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Thursday, December 13, 2012

STOP! Don't throw away those paint stained paper towels

I've been making Paper Cloth!  The piece below is made from muslin, used paper towels (I'd used them to clean up Dylusions Spray Ink), white tissue and gel medium.


It's a nifty way to use up those paper towels (and possibly the baby wipes) you've used to clean after your projects.

Essentially you are making a fabric based handmade paper using decoupage/collage methods. The result  has a leathery look and feel.



What you need: unbleached muslin; paper towels, white tissue paper that is larger than the piece of muslin, gel medium or glue, water.  Extras: Any other thin papers-decoupage papers, napkins, etc.
Any bits & bobs-spices, pressed flowers, etc.

Mix the gel medium/glue and water.  I'm still experimenting, and I suspect the gel medium you use will dictate the amount of water.  I like the substance to just border on soup.

Tear your tissue, towels, and paper stuff into strips. You may want to keep one layer of white tissue that is larger than the entire piece.

Cut your muslin to the desired size.  Slather on the watered gel medium/glue until the muslin's covered.   If you have a very large piece you might want to work in sections.

Layer on one strip of paper towel or other thin paper.  Slather gel/glue all over it.  You can press out wrinkles if you wish, But they make great texture!  Brush and tap down gently, but don't worry if the paper tears-more wonderful texture!

Continue adding the thin papers and brushing them with gel/glue mix.  You can layer on the paper any old direction and be surprised, or lay the papers down so the colors go where you want them.

In this piece, besides the paper towels, I added strips of lokta paper and bit with sparkles and flowers. I added some below the paper towels and some on top so the amount showing would vary.

It's okay to let some of the muslin show through.  If the gel/glue mix gets too tacky underneath, spritz it with water.

After you've layered as much color and texture as you want (1-3 layers) then lay down the white tissue. and cover completely with the gel/glue mix.


Let it dry overnight at least to be sure that the gel/glue mix is dry throughout.  You can heat dry to speed it up, but I'd still let it set just to be sure.

Now you can sew it, paint it, draw on it, bind the pages into a book.  Add a thin wash of clear gesso if you want more of a tooth.  Not every medium will work on this--I'll show you some of the stuff I do as I go on... meanwhile, if you google Paper Cloth technique or Paper Cloth How To you'll find several tutorials, and more techniques for working on the Papercloth you create.

2 comments:

  1. Great idea. When did you ever find the time, with all your'e extracurriculum activities???

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  2. If you have the stuff ready to go,it doesn't actually take too much time to actually make the paper--maybe 15, 20 minutes to make one of these. I've been building up a stash of paper towel strips for a while, and I've got tons of small pieces of specialty papers from my ATC days.

    I've used up my paper towels now, just for these two pieces. One of them is going to end up as an abstract of an orange grove, a Christmas present for my brother who lives part time in Florida.

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