Easy Homemade Translucent Paper

Hey Everyone, it’s me, Nicole 🙂

When you think of making paper usually a blender, pulp and a mess from here to Halifax comes to mind. This approach skips over all that unpleasantness and gets right to the fun part. If you can rip, cut and glue then you can do this. To start you’ll need a roll of paper towels and some dying supplies.

I have Glimmer Mist on hand as well as Re-inkers and Mini- Misters, but this would work just as well with bowls of food-colored water. Spray the ink onto your paper towels; I do this in the sink and then use paper towels to swipe the sink clean producing a neat tie-dye effect.  Let them dry completely. When you are done you should have something like this:

Grab your Paper Napkin Art Kit and select a few napkins that would look nice with your dyed paper towels. Most napkins are two-ply so you need to separate them before using.

Mix One Part White Glue with Four Parts Water in a plastic cup.

Stir to mix and then brush glue solution over a sheet of Freezer Paper cut to the size you’d like your finished paper to be.

Step One:

Separate the layers of dyed paper towel, cut or rip into strips and apply to freezer paper.

Step Two:

Continuing adding paper towel and napkin pieces in a pleasing arrangement. Overlap a little so your paper won’t have holes.

Here’s the finished product, I added printed tissue paper found in my Wholey Sheet Mixed Media Kit (script), napkins ( polka dots and flourishes) and paper towel (solid parts).

You can cut out flowers, imbedding their image, following the same process:

Allow to dry thoroughly, overnight is best, and peel off the freezer paper. The back side will be shiny from the glue – it looks pretty cool too.

These papers are translucent enough that they are easy to trace through and would look marvelous in a window project. Here is one using dress-making pattern paper (my Gauche Alchemy parcel came wrapped in it) and the others showing how the light spills through:

Wondering what to do with it?

I liked the look of the paper so much I added an image to the open, lighter areas using the gel medium transparency transfer method and  made an art piece.

1. Take a piece of wood and cover it with Mod Podge.

2. Apply paper to gluey surface.

3. Ease paper around the edges of the wood, glueing as you go.

4. Make nice corners – gift wrap style is easiest for me, but Dowhatchalike 🙂

5. Seal it down with a spoon, brayer or bone folder.

6. The back should look something like this. I decided glue is easier than scissors and trimming.

7. Add textural and visual interest with embellishments, use Mod Podge to attach them. In this case, this cranberry ribbon was wrapped around my Gauche Alchemy parcel – lucky me!

8. Fill solid areas with dots using Punchinella as a stencil, stamping through it. Also darken and distress edges with charcoal or chestnut ink.

Close Ups:

Thanks for sticking with this tutorial to the end. You’ll be seeing the lovely lady from my art piece again in a few days as the Gauche Alchemists have a terrific surprise for you.

If you are wondering what to do with all your excess dyed paper towels, please stop by my blog where I’ve posted a paper towel flowers wreath tutorial.


18 Responses

  1. Oooooooo, purty! =D

    Love that, Nicole – great tutorial! Looks like it could be a fun Emily project…

  2. Brilliant! Absolutely loved this! Thanks Nicole… OH says he can tell when I’m enjoying something on here as I sit catching flies with my chops. Charming!

  3. Carmen! Don’t make me fall off my chair!
    Knee-col, guess what this morning is going to start off with?
    I have five blue-orange-coffee colored flowers waiting for embellies{I did them yesterday}. I decided to use faded jeans and spiced marmalade distress ink with a floral background stamp as well.

    I had some leftover paint in my tray from starting an AJ background and it got a little dry, decided to put a little water in it to soften the paint back up and put a couple of those blue paper towels I told you about in there- rubbed them over the painty spots and then left them overnight and now they are drying. I am off to gather some goodies to do you know what!

  4. Oh wow – this is right up my alley!
    And i just got some new Glimmer Mist from the Artfire store to play with!
    Thanks so much for the tutorial!
    That piece is BRILLIANT!

  5. I’ve got two parent sheets drying…the second one is based on the2nd photo in Maggis post.

  6. Very cool Nicole!

  7. Wowowowowow Nicole, this is smokin’! I need to get me some of these dyes, lol. Thanks for the tutorial, brilliant!

    Joyce, can’t wait to see what you’re working on! 😀

  8. BEAUTIFUL NICOLE! I love it!

  9. Nicole! Wowowee! That is just too, too awesomely splendorific, girl! Beautiful, just gorgeous!

    Thanks so much for the inspiration and the tut! Definitely have to try this out soon! =)


  10. Hey, oooooh, oooh, hey…teach, teach{my hand is in the air}!
    If you don’t have freezer paper. try the plastic that comes out of cereal boxes, saltines, etc.

    I was finishing off some saltines and I got to thinking…so I tried it.

  11. I forgot!
    I added used tea bags and crepe paper to Nicoles list of supplies.

  12. Wow! This is really cool Nicole! 🙂

  13. Wowza. That’s totally amazing. Gorgeous. I’ll have to give this a go some time!

  14. […] Friday, Nicole offered a tutorial on creating amazingly gorgeous translucent paper. With that paper she created, and the ad as […]

  15. Ouuuuuuu! Nichole! my brain is just racing with happy crafty thoughts now. I’ve been trying tissue paper collage lately, but lamenting that it wasn’t fabric-like enough. This is the perfect solution. Sheer brilliance!!! We stopped buying paper towel for earth day, but I have some left over paper towels that were used as emergency packing material in the move. Thank You so much for sharing such artistic & fun & affordable & absolutely stunning ideas . I can’t wait to try this out!

  16. I loved the paper towel wreath when I saw it on Made by Nicole and tried it with coffee filters and melted crayon. The effect was quite different, but fun. I will post my results on my site later today. You are an awesome, imaginative artist! Thanks for your ideas!

  17. […] written by Sharon Tomlinson. There’s also a great paper making post using napkins called Easy Homemade Translucent Paper. Both posts are full of awesome instructions and information on how to take an everyday ordinary […]

  18. this tutorial is terrific! i am putting your blog on my sidebar right now!

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