Thursday, 10 April 2014

FOG Tuesday – Paste Paper

Spring has finally sprung and the bright sun and Chinook winds on Tuesday helped to fuel our creative juices and we all produced some amazing and colourful pieces of paste paper.
Three different paste recipes all using the
same leaf motif from a roller.
The recipes for the actual paste were varied – 5 in all. Two of us chose to use straight methyl cellulous, one was a generic brand and the other was Elmer's Art Paste™.  One made up a batch using cornstarch and water, and the other two recipes used wheat flour. Extensive reading on the internet uncovered a variety of recipes, though it is interesting to note that the cornstarch/wheat varieties said that they could attract bugs, while the methyl cellulose would not.

Mark making tools cut from a meat tray.
Each of us tried a variety of mark making tools: commercial combs for decorative painting, roller stamps, sponges cut and tied to make interesting impressions, credit cards, the back of a ceramic tile to name a few. Personally, I found that the best mark making tools were the ones I had made from a styrofoam meat tray with the edges cut with decorative scissors.

We used a variety of inexpensive brushes to apply the paste paint and experimented with papers ranging from copy paper, card stock, mixed media paper from Strathmore and some glossy magazine cover paper left over from a print shop

Crayola Finger Paints.
For our paints we used Golden Fluid Acrylic, dollar store acrylic paints, metallic paint, Liquitex Basic Acrylic Paint and Reeves Acrylic Paint™ in tubes. One unexpected find, and a blast from the past, were Crayola Finger Paints™. Crayola would not tell me what the ingredients were, but after using them I'm certain that they must be methyl cellulose based. There are only 4 colours in the box, but the results were great. Almost all of the other paints produced nice results.

Top, mark making with styrofoam tools.
Bottom, mark making with a credit card.

Finally, we had several outcomes from our techniques that are worthy to note:
  • we found that in some cases it helped to size the paper with uncoloured paste before adding the coloured paste
  • that it was helpful to let the paste sit on the paper for a while to dry and then make our marks
  • that in some cases if the page was too wet we could take one or more pulled prints from the wet page, which improved the original page
  • that you need lots of space and drying time
  • and that the resulting pages will be fun to use in upcoming projects.

Right, original print.
Left, pulled print from the original.
Methyl cellulose paste.
Wheat paste.


  1. I love these and would love to see one uniquely matted and framed.

  2. I was quite taken by the process and will certainly do more papers. Yes, there are some that are worthy of framing.