How to Make Paste Papers for Your Altered Book


Paste papers are papers that you have decorated with a mixture of paste and acrylic paint.

paste paperAltered book artists use paste papers for background pages, or to add special elements to a page.

I particularly like it for cutting shapes with paper punches. In the picture to the left, I used the red paper (far left) for cutting heart shapes for a Valentine layout.

How do you Make Paste Papers?

It couldn't be easier. Follow these steps:

  1. Mix equal quantities of glue and craft paint together.
  2. Spread the mixture over your paper with a foam brush, or other applicator. There is no point in using expensive brushes for this.
  3. Swish your paste/paint mixture around in shapes or designs.
  4. Use an object such as a comb, toothbrush, or similar to create additional designs in the paper.
  5. While still wet, apply glitter, small beads, wire, or other decorative material to the paper. Allow to dry.

Many altered book artists like to use the more costly PPA by USArtQuest (available at,for this purpose. I used the more economical Aileen Tacky Glue, also available at and was pleased with the results.

However, I applied my glue-paint mixture to card stock, which I then cut into shapes for use in an AB. If applying it directly to the page in an AB, PPA would be a better choice. There would be less chance of warping and buckling.

Any variety of acrylic craft paint will work. I used the economical Delta Ceramcoat, available at .

The Art of Making Paste Papers by Diane V. Maurer-Mathison, Holly McDade (Photographer), Sandra Lounsbury Foose

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