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Working with Tissue Paper in Mixed Media Art

Tissue paper can add an interesting dimension to collage, especially dressmaker patterns. We are mostly using opaque shapes in collage, so our work can get blocky. Tissue paper can add some transparency, and connect areas of your composition in a subtle way by overlapping them.

This piece has so much going on, just with color, that is was hard to tie it together. Tissue paper is help to give us more unity with its tan color moving over multiple areas. It is obscuring some elements lightly, making them quieter, and it’s also doing something I really like: introducing lines, graphic elements. The repetition of these lines, and the line of circles, is helping move our eye around and almost giving the piece a structural support.

Working with tissue will be greatly aided by a spray bottle of water! If you glue is down dry it will wrinkle uncontrollably. And you may want that. But in this case I wanted to control the lines and get them glued down straight. So I first spritz a piece of tissue with water. You might blot it lightly with a towel so it is not dripping wet.

My substrate here is a cradled panel and I am using acrylic gloss medium as my adhesive. Every piece I glue down gets a top coat of acrylic as well, so that my surface, at any time, is sealed and waterproof. So I can lay the damp tissue on top of it and not damage anything. It is a great way to preview your placements.

When you find where you want it, put a layer of medium down and set the tissue on top. Damp dressmaker patterns are fairly strong and you can pull them so that you remove wrinkles and get the paper where you want it. You might pull it back up a few times to straighten it, while the medium is still very wet. Give it a try, it works pretty well.

To a creative week,


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