Playtime: Paper and Paint Background Tutorial


Thank you for all of the comments and emails that I received on my Playtime: Paint and Paper post. Many of you asked if I would please write a tutorial – so I have written out my step by step instructions for you to make your own beautiful papers.

Let’s start with the supplies that I used

  • Watercolor paper (I used Fabriano’s Artistico White)
  • Designer cocktail or dinner napkins
  • Soft Gel Matte medium
  • Selection of foam rubber stamps
  • Selection of stencils (letters, flowers, abstract shapes)
  • Sequin waste (also known as Punchella)
  • Heavy body acrylic paints
  • Fluid acrylic paint (to create a glaze)
  • Craft acrylic paints
  • Palette or freezer paper to mix paints
  • Foam brushes (these do not leave marks or texture on the page)
  • Stencil brush

Ready? Let’s get started.

  • Open up your napkin(s) and seperate the layers. Start at one corner and use your finger to curl the end and pull the top layer away from the bottom layers. Set your top layer aside.

  • Lay out your sheet of watercolor paper and use your foam brush to add a layer of soft gel medium, one small section at a time or the medium will dry and the napkin won’t stick. Once you have a small section coated, carefully lay down your napkin and smooth it down with your hand. Continue to put down small areas of gel medium on the watercolor paper and lay the napkin over it, smoothing it as you go.

  • Once the paper has been covered and napkins are down smooth, apply a layer of the gel medium over the top using the foam brush and a very light hand so that the napkin does not tear. Let that dry completely.

  • On a palette or freezer paper, mix a penny size amount of fluid acrylic (I used Golden Quinacridone Magenta) and water it down with a spray bottle until you have a 50/50 mixture of water and paint.

  • Using a foam brush, apply this glaze over the napkins.

  • Let the glaze sit for about 3 minutes then take a paper towel and start blotting up some of the glazing. Don’t rub, just tap the paper towel in certain spots on the paper. This will leave a mottled effect, which actually looks like there is another layer on the paper.

  • Once you have a look you like, let the paper dry completely.
  • Pull out your foam stamps and stencils. (here are some that I chose).

  • Choose some colors (4-6) of acrylic paints that will compliment your background. I like to use the heavy body acrylics with the stencils (including the sequin waste) because they leave a wonderful thick texture on the paper and use the craft acrylics with the foam stamps, but try both and see what works for you.
  • Begin applying the stamps or stencils one layer, one color at a time. Let each layer dry completely before adding the next.
  • Here is my paper after applying the letter stencil using Golden Quinacridone Crimson, the daisy stencil using Golden Titanium White, sequin waste using Ceramcoat Tahiti Blue and the @ foam stamp with Folk Art Tangerine.

  • Keep building the layers until you are happy with the result.
  • Here is the finished paper. I added the Fleur de Lis foam stamp using Ceramcoat Gecko green, sequin waste using Golden Hansa Yellow Medium and the & foam stamp using Golden Ultramarine Blue. The paper looks much brighter because I scanned it. The others pics were photographed.

  • I chose not to seal my paper, but you could apply a coat of the soft gel medium as the last layer on the paper.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I would love to see what you create with these techniques. Have fun exploring and creating with your new paper.

Keep it simple!

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