Can You Decoupage Tissue Paper On Clay?

Are you looking for a glaze alternative for adding color to clay projects? We will show you a simple way you can glue or decoupage tissue paper on clay for a fun effect with less hassle than pottery glaze.

small clay pinch pot with tissue paper decoupaged on.

Why try this method?

Are you sick of loading your kiln for another glaze firing? Yes, we totally love using clay glazes for our projects and with children. However, sometimes you just don’t have time to glaze. Get those clay pots, bowls and ceramic sculptures finished sooner with our non-glaze alternatives.

What is decoupage?

Honestly just a fancy word for gluing items such as paper cutouts or tissue paper onto a surface. This can be done in so many different ways. You can get more professional-looking pieces without any wrinkles, but also young children will be able to do this process on their clay pieces.

Since this tissue paper on clay technique is geared more towards children we simply used Elmer’s Glue-All mixed with water to apply the tissue paper.

If you are trying to get a more advanced appearance you may want to consider Mod Podge for this. My friend, Amy talks all about this on her blog, Mod Podge Rocks.

Can you use bleeding tissue paper?

Yes, we love painting with bleeding tissue paper. The only difference is that you will not take the tissue paper off when it dries. You probably could for a fun effect if you do not want to use a glue water mixture.

What can you use to seal your final clay project?

This simple pinch pot bowl was sealed with this Acrylic Gloss Medium. Seriously we love how much it just gives a little extra shimmer to the ceramic pinch pot lesson.

Read More>>>We talk all about how to seal clay projects in this post.

Other Ways to Seal Clay Projects

  • Mod Podge (All sorts of varieties)
  • Spray Mod Podge is also great for sealing a whole class of projects
  • Acrylic Spray

How To Prep

You will want to figure out the design you want with your tissue paper. For young children, having precut shapes can work out well. They can also rip smaller pieces to create a more organic feel. You could even cut out fun shapes as well.

How to make cheap decoupage glue?

You will also want to premake the glue water mixture. You will only need a small amount. 2/3 part water to 1/3 part glue should do the trick.

glue being poured into small cup of water with clay pinch bowl on table.

Recommended Supplies

  • Tissue paper (bleeding or regular)
  • Cheaper paint brush
  • Small container of glue/water mixture
  • Optional: Sealer like Mod Podge
Elmer's glue with baggie of tissue paper squares and clay pinch pot.

How To Decoupage Clay With Tissue Paper

Step 1: Clean Clay Dust

Clean the surface first. Make sure your clay project is free of excess dust.

Step 2: Paint A Little Glue Mixture

Paint glue water mixture on some of the clay to start.

large paint brush painting glue mixture on clay bowl.

Step 3: Start To Add Tissue Paper

Add a square of tissue paper. Notice if you want to be picky we should have smoothed out the tissue paper bubbles more. You will see how this still gives a great finish, but perfectionists should definitely take a little more time smoothing out the colored squares.

small red and pink squares of tissue paper being glue on to small pinch pot.

Step 4: Paint Extra Glue Water

Paint glue water on top of tissue paper. If you want to see a project that uses this technique on paper, check out our Monet water lilies art lesson.

hand adding tissue paper to clay bowl.

Step 5: Overlap Colors

Continue layering tissue paper until you are satisfied.

clay bowl decoupaged with tissue paper squares.

Optional: Add A Clear Coat

Paint a layer of clear coat. First, we added an Irdiscent gloss medium and then a layer of Mod Podge on top to seal it.

Step 6: Let dry and enjoy.

clay pinch pot with decoupage tissue paper and gloss medium on top.

Tips For Decoupaging With Children

  • When doing this with children, the goal should be to try to get the tissue paper as flat as possible. We know this is hard for some kiddos.
  • Try to encourage them to smooth out air bubbles without over-touching.
  • Some wrinkles will still look okay as long as they don’t have pieces sticking up.
  • A final coat or two of mod podge can help hide imperfections.
  • You can use your finger to help carefully smooth out parts that have the tissue paper wrapped around them.
edge of clay bowl with decoupaged tissue paper and shimmer layer.
tissue paper squares on clay pinch pot on shiplap background.

Follow us on Pinterest or YouTube for more arts and crafts ideas!

How To Decoupage Tissue Paper On Clay

clay project with tissue paper decoupaged on.

This non-glaze alternative is great for ceramic projects made by children. They will love learning how to decoupage with tissue paper on clay.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost Less than $5

Materials

Tools

  • Paint brush
  • Small container
  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Clean the surface first. Make sure your clay project is free of excess dust.
  2. Paint glue water mixture on some of the clay to start.
  3. Add a square of tissue paper.
  4. Paint glue water on top of tissue paper.
  5. Continue layering tissue paper until you are satisfied.
  6. Optional: Paint a layer of clear coat. We used a layer of Mod Podge on top of the gloss medium to seal it.
  7. Let dry and enjoy.

Your ceramic artists will love using tissue paper on their clay pieces and you will love this glaze alternative!

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