiful watercolour-like pictures. Artists of any age can effectively paint using tissue paper to create dazzling, vibrant works of art by following a few easy steps.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tissue paper that bleeds when wet
  • Water colour paper or canvas
  • Paint brush
  • White glue
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Select tissue paper that bleeds colour when wet. If reusing tissue paper, test a small piece by wetting it with water to make sure the colour runs.

  2. 2

    Choose a thicker paper to paint upon. Paper or canvas designed for watercolours will prevent wrinkles in the finished product.

  3. 3

    Mix a solution of 50% water and 50% white glue. Also, fill a glass with clear water.

  4. 4

    Think of a pattern or object. This design may be pre-traced onto the paper, or simply let creativity flow. Cut or tear appropriately coloured tissue paper into desired shapes.

  5. 5

    Lay tissue paper shapes on the watercolour paper or canvas. If desired, paint the tissue paper onto the canvas with the glue solution. If choosing this method, the tissue paper will remain on the canvas for a textured look. Painting over the tissue paper shape with water and removing the shape after it is wet will leave behind a watercolour imprint.

  6. 6

    Mix and match the glue solution or clear water methods on the same canvas for a pleasing effect.

  7. 7

    Overlap colours to mix and blend hues effectively.

Tips and warnings

  • Crayons or oil pastels can be used to draw on the page creating a relief within the painting.
  • Tissue paper can be crumbled, lightly dipped in water and pressed upon the page to generate a textured effect.
  • Tissue paper of all sizes may be twisted around the tip of a paint brush, or craft stick, to paint directly on canvas for a more free flowing watercolour effect.
  • Tissue paper may also be used to paint on dry clay projects in lieu of firing in a kiln.

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