Tissue Paper Prints Activity

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Updated on Jun 27, 2013

Print making is a fun way to learn about the artistic process and the math concept of multiples. Make multiple images in just minutes with this activity that has your child create a tissue-paper printing plate. Create a picture or a unique design by gluing brightly colored tissue paper to cardboard, then transferring it to a water soaked paper print.

Tissue paper printing is just one way to learn about the art of print. This simple activity requires fewer materials (and often less mess) than more traditional ink based methods. Additionally, this activity serves as a fun collage project, and your child will also be creating a stunning tissue paper collage that can be kept long after printing use.

What You Need:

  • Cardboard cut into a shape such as a rectangle
  • Scissors
  • Colored tissue paper (Make sure that the tissue paper does NOT say non-bleeding)
  • Glue stick
  • White paper
  • Water
  • Pencil
  • Optional: Rolling pin

What You Do:

  1. Have your child decide on a design, picture, or pattern to create, and encourage her to draw her sketch in light pencil on the cardboard.
  2. Your child may now tear or cut a variety of shapes from the tissue paper. You may want to check your tissue paper first for color transfer. Use a test scrap and add water. Place on a white piece of paper to see how much the color bleeds. Darker and brighter colors work the best. Try reds, purples, deep blue, and greens. Avoid white, light pink or light yellow.
  3. Have your child glue the tissue paper onto the cardboard collage style. Set aside to dry.
  4. Once dry, you are ready to start printing. Lightly wet a piece of white paper. You may need to experiment with the amount of water added. Try to avoid soaking the paper with a lot of water.
  5. Place the wet paper on a flat, washable surface. Turn the tissue paper collage over (tissue paper face down) and place on top of the wet paper. Press very firmly, or roll a rolling pin over top.
  6. Wait a few minutes for the colors to transfer well. Then, peel the collage from the paper.
  7. Set it out to dry.

Once dry, your child will have a beautiful, tissue-paper print! The finished product often looks more like a watercolor than a standard print. Expect a certain amount of color mixing and running after lifting the collage from the wet paper. If your child becomes frustrated with this, gently suggest collaging a more abstract design or pattern creation.


Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

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