I’ve been a bit obsessed with patterned paper recently. Last week you might remember that I was sharing some of my book making ideas with patterned paper and the week before that I shared a video showing the making of an art journal page with patterned paper and pen flowers. But the papers I used in those projects were all bought patterned paper.
So what about making our own patterned paper? Well that has got to be one of our most favourite things to do in the mixed media world isn’t it? Tell you what, I will show you my current favourite techniques if you promise to share yours? Is it a deal?
Great! Let’s do it! And if you haven’t got any favorites I hope that I can persuade you to make these your new favourites!
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1. Drawing Patterns
We all love stamping to make pattered paper but what about a bit of drawing? Drawing is my number one top practice this year. I’m trying to increase my skill level with regular practice, as many of you already know and have been joining in with me over on Instagram. So it is kind of natural that this should be on my favorite technique list at the moment for making patterned paper.
Of course you can use anything but I particularly like using waterproof materials to make my patterned paper so that I can then use the paper for other things and not worry about smearing. So I’ve been using acrylic paints in the form of the Sharpie Extra Fine paint pens or the Posca Extra Fine Paint Pens.
But another fun thing to try is using acrylic inks like the Liquitex Muted Colour inks and a dip pen. I use the Kuretake dip pen, I do have others but I really like the feel of this one, it is very comfortable to work with.
Once these papers are dry you can use then and the pattern won’t change and you will see another use for these later in the list!
2. Relief Printing
How about a bit of relief printing? Now this is great fun and you can do it with so many different things you have hanging around the house.
The basic technique:
a. Place items on a hard surface
b. Cover with a sheet of paper
c. Roll a brayer through some ink or paint on a palette.
d. Roll the brayer over the paper.
You will need to get the hang of how much pressure to use to get the image coming through and how much ink or paint to have on the brayer, but after a few test runs you will get the hang of it.
There is a humongous list of things you can relief print with but here are a few to get you started:
It’s like doing Collagraphy but you don’t have to stick the items to the surface. So for this patterned paper pictured directly above I used a Ranger medium brayer, Turner Acryl Gouache (Night Blue, Colour Pearl Red, Colour Pearl Lemon), a cross stitch mesh/ canvas, Sizzix Hexagon embossing folder and some chipboard alphabet letters. And on the paper before it I use the Turner Acryl Gouache (Night Blue) over the StencilGirl Loopy Ladders L434 stencil.
DISCLAIMER: This is addictive and habit forming! You will be grabbing everything you can to relief print with. Warn the people that you live with before embarking on this project!
Whilst we are on the subject of brayers (well we sort of are with the relief printing) brayering is a super simple way to make interesting patterned paper even without the relief printing part. If I need a quick piece of paper covered I will either brayer it or use the plastic card (like an old credit card or gift card) scrapping method. I love these two methods as you get a rich texture without really having to do much at all.
Don’t forget that if you have a brayer that you can remove the barrel from then you can add even more interest by wrapping it with an elastic band or string or even cut out bits of craft foam, and running that through the paint or ink and onto the surface. For the plastic card you can always snip away at the edge of the card with a sharp knife to give it an interesting tooth edge to add more texture.
For my page above I again used the Turner Acryl Gouache (Night Blue, Colour Pearl Lemon) but I also added in some Holbein Gouache Brilliant Gold which is the bling-y-est gold paint colour I have yet to find!
Collage is definitely on my favourite DIY patterned paper list. I love a bit of collage, don’t you? And now you can see one of the reasons why I like to use waterproof and water-resistant materials to make the drawn patterned papers. It makes it easier to collage them if you don’t have to worry about the glue smearing the design.
For my glue I am using Golden Regular Gel and applying it with a plastic card onto both the surfaces that will be in contact with each other and then over the top of the collaged piece. I usually use the gloss gel as it is completely transparent when dry, but if you want a matte finish then you can use the matte version or a semi-gloss version.
Finally you can put it all together with a bit of layering of all or some of the techniques above! Total knock out fun! So go for it!
This time for my relief printing I’ve gone for a Derwent Inktense block over the StencilGirl Loopy Ladders L434 stencil. The Inktense will react to water so if you use anything on top bear that in mind when you build the layers and be prepared for some colour movement or use a fixative to decrease the movement.
You can use all sorts of papers for the techniques I have described above, try out your favourites or what you have in your stash and see what works for you. If you are stuck try the Fabriano Accademia Artist Paperpack 200 sheets 120 gsm, it is a great paper for messing about with, works really well with dry techniques and sketching, but it does winkle with excessive water and some gel medium use.
I hope you are now buzzing with ideas and things you want to try this week after all that! Now over to you…what are your current favourite ways to make your DIY Patterned Paper?
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