How to Print on Tissue Paper

Images printed on tissue papers

Have you ever tried to decoupage with card stock, only to find that the paper was too thick and bulky? Cardstock is great for cards, and it’s great for a lot of other crafts, but it’s not great for decoupage. It’s difficult to maneuver over edges, and it causes drips when the glue is brushed over, not to mention you can see the edges of the paper, which is less than ideal. It’s just clunky in general, giving a rather “grade-school” appearance to the project. This tutorial is going to show you how to print on delicate tissue paper which, when decoupaged, practically “melts” onto the surface you’re decorating.

Why tissue paper?

I’m not talking about the “atchoo” kind of tissue, I’m talking about gift wrap tissue – the kind you get at the dollar store in the gift-wrap section. It’s semi-transparent and a little goes a long way. If you have it on hand, this project will cost practically nothing. This is a good time to repurpose that tissue you saved from last Christmas!

Tissue paper is semi-transparent, and once glued to a surface becomes almost completely transparent. Some perfect projects for printed tissue paper include:

  • Decoupaged wood
  • Custom gift wrap
  • Decoupaged soap
  • Decoupaged candles
  • Canvas
  • Tags
  • And many more

You might already be stamping on tissue paper, which is great. But why stop there? Maybe you have a limited number of rubber or clear stamps, but you have a large collection of digital stamps and paper, yet you’ve only been printing them on regular card stock. Learning how to print on tissue paper will expand your crafting options by a huge degree. You’ve practically doubled your paper options! All those yummy patterns now on tissue as well as card stock!

OK, now that you’ve seen some of the ways to use printed tissue paper, let’s make some!

Supply list:

  • Dollar-store tissue paper
  • Iron
  • Adhesive (glue stick, Scotch Magic Tape, artist’s tape)
  • Printer paper (legal or standard size)
  • Computer/printer

Step 1

Cut a piece of tissue paper slightly smaller than the size of your printer paper. You want to leave a slight margin of printer paper for the printer to “grab” onto. Iron the piece of tissue with a warm, dry iron. (No steam!) You want to keep wrinkles to a minimum.

Ironing the tissue paper to smooth out wrinkles

Step 2

Adhere tissue to printer paper at all four corners, dull side up. For adhesion, there are differing opinions here. I’ve used Scotch Magic Tape in the past, with excellent results; however, my current printer doesn’t have manual feed, and I don’t want to risk tape getting jammed in the auto feed. So I used the tiniest bit of glue stick in the four corners of the tissue paper. Just the tiniest bit will do. I tried the freezer paper technique, which I’ve heard gives great results, but I couldn’t get the papers unstuck afterward. You might have better results. (See Notes below.) Some people use artist’s tape, which comes off the paper nicely. For me, it’s glue stick all the way, because even if the corners of the paper tear off, that’s ok – it doesn’t affect the design.

Step 3

Feed through printer as normal, and print.

Paper feeding through printer

And voila, a lovely sheet of digital images on tissue paper as well as a sheet of pretty digital paper.

Images and digital paper, both printed on tissue
Still on the printer paper backing

I design the image placement on my Silhouette Cameo, but you can use the software of your choice. I like to leave wide margins around my images because I like to tear my images apart. But they can be placed closer together if you prefer to cut them apart.

Notes:

  1. Sometimes the printer will “grab” the tissue paper and cause a bit of wrinkling. These wrinkles can be easily ironed out. I figure they’re a small price to pay for the luxury of having all the designer tissue I’ll ever want or need.
  2. If the print smudges because of too much ink (some machines print heavier than others), try printing on the “draft” or “economy” setting. And it’s always a good idea to let the ink dry overnight, or at least for an hour or two before decoupaging. A heat tool would help if you need to craft right away. Also, make sure you’re printing on the dull side, which absorbs more ink than the shiny side. Yes, tissue paper has both kinds of sides. (Who knew?)
  3. If using the freezer paper technique, iron the tissue paper (on low, no steam) to the “business” side of the freezer paper, trim it to size, run it through the printer and peel it off afterward. The iron will melt the freezer paper to the tissue paper just enough but is supposed to peel off easily afterward. Mine didn’t, but it does work for some. Maybe I pressed too hard, but the tissue paper was firmly attached and no amount of re-ironing would make it come loose.
  4. Most of the images and papers in my collections come from three of my favorite sources, My Artistic Adventures, Gecko Galz, and The Graphics Fairy.

Create your own printed tissue paper

Now it’s your turn to create some custom tissue paper. Be sure to post it on the G&B Facebook page and share your success along with any tips and suggestions we haven’t covered here. And share the project you made with that paper, too! Did you decoupage it? Or did you wrap a gift with it? We want to know!

Images printed on tissue papers
Images waiting to be torn and glued

You might also like…

Painted Canvas for Mom – the Queen of Ever’thang
DIY Decoupage Wood Christmas Block
Turning Trash Into Treasure – How to Make Faux Glass Flowers

Happy Crafting!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on one of my affiliate links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission for referring you. This in no way affects your price. Please know that I only recommend resources and items I use and believe in. You can read my full disclosure statement here.

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Hi, I'm Shea!

Hi, I'm Shea!

Do you prefer handmade to store bought? Would you rather make something than buy it? If you want to tap into your inner creative genius and say, "Yes, I made that," stick with me. From greeting cards to soap to old-fashioned desserts "from my mother's recipe box," (sprinkled with tales of life as an almost-senior), you'll learn that handmade beats the socks off store bought!

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