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Faux Painting Techniques With Tissue Paper

Updated July 20, 2017

Tissue paper is generally used to wrap gifts and keep breakables safe. However, tissue paper is a valuable tool when faux finishing. Combining tissue paper and paint creates a faux fabric effect on walls that could not otherwise be achieved. A little know-how and the proper steps ensure a beautiful faux finish. Various techniques can be used to create different looks with tissue paper and paint.

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Standard Application

This method adheres the tissue paper to the wall and is fairly permanent, as the texture remains even when painted over. Rip the edges off a large piece of tissue paper and crinkle it in your hands. Apply a layer of wallpaper adhesive to a section of the wall using a small sponge roller. Press the tissue paper onto the wall with your hands, smoothing it out so the ridges remain, but there are no air pockets. Repeat this until the entire wall is covered. Use a latex-based paint and a paint roller to cover the tissue paper. This creates a textured look similar to plaster on the wall.

Colour Stamping

Use tissue paper to lift a portion the paint off a wall in a fabric-like textured way. Mix equal parts latex paint with a glazing medium. Liberally apply the glaze mixture to the wall in a criss-cross motion using a large paintbrush. Crinkle a large piece of tissue paper in your hands, then straighten it out again, creating wrinkles. Carefully position the tissue paper over the glazed section of wall and press it in place. Remove the tissue paper slowly, revealing a crinkled, textured look.


Cut shapes from sheets of vinyl and glue them onto the wall using wallpaper adhesive. Create a pattern or border along the length of the wall. Apply a second layer of adhesive on top of the shapes. Place a piece of tissue paper onto the shape carefully, smoothing it into the edges and crevices of the shape. Mix equal parts latex paint and water and apply it over the tissue paper with a large paintbrush. The paint mixture will collect in all the crevices and along the edges of the shapes, giving it an embossed look.


Pouncing the paint on with tissue paper is the same idea as sponge painting, however the result is a more wrinkled, cloth-like appearance. Crumple a piece of tissue paper into a ball. Apply a latex paint to the tissue paper and press it onto a section of the wall, working your way from the top to the bottom. Continue this over the entire wall until it is covered. Use a new piece of tissue paper to add a second colour if desired.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Vander Heide has been writing since 2003. She owns and operates a successful mural and hand-painted furniture business. In addition to art and decorative painting, she is an experienced hairstylist and makeup artist with a wealth of knowledge of the beauty industry. Vander Heide writes decorative painting instructions and seminar guides for professional tole painters. She studied at Cappa School of Hairstyling.

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