Using Collage Papers for Background

26. journey spread-valerie-sjodin-w:back-flap

Here is the supply list of what you need for your background: 

  • Painted Tissue Papers and/or other collage papers
  • Acrylic Matte Medium
  • Paper towels
  • Palette
  • Water container
  • Paint Brushes, larger size
  • Journal Pages to paint backgrounds on 

In this following video I introduce the technique for the torn paper background in the Faith Journal:

The password for the video is: background

Here are the steps to make the background:

1. Background open and ready for collage

1. Journey spread, before

2. Gather papers

2. Painted papers and maps

3. Decide which ones to use and begin tearing into strips

3. maps as collage papers

4. Lay out a few strips to get a better idea of what it may look like

4. paper strips set in place

5. Choose a piece of tissue paper to use as a base to build up from.

6. torn strips of map, music, text and sprayed tissue paper

6. Glue down the tissue paper with matte medium. Allow to dry. Tear off access edges

7. tissue paper glued down on base

7. Lay out strips of paper down on the tissue paper background

8. strip of paper in place

8. Glue down the strips with matte medium

9. gluing down painted strips

9. Wait for the strips to dry. When they are dry, tear the edges hanging over the edge of the journal. You can then add more collage, paint and write on top

10. Paper strips glued down

I love how the tissue paper is translucent, allowing for previous layers to shine through.

close up of journey and compass watermark

If you would like to learn more about marbling background techniques check out:
Marbling & More Workshop 



    I’m curious, did you gesso over the page after it was dried? And if so did you then re-apply matte medium before you did the pen work? I just thought it looked a little subdued from the original picture and assumed you gessoed it a little. It looks spectacular of course–ALL your work does!!! Which is why I LOVE ALL your classes! 😉

    • I did it just as the video says, not using any gesso, but gluing the strips with matte medium, which is under and over the strips. The look of the tissue paper strips changes a bit when they are glued down. They look more fused, showing more translucency.

  2. Ana

    I must ask; HOW did you get your foot prints to look so good? Did you brayer paint onto your feet? I so love this page, especially the foot prints. I vaguely recall seeing hand prints on a page as well. Do tell, how did you do this?

    • I just painted them with a brush and them put them on the paper.

  3. Ana

    awesome idea!

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