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Home > Features > Living Well > Seasonal > Winter > Making Decorated Paper

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A compendium
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Decorated Paper

Now that you've made all sorts of gifts, how about gift wrap? Making decorated paper was a popular, practical pastime during the Victorian Era. It works just as well today. It's easy, it's fun, and anyone can maker paper that will look beautiful on gifts. If you have friends who enjoy getting messy, it's a great excuse for a party.

What You Need - How to do it - Wrapping and more... -

What you need:

Paper- Rolled shelf paper, cut-open paper bags, even typing paper with one side blank.

White Flour (unbleached is fine)- 1/2 cup

Water- 1 cup, cold

Water for boiling- 1 qt-2qt.

Pot- large enough to hold the water.

1/4c each: red, yellow, blue tempera paint.

1 pt. jar with water-tight, screw-on lid.

Assorted shallow bowls and containers

Decorating tools- Forks, sponges, scraps of cardboard, comb, large and small paint brushes (up to 3 in. wide)

Old newspapers- to catch spills and splashes.

What You Need - How to do it - Wrapping and more... -

How to Do it

1. Place water in pot and bring to boil.

2. Meanwhile, place 1 cup cold water in jar, add 1/2 cup flour, and shake vigorously, until thoroughly mixed.

3. When water boils, pour in flour-water mixture while stirring constantly. Cook for a minute or two. It should have thickened. Remove from heat.

4. For each color you want to use, dip some paste into a bowl or container, and add a little tempera (green= B+Y, Purple= R+B, Orange=R+Y, Brown= R+B+Y, etc.). You can mix the color thoroughly with the paste, or not- depending on the effect you want.

5. Lay a sheet of paper to be decorated on the newspapers. Dip a large brush in the color-paste mix and spread the mix on the paper. You can use one color or more than one color, just be sure to cover the whole sheet with paste.

6. You can stop right here, and set the sheet aside to dry, or you can add some texture and pattern.

7. To add texture- Use the texture tools to gently scrape patterns in the paste. Experiment with wavy lines, parallel and intersecting lines, etc. A simple rectangle of cardboard held with its edge against the paper and rotated a quarter turn will create an intriguing bow-tie pattern, try dragging the tines of a dining fork across the page in a wavy line. Move down an inch or two and repeat until the whole page is covered with horizontal wavy lines in groups of four. Now rotate the page 90 degrees and do the same thing. The result is an elegant pattern of crisscrossing lines.

8. When the paper is dry, it will become wrinkled, and not so beautiful. But when you smooth it tightly over a package and tie a ribbon around it, you will be amazed at how beautiful it looks. Enjoy!

What You Need - How to do it - Wrapping and more... -

Wrapping and More

There's no need to stop at wrapping gifts. Decorated paper can be used for gifts as well! You can use it to cover books, notepads and boxes.

To use it this way, apply a thin coating of glue to the back of the paper, place the glued side on the object to be covered. Now put a clean piece of paper over the decorated paper, and press and rub gently with your hands or a cloth to stretch and smooth the decorated paper.


What You Need - How to do it - Wrapping and more... -





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