Saturday 25 March 2023

2023 PaperArtsy Blog Quarter 2 Theme: Texture

Hello, Dounia here to present the theme for the spring 2023 quarter!: TEXTURE.

To compliment our monthly topics, these themes are, we hope, another invitation to invent and explore. It is so interesting to see how our different bloggers interpret these quarterly themes in their projects and we are sure you will discover something you will want to try! These themes are purposefully kept very open, so they are compatible with all manner of projects and styles. The theme will be incorporated with the topic, by each of our bloggers in their posts. This will be the underlying 'red thread' adding an extra layer! We can't wait to see what you make of it!

For this second quarter, our theme is : TEXTURE and will apply across the next 3 topics (Mail Art, Tinged Blue and our designer focus will be Tracy Scott). A concept you might be familiar with after Quarter 1. This introduction post will mainly explore different ways to think about texture and suggest techniques. We hope to spark new ideas and remind you of older ones. Indeed this blog is an amazing archive and texture has been tackled frequently before from lots of different angles. In addition to some great eye candy, this post is also full of links for you to go down a texture rabbit home! But first, this is the word cloud our bloggers were given for inspiration.

This title might seem a bit contradictory as 'Texture' often first evokes relief and bumps but I wanted to start you with something else to tease your creativity: Visual Texture.


We encounter visual texture every day in prints, patterns and colour variations. It is an essential tool to create interest and the impression of dimension in strictly flat techniques like drawing and doodling.

Brush strokes, splatters and blots are amazing vectors of texture when working with wet media. Have a look at this amazing ink textures collection by Elhen. You can also take a peek at 2015 Topic #8: Sprays and 2022 Topic #16: Splosh on the PaperArtsy blog for more wet inspiration!

Flat does not prevent layering! Gel printing allows you to build complex layers, playing with transparency, patterns and marks, and your result is still smooth!

Gel-plate techniques have really spread among the crafting community in recent years, but if you want some more inspiration and information, check this Gel printing techniques collection by Carolyn Dube.

Isn't this texture delicious? Leandra is the queen of brayer background techniques! Discover other takes on this essential tool on the paper Artsy blog with 2019 Topic #2: Brayers.

How about a little bit of pizzaz? Smooth and shiny, foiling is perfect to lift a project and provide eye-catching texture. Futher exploration on the PaperArtsy blog in 2018 Topic #20: Foiling.

Lots of other techniques are available to create flat texture, the list is far from exhaustive. Here Amanda used here favourite - cracks, but also some clever patterning. For some contrasting options, take a look at 2016 Topic #7: Resists on the blog.

Now going a bit deeper into the mixed media possibilities, a great way to create textures is using different substrate materials. Each brings their own colours and patterns and react differently to inks or paint for infinite variations!

Look at this collage by Carol Rhodes!  Wood is already a texture by itself, bringing warmth and grain. Just the difference between end grain and long grain gives an idea of its versatility! It is particularly great contrasted with the coldness and smoothness of metal for example.

Fabric, fibres and lace come with their own texture and patterns. From subtle weave to coarse knotting, everything is possible for smooth layers or great touch contrast. You just want to run your hands other them! Velvet is a particular sensorial experience. How about a velvety texture without using fabric? Check this Flocking video by WOW Embossing Powders.

Wax has its own special look and feel: soft and satiny, warm and hazy. Perfect for dreamy images with a delicate shine, it creates it very own atmosphere and is a great base for multiple texture techniques.

Playing with difference in shininess is a great way to create texture, even when you piece black, like Pierre Soulages. For this, PaperArtsy Matte, Satin and Gloss mediums are your friends. Leandra and our bloggers did an extensive exploration in 2015 Topic #15: Gels and Mediums.

Clear Tar Gel is its own beast, creating raised texture, stringy and spontaneous. It dries a bit squishy with a nice slow bounce for a true sensitive experience. Other materials can give you that textural softness: crafting foam, faux leather or bubble stickers. But if you want a true squishy friend for these hard times, nothing beats making your own:


After having chosen your materials, you can now shape them to create texture. Take this amazing piece by Tara Donovan, made of recycled acrylic. Don't you want to jump on it? Explore this collection of her works, they are so versatile and striking and always made of recycled materials.

You are not up to making room-sized sculptures?  Lots of options are still available to you. I am sure you have a stash of die-cuts and chipboard pieces... perfect for a texture piece!

This is a true building exercise, working only with relief and paint texture to create a whole scene. A great way to stretch your composition muscles!

Dry embossing is another great way to create texture. We now have our precious embossing folders but you can also emboss with everyday (flat) items like string, coins washers etc.... Just lightly spray you paper with water before hand to give it some more elasticity.

Folds and pleats create wonderful texture and patterns, and not just in fabric! Yes this amazing piece by  Gunjan Aylawadi is only made of paper, her work is a true marvel of patience and precision.

More achievable, this page by Tracy Scott beautifully mixes folding and colour for an impactful result (psst, it's a class...)

More random and spontaneous, the king of crinkling is tissue paper! Also those little ridges and canyons are perfect to retain colour for a unique texture. We love it  and already features it in 2018 Topic #19: Tissue Paper.

For more organic folds and drapes, a little bit of help is generally needed to stiffen your paper or fabric. Be sure to check 2016 Topic #6: Liquid Sculpting Medium to learn all about this technique and its possibilities!

Donna Ruff

Now if you are feeling a bit more destructive, fire is another great option. Just be sure to control it!  We already played with artistically destroying paper on the blog in 2017 Topic #18: Torn, Ripped, Burned (PaperArtsy is not liable for any accident or injury sustained during this practice, yada yada).

Finally we get to what is often our thought when hearing texture: rough surface, gain, dips and bumps, all that goodness! Here again, the techniques and tools are many and varied so you should be able to find the one that fits you.

Painting knifes have been around for a long time! They are often a bit intimidating but can yield incredible and versatile results. Do not be afraid to experiment and have fun!

Another great staple of the crafter toolkit is embossing powders. They create raised surfaces and can be built to amazing texture. And the colour selections are now near infinite, even before making your own mixes!

If you built thick layer of embossing enamel you can create all type of textures, using it with stamps, embossing folders or mark making tools. In the same idea, resin and clay are also great mediums for added dimension and texture. Get some ideas in 2017 Topic #6: Resin and UTEE.

Jenny Marples

Finally, texture paste! They even have texture in the name! Lots of versions are now available: fine to coarse, with sand, with fibres with glass beads! Our favourite in of course our very own Grunge Paste. It is so versatile! Leandra demonstrates some of its uses in this Grunge Paste masterpost but be sure to also check our bloggers twists on it in 2015 Topic #6: Grunge Paste!

I hope this has given you plenty of food for thought as to a range of ways we can interpret and experiment with this theme TEXTURE. As our bloggers create over the coming 3 months, their posts will touch on this theme alongside the monthly topic.

Perhaps you might like to join us over in our friendly Facebook community 'PaperArtsy People' to see what others are up to with their PaperArtsy products, and maybe also using the content we share on the blog as inspiration.


A Pink said...

Terrific post offering a fabulous variety of inspiring ways to think about and add texture into our creativity.

Thanks for sharing Dounia x

Ellie Knol said...

Gorgeous post, I've made notes! Thanks for digging into this for us Dounia!