Making paste paper is similar to finger painting in that you begin with a surface that is covered with paint and then you make marks in the paint with you fingers revealing the white of the paper. There is something extremely relaxing about manipulating the paint for children and even adults. With paste paper you don not need the shiny finger painting paper or the little jars of paints, and you generally make the marks with a tool as opposed to your finger. One of the things that I like about the paste paper is that you make the colored paste yourself and you can use sheets of standard drawing paper.
The recipe that I used for the paste I found at Art For Small Hands. This site is an excellent resource for art projects with children. Not only does Julie Voight have excellent step-by-step instructions and background information about the process, but she has wise suggestions about approaches to the art process when working with children. I modified her recipe slightly in that I used acrylic paint to add color instead or tempera.
Recipe for Paste Paper
4 Tablespoons Rice Flour
3 Tablespoons Wheat Flour
3 Cups Water
1/2 Teaspoon glycerin (available at the drugstore)
1 Teaspoon dishwashing detergent.
Place flours in saucepan and whisk together with one cup of the water. Over medium heat begin to cook the paste until it thickens. Add additional water 1/2 cup at a time. The paste is ready when it resembles pudding. Cool in the refrigerator. Add acrylic paint. Mix with spoon.
Directions for Making Paper
Gather or make some tools to create marks in your paper. I used corrugated cardboard and cut along one edge with pinking sheers (might not be so good for the blade). You can use forks or combs as tools, also. Apply the paint to cover the entire sheet of paper with a brush. I used an old house painting brush. Make marks or patterns with your tools. The paper will buckle, so use an iron to flatten once it dries.