1. Altered / distressed.
Altered items, when in reference to paper, means things you’ve done to the paper. It might be torn, stained, sanded, wrinkled or any other technique. Simply wadding up a piece of paper, flattening it and doing a direct-to-paper technique with an ink pad on the raised surfaces can give you a cool background. Try this technique.
Assemblage is similar to collage, but instead of using a single medium for your artwork, you combine different raw materials including found materials. Look at art made with paper which incorporates other materials. Is this a technique you’d like to try?
3. Calligraphy and lettering.
Calligraphy and lettering can be learned online for free. Calligraphy gives you a more formal look while lettering can lead to a more whimsical, fun look. Try your hand at both. Which do you prefer?
Casting paper involves a mold or “cast”. Using tissue, glue and water, press the tissue into the mold. Allow it to dry and you’ve made a paper cast. You can also use paper pulp in the mold, but be sure to press out the excess water. Find more information on the exact process and try to make a cast yourself.
In paper collage, you use paper to form your artwork. Choose any type of paper, including ephemera or photographs to use in your collage. Try making a small collage piece.
You might trace a shape and cut it out. You might try your hand at papel picado or kirigimi. Even paper snowflakes include cutting. Find a paper cutting project to try.
Decoupage is cutting and then gluing layers of paper to an object. After the assembly is done, it is covered with layers of varnish or the equivalent. It gives the appearance of depth while still being flat. You can decoupage on glass, wood or any other flat surface. Watch a video or demonstration of decoupage. Is this something you’d want to try?
This is probably the easiest paper technique. You merely need to use your ink pad as a stamp. You can blot, wipe or apply ink to the paper any way you wish. This is a great technique for cards. Try the direct-to-paper technique.
9. Draw and doodle.
Drawing and doodling are two different ways to put your own designs onto a piece of paper. What kinds of things do you draw or doodle? How could you incorporate your drawings into a crafted paper item?
Making your own embellishments out of paper and attaching them to a card, box or other item is another “technique.” Most embellishments aren’t stand-alone paper crafts. Try making one or more of the following or find another to try.
- Paper beads
- Paper bows
- Paper flowers
- Paper medallions
- Paper silhouettes
- Paper tags
Embossing is the raised, glossy area on a card. It involves adding an embossing powder to ink and then adding heat so the powder melts. You can use one color, multiple colors or even powders that seem to change colors when melted. Watch a video of the embossing process. Is this something you’d like to try?
You probably have ephemera around your house. It is any item that can be recycled in art, often a keepsake. Think old photos, concert ticket stubs, written letters and other items along those lines. Check out the Enrichment Project badge program of the same name to learn more.
Folding is a general term. Two specific folding techniques follow. However, general folding might be to make a pocket, make an origami attachment or anything in between. Try some folding techniques while making your own paper art.
14. Iris folding.
Iris folding is taking small pieces of folded paper and layering them to make a pattern behind a punched area or cut out shape. It is called this because the center is blank and the folded paper edges look like the iris of a camera. Find an image and free pattern online. Is this something you’d like to try?
NOTE: I’ve also done iris folding with ribbon instead of paper.
Look at greeting cards. Many have layers to add interest. It is merely stacking different sized items on top of each other until you get to the focal or top-most layer. The layers might be centered or haphazard. The layers might be rectangular or shaped. The more you layer, the more intricate your design will appear. Check out layered cards.
16. Marbelize / water-to-paper.
Marbelizing paper gives you colorful swirls for a great background. You can marbelize with any paint or ink that can remain suspended. Usually, you’d think of colors on water, but you can experiment with shaving cream as well. Try marbelizing a piece of paper.
17. Paper tole.
Paper tole is similar to decoupage. However, paper tole takes multiple versions of a single image and you cut out pieces so the background image is full-sized while certain areas are raised. Watch a video or demonstration of paper tole. Is this something you’d like to try?
18. Pergamano / parchment crafts.
Starting with parchment paper, you can punch, cut or dry emboss it in any number of ways without damaging the paper. Special tools exist for this technique. Check out images of pergamano to see how elegant this technique is.
While this might technically fall into pergamano, piercing is making holes in a piece of paper, not necessarily parchment paper. The holes left behind can spell words, be in a shape, etc. Try paper piercing.
Punching might sound like a simple thing. After all, inserting a piece of paper and pressing the punch to get a shaped piece of paper isn’t hard. The fun comes in when you start assembling the punched shapes, in whole or in part, to create other things. Check out the Enrichment Project badge program listed to learn more.
Quilling is rolling and shaping strips of paper, then assembling those shapes into a final shape. It might be flat to attach to a card or a piece of 3-D art. Explore the wide variety of possibilities with quilling. If you’re interested, check out the badge program as well.
22. Rubber stamping.
Stamping is a simple technique. However, you can expand up on the “ink to rubber to paper” basics to some really fun techniques. Start with the basics with the Enrichment Project badge program listed.
Silhouettes can be made electronically from photos. You can also do it manually. These are great for adding a bit of elegance to a piece. Try your hand at making a silhouette of a loved one.
24. Spirelli / spirella.
The name depends on where in the world you are. In either case, it is a combination of paper and thread. It looks like string art. Explore spirelli / spirella online to learn more.
Stencils can be brass, aluminum or plastic. You can use them with direct-to-paper where the stencil is a resist, with spackling paste to make a raised area or even with a stylus for dry embossing. Explore what you can do with stencils. Try one of the techniques you find.
26. Teabag folding.
Teabag folding is taking a number of squares with the same pattern / size and folding them the same. Then, you assemble them in a kaleidoscope / medallion pattern. Explore more through the badge program listed with this step.
27. Carry it over.
You can carry other crafts and techniques over to paper. Here are a few for you to explore:
- Chicken Scratch
- Sticker making
28. So much more.
Did you guess there are even more? I thought so. Continue exploring paper techniques, especially those that are part of those techniques listed above. Find a few that look like fun and try something new!
See specific badge programs listed in steps above
Sites to Explore
To download a PDF of this badge program, click here: EP_Explore Paper Techniques