Digital Art: How to Print Your Own Tissue Paper

28 Dec 2012

It's probably safe to say that the digital scanner vastly increased the possibilities for using and reusing your artwork. Scanning a two-dimensional piece so you can print it out over and over again as digital artand even manipulate it in the computer firstallows you to use it in other ways to make all of your artwork your own.

Digitally art tissue paper by Nikki Smith.
Nikki Smith has been writing a series of digital art tutorials in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. In the November/December 2012 issue, she explains how to use digital artwork to print your own tissue papers.

"Consider scans of your artwork, digital art, photos, or public domain images from sites like for printing images onto tissue. The effect is amazing yet it is simple to do. And it opens a world of possibilities for using your own imagery as transparent layers for collage, decoupage, resin jewelry, and more," writes Nikki in the Getting Technical column.

Here are the basic directions, adapted from her article.

Supplies needed:

  • Tissue paper, white or colored
  • Scissors
  • Repositionable adhesive spray (Nikki uses Krylon® Easy-Tack.)
  • Printer paper, 8½" x 11"
  • Cardboard
  • Printer, inkjet or laser and computer
  • 8" x 10" digital images
  • Matte Finish spray, for Inkjet printers (Nikki uses Krylon.)

1. Cut the tissue paper to the size of your printer paper.

2. In a well-ventilated area, spray a light coat of repositionable adhesive onto the printer paper. Press the paper to a piece of cardboard and then peel the paper off the cardboard to remove some of the tackiness.

3. Smooth the tissue paper onto the sticky side of the printer paper, starting from the center and working outward, avoiding wrinkles.

4. Trim any tissue paper that extends past the edges of the printer paper to keep it from jamming in your printer.

5. Place the combined sheet in the printer's paper tray and print the digital image. Note that some colored tissue papers may have a coating that resists ink, so allow those sheets to dry completely after printing before handling them.

Note: For inkjet printers without pigment-based inks, Nikki recommends sealing the image with a fixative so that the ink will not bleed.

6. Gently peel the tissue paper off of the printer paper. The tissue paper will curl, but that's okay. You now have a custom-printed tissue paper with your own digital art images ready to use.

You could use this paper in collage, encaustic, mixed-media paintings, art journaling, and even jewelry.

Technology has really expanded the possibilities in art, from creating it to learning about it. From our eMags to digital versions of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, you can get your collage, mixed-media, and digital art fix on the go, any time. Be sure to check out all our digital media offerings.

P.S. Have you been saving the tissue and wrappings from your gifts? Tell me about it in the comments section below.

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Say hello to the holidays with this warm and cozy issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. Discover fun mixed-media art techniques for sparkling chandeliers, lovely lanterns, bright ornaments, and more!


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artmnky wrote
on 28 Dec 2012 10:08 AM

I'm wondering since this is tissue and some of the glue will seep thru will this ruin the drum on my laser jet?  I know the drum heats up making the glue even more likely to seep thru the paper...I just don't want to gum up the works as they say.

on 28 Dec 2012 11:19 AM

Hi Artmnky, in my experience, the Krylon spray adhesive does not seep through the tissue paper at all.  (The tissue paper remains dry to the touch.)  You only need a light spray everywhere for a temporary bond.  Pressing the paper to cardboard first removes most of the adhesive so it is easier to peel off the tissue paper when it is finished printing.  

Absolutely no liquid glues, though!  Just a light spray with a re-positionable/low-tack adhesive spray.  As long as your tissue paper is covering the adhesive on the printer paper, there will be no glue exposed to the inside of your printer.  

I hope this is helpful!

~Nikki Smith

ladyday wrote
on 28 Dec 2012 3:33 PM

Hi;  I have tried this technique twice and after it goes thru the printer it won't come off the copy paper with out tearing.  I tried the technique as written. Didn't work. Tried again by taking off more adhesive so tissue pulled right up. However, once it goes thru the machine it won't come off without tearing.  Is the tissue a particular type or do I have to use the same temporary adhesive that the author used?  I used 505 fabric adhesive.  Would really like to do this technique if I could figure out what is going wrong.  Please help

on 29 Dec 2012 12:06 PM

Hi Ladyday, I used inexpensive dollar store tissue paper and plain printer paper with Krylon Easy-Tack temporary adhesive spray.  Just a light coat of the spray from about eight inches away.

It might be that the adhesive you used forms a stronger bond than the Krylon Easy-Tack spray, though I haven't experimented with 505 fabric adhesive and cannot say for sure.

From your message, it sounded like the second time you tried it, prior to printing you were able to peel the tissue paper from the printer paper with no problems, and then after you printed it it would tear.  Is my understanding correct?  If so, then it might be one of two things:

1.  If the ink is still wet, you might need to let it dry a bit first before peeling the tissue paper up.  You can even print in "draft" mode on your printer to use less ink.  (Wet tissue paper tears more easily than dry tissue.)

2.  As I'm less familiar with the behavior of 505 fabric adhesive, I'm not sure if the glue bond for this adhesive is strengthened by heat (if your particular printer warms the paper it prints), or time (how long you wait before peeling the tissue paper.)  

3.  If you cannot peel the tissue off easily <i>prior</i> to printing then it is definitely the amount and/or type of adhesive used.

So, first I would try printing in draft mode to use less ink and waiting longer for the ink to dry completely.  If that doesn't work, I would try using Krylon Easy-Tack Repositionable Adhesive instead.

I hope this is helpful!

croceau wrote
on 29 Dec 2012 2:57 PM

I live overseas (Australia) and would love to try this technique but not sure where to purchase this spray adhesive.  Is it something you get at a craft store (we don't have places like Hobby Lobby or Michael's here) or at a fabric store or on line?

on 29 Dec 2012 7:24 PM

Hi Croceau, Krylon products are sold in the USA and Canada, as well as several online retailers.  The list of retailers and online stores is available here:

I found mine at a craft store, and a fabric store would be my next shopping choice.  If you cannot get Krylon products where you live then look for a low-adhesive, repositionable or temporary adhesive spray.



ladyday wrote
on 31 Dec 2012 12:23 PM

Thank you for answering my query on how to get the tissue paper printing to work. I will try your suggestions.  Ladyday.

Muffet2 wrote
on 31 Dec 2012 5:56 PM

Love this technique!  Used the Krylon Easy-Tack as recommended and printed a copyright-free image on tissue paper. I applied it to my collage with matte medium and it worked perfectly. Thank you!  (I have an Epson Workhorse 600 printer.)  

mignonhunter wrote
on 2 Jan 2013 11:38 AM

I've used a similar technique that might work for the lady having issues. I used a glue stick to adhere just the edges of tissue and printer paper, top, bottom and sides, then trimmed the tissue to match the printer paper size so none of the glue would touch the printer drum. Then after printing I just cut away the edges. You end up with a smaller piece, like 7 x 10, but that usually doesnt matter for me. I have had issues though with bleeding (for inkjet), even though spraying with several coats of finishing spray. I havent tried Krylon's version yet though.

on 27 Dec 2013 12:14 PM

Thank you! Wondered what to do with a 2" pile of buttery colored tissue paper that a tissue-happy-gift-wrapper draped around one of my presents. Now the ideas are flowing!

Glad you are focusing on your family through the holidays - hope your days are filled with yummy food, beautiful music, and lots of color and creativity!

Pat Shaer wrote
on 27 Dec 2013 6:16 PM

Other ways to make original tissue paper:  cut your own stamps on oblong erasers

or by cutting up scrap pieces of mat board which are then glues to a square of wood and sealed with several coats of mat medium

or by carving into a wood block for printmaking

or by carving into sheet of craft foam.

Then use a brush or brayer which has been cover with water color or acrylic paint which is slightly extended with water over the design and print continuously on the tissue paper.  Of course, you would have to "re-paint" the stamps.

Also place textured or bumpy drawer liner, or chicken wire or whatever on your surface. Place the tissue over the texture and then do the same thing with the brayer.

You can also "paint" the textured item, move it to a clean , flat surface, and place the tissue paper over it and pat down with a dry, soft sponge.  

Any of these will give you some interesting papers.

I believe this is a Gerald Brommer specialty, but I may be wrong.