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Paper Pulp Painting

Keith Anderson creates wonderful paintings using dyed pulp as his medium.

Project by Keith Anderson from Shawnee Mission, Kan.

Keith stumbled into his pulp painting passion in a serendipitous way. He had purchased a holiday gift for a nephew but ended up opening the gift and trying the papermaking kit himself! These days he creates wonderful paintings using dyed pulp as his medium.

Materials and Tools:

rust-free window screen
cotton linter or paper to grind in blender
old blender
formation aid
latex or rubber gloves
retention agent
Ardvark organic dyes
turkey baster
lots of water
small butter knife
polyester organza the size of the window screen
large sponge
dish tub
1 old large bowl for each color you are making
strainer the size of a colander
sink with a good drain


1. One day in advance, put a teaspoon of formation aid powder in a one quart bowl with water. Stir and let it sit over night.

2. To make pulp: Tear up an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of the cotton linter.

Note: Some of the pulp will remain white and the balance will be divided to dye different colors.

3. Put a third of the pulp in the blender with a teaspoon of the retention agent. Blend for 2 minutes and pour into a large bowl. Repeat until all the paper is ground up.

4. Drain the water out of the pulp through a large strainer.

5. To dye the pulp: Follow the instructions from the manufacturer on the dye container. Essentially, put a small amount of pulp in the blender and fill with water and about 1/2 teaspoon of the dye. Blend for 1 minute and let sit for 5 minutes.

6. Drain through strainer over work sink, rinsing the pulp while in the strainer with cool water. Put the rinsed and dyed pulp in a bowl and fill with water.

7. Using the turkey baster, squirt about half the baster full of the formation aid into the dyed pulp and water. This will keep the fibers from clumping.

8. To make the picture: Using the ladle, pour some of the un-dyed white pulp in a thin layer over the window screen. Let the water run through the screen and down the drain or into a large tub.

9. Suck up some of the dyed pulp and water into the turkey baster and squirt it onto the layer of white pulp. You can draw lines, make dots or just see what happens. Keep squirting the different colors of pulp on the screen and drawing with it until you are happy with the final image.

10. The final step is to lay a piece of polyester organza over the screen covered with pulp and gently press the excess water out with a sponge.

11. Put the screen by a fan and let it dry over night, until crisp and dry. Then peel off the organza. Use the butter knife to get an edge on the sheet of paper and peel it off the screen.

Note: If he uses cotton or acid-free fiber to make the pulp, the artist usually irons the piece prior to framing, on low heat. You are now ready to frame the piece in any way you wish!



    • Ardvark organic dyes from Carriage House Paper
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