Mixed-Media Art Techniques: Three Ways to Decorate Paper

Decorative papers always catch my eye. I've been known to drop serious amounts of cash in those fancy paper product and art stores. But when I get them home, I always hate to use themthey're too precious.

mixed-media painting techniques on paper
'Green Ice' mixed-media paper quilt made with painted
papers, by Annette Morgan.

So when it comes to mixed-media art, I find it's easier and much less expensive to make your own papers for paper crafts or backgrounds.

Annette Morgan decorates papers using acrylic painting techniques, stamping, ink, and even tissue paper. They are quick and easy, yielding colorful papers she can use for many mixed-media purposes, including paper quilting.

Here are three techniques she describes in The Cloth Paper Scissors Book, by Barbara Delaney.


  • Heavy, good-quality paper, such as drawing paper
  • A variety of paintbrushes
  • Favorite printing stamps
  • A selection of acrylic paint
  • Inks (whatever you have, including leftover Procion dye)
  • A rigid plastic sheet
  • Roller (brayer)
  • Colored tissue paper
  • Acrylic gloss medium

Technique #1

1. Lay a sheet of the heavy paper on your work surface and paint it with diluted inks.

2. Let the paper dry and then stamp it with a favorite stamp that has been brushed with acrylic paint.

Tip: Annette often puts two different colors of paint into a tray and make sure there is a little of each on my brush; this gives a nice effect on the stamp.

Technique #2

1. Put a blob of acrylic paint onto the rigid plastic sheet and spread it around with a brush.

2. Using the stick end of the brush, draw patterns into the paint. Grouting tools work well, too.

3. Press a sheet of the heavy paper onto the surface of the plastic and pull it away. The designs will now be on the paper. There will still be some color left on the plastic sheet, and you can get another image if you moisten it with a little water.

4. Leave the paper to dry and then paint additional designs with inks or Procion dye.

Technique #3

1. Place scrunched-up colored tissue paper on a sheet of heavy paper that has been painted with water.

2. Leave the tissue in place until dry; then remove the tissue and you will have a sheet of paper with delicate colored marks.

These techniques make painting backgrounds a breeze! And when you're done, each piece will be unique.

Annette goes on to describe how to use your mixed-media art papers in The Cloth Paper Scissors Book. There, you'll also find hundreds of tips plus mixed-media art techniques and projects to keep your artwork flourishing for years.

P.S. Do you make your own papers? What's your favorite method? Leave a comment below and share your expertise.




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