Saturday, June 26, 2010

Paste paper

Paste paper is a fun activity that does not take too much time or too many materials. And what materials the recipe and activity do use, are normally found at home. No worries about having to find or buy exotic items for this project! Paste paper is actually decorating existing blank paper, using flour and dishwashing liquid etc. It is the glycerin in the dishwashing liquid that allows the paint to look like it is suspended, giving it that distinctive 3D effect.

I like to use the finished product for book binding, bookmarks, hand made cards, journals, collage, picture frames, you name it.

Here is a recipe I use, copied from a class I took at the Portland (ME) Museum of Art in the 1990s. It works well and once your paste has cooled, have at it!

Paste paper recipe

Boil 6 cups water in large pot
Meanwhile, mix 1 ½ cups four and 1 ¾ cups cold water with whisk
Take flour/water mixture and slowly drop into boiling water. Mix together. Take off heat immediately.
Mix 2 Tablespoons Dawn dishwashing liquid into flour paste.
Let cool. If too many lumps, can strain with cheesecloth/ Mixture should be smooth, and have the consistency of pudding.

--Can use the paint from the craft center art Wal-Mart, the small bottles cost less than $1.
--Soft As Silk cake flour gives a nice consistency to the paste that is thinner. Although you can try many kinds of flour as well as corn starch to see how results vary.
--This recipe makes a good amount for a class but a lot for personal, home use. Since it makes a LOT for personal use, you can cut it in half.
--The paste stays good if placed in the fridge, for up to a week.

Select your paper, whether it be Xerox printing paper, cardstock, special paper, etc. Wet it by holding it under a running faucet for a moment or using a wet sponge. Smooth it on a flat surface with paper towel or newspaper underneath, flattening it and also getting out all the air or water bubbles. As mentioned, mix some paste in a small bowl with paint. Use a sponge or good brush to smoothly wipe the paint over the paper you have selected. Use a found implement to draw or drag through the paint on the paper, making designs. When satisfied, use a second color. The two colors do not mix, but stay suspended and separate. You can really have fun with making designs either precise or abstract. Lay paste papered paper on newsprint to dry or hang on a line inside with clothespins. Keep the cats away!

When the papers are dry, stack them and either press them with a heavy book on top or you can actually iron them (color side down) with an iron on low. Now you have a pretty stack to use as a quick greeting card or project-in-waiting. And have a wonderful afternoon paste papering!

I use simple acrylic paints from Wal-Mart. The small bottles are about $1 or you can experiment with any kind of paints: gouache, oil, watercolor...the entire fun of paste paper is that there is no harm in experimenting. It's only one sheet of paper if you don't like the result, and you can use a sponge to erase the design and use that same piece of paper all over again. And I like to take a few teaspoons of paste and put it in a smaller bowl, then add paint to my liking. If you don't like how the paint is mixing with the paste, well, then you have only used a few teaspoons.

Children love this activity, PSSSST, because it is really finger-painting with implements! Implements you can use to drag around the paint on the paper are plastic or metal combs, knives, fork, wadded up saran wrap blots, bottoms of candlestick holders, no item is safe from being uses as a paste paper 'brush'!

This one is a book cover of a soft-cover art journal I'd made.

 This one is the cover of a small, hard cover journal made to look like a Medieval ladies' prayer book

This one is the cover to an accordion book I'd made

This is the cover of a larger soft-cover art journal I had made a few years ago.

These two were ends I'd saved from cutting the larger piece for a project. They can become bookmarks (they laminate just fine) or as scraps to use in collages or decorative pieces on book covers or greeting cards.


Kim said...

Gosh, Elizabeth, you are so left brained! I wish I had more "art" in me!


Elizabeth Prata said...

Thanks Kim!

Now, the friend who taught me this stuff, SHE is an artist. Makes beautiful things. I was in awe of her abilities. The photo on my FB album of me gluing things is at her house on Friday Night Making Art Night. We used to get together and make stuff around endless pots of tea and children running in and out (and husbands, and brothers...)

It is hard for me because the right brain kicks in a lot, but I think I need more than one outlet for what's going on inside my head. Thanks for checking it out!