Tutorial is a tad grand for this technique, it’s so simple! There are always a couple of  things it’s worth knowing in advance though 😉

1) choice of paper/surface plays a large part in the effect, so if you have time, prepare a few small samples of  different surfaces, write in OHP pen or laundry marker in one corner what it is and print away. Then mount all your paper samples together on one spread of your sketchbook/studio notes per paint variation and you have a handy reference for years later when it has all faded in your memory!

What effect pleases you most?


If you like wrinkled and crozley, choose a cheap, poor quality packing paper – brown parcel paper or plain newspaper or the packing paper inside parcels.

If you like a clear pattern with a smooth surface to go under your sewing machine, a good quality manila is the way to go, and those who respect their machines will not use glitter paint (do as I say, not as I do 😉 ) and hoover the bobbin chamber, the slot above the needle and under the plate to remove dust from the workings! (Yes, I do that 😉 )

If you want to print on surfaces other than paper or card, make test samples with your colours and think hard about use… wrapping paper that is foiled is nice to work on, but be aware it may craze or crackle, so allow room for that in your overall design. For clothing, printing with a fabric ink is the most reliable, because lots of paint washes off, though the acrylic in the 100ml bottles you get at fabric shops should be laundry safe, and at the other end, most artist quality acrylics will not wash out. They will however feel very harsh, and if you have any environmental sensitivities, allergies or fatigue issues or are making for a child, please avoid them as there are a lot of artists now having  serious health problems that seem to be linked to them – acrylics are plastics and plastics can have invisible outgassing…

2) choice of ink/ paint the easiest to use is the children’s play paint from Early Learning Centre, Hobbycraft or more cheaply at Wilco etc.,

I have also mixed brusho into pva/ white craft glue to paint onto fabric  that isn’t going to be washed and sometimes got away with it, glitter paint and the lustre paints that are around a lot at xmas are all very easy to use and work well on paper. Food dye may fade/ change colour quite dramatically, the “red” I have been using is a lovely burnt orange as you paint it on, fades to orange, but if left a bit too close to the fire when drying, fades to candy pink…?!?

So, what do you do?

1) paint the bubbly side of the bubble wrap with runny paint/ dye mixture


2) lay onto surface, press gently, no white knuckles needed 😉


3) lift as smoothly as you can and print a second sheet

4) lift the wrap and put to one side, move the wet print to a sunny windowsill or by a radiator and leave to dry


and repeat… because the paint is thinnish, if you get it dried quickly, you can overprint with a second colour, but you can paint in stripes, you can leave gaps on the wrap or print headers and footers, you can use this as the faintest background to give you prompts to overstamp, you can embellish with gel pens or stitch or text or….??

It’s a lovely first layer to release ideas if you’re finding your way back into being more playful as you make art, and it’s as easy to use with children as sponge printing, and at the end they can pop the bubbles 😉 have fun, chickabids!!!