Home > Artist Tips, Collage, Recycled, Shellie Lewis' Art > Painted Wax Paper for Collage and Multi-media Art

Painted Wax Paper for Collage and Multi-media Art

Hockey Players

Hockey Players by Shellie Lewis, multi-media on wood, 4.25 x 5.125 x 0.75″

I recently learned that kitchen waxed paper will accept acrylic paint and can be collaged using a decoupage medium such as Modge Podge.  I decided to try this process and it is really neat!  Painting on the reverse of the waxed paper gives the images a diffuse, aged look.  I added to the aged look by crumpling the paintings.

You need acrylic paints, waxed paper and Modge Podge to get started.  You cannot thin the paint with water because the waxed paper repels any water; the paint has to be a totally acrylic medium.  Here are all the steps I used:

  1. Draw or trace an image onto the waxed paper.  I traced photos from some large scale sports cards.  I did use an evil Sharpie marker which I know will degrade.  I wanted fine lines and no other pen I owned, all having water-based inks, was working.
  2. Paint your image or background pattern.  If you want the waxed paper for a background, you can collage paper bits, gold leaf or foils, mica, glitter, threads and a wide array of items in addition to acrylic paint.  Items with dimension can be glued down with Modge Podge.  I just stayed with paint and a small dash of glitter paint for my hockey guys, treating the wax paper the same as a reverse glass painting.  I painted on the side that is going to be glued to the wood.
  3. Paint the surface to adhere the waxed paper to if you want another layer of color.  I painted a gun metal metallic gray onto gessoed pieces of wood, added some snowflakes and called it done for the background.  The rest of the painted images was on the waxed paper.  If you are painting and/or collaging a background field of color that the waxed paper is to be made into, you may want to skip this step, because you can completely cover the waxed paper.  I planned to have flecks of and underlying color sow through the finished art work.
  4. Crumple the painting.  I did two crumples, one horizontally and one vertically, to give the waxed paper an aged look.  Some of the paint will flake off when the paper is balled up.  If you crumple gently, paint loss is minimal compared to really crushing the waxed paper hard.  Smooth the painting back out.  Also, you can skip this step if you like.
  5. Modge Podge!  I used the glossy kind.  I used one layer on the wood and smoothed the wax paper onto the wood, put a second coat of Modge Podge on top and left it to dry.  Do this step quickly as the waxed paper gets damp and will tear.  After the wroks dried I did one more coat of Modge Podge and let it dry again.  I trimmed the excess waxed paper off from around the edges, since the art works were bigger than the pieces of wood.  Some Modge Podge medium ran down the sides so I sanded them clean.
  6. Seal the artwork.  Modge Podge is sticky and I have run into problems if it gets wet again.  I used two coats of a liquid clear acrylic brush-on varnish / sealer.  There are many brands of clear sealers in spray cans that will also work well.

I’m happy with how the project came out considering the materials were really simple.  I was able to use some gesso coated scrap wood pieces from a discard bin and make something nice out of a recycled material.  The translucence of the waxed paper invite you to stack layers and think about layering more than one piece of waxed paper.

  1. A. Catherine Noon
    September 27, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Wow, Shellie, this is really awesome. I love the picture you created.

    • September 27, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      Thank you. ☺ I’m probably going to bunch of wax paper collages. Try it, the technique is really cool and looks great in person.

  2. Tracey
    September 12, 2015 at 2:01 am

    Thanks for your tips Shellie. I have just started doing waxed paper art. I have found the wax paper sticks to the freezer paper sometimes. How is this possible when both papers are not adherent. Is this because the wax paper was wet for too long and tore? I have a problem with drying quickly as I don’t live in a hot, dry environment. I live in a cool, damp one. I did a painting yesterday late afternoon and this morning at 7am, it was still tacky!!

    • September 14, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      I have no experience with freezer paper, but I can guess if they both have a coating made of paraffin wax that is what is joining the two together. Pretend you smash two candles together and they stick, like that.

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