Friday, January 11, 2019

Creating crazy colorful papers for collage

Here's the beginnings of new project with some fun preparatory steps!  Last week, my DragonWing Arts students painted large sheets of paper with black ink, and then painted over it as desired with a glittery paint.  These are going to become the backgrounds for colorful outer space collages.  We will also be splattering them with some white and silver paint, to create galaxies of stars. 
 So this week's task was to create some colorfully textured papers that can be cut into planets, or any other celestial object desired!  We did these several ways, using liquid watercolors and watercolor paper.  The technique used for the papers pictured in the photo at the top of this post was bubble-wrap printing.  The students wet their papers with a big brush, and then painted them with saturated colors.  Then, a piece of bubble wrap was placed on the wet paint, and some cardboard was placed on top to keep it in place as it dried.  Above are the results when dry. Yes, somehow I have purple bubble wrap!  The color has absolutely no function.  It's just pretty!
A similar process was used for the papers below, but instead of bubble wrap, students used crunched up pieces of wax paper and plastic wrap.  I love the color choices they made - there's paper created for an ice planet, and another for a fiery planet, and so on.
Students then saturated another piece of paper with wet watercolors and sprinkled them with salt. We used a mix of table salt and kosher salt.  The results, pictured below, are really lovely. 
 This one looks like it could be the earth!
Here's a couple more gorgeous closeups!
Finally, the students tried out shaving cream printing.  If you've never done this before, it is easy and messy, but its the kind of mess that cleans up easily.  Each student spread out some shaving cream on a tray.  They dripped liquid watercolors into the shaving cream, and swirled the colors with a fork or a pointy wooden stick. 
Then a piece of paper was pressed into the shaving cream, and the paper was squeegeed off afterward to remove excess shaving cream.  We used pop sticks today, but a rectangle of cardboard is also a great squeegee for this method.
 It's going to be fun to use all these papers to make our planets. If we have time, we will try some other techniques for even more planet paper!  Stay tuned...  we are working on a couple of other projects as well, so you won't be seeing the results for a few more weeks.


  1. How did you get the salt to spread the pigment so well? I have always just had limited success with this technique, and I love it! I also do a prepared paper collage project; last year I did a bubble-wrap printing (though with tempera, using a bubble-wrapped printing 'plate'), dip-dyed paper, marbles run through tempera, blown-bubble prints, and salt in watercolor. Awesome to see your ideas! Do you ever have trouble getting students to cut up their beloved papers?

    1. You need to keep your paper super wet and saturate it with color, and sprinkle salt on it while it is still very wet. Once it dries it will not work. I think it works best with watercolor paper because it holds the moisture.

      As for cutting up the papers, the kids knew from the get-go what they are making the papers for, so I don't expect any problems.