Painting With Tissue Paper

Hi!! Sarah here and I’m honored and super excited to share this tutorial with you. I love using tissue paper in my art journals. It’s great for layering and did you know bleeding tissue paper reacts with water?! This quality is what we’re going to be taking advantage of today.

For this technique you need art/bleeding tissue paper (this is different than gift tissue paper, which tends to be lightfast and won’t give up it’s color), a brush, some water and smooth paper. Surprisingly this technique doesn’t work as well on watercolor paper, so here I have a journal made of mixed media paper. You’ll want to tear, cut or even punch out shapes with the tissue in a variety of colors.

To start, just apply some water onto your paper. This is great for approaching a blank page, as you can work out in advance where you want the color to be.

Here I applied the water first and then laid the tissue strips on top. This is where you have all the fun! Play around with single layers, or laying colors on top of each other.

Once I added all my layers, I applied more water to the top. You should be seeing the color start to bleed at this point. Especially if the journal paper is already wet.

You can wait for the tissue to dry before you peel it off, but honestly I haven’t found it makes a difference. Just watch for when the tissue starts to turn more transparent as the color is absorbed into the paper below.

Here it is all dried. The color isn’t as bright as the actual tissue paper, so keep that in mind. But I LOVE the soft quality that you get.

It’s a different blending than you get from when using watercolor.  Since the colors sit on top of each other, they blend out so softly.

This technique has so many uses. You can leave as is and just add a quote or your journaling.

Or add a few more layers, to give more depth to the spread. Here the blue swath was made with tissue paper. The edges are more defined because I only applied water to the top of the paper, not to the paper below.

And like I mentioned before, this makes a great first layer, when you just want some inspiration to get started.

I hope you give this technique a try. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to play with color.


Sara lives in Rockland County, New York. The best part of art journaling for Sarah is that it’s just for her. She can be as free as she wants in the pages and there’s no right or wrong. Her art journals have become more than just a way to try new supplies and techniques, but a way for her to document the phases of her life. If there is a worst part of art journaling, it’s the pressure Sarah puts on herself to make each page “complete.” Years of art school make it difficult to let go. Her favorite dinosaur is the Archaeopteryx.


  1. Clare Davis Etheridge

    Skipping off to Target to buy tissue paper!

  2. Holly Janssen

    Sarah!!!! I loved your tutorial! I can’t wait to try this! Bravo! You are amazing!

  3. Divyam Bernstein

    Wow! This is awesome, Sarah! Can’t wait to try it! xxx

  4. Tanyalee Kahler

    Yes! I love tissue paper. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Emily@squiggleandswirl

    Will be on the look out for art tissue paper now. Thanks for the lovely tutorial Sarah.

  6. Vanessa Oliver-lloyd

    THIS IS SO AMAZING!!! I love working with tissue paper but never ever thought of this!

  7. Sasha Zinevych

    This looks gorgeous! Now only to figure out where I can find this paper here!

  8. Kelli CRESWELL

    I love this!! Where did you find this magical paper? I have never seen it before. Thanks!

    • Sarah Rondon

      I’ve seen it in craft stores, but you can also find it on Amazon.

  9. CIndy Jacobs

    Fabulous! I can see lots of ways to use this!! Thank you!! ❤️

  10. Gilly Welch

    Yeah I’ve got some bleeding tissue tucked away, now to find it and to play, thanks Sarah for this great tutorial!

  11. Romana

    Lovely idea! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Elizabeth D.

    These spreads are gorgeous, Sarah! <3

  13. Tanya E smith

    I did this decades ago and had so much fun. Thanks for sharing this because I had forgotten all about it.

  14. Rebecca Johnstone

    Wow – love this! Definitely going to try this soon 🙂


    Loved it!