Shannon Green is a genius! These are wonderful, DIY watercolor papers to use in your art journaling projects. The colors are just lovely and the project is so easy to do. Here’s how:
- Remove a book from it’s cover. Take some time to remove the gummy, glued edge which holds the pages together. This part of the spine will often have a fabric strip glued there. If your binding is really difficult to remove, heat the glue and peal it off that way. You don’t want the pages loose at this point, just barely held together in book form without the covers.
- Once you have your book pages separated from the binding, flip through the book, lightly misting the papers. Then wet the edges of the book pages. This is a more significant dampening than the spritzing of the pages.
- Put gloves on.
- Using liquid watercolors or inks, dribble the color over the edges of the book pages. You can use a pipette, an old babies tylenol dropper, something that will hold some color and that your can release where you want it. Slightly splay the pages open. Once you add your color, spritz with water to encourage dripping and movement. If your spine is able to take the ink or watercolor, go ahead and do that side too. Not all spines will be able to take color, so don’t be disappointed if yours doesn’t. You still have three beautiful sides of the page.
- Use colors that won’t make “mud”. Some options: Red, Blue, Yellow. Yellow, Orange, Red. Blue, Green and yellow…Or you can do complimentary colors: purple and yellow, red and green, blue and orange. (These will make mud if you combine them, so I would keep them fairly separated while dripping them.) You will get some muddy color with these, but they can still be stunning additions to your homemade paper collection.
- Once you add your colors-usually no more than three colors per side-and your happy with the drippage and movement of the colors, pull the book pages apart in small sections.
- Paper will mold and mildew if left wet in a pile. If you have small sections, which you can pull apart even further, you can lay them on parchment paper on the upper rack in your oven on low. Watch closely. It will only take two or three minutes. If you don’t watch this closely, your papers will brown.
- The paint or ink drips and runs anyway they choose, which is the beauty of this technique. If getting messy or having random stuff in your art bothers you, don’t try this technique.
A couple things to remember: if what you’re using for your color will reactivate with water even after it’s dry, you want to seal it. I use the cheap sealer or the cheapest hairspray I can find. I also use clear gesso or gel medium if I plan to do some heavier, wet techniques on the page.
You can have hundreds and hundreds of beautiful papers in a very sort time period. If you have never had to inclination to make your own papers, this is a simple, easy beginner method way to start. You simply cannot mess it up.
Now go forth. Make messes. Let your creative spirit take flight. You just never know what great ideas you may come up with.