Introduction: Painting With Paper

About: I am co owner of a small gift and craft shop. We have been in business since 1988 although I didn't join the business until 1994. I have been teaching rubber stamping and paper crafts since 1990, and love tea…

Painting with paper has to be one of my favorite paper crafting techniques.  It is  a great way to use up those tiny scraps of paper from other card making or paper projects.

These are miniature works of art.   Sign and date them, then frame them.  These can be given as gifts or made into cards, the choice is yours.  If unsure about what design could be created, look at magazine ads or use an illustration.   I have used rubber stamp illustrations as one of my inspirational sources.

Step 1: Materials

For this project you will need:

paper scraps in a variety of colors
a piece of mat board, chip board, or part of an old manila folder
detail scissors
craft knife
tacky glue
paper trimmer
self healing cutting mat

optional extras:
water based markers
holeless beads
colored pencils
paper flowers
assorted sizes of single hole punches

Step 2: Creating the Background

To begin, cut a base from the chipboard or mat board.  

Create a background, by tearing strips of  scrap paper.    NOTE: If you are using double sided paper, and want to have the feathering of the paper on a particular side,  hold the paper with the desired side up.  Begin tearing the paper by pulling towards you.  If you do not want a feathered edge , push and tear the paper strip away from you.

Tear enough strips to complete at least one section of background.  In this case, the sky and mountains.

Dry place them first to give for an idea of how it will look once glued down.  Use one of the strips with a straight edge on the top of the piece.   Once you have the desired look, begin gluing down the pieces starting at the top.

Glue does not have to be liberally applied
.  I usually put glue on the back top half of the strips, to allow space for  tucking the next strip under, if so desired..  Once the sky and mountains are glued then begin tearing the remaining background pieces, in this case the hills and fields.   Again dry place them, make the necessary adjustments and glue them in place.

 If the side edges are uneven with your base,  use a paper trimmer to even them up.

Step 3: Creating the Focal

Once the background is complete, you are ready to begin on the focal part of the piece.  A landscape is always an easy subject to work with.  

The bare tree was first sketched out on the brown paper scrap.  Then carefully cut out using a cutting mat and craft knife.

Detail scissors could also be used.  To cut out enclosed areas with scissors, first punch a hole inside that area, this allows the scissor blades to be inserted for cutting.

Dimension  can be added to the trunk by rolling it over a skewer, and by shading areas using a sepia marker.  

Dry place the tree, making any cutting adjustments needed before gluing down.  When gluing, remember to use the glue sparingly.  It is not necessary to glue every branch completely flat.  Allowing some to stick out will give the finished piece more dimension.

Step 4: Embellishing

Now for the finishing.  The main focal of this piece is the tree.  At this point the tree can be embellished for any season.

 Looking at the paper scraps available, I thought an early summer tree would be the best, perhaps with some wild flowers, and a fence.  

An easy way to create  leaves for the tree:  Cut  green paper into thin strips; then using detail scissors, cut tiny triangles along the length of the strip. It is OK to vary the sizes and shapes of these pieces.   In addition, the strips can be crumpled, before cutting, to give dimension to the "leaves". 

To add the leaves to the tree; liberally apply glue directly to the branches, then shake the cut leaf pieces over the wet glue.  GENTLY, press the leaves into the glue.  I say gently, because they will become flattened if you press them too hard.  Remember, you want dimension!!   Continue to apply glue and leaves until the tree is as full as desired.  

The fence is easy..simple thin rectangles, in proportion to the tree.  In this case the fence is covered so detail is not important.  If you desire the fence to stand out, certainly more detailing can be done.  For a barbed wire fence, use some thin craft wire and tie knots in it for the barbs.  

The flowers were created by punching out circles then cutting and shaping them.  The stems were created by cutting very thin strips with scissors or a paper trimmer.   The flowers can be assembled on a drop of glue placed on  waxed paper.  When the glue is dried the flower can then be peeled off of the paper and placed on the art work.  For ease of gluing; put another dot of glue on the waxed paper and drag the stems through the dot.  Embellish with the wild flowers as desired.  Optional additions can be added to enhance the flowers.  Glass beads can be glued as flower centers, glitter can be used as frost or snow,  Experiment and have fun with the embellishing.  Water based markers and colored pencils can be used to enhance the piece. 

Step 5: The Finished Piece

Sometimes, when working on a piece, I don't like it.  That is when I put it down and walk away; sometimes for a day or two.  I have been known to start another piece before I go back to it.  I have also been known to create a number of plants and flowers on waxed paper and store them for later use.

When satisfied with the piece, it is ready for framing or using on a card.  For this piece I cut some paper slightly large than the art work.  Then I chose a second piece to mount it on.  This art work will be framed in a 5 x 7 frame.