Friday, August 21, 2009

Tissue Paper Textured Paintings

Today I was trying out a new lesson for school...using tissue paper to texture a landscape before painting.

The mountain kinda of paints itself as you add color the tissue paper gives you definition. I still have to try this out on my own TEST subjects yet....but here is the how to :

Click on photo for a closer view.

Materials Required:

watercolor paper
white tissue paper
old credit or gift card
watercolor or tempura paint

Take some watercolor paper....I'm using 140lb but at school I'll only have 90lb so I will probably mount it onto some thin cardboard to minimize buckling.

Draw out a quick sketch of your mountain for a guide.

Take plain white tissue paper and rip into some strips and triangular shapes. You don't want to have any perfectly straight edges.

Squeeze out some can find this at Wal Mart or at Michael's....its like really thick acrylic paint that is kinda of chalky...its used to prime canvas before painting.

Apply to your paper using an old credit card or one of those numerous gift/bonus cards you have lying around.

Apply to your mountain area in a cross hatching are building up in small areas of about 5 inches

Apply a piece of tissue...scrunching it as you lay it down to give it some texture. Don't worry if it goes off the edge you can trim these edges when it dries.

Apply some gesso on top of the tissue as well.

You can also add texture just with the gesso itself adding some globs here and there,

Here I'm trying some bubble wrap for a different texture type.

Let your paper fully dry.

Trim off those edges.

Start painting...I added the sky can use watercolor or tempura cake paint.

Here I'm lifting off paint with a kleenex to form always love this step as it's like magic.

When the sky has dried add in your mountain you add color the tissue texture will be revealed.

Make sure to vary your colors with light and dark shades...don't paint the mountain all one color. I used blue, brown, and black.

I also added some trees in green tones as well as some yellow.

Here is another one I tried but I think this technique worked better on the mountain.

It was fun and an interesting twist.

see you next time



  1. Great idea! Greetings from Greece.

  2. How cool is that?! I've been working with tissue paper textures recently and think this would be a wonderful, messy, fun project for the kids.

  3. I tried this with my homeschooled boys (7 and 12) and it was a great project. Things got a bit soupy at times but we just blotted the excess moisture. Thank you!

  4. Thank you for the great technique you shared. I used it as polar bear skin texture. I linked your site and I proposed my readers to visit your blog.

  5. I've used the gesso technique with acrylic before, but never watercolor, and never with tissue paper. That's great... I'm excited to try this out!! Thanks for all your great ideas on here.

  6. will this work with something other than gesso?

  7. I tried it in my grade4 class today. The children had a lot of fun. I used white glue instead of gesso.

  8. This is a great project! I'd like to talk to you about using your photo on my website as an example of how to incorporate mixed media into a watercolor painting. Will you please email regarding your policy on sharing? Thanks so much,


  9. It's amazing how much interest and texture the tissue paper adds to your beautiful art. I appreciate the "easy to follow" instructions and photos.

  10. Amazing use of gesso and tissue paper. Thank you for sharing