How to Make a Tissue Paper Collage

Tissue paper has a lot of appeal for artists. It is very inexpensive, come in a huge variety of colors and is fun to work with. There is little wonder that Matisse is famous for his tissue paper collage series! Here are some ideas for how you can make your own tissue paper collage.

You will need:

Tissue paper in a variety of colors. You can find packs of tissue papers in art stores. Another idea is to recycle colored tissue paper from gift packages.


Craft glue. A transparent glue works best. I like glue that comes in a roller dispenser.

A piece of stiff white paper to act as a backing for your artwork. White paper works well because it reflects light through the tissue paper. Dark colors of paper will make the tissue colors look less vibrant. I like to use inexpensive watercolour paper because it provides a stiff backing.

A pencil.

First, draw a design on to your white backing board with the pencil. Your options for designs are limited only by your creativity. A drawing of abstract shapes works well with the bright colors of tissue paper. Alternatively, try drawing a landscape or portrait. Create a design that is not too complicated because you will be filling each shape in your drawing with tissue paper.

If you would like to avoid drawing freehand, don't worry. There is a clever way to create an artwork from a photograph. Simply enlarge one of your photos on your computer and print it. Use carbon or graphite copying paper to trace around the lines of the photograph on to the white sheet. Avoid copying too much detail and focus on copying the shapes of objects.

Your drawing will provide the template for your tissue paper collage.

Next, work out roughly what colors of tissue paper you want to use for each shape in your drawing. Place the appropriate color of tissue paper on to each shape of the drawing and trace the shape on to the tissue paper.

The sheer quality of tissue paper means that you should be able to see the lines of your drawing through the tissue paper. If you cannot see the lines, try holding the drawing and tissue paper up to a glass window. Alternatively, retrace the lines of the drawing so that they appear darker. Repeat the tracing process until every shape in your drawing has a corresponding copy which has been drawn on to tissue paper.

After you have all the shapes drawn on to the tissue paper, cut them out. Then, match them to your drawing and glue them on. Don't be afraid to experiment with colors. You can even layer colors of tissue paper for interesting effects.

Display your tissue paper artwork in a frame to give a room a bright accent.