How to Add Texture to Paper

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Create your own textured cards or wrapping paper.
Create your own textured cards or wrapping paper. (Image: tempera image by Edvin selimovic from Fotolia.com)

Textured paper creates a dramatic and decorative appeal to greeting cards, scrapbooks, wrapping paper or any specialized paper project. You don’t have to be an artist to add elegant backgrounds or personal decorative elements to your project. You will produce one-of-a-kind art and save money in the process. Purchasing paper, cards and wrapping paper that have already been textured can be very expensive. This can be a fun, easy and inexpensive project for the whole family.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Clean water
  • Wax crayons
  • Coarse sandpaper

Cut pieces of paper to experiment with before starting your specialized item. Working with several different techniques will guide you on how you will want to proceed.

Pick a wax crayon. Using plain white copy paper and place a piece of coarse sandpaper under your white paper with the sand side up. Remove the crayon's wrapper. Turn your crayon on its side and rub forcefully across the paper. Brush over the rubbed crayon with some water mixed with paint. The wax will resist the paint and leave a textured design on the paper. This is the wax-resist technique for creating textured paper.

Use a clean sheet of paper for this next technique. Dip the tip of a dry brush into your thick acrylic paint. Brush the paint in a circle, square, triangle or other small shape. Repeat this process over the entire surface of the paper. Create many individual brush marks with the thick paint. This is the painting-shapes technique for creating textured paper.

Take another clean sheet of paper. Dip a large household paintbrush in thick yellow acrylic paint. Brush horizontal strokes across the paper. Mix some red paint with the yellow to create an orange color. Diagonally brush light strokes across the wet, yellow, horizontal stripes. Let some yellow show through. Lightly brush red paint in the opposite diagonal direction on top of the wet yellow and orange strokes. You are striving for a light brush stroke texture in several harmonious colors. This is the brush-mark painting technique for creating textured paper.

Dab a piece of sponge in the thick acrylic paint, then onto your clean paper. Repeat this process, dipping into the paint each time before applying it to the paper. Leave some white showing on the paper. Using a darker shade, repeat the previous process over the first color. Let some of the previous color show through. Add more colors, or limit it to two or three colors. Metallic acrylic colors create a dramatic effect. This is the sponge-mark technique for creating textured paper.

Let your imagination run free. Try different color combinations on your test sheets. The ideas are endless.

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