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3 awesome paper texture techniques for your surface pattern designs

Using paper is a simple and easy way to experiment and come up with interesting texture and pattern ideas that can be used within your surface pattern designs. Just as you can create drawings, sketches and paintings that can be scanned and used within your designs, you can also develop interesting patterns, textures and motifs with paper. Let’s look at 3 awesome paper texture techniques for your surface pattern designs.

3 awesome paper texture techniques for your surface pattern designs:

1. Paper Collage:

Paper collage is the art of assembling different shapes, forms and textures of paper together to create a design, pattern or artwork. Any sort of paper can be used to create a collage. Your choice will be defined by your desired end result.

3 awesome paper textures for your surface pattern designs

Experiment with:

  • textured paper e.g. rough and smooth
  • weight of the paper e.g. light weight like tissue paper or heavy weight such as card
  • colour of the paper
  • painting/drawing on the paper and then using it to collage
  • tearing the paper versus cutting it with a knife or scissors
  • layering elements
  • using both cut and torn pieces together

Different papers to consider:

  • newspaper
  • tissue paper
  • marbled paper
  • patterned paper
  • handmade paper
  • Japanese/Chinese paper
  • old wallpaper

Once you have gathered the paper you’d like to use you can start creating your collage. You can either use scissors or a craft knife or you can tear your paper into different shapes. Tearing the paper will allow you to create rough, organic and textured edges. After you have cut or torn your shapes, place them on a background surface (this doesn’t have to be paper) and once you’re happy with where you’d like to place them, glue them in place. Experiment with ideas for your background e.g. paint a texture on the paper or other surface, use a textured, coloured or patterned paper, or try using a completely surface such as wood or glass etc.

Torn paper will allow you to create interesting textured edges but will give you less control over the outcome (scissors or a knife will be more precise), therefore enabling you to create beautiful and surprising results. A really interesting effect that can be created with torn paper is either painting your paper before you tear it or using a paper with a different coloured back. This will allow you to reveal the colour on the reverse side when you tear it.

For more texture ideas check out my blog post ‘Using line to create texture’ and ‘Creating printed texture techniques’ or sign up for the bonuses below

2. Weaving: 

Weaving involves interlacing vertical and horizontal strips of paper together in much the same way as you would weave fabric.

Experiment with:

  • varying the width of the paper
  • try different weave structures e.g. plain weave, twill weave, basket weave etc.
  • randomly cutting or tearing your strips of paper
  • using zig zag or wavy strips
  • using varied colours

3. Stippling: 

Stippling is created by puncturing a paper surface with a needle, pen, pencil or other utensil to create a dotted effect. By changing the density of the stippling you can create different effects.


Experiment with:

  • adding a soft surface under your paper to make stippling easier
  • varying widths/sizes of your needle or item used to puncture the paper
  • try stippling sparsely and densely
  • experiment with using both the face and back of the paper

Using paper to create texture is fun and can add an extra element of interest to your surface pattern designs. Once you have created beautiful paper texture ideas you can scan them into your computer and use Photoshop or Illustrator to manipulate them to create successful surface pattern designs.

Experimenting with paper is heaps of fun so get creative and enjoy.

Don’t forget to check out more texture ideas at my blog posts ‘Using line to create texture’ and ‘Creating printed texture techniques’ or sign up for the bonuses below

3 awesome paper texture techniques for your surface pattern designs

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