If you have taken the Marbling & More Workshop, this lesson will be familiar you. In that class I go into more detail about painting tissue paper and using paint sprays. These techniques are easy as well as “tried and true” methods to paint pages and papers.

paint sprays web

In recent years I have used more and more spray paints for my backgrounds. The painted surface takes pen written on top very well. With the addition to spray inks on the market, I decided to make my own fluid acrylic paint sprays in the same colors as my palette. This allows me to carry out my colors throughout, have the spray be permanent, and saves me the expense of buying spray inks. I’ve found that the intense transparent colors give the best results and I can use less paint than with other paints. They also don’t clog as fast as other paints. I use these to mist backgrounds and spray over templates and stencils.

Here is the supply list of what you need to make and use paint sprays: 

  • Acrylic Paint  in the colors of your choice ( I prefer Golden Fluid Acrylics)
  • Protective Covering for work area
  • Stencils/templates of your choice
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Tissue Paper (optional for collage backgrounds)
  • Paper Towels
  • Spray Bottle for water
  • 2 oz Spray Bottles
  • Water that has been boiled and cooled or distilled water

Steps for Making Paint Sprays:

  1. Open lid of spray bottle
  2. Squeeze about 1⁄4” amount of fluid acrylic paint in the bottom of the bottle (you may need to add more, test and see)
  3. Add clean water, about 1⁄2-2/3rds full (I used water I had previously boiled and cooled)
  4. Close the lid securely and shake until well-mixed
  5. Test spray. It should be ready to use.

Here is a video showing how to make paint sprays and some helpful tips:

The password for the video is: sprays

5. tissue paper sprayed over stencil


tissue painting still 2

Here is the supply list of what you need to paint tissue paper: 

  • Acrylic paint  in the colors of your choice ( I prefer Golden Fluid Acrylics)
  • Large flat brush
  • Toothbrush for optional spattering
  • Freezer paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Paper towels
  • Spray Bottle for water
  • Palette
  • Water container

Steps for Painting Tissue Paper:

  1. Place Tissue paper on Freezer paper, waxy side up, or plastic sheeting
  2. Squirt some paint on palette
  3. Water down paint with brush
  4. Brush onto Tissue Paper careful not to over-brush and tear paper
  5. Spatter with paint or Spritz with water if desired
  6. Allow to dry and then peel up from freezer paper

NOTE: I have experimented with a number of tissue papers. Archival tissue paper works great but is expensive and sometimes hard to find. Some gift wrap tissue works: the kind with a shiny sheen on one side. I used the Spritz brand found at Target for this demo. The cheaper, bulk version bought at Costco does not work for painting as it breaks down and tears.

Anneli, Diane, Merri painting papers


painted papers drying




  1. Ana

    I was hoping to watch a video on painting tissue paper to understand the technique. How much water to use- to what consistency? How much is too much? How do I prevent the paper from tearing? When do I spatter with paint, while dry or wet? How do I blend the different colors without tearing the paper? How do I determine if it’s too wet or not enough?

    • Hi Ana,
      The painting tissue paper technique is gone into more detail and a video in the Marbling & More class which is more about painting papers, mainly two ways of marbling and painting tissue papers.

  2. Ana

    Is there a marked difference between golden fluid acrylics: quinacridone nickel azo gold and nickel azo gold?

    • There is a marked difference between quinacridone nickel azo gold and nickel azo yellow. If I said nickel azo gold, I meant quinacridone nickel azo gold which is very long to say 🙂

  3. Ana

    In the photo depicting the students painting – I notice the papers used are in rolls. Is that the actual paper the students are painting or is it used underneath? What kind of paper is that? Can it be purchased?

    • Ana, I buy freezer paper in a bulk roll from Cash-n-Carry. Costco used to carry it, but I haven’t seen it at our Costco for a number of years. What you are seeing in the photo is a cut piece off that roll I cut for each person in the 2-Day Art Journaling class I teach in my studio.

  4. Melanie

    What a great idea to create sprays with the same colors you are using for painting!! Do they last indefinitely in the bottles, or need to be disposed of after a certain amount of time?

    • I found that if I don’t use the paints for a few months, they tend to clog, but when I use them regularly, they last as long as the spray nozzle 🙂

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