Bleeding Tissue Paper Art: Decorating a Serving Tray

Bleeding tissue paper art is probably something that you may have seen before. Specifically a kid’s projects come to mind for me. It wasn’t until I came across the painting Birds on Canvas, from Crafts by Amanda, that I realized how beautiful and versatile this technique could be.

Bleeding Tissue Paper Art

Finished Tray with Plexiglass ~ Bleeding Tissue Paper Art ~

I’ve been thinking about creating something ever since. One thing I really like is the watercolor effect. Watercolor painting, I may have mentioned before, is something I’ve always wanted to do. I even took a class many years ago, but it’s a lot harder than you might think. At least for me it was, especially because I possess little to no patience. Anyway, this technique allows you to paint with the bleeding tissue paper in a watercolor-like fashion and it’s super easy to do.

Green Tray ~ Bleeding Tissue Paper Art ~

I found this sturdy tray at a thrift store. I really liked the shape but not the color so I spray painted it a nice gray color. I thought it would be a great base for a painting.

Paper fitted to tray ~ Bleeding Tissue Paper Art ~

So I cut a piece of watercolor paper to fit.

Materials ~ Bleeding Tissue Paper Art ~

Amanda suggested wearing glove, and I’m glad she did because the tissue paper comes off on your hands pretty easily.

Flower shapes ~ Bleeding Tissue Paper Art ~

I cut out some basic flower shapes to use as a template but you could probably just draw your own right on the tissue paper.

Tissue paper shapes ~ Bleeding Tissue Paper Art ~

For this project you need to buy Bleeding Tissue Paper not wrapping tissue paper.

Painting Background ~ Bleeding Tissue Paper Art ~

I started by using Amanda’s method of wetting the base. Then crumpling the tissue paper, setting it around the base paper and wetting it more with a paint brush and then removing it. This made a nice background for my painting.

Painting a leaf ~ Bleeding Tissue Paper Art ~

Next I placed a leaf and painted over it with water.

Leaf without tissue ~ Bleeding Tissue Paper Art ~

When I lifted the leaf tissue up, it left a nice watercolor print. Now, I know I said I wanted a watercolor painting, but for some reason, the day I made this painting, I fell in love with the tissue, and decided to leave it on the painting. You see in addition to Amanda’s wonderful post I watched this video by Leona. In this video she uses water with glue, and leaves the tissue on the paper.

Complete Painting ~ Bleeding Tissue Paper Art ~

So in the end I ended up using a couple of different techniques. It was super fun and creative. I’d recommend it for anyone. Once the painting dried I added a touch of black marker to outline and give a little definition to the flower and leaves.

Painting on Tray ~ Bleeding Tissue Paper Art ~

Then I used Mod Podge to glue it to my tray. I stopped at local hardware store and they cut me a piece of Plexiglas to place on top.

Tray with teacups ~ Bleeding Tissue Paper Art ~

Then my husband helped by placing a bead of clear caulk around the back and sides, to project the painting from any spills.

I’m thrilled with how well it turned out.

I can’t decide if I want to give it as a gift or keep it for myself.


Bleeding tissue paper art is easy to work with and gives a wonderful watercolor look. Techniques vary, but all work well allowing you to easily create beautiful artwork.

About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. Sooo pretty!

  2. Love the way you layered the tissue paper to get such deep and pretty colors for your flowers. Your tray is beautiful!

  3. Karen R says:

    This is fantastic!!

  4. I have never seen this done before. I am in awe, I love how you layered the paper, it gives it depth and an almost see through quality. I love to paint, but it takes awhile to finish, this would make a quicker gift. Just think of the things you could put it on. Thanks for sharing. Donna

    • Hi Donna,

      I could not believe how fun the tissue was to work with. I’ve been thinking about other ideas I can find a use for it. You will love it. I love watercolors and maybe this year I will actually try taking a class but this paper gives you the same feel. Definitely try it!

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

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