Papertowel Backgrounds

I absolutely LOVE papertowel backgrounds. I guess half of the reason is that they’re easy (even using my ‘trash’ paper towels that I’ve been cleaning my art up with!), but also, they’re just so colorful and eyecatching.

You’re going to love making these. WARNING: Addictive technique ahead!

To do this project you’ll need:

  • stamp pad reinkers (or if you absolutely don’t have these, you can use watered down acrylic paint or watercolor paint)
  • plain white paper towels
  • Spray Webbing (available in spray paint section of a craft store)
  • acrylic paint (black or white)  and a paintbrush
  • stamp pad ink and stamps

Videos #1 and #2 – Adding a base color to the papertowels

Video #3 – Adding Pizzaz!


Begin by coloring the paper towels

  1. Place 2 tablespoons of water in a disposable plastic cup. Add a few drops of reinker ink, and mix to make a water color. (You could also use watercolor or acrylic paint instead of ink.) Do this with a few coordinating colors.
  2. Take a piece of paper towel, fanfold it, or crunch into a ball.
  3. Gently dip the paper towel into multiple colors of ink.
  4. Add a couple drops of ink to the paper towel directly from the bottle.
  5. ‘Squish’ the paper around a little to spread the inks.
  6. Open up the towels and allow to dry flat.

When your colored towels are dry, choose from the following techniques to give them character:

Spritz 'spray webbing' in black and gold over your dried paper towel backgrounds!

Use a rich color stamp pad, and stamp dried towel with your favorite images.

Mix water with acrylic paint (white or black work well) until runny. Use a large paintbrush to spatter the paint over the dried towel. Top with additional spray webbing if desired.

Don’t limit yourself to these products. Play!! Try adding Stickles glitter glue to your inks or paints, or plain glitter, moon powders, or pixie dust! (Yes, I did just write pixie dust.)

Keep in mind that your papertowel backgrounds were made with a water based dye ink. If left this way, the colors will bleed onto anything wet. It’s important to finish off your towels with a sealant such as Workable Fixative, Matte or Gloss Spray finish, or similar product.

Happy arting!


About connieartz

"Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again". Joseph Campell
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2 Responses to Papertowel Backgrounds

  1. You got some gorgeous colors from paper towels. Mine are always so muted. I’ve never used the brand of reinkers that you are using, so I wonder if that might make a difference. Tomorrow I’m going to show an experiment on my blog I made using your inky backgrounds tutorial. I got hopelessly mixed up at one point, which I’m sure will give you a laugh. I will reference your blog so people can visit and see what I’m supposed to be making.

    • connieartz says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth! 🙂 What had you mixed up?

      I think the big thing on my colors being more muted or not was how wet everything is. If you like more vibrant, using just a damp paper towel and dropping the ink straight from the bottle seems to help. You can spread it around by spritzing areas with water after the ink is on them. I seriously think the best ones are the paper towels I’ve used to clean up! I know. Isn’t that funny??

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