I’m in LOVE with the paper napkin art I’m seeing in Bibles these days. I saw a lovely video by Miss Tracy (video below – not me – I’m TRACIE) and was inspired to try it in my Bible. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find her napkin!!! Apparently, it’s a seasonal Easter napkin.
When I can’t find what I’m looking for, I’ll often fiddle around in Adobe software to try to come up with an alternative. Obviously, copying is a no-no, so I make my alternative version different using alternative fonts, colors, words, and images. Often, I’ll discover that I like my version better than the store bought. I feel the same way about my mom’s food too by the way. Much better than store bought! Sadly, I no longer live under her roof, so I always ask her to make me something special for my birthday.
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How Much Does Paper Napkin Art Cost?
Paper napkin art can be expensive or cheap depending on how you look at it and where you’re looking to buy it. You can buy paper napkins at the Dollar store in packs of 10-24 count depending on size. I’ve seen them as high as $4.29 for a pack of 16. To apply it, you’ll need gesso and a makeup sponge or paint brush. Assuming you get them at the dollar store and use one napkin per project you can create a beautiful piece for as little as 5 cents. Amazing! Now you need to find someone to swap napkins with or use those napkins at your next luncheon. It’s a great excuse to have some friends over!
Paper Napkin Art Alternative
The problem that I have with paper napkin art isn’t the cost. It’s the availability of designs and having to buy 10-24 of the same napkin for one project. When it comes to availability of designs, there aren’t many Christian stores left here in Phoenix so I stalk the Dollar Tree because they often have Faith-based napkins during Easter and Christmas. Sometimes they have them during the year as well.
Once I buy napkins, I usually only use the design once. Instead of costing me 5 cents per project, it ends up costing me $1-$4.29! I’ve joined napkin swap groups – a great alternative, but I still have to ship the napkins. Sigh.
In search of an alternative, I saw that others were using gift wrapping tissue paper in lieu of napkins so I experimented with many techniques until I found one that worked best for me. I purchased a pack of tissue paper from the dollar store and purchased a few images that I liked off the internet. By the way, you can find free images on sites like pixabay so don’t pull random images off the Internet without checking to see if they are indeed free. Use a site that’s reputable and put some food on the artist’s table if it’s not free.
Classic white tissue paper comes in 35 sheets at the Dollar Tree and you can cut each sheet to make a little over three 8 1/2 x 11 sheets. According to my calculations, that’s less than .01 per print. Of course, you have to print out the sheet, so I use a scrap piece of copy paper and my pages cost 3 cents per print using the HP Instant Ink service. Add in the cost of repositional herma dots and each paper napkin alternative cost me about 5 cents. Not bad at all! Plus I don’t have all these extra napkins.
I just have to say it…I love the HP Instant Ink service because my printer tells them when to ship the ink and I never have to worry about reordering. I always have it when I need it! Pages roll over so if I don’t use them all, I can use them the next month. I didn’t think I’d use the service as much as I do, but alas, I’m now spoiled and love it.
How to Print on Tissue Paper
To print on tissue paper, you’ll need a printer. I use an HP Envy Wireless printer. You’ll also need the tissue paper and either washi tape or repositional tape. Here’s the video that shows you exactly how to do it.
How to Apply Tissue Paper to Your Bible
- Cut the tissue paper so you have the design you’d like to place in your Bible.
- Make sure you put down at least one coat of clear gesso. I usually do two coats just in case.
- Let the gesso dry between coats.
- Once your base layers are done, apply one more coat of clear gesso and lay the tissue paper on top of it while it’s still wet.
- Let the layer dry or carefully use a heat tool to dry it.
- Then apply a coat of matte medium over the design. I use matte medium because it’s less gritty than the gesso and dries with a nice smooth finish.
- You can draw on the design once it’s dry, but make sure you clean the tip of your pen afterward. That way you remove any gesso or medium that’s attached itself to your pen. I swipe my pen on a paper towel after every stroke to ensure I don’t pick up any medium. Both mediums will dry out your precision pens so use them with caution. Gel pens are a great alternative!
Here’s the video that shows my technique:
How to Apply Paper Napkins to Your Bible
Miss Tracy (not me) created this video that the gals over at our Beginners Facebook Group love. It wouldn’t be right to create this post without sharing the technique that’s inspired so many. Our techniques are different, but they work just fine!
Have you tried paper napkin art in your Bible? What do you like best or least about this technique? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.