Monday, February 15, 2010

Painted Paper

I love painted paper! Somehow, it brings me back to childhood - playing with watercolor paints or crayons - even the time in elementary school when we put crayons in our glue to make the white adhesive change colors. I love the array of commercial and handmade decorative papers that is used in bookbinding and handmade box projects. But, it is also fun to experiment and create my own. There is just something about getting messy, playing with colors, and accepting the final product.

It is great to spend a couple of hours with liquid acrylic paint, black ink, Arches text weight paper, water, and other supplies. I love spreading out and going crazy (being careful not to get paint on the dining room table or the floor). Each sheet comes out unique and completely one of a kind! When trimmed into smaller pieces, the art looks very different. I can't just paint one sheet. I keep going - mixing the paints ever so slightly as I go along and spreading out the wet paper all over the living room floor until it dries. Yesterday, I painted 9 pieces of paper. When there is enough acrylic paint left, it is fun to paint book fabric. Like the paper, this painted fabric looks very different when attached to the cover of a book.

I have made a few journals in which the entire book block is comprised of these painted pages (one of these books will be posted to Etsy soon). At other times, I cut the paper and use it to embellish the book. Sometimes the painted paper is used to surround the spine of each section on a Coptic bound book and at other times, it is used for the cover of the book. Regardless, I find a great deal of satisfaction knowing that the paper used is partially designed by me, but mostly by the water and paint nearby. It seems to take on a life of its own.


  1. Very inspiring, Stephen! The colours on that book above are just lovely. I can imagine making a whole book block out of hand-painted papers... wonderful idea! Can't wait to see the result.

  2. Stephen, you seem to be having such fun with these! Wonderful, joyous colors. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I agree with u Stephen...I often make my own painted paper, and really enjoy the process. Great to know that I'm not the only one. : )