How To Paint With Tissue Paper

Painting with tissue paper can be an absolute blast for adults and kids, alike. There is a certain level of mystery. It is so fun when the bleeding tissue paper finally dries and you can pull the paper off to see what happened.

bleeding tissue paper on watercolor paper

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Since Valentine’s Day was right around the corner, we decided to show you how painting with bleeding tissue paper can work with even the simplest of shapes (a heart of course).

What is bleeding tissue paper?

The bleeding refers to the color not being permanent. When it gets wet, you will see the colors come off (so be careful). The dye is water soluble making it the perfect art material to use for backgrounds and fun artwork.

bleeding tissue paper with white paper brush and water

How do you know if you have bleeding tissue paper?

  • Make sure the package says bleeding on it.
  • If you don’t have the package, you could get a small piece of tissue paper wet. If the color comes off on your fingers, then you have bleeding tissue paper. If it does not, then you just have regular tissue paper.

See below how you could collage the tissue paper to create a fun paper instead of pulling the bleeding tissue paper off.

papers created with bleeding tissue paper and heart craft cut out on shiplap.

How do you paint with tissue paper?

There are a few ways you can paint with tissue paper. Our favorite tissue paper technique involves using bleeding tissue paper because the colors will mix together. We normally purchase the Spectra bleeding tissue as it comes in a variety of bright colors and works well for all sorts of bleeding tissue paper crafts.

bleeding tissue paper heart art

Other bleeding tissue paper designs

There are many other designs you can use when painting with tissue paper. Consider criss-cross paper, using white oil pastel or white crayon design before adding paper or even using gold or silver paint markers for extra details on top.

Spray Bottle Painting

Use a spray bottle to pre-wet the whole surface of your paper. Lay squares or rip tissue paper pieces on the already wet surface. Then use a spray bottle again to really get those colors to bleed.

paper heart painted with bleeding tissue paper

How to “paint” with regular tissue paper (non-bleeding)

This is more of a collage technique but can have a similar feel. You can see how children were able to use this tissue paper collage technique to make fun and colorful word art collages and how we added decoupaged tissue paper to clay.

Step 1: Rip or cut the paper into shapes.

Step 2: Mix ½ water and ½ glue.

tissue paper water mixture for collage

Step 3: Paint that mixture on top of the tissue paper shapes.

tissue paper shapes collaged on white paper

Step 4: Layer it on top of one shape at a time. Let dry and see that you have almost created a brand-new piece of paper. You will not pull the paper off as you do when you are painting with bleeding tissue paper.

DIY dress-up storage with tissue paper collaged background

The back of this repurposed entertainment center turned dress-up clothes storage was even created by painting tissue paper and sealing with mod podge

More Fun Craft Ideas That Are Great For Young Children

Follow us on Pinterest and Youtube for more easy crafty ideas!

And most importantly, enjoy the process of painting with tissue paper.

Yield: Easy Painting Idea

Painting With Bleeding Tissue Paper

bleeding tissue paper squares with water

Learn how to use bleeding tissue paper to create fun painted papers.

Prep Time 2 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 7 minutes
Difficulty Easy


  • Paint Brush
  • Optional: Spray Bottle with water


    1. Pre wet the paper with a brush or spray bottle. The wetter your paper is the more the colors will bleed.
    2. Simply rip your pieces in a variety of shapes and place on white paper or watercolor paper. 
    3. Use a brush and paint water over each piece. You actually want your tissue paper to be pretty wet so that the colors start to “bleed” or soak on to the paper.
    4. Overlap the next color slightly and paint water on top of the shapes. overlapping wet bleeding tissue paper
    5. Let dry.
    6. Pull off paper and reveal your awesome painted paper. hand pulling up bleeding tissue paper on paper
    7. If you have too much white, like we did, just put another layer of tissue paper ontop and let it work its magic. paint brush wetting bleeding tissue paper


Any white paper may work, but you will have the best results with watercolor paper (doesn't have to be the most expensive).

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