Paste paper painting party

Workshop

PAINTING DECORATIVE PASTE PAPER is heady and exhilarating for adults and kids alike, whether you're into book arts, journaling, scrapbooking, crafting or just having fun. Lift your game by adding some new techniques and testing an array of different tools to push your creative envelope out there.

Get inspired and use your new hand-painted papers to cover books, portfolios, decorative boxes and frames, or to wrap gifts, make cards & tags—all with designs you created that will give your projects that truly personal, handcrafted-for-you touch.

Rubber-tipped brushes (left) and a wide-toothed comb (right) can be wielded to make either organic or geometric designs in the paste.

Rubber-tipped brushes (left) and a wide-toothed comb (right) can be wielded to make either organic or geometric designs in the paste.

Wear comfortable shoes and work clothing. Dress for the weather: we are not air-conditioned and in winter much of the heat rises to the top of our 20-foot ceiling. Bring questions, your camera and a notebook to record your process.

This bright field of freshly painted paste paper is hanging to dry for a while before being turned into colorful folio covers for certificates.

This bright field of freshly painted paste paper is hanging to dry for a while before being turned into colorful folio covers for certificates.

What is paste paper?

THE USE OF PASTE PAPERS dates back to the late 1500s. Paste papers were (and still are) oddly considered a make-it-yourself medium. Any handy bookbinder can offer attractive books with appealing covers at a lower cost vs. leather, full cloth, or other bindings.

To make it, you simply brush a wheat paste + color mixture onto a wetted sheet of readymade paper, and using your hands or any tool you wish, make marks on the surface. Using the paste as a carrier for the color pigment gives remarkable shading and dimensional effects that are difficult to match with other mediums.

Below is a short time lapse film of Lead Graffiti's Jill and Ray sharing the process of making an edition of paste paper for one of their Moments Carved in Paper books.

Teamwork came in handy to produce multiple paste paper sheets with the same complicated pattern.

Teamwork came in handy to produce multiple paste paper sheets with the same complicated pattern.

Good to know

DEPENDING ON HUMIDITY and thickness of paste, your papers may require extra drying time and can be picked up later. While paper is supplied for this workshop, feel free to bring any specialty papers you'd like to experiment with. The following topics will be covered: 

  • Showcase of paste paper samples
  • Handouts of recipes, sources for tools and materials
  • Discussion of uses and care of paste papers
  • Mixing colors
  • Demonstrations of techniques with sponges, brushes, rollers, combs, stamps, etc.
  • Hands-on experimentation
  • Cleaning up

Taking this workshop grants you the opportunity to rent workspace and helpful tools and equipment for your own paste paper work. You must supply your own paper and paste. Click here for Workspace Rental options.

Up close and personal pics

This close up shows some of the shading and dimensional qualities that wheat paste gives the painted surface.

This close up shows some of the shading and dimensional qualities that wheat paste gives the painted surface.

A soft sponge brush is used to apply geometric swirls of colored paste for this high-key design.

A soft sponge brush is used to apply geometric swirls of colored paste for this high-key design.

IDEA : Wrap your picture frame first in one paste paper design and then accent it with a second contrasting one.

IDEA : Wrap your picture frame first in one paste paper design and then accent it with a second contrasting one.