Newspaper is a great way to cover a workspace before beginning a messy project, but have you ever thought of turning it into something besides paper mache? I noticed this rose image in the newspaper and thought it was too pretty to throw away- could I make it into something else? Yes! This type of project works with any image or color scheme, so adapt it to fit your decor!
(It’s also a great way to cover a canvas if a previous painting project didn’t turn out so great, or use up some tea that you didn’t like… 🙂 )
You will need:
- Newspaper with black and white text, no pictures (for background)
- Rose or another central image
- A canvas, any size
- Paint (in your color scheme)
- Sharp scissors
- Mat knife
- Paint brushes (including a flat paint brush)
- Cup of water
- Small plastic tub
- Black tea bags
- Ruler & pencil
- Stick on pearls (or another 3D object that fits your scheme)
- Small sea sponge (optional)
- Paper towel
- Clear coat spray
Cover your workstation in newspaper as this project gets messy! Cut newspaper with text into strips according to the scale of your canvas (larger canvas = bigger paper strips). Use the ruler and pencil to mark off the width and cut out strips.
Cut out your image with a mat knife and set aside. An image from the newspaper works well as it already has the same paper texture and color tint as your background paper.
Heat water (but not to boiling). Pour carefully into plastic tub and add black tea bags. Adjust number of tea bags and steeping time to your desired newspaper color. Place paper strips in water and steep until they reach your desired color. Remove and lay on paper towels to dry. Start project when strips are bendable: not damp enough to shred, but not so dry that they are stiff and crunchy.
Start at the top of the canvas and glue strips all along the top of the reverse side, making sure not to leave any gaps where the canvas will show through. Trim the excess on the reverse side. Make sure the strips are long enough to reach the bottom of the canvas with overlap.
Start weaving with horizontal strips in an over/under pattern. Keep pushing horizontal strips up so that the canvas does not show through the weaving. Every few strips, stop and glue the ends to the back side of the canvas, and trim the excess. When you reach the bottom, glue the ends of the vertical strips to the back side of the canvas.
Decide where you would like to place your central image- center? Off center? Mix some glue with water until it forms a paste (not too thick, but not so thin it won’t stick). Use a paint brush to brush the back of the image with the glue water, then place it on your woven canvas. Brush more glue water around the edges, then let the whole project dry.
The next steps are the key to giving your project some depth and pops of color!
Select paint colors that match your image, and decide which areas of it you’d like to highlight. For this rose project, I highlighted the edges of the rose with gold and the leaves with different shades of greenish gold. Fill in your highlighted areas starting with a small amount of paint (you can always add more). Use a flat paint brush with a thicker amount of paint on lines that you want to stand out.
I took a sea sponge and dabbed gold paint all over the newspaper background. (Practice this first on paper so that you get the amount of paint and coverage you want). Don’t forget the edges of the canvas also!
Use a tweezer to place the stick on pearls randomly all over the canvas. You could also use tiny jewels, buttons, twigs, or whatever fits your scheme.
When the canvas is completely dry, take it outside and spray a clear coat all over to help seal everything in. Let dry, then find the perfect wall in your home and display your beautiful upcycled piece!
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