Now I’m not one to blow my own trumpet but, I think I have discovered a new technique, for Colourwash Inks. I say this as I haven’t seen anyone else either do this, or have mentioned it. I am calling this technique ‘Butterfly Paper’, the name inspired by the butterfly prints we all played with in Primary school, where you splodge paint on one side of a piece of paper, fold it in half and see what comes out.
I ‘found’ this idea as a result of the experiments that gave us Leather Look Paper. In order to get a full coverage of ink for the Leather Paper effect both sides of the paper had to come into contact with each other. This got me thinking. I wanted full colour papers to make end papers for my handmade books, but the textured paper wouldn’t sit flat in the books and also the paper warped from being very wet, so it wasn’t suitable for this. As a result Butterfly Paper was born. To find out how to make some of your own read on….
To Make Butterfly Paper, You Will Need
- Heat tool
- Iron (dedicated craft iron as it will get messy)
- Bin liner or plastic sheet
- Large empty cardboard box or (unused) plastic cat litter style box
- White printer paper
- Blank newsprint; available from removal companies
- Ranger Colourwash Ink
- Spritzer bottle of water
- Cut open your bin liner and lay it over your work surface to protect it from the ink
- Place the empty cardboard box on your table and put a piece of folded blank newsprint in the bottom
- Place a sheet of blank newsprint next to your box to put damp paper onto.
- Either wear old clothes you won’t mind getting messy or wear a plastic apron (just in case)
**Ensure there is plastic underneath the box and blank paper, in case the ink soaks through either of them**
1. Place a piece of printer paper in the bottom of the box.
2. Spray the paper with one or two colours of the Ranger Colourwash Ink. You need the paper to be wet with ink.
3. If you haven’t used much ink, spray the paper with some water to get the paper nice and wet. You need it to stay wet whilst you get to step 5.
4. Remove your wet paper from the box and set it ink face UP on the blank newsprint next to your box
Repeat steps 1-3 with your second sheet of paper.
5. Carefully, remove this second sheet of paper now wet with ink, from the box and place it on top of your first sheet. Ink sides together.
6. Smooth over the back of the paper to ensure the entire surface of both sheets has come in contact with each other.
7. Carefully peel the papers apart to reveal the pattern.
8. If your paper wasn’t wet enough, some of the paper will still show the speckling of the ink rather than being completely covered in it. To solve this re-spray both inked sides of the papers with plain water and repeat steps 7-8.
The ink got too dry (coz I was taking the pictures) So I sprayed with some more water.
9. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO DRY BOTH PAPERS QUICKLY. Place your paper ink side UP onto a heat proof surface and heat the paper till it no longer looks shiny, repeat with the second sheet before you move on. The paper will still be damp but not shiny.
10. Now the paper no longer looks wet and shiny it is safe to turn it ink side down and iron on the back to flatten it. Iron on the back of the paper so it doesn’t go shiny.
11. Repeat with the second sheet.
Heating the paper seems to set the ink, making it stable to use wet glue on without disturbing the ink.
Here are a few colour combinations;
Stream & Denim
Terracotta, Raisin & Espresso
Try adding more water instead of ink. There was sooo much ink left on the paper there was a big puddle of it. I sprayed plain paper and pressed it into the original sheet. NOT the best way to do this technique but it used up the excess ink. I used the method described above for all other papers and used WAY less ink 😉
The pattern becomes more mottled as you press of dab the wet sheets together.
Thanks for reading and if you give this a go enjoy getting messy the resulting paper is worth all the effort.