Experiments with Paste Painting on Tyvek, Wet Media Dura-lar and Yupo

I experimented the other day with non-paper materials for paste painting. One of my more interesting discoveries was that you can paste paint on Wet Media Dura-lar. It won’t curl, and the paint doesn’t flick off (although I haven’t yet tried to fold it…).
I’ve paste painted on Tyvek before, but I thought I’d try some texturing tools I hadn’t used much yet. In general, results on Tyvek often seem more textured than on paper, and it usually doesn’t curl. Here, I twisted a square cookie cutter in various directions:
This was done on Tyvek with foam letter stamps, stamped in all directions until the letters themselves became mostly illegible :
This is on Tyvek again. The paste was brushed on and then dabbed at with a towel:
And then I played around with the scans in Photoshop, to see how the textures could be further altered:
This was a paper that I’d begun a while ago. I first made a faux-wood pattern in a greenish-blue color. I then later went back and added a fresh blue layer on top and dabbed at it with a rag:
And then played around with the scan a bit in Photoshop:
I discovered that you can paste paint on synthetic Yupo as well. I thought the result was rather interesting, although I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with it.

It occurred to me that a long time ago I said I was going to add a paste painting tutorial on here. It seems I never got around to it. Someday… However, there are many tutorials online, easily found with a search.
I just discovered this good recent one from Lili’s Bookbinding blog. I’d never prepared cornstarch paste using her method before (my method is mentioned here), so I decided to give it a try. She doesn’t simmer the paste on the stove. She makes a slurry and adds boiling water to it while mixing well with an electric mixer. It was fun to watch the paste suddenly whoosh up into form in the bowl this way. I found this paste differed from my usual version. Not bad. Just different. I thought it tended to form a skin more quickly, but otherwise it had a nice consistency. I’d like to use it again. The recipe is on her post at the above link.
Another tutorial I’ve liked is at Buechertiger’s blog (here and here). She also provides links to further resources.
If you know of any other good paste painting tutorials or resources, please feel free to recommend them.

17 thoughts on “Experiments with Paste Painting on Tyvek, Wet Media Dura-lar and Yupo”

  1. Looks like you made some interesting experiments here. I am looking forward to seeing the painted acetate again.
    And once again you make me envious that you Americans all seem to have easy access to tyvek. I don't think I ever saw it, and wouldn't know where and how to get it. It seems like such a useful material. I'll have to check again whether I don't have another USPS mailing envelope here that seems to be made out of tyvek. Or is it just filled with tyvek? – I really don't know which part of such an envelope I would use. Do you strip it somehow?

    And what is Yupo?

    I had a look at Lil's tutorial. It is nice and clear. Thank you for pointing us to it. Thanks for the link to my tutorial, too, of course.

  2. Hi there. I keep wondering if perhaps Tyvek is called something else where you are (?). From what I can tell, it is available there. The German branch of the Staples office supply chain does carry Tyvek envelopes, which can easily be cut down for use. Try http://www.staples.de/ and search on Tyvek. It looked like Amazon.de has some too:


    Yupo– http://superyupo.com/ –is a synthetic plastic sheet, basically, that is formulated so that it will hold paint. The stuff I used was opaque, but I do believe it comes in more transparent types as well. I've never really come up with anything I've done with it that thrills me, but the idea seems interesting.

    Incidentally, one person who does gorgeous things with Yupo is Elly McKay. She paints on it, then builds dioramas with the paintings and photographs them. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ellymackay/

    Sorry that there isn't a good way to format links here in the comments–or at least that I've figured out!

  3. PS If you get a Tyvek envelope, the whole thing is made of Tyvek. It's not generally a lining inside. Think of it as very strong paper that you can't tear.

  4. Thank you for your detailed answer. I believe tyvek is still called tyvek here, and according to wikipedia it is used to make security/protective clothing for medical personal in the ER, for all who have to do with fine dust, and for officers in securing evidence at a crime scene. – But I have not yet seen it anywhere in a paper store, or heard of people using it.
    So thank you for the links, I'll have a look. Actually, a staples is located close to where I live, I can walk there in about 30 minutes. – I just never felt the urge to enter, so maybe the answer is closer than I thought it was. Thank again!

  5. Love-love-LOVE your paste painted papers or should I say materials???
    As soon as I am back home I will try the Dura-lar; I can't get over the clean clear look and the complete absence of a grainy film you have achieved.
    Truly beautiful!!!

  6. Thank you Anna! I am liking the Dura-lar very much. I discovered that you can cut it, fold it and punch holes in it. I made a little accordion structure with it for a model (I'll put up pics soonish). The paste paint did not flake off on the folds, at least on the miniature model I made. On the down side, it doesn't fold too flat–it tends to spring open more than papers or other things. But there are definitely possibilities here.

    I hope I'm not leading people astray–that it won't turn out that the paint will come off and the Dura-lar will turn out to be a disaster. But so far, it seems to be working very well. I can't even flick any of the paste paint off if I want to.

    I'd love to see what you come up with, if you decide to try it! Keep in mind (worth mentioning, just in case), that there are different Dura-lar formulations. Some are for wet media (what you want), others not.

  7. Oh wow. I thought I would return the compliment and drop in on your blog and am awed and amazed by the beauty of your creations. Thank you lots. Re MS and whinging: I have adopted the phrase 'give us this day our daily whinge' for my very own. Please drop in on me if the dread disease gets you down.

  8. Thanks so much. Really kind of you. I think I would like to hang up a sign in the house with 'give us this day our daily whinge', if you don't mind me stealing that from you! So true. Americans don't actually say whinge, but I do feel it conveys the act and sentiment so much better than our nearest equivalents. Likewise, feel free to commiserate.

    You'll appreciate this one, I think…Yesterday I was asked to teach a class for a new craft center that opened nearby. I was thrilled. I don't get to do a lot of that sort of thing. And then I promptly had a bad case of Fun With MS Brain while talking to the proprietor. I could not find my words. Really could not. Sentence salad with holes. Ugh. I don't know if they've changed their mind on the offer or not.

    Alas, at least it's not hot here. I feel for you.

  9. I love the MS brain thing. My nearest and dearest have become much more adept at mime. A gift I have given them when the words hide from me/escape me. Too damn often unfortunately. Cushion for some reason is a word I often have trouble saying. Also scissors. Weird.

    I have to ask: what do you use instead of whinge? And use the phrase as much as you like.

    I have been blessed with a black sense of humour which helps heaps.

  10. The cognitive stuff can be distressing. I have ups and downs with it–sometimes I can laugh about it, but other times… context, I guess. When I'm with friends, it's easier to deal with. And, yes, a black sense of humor comes in very handy! I actually had planned to be an academic linguist, way back when (gave it up before the health problems really took off, so that wasn't the issue). But words and sentence structure and the like had always been important to me.

    I think instead of whinge, we'd say whine. Or, most informally, bitch. My Yiddish-leaning friends would say kvetch. Complain. But I don't think they really *quite* equal whinge. And whinge is just such a nice word. One I hope not to forget…heh…

  11. I should have said in my earlier comment that if the craft centre passes up the opportunity to have you take a class they have rocks in their heads. Fingers and toes crossed.

    And yes I would be a) lying and b) superficial if I didn't admit that there are ups and downs. But we all have them. MS or not. MS is a part of me – I refuse to let it define me (very often). I was working in the field of disability policy when I was diagnosed. And found it very hard when I finally admitted that I could no longer work productively.

  12. Thanks. If I teach the class or not, it's ok. If not, it's probably just one less stressor. But I think it will be ok.

    And I do understand what you're saying… It's complicated.


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