Print Tissue Paper for Postcards

printed tissue postcard
'Tree, Wood, Paper'
by Virginia Spiegel.

Do you send postcards when you go on vacation?

Aside from a brief trip to visit my mother for her 60th birthday on my way to International Quilt Festival/Long Beach, I did not have time to travel for pure fun this summer.

I did get some time in the studio, though. So I thought, wouldn't it be funny to send postcards from my studio? You know, instead of showing me grinning in front of the Grand Canyon, the postcard would reveal what I'd been up to in my studio via a collage of surface designed fabrics or papers.

I find a really efficient way to create a stash of unique papers to make fabric paper or mixed-media collage is to keep a stack of tissue paper handy when I'm screen-printing, mark making, or painting on fabric. These can be papers I bought or ones that come in gift bags, shoe boxes, etc. Then, when I already have ink on a screen, a gelatin plate, or a stamp block, I print on the tissue paper. Later, I might go back and add random marks like scribbles with a permanent marker.

screen printed and painted papers
Some of Virginia's papers.

Mixed-media fiber artist Virginia Spiegel is an expert at this sort of thing. She makes one big session of mark making on tissue paper. She spreads papers out on a protected surface in her studio, cranks up the tunes, and then goes around and prints in a round robin fashion with Thermofax screens, markers, carved or molded stamps, and paint. In this way, she ensures that each paper is well covered, varied, and unique.

It's really easy to make postcards or Artist Trading Cards out of these printed papers. Here is Virginia's how-to from our newest downloadable eBook, Mixed-Media Sampler: 10 Techniques to Inspire and Strengthen Your Art.

Artist Trading Card or Fiber Art Postcard


  • Mat board
  • Sobo Glue® (or similar)
  • Paintbrush
  • Rotary cutter
  • Cutting mat
  • Paint or gold leaf marker
  • Printed tissue papers


1. Cut a piece of mat board to 2½" × 3½" for the ATC and 4" × 6" for the FAP.

2. Put a glob of Sobo Glue on a piece of waxed paper. For an easy start to your ATC or FAP, coat the front of the mat board completely with glue using the 1" brush. Adhere a large piece of your printed tissue paper to cover the front of the mat board completely.

3. Smooth down the tissue paper and then turn the mat board over and, using the rotary cutter on the self-healing mat, trim the edges of the tissue paper even with the mat board.

4. Add additional layers of tissue paper to the mat board by coating the back of small pieces of tissue paper with glue and placing them on top of the previous layer.

5. Finish by using a paint or gold leaf marker to color the edges of the ATC or FAP.

Now when people ask what I did on my "summer vacation," I can send them a postcard like this.

Virginia's tutorial for printing and mark making on tissue paper, Variations on a Theme, is included in Mixed-Media Sampler: 10 Techniques to Inspire and Strengthen Your Art, now available for download.

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