Tuesday, September 23, 2014

getting creative with paper towels

When you spend a most of your life creating on a tight budget, you quickly learn to utilize cheap materials or everyday things. One of the best little secrets I discovered years ago (though I am sure many of you also know) is how useful paper towels can be in mixed media projects- specifically Viva paper towels (and no Viva is not paying me to mention them)

Back in college painting classes, Viva paper towels were always on the class supply lists because they are super absorbent, almost like a fabric rag. After years of wiping paint on them I realized that once covered in paint, they become saturated with vibrant color, they also become quite durable and can be used in all kinds of projects! Instead of tossing my used paper towels in the trash I began saving them to use in collage, paper and sewing projects.

Not only can you wipe your brush on paper towels but you paint them like any other surface. Again, the Viva brand it will take paint just like, if not better than a piece of mixed media paper or fabric. This means you can use all of your favorite painting techniques on paper towels- even layering lots of messy color.

They absorb ink sprays really well!


In addition to ink sprays, you can also use fabric dye and dying techniques on heavy duty paper towels.

You can use pens to draw and doodle, just keep in mind the surface is not smooth like paper so you have to work around and accept the textured surface. 

Stamps and stencils also work really well.

A roll of paper towels is also a great supply to have on hand for kids to paint on. Simply roll out a foot or two and let kids go to town painting!

I'll use my favorite techniques to create a stockpile of paper towels that I can grab when I am working on mixed media projects. I use them much like you would use colorful fabric or paper- for collage or decoupage projects, for backgrounds in paintings and my favorite...to sew with!

Yes, you can sew with paper towels! I like using them to make art quilts, art journal pages or any paper sewing projects (like tags, cards and scrapbook pages). You can use them in just about any mixed media project that gets stitched.

So there you have it- paper towels, an economical alternative for all those mixed media projects!

Looking for some creative ways to use that cardboard roll once you have used up all those paper towels? Head on over to my post HERE


23 comments:

An_Geli_Ka said...

absolut cool...never thought aout THIS !!

A bike on my shirt said...

really interesting, easy and cheap!

Ewa SzczepaƄska said...

Great idea! OMG! This is big inspiration!

Sue Marrazzo said...

NICE IDEA! I like the doodles!
I have used watercolors and water spray to create a tie dye look.
Thanks for sharing = )

Erin Fish said...

Fabulous uses for an ordinary kitchen product.

Bekka Joy said...

Oh wow! This could be the coolest art project ever! That notebook is divine!! So clever!!

Monika said...

I love you`re art! <3

studioGypsy said...

yes! :D xo

- Yvette Head said...

Great ideas, I like the texture of the paper towels and how sturdy they actually are for projects. :)

Kim said...

I just bought some Viva! Not my usual brand. Must be divine intervention! Thanks for the tip.

Tante Mali said...

Alisa!!! Great!!! You are so creative!
Have to put this on my list!!!!
All my best from Austria and a happy happy time
Elisabeth

Emma Elliott said...

Fantastic I'll be using lots in my collages thankyou :0x

curlygirlpress said...

Viva la Viva! Seriously, I was a starving college student who spent most of my available funds on art supplies (and Mountain Dew, but that was a necessity!) and Viva paper towels were a must in painting classes despite their steep price for paper towels. I hoarded those puppies, too. I never used them for mixed media art, but they were the most perfect tool dabbing a brush, cleaning a brush, wiping a bit off an oil painting, you name it. I'm a believer. = )

Anonymous said...

Sadly we just don't have that brand in the uk - or an equivalent as all our kitchen roll is highly textured. Apparently using it for cake decorating is a thing and an alternative has been requested by many according to google. There isn't one though, which is a shame as I really love your ideas.
Sara

Bonita Rose said...

I bought a roll today after reading this.. thks!

Corrine at sparkledaysstudio.com said...

Art pn a roll, wow. What great projects. xox

Judy Warner said...

Thank you for this great suggestion for painting with my granddaughter!

Vicki Miller said...

I use baby wipes in the same way and use them in my art quilts and collages. It is impossible for me to throw them out!

Ann ~ Little Worlds said...

I can't believe it, will try and see for myself!

Miss Sonali said...

You are posting very nice post. The advice provided on this blog is actual important for us.Keep sharing in future
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Green my business said...

Very nice blog..Great design and style of paper towel..
Work Wear

Jack Mark said...

What a fantabulous post this has been. Never seen this kind of useful post. I am grateful to you and expect more number of posts like these. Thank you very much.
Best Rated Paper Towels Reviews

Unknown said...

This is really cool. I use paper towels as a medium as well. Check out my shop at www.etsy.com/shop/paperheartpaintings

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