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Surface Design Techniques

About the projects

These crafts feature basic paper decorating skills involving the use of paint applied to paper. You can use these techniques to decorate paper for craft projects, greeting cards and gift wrapping.

The projects range in difficulty from VERY EASY to EASY.

Browse down this page for descriptions and illustrations of the projects, then select a project and have some crafting fun!

  • Crayon Batik Friday Fun - Learn how to imitate on paper the fabric decorating technique from Java called batik. The process uses crayons to color a design on paper, that is then wadded and painted with black to make the cracks that are typical to batiks. You can use the resulting pictures to make cards, decorate notebook covers, or hang on the wall.


  • Bubble Print Paper Friday Fun - Use paint and bubble blowing liquid to make this kid-safe alternative for marbled paper. With this technique you will make pastel prints of soap bubbles on paper that then can be used for other craft projects.


  • Vegetable and Fruit Printing Friday Fun - Learn how to make simple relief prints using vegetables (and fruits). This printing technique is simple enough for very young children, while being versatile enough for older children and adults. The project features the classic potato print, as well as, vegetables and fruits that are a bit less traditional in printing.


  • Sponge Stamps and Art Friday Fun - Do you know that ordinary kitchen sponges can be used to make stamps? Children will want to make a variety of stamps to create artistic masterpieces for display in the refrigerator door gallery. Follow these simple instructions and you will be able to make stamps of your own design in minutes.


  • Tissue Paper Painting Friday Fun - Make colorful tissue paper with this super easy technique. Simply pleat a piece of tissue paper and paint the folded edges. Repeat the process once or twice to create an even more exciting design! The painted tissue paper may be used to wrap packages, to cover box lids, line envelopes, and in greeting cards, suncatchers, collages, and much more.


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Examples of ways to use painted tissue paper

Tip: Use painted tissue paper in gift wrapping and to line envelopes.

Vegetable prints on block printing paper

Tip: Cut vegetables can be used as stamps. This example is stamped with a celery stem (purple) and a jalapeno pepper cut in cross-section (blue) on block printing paper.

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