Paper painting, a Japanese art style

Paper painting, a Japanese art style


paper art with WM

Since I started this blog two years ago I have had some fun opportunities come my way. I have also stretched my creativity, tried new things and gained confidence in my skills. Today I am combining all of those things in a new project. I got creative with Paper painting, a Japanese art style. For those of you not aware of what this is (as I was) this is a new art form popular in Japan that involves layering textured paper that forms into artwork, when all is done it resembles water color paintings but with a cool 3-D effect. This was brought to my attention when UCAN and Biri Biri approached me to give a few of these collage kits a try.

Yes, there are kits that are super helpful with all of the instructions and supplies needed for you to create one of your own! Which you will get to do because I am giving you 4 chances to win one of these! For the next few weeks I am going to show off how I created some beautiful pieces, and with each share comes a new giveaway for you to enter to win! This is a fun crafting project that has different levels in beginning, intermediate and advanced which are all labeled on their site. There is also a purchase option for projects that will give you access to watch videos and ask questions. So you can breathe a sigh of relief because you will not bite off more than you can chew. We can all learn together on how to do this. As this is my first one I have done I am hooked and excited to get creating the rest. I learned a few things along the way and will share all of the details.

birir biri art supplies

**This post is sponsored by U-CAN, I was provided with the product and supplies. All opinions of the product are my own**

To get started the right way a Starter kit is best, the instructions state that any glue can work, and all of the other supplies are tweezers, paint brush, paper clips, a brush to wet the paper and a cup to mix the glue. Which all can be found around the house or purchased separately. However, it was really nice and helpful to have all of the supplies available right away. I knew I had all of the tools needed to get the job done.

cherrie supplies

This is what comes in each kit. The textured papers needed, the template, an example of the finished look and everything is numbered appropriately. The numbers are super important later on in the process.

setting up tracing paper

Set the blue tracing paper on top of the surface, some of the kits it is a board. This specific one is the Cherry one and is in a card form, so the card is set down first, then the blue tracing paper and finally the template. All of this is clipped at the top so that none of it can move around.

tracing cherries

Using a pencil (a angry bird one is not necessary, this is all that is around my house… because… kids)  trace along the image template.

pencil tracing cherries

cherries traces

Because I have zero patience I kept lifting up the paper to make sure the markings were actually coming through the paper.

two traces pieces

It was! The blue magically went onto the card paper and I have some big leaves and a couple cherries. Time to add the color and pretty to it.

layering paper

The key here in the next few steps is to keep in mind the layers you are putting on and keep track of the corresponding numbers. I set the paper down in order of how it would all be layered together. The first layer will be the bottom and the top layer is the top, obviously. This is how the 3-D effect gets made.

pairing numbers for collage

The original template has these labels with numbers. Select the top number and the matching paper.

setting up first layer

leaf tracing

Here is where you get to be creative and make it your own. Set the template over the paper and decide what shade you want for the image. This paper is so pretty and has such big variances. You can do dark/dramatic or light/sweet. I went for the middle because that is how I roll.

tearing paper

You have a few options here, you can tear the paper or cut the paper. With both just be careful to not cut too much. The nice thing about this is that with how it is all attached if a portion gets ripped off you can easily re-attach it with glue and some convenient shading, no one would know. It is whoopsi proof!

leaf template

Here is my leaf, well what should be a leaf. I will be very honest and say at this point in the creating I was worried mine would be a big flop. It was not very leaf like. Just wait my friends, that will come later.

cherry tracing

Select the pretty paper, I chose in the middle again for my cherries.

paper cherries

At this point I was not attaching anything, just getting everything set up. I am sure as time goes on and I have gotten used to the process I will trace, cut and stick because I will be a pro like that. This was my first time doing this, so I was a little more cautious.

layered leaf details

This lighter green is to add a few more dimensions to the leaves.

glue mixture

The glue is a really great one that dries clear, so slather that baby around! You mix the spoonful into the cup.

mixing water with glue

Then add the same amount of water, swish it around until the glue is a little diluted.

putting glue on

Begin painting on the glue for the first layer of paper to go down.

making biri birir collage

laying leaf on collage

In my case it is the leaves and cherry stems.

adding details to art

The tweezers come in handy to put smaller pieces of paper down. A great thing to do with this paper is to lightly pull the edges apart to have the edges appear frayed a little. Helping to blend in the individual pieces of paper. I did not fray the edges enough and that is something I will be sure to do next time.

leaf lines paper

This is where my sigh of relief came in with my not-so-realistic-leaves problem. This paper has a bunch of lines in it, the paper is very thick.

adding leaf veins to art

Wet a portion of it to get the paper damp.

making paper leaves

Then slowly shred it and pull apart, revealing lines of paper that come out.

adding leaf details

Perfect to add the veins of the leaf. I used it to add the visual separation of the two leaves.

attaching leaf details to art

I also used the small paintbrush with water to add a few color variations to the paper, just enough to add some natural shading to it.

cehrry paper art

I went paper vein crazy here! I thought the affect was beyond beautiful and it really made the whole look come together.

cherry paper art

I adore the simplicity and bright colors of this.

making custom cards

Because this is a greeting card I wanted to keep the message short and sweet, also cherry related. I plan to send this to my Grandma, she was the original DIY and crafter. She was doing it long before it was hip or Pinterest worthy. I wrote freehand a fun and cute phrase.

making greeting cards

Then simply traced it with a sharpie.

painting with paper

That is it my friends! It was so simple to create. I admit I was intimidated by all of the paper and tools, but taking my time and going through each step was the key to doing it. The big picture can feel complicated, but go number by number and the process becomes fun and simple.

paper art

This Paper painting, a Japanese art style is a beautiful idea and something I am hooked on! I want to create more, and more and more to see what I can make.

paper art painting

The kits from Biri Biri take all of the guess work out. Provide all of the tools, and all I have to do is get to creating! I turned on some music and became immersed in this new art concept. I like that there is set limits to the paper used but making it your own, adding what you think works is a really fun thing to do.

biri biri greeting card

biri biri art kits

If there are a few blue trace lines that show up with your finished product, wait for it to dry and then wipe away with a little bit of water and a rag. Just a tiny bit to wipe the left over blue marks away. If you messed up a spot you can cut more, blend the paper, or even start over. The kits come with enough paper for you to have a few tries if you are not happy with how it turned out.

paper painting with WM

I am sure my Grandma will like the card, not just because I am her favorite Granddaughter and she loves everything I do (true story) but because she will appreciate the beautiful creation itself. She was a painter for many years, some of her work I have in my home, I know she will get a kick out of this new style of art.

biri biri washi cherry collage

Now for the fun part, YOU get a chance to enter to win and try this our for yourself! I can promise that this will be something you will enjoy, think of it as art therapy. You can turn on some soft music, zone out, or have a craft night with your kids and create something together. There are a ton of images, styles and options for you to choose from. This one I made is small because it is a card, but the other ones are larger and can fit in 8×10 frames. There were a few other techniques to try and options to get different results with the paper, which I will be sharing in the other art posts coming soon. I get three times to learn, create, and share all of the different ways to create this painted paper art. This is a new Japanese art technique, but it looks so timeless.  I spoke about the U-CAN project version which is called U-CAN Learning Method that will give you access to video tutorials and any questions you may have will be answered. So you know that your finished art will be just what you were hoping it to be with all of the support available!

Have you heard of this art form before? Have you created something using these kits? If so share the link here, or tag me and Biri Biri in a social media post so we can see what you have created. 


Enter to win a kit of your own! 

cherrie supplies

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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  1. Dale Burmeister says:

    Any they look fun.

  2. I love this Japanese art technique.

  3. I’d never heard of this before but I already love it. I would love to try the Iris kit.

  4. Looks like a fun crafting kit, Emily. I love that they have tutorials on this & provided enough paper for several projects. I can see this being great for making your own birthday cards!

  5. This looks like fun!

  6. I love crafts! I like the Love in a cup kit the best.

  7. This looks so fun!! Entered the draw. I could see myself doing this with my daughter too 🙂

  8. The pansies or the very last one with three flowers (with frames).
    This was really interesting, thanks for sharing, Emily. I’ve never seen anything like this, it looks likes it’s really easy to pick up as a new hobby.

  9. I would like the teddy bear kit

  10. I think that anything with flowers will be easier for me to try.

  11. It’s such a beautiful and delicate type of art. I’m excited to see the rest of your projects.

  12. They are all beautiful but I really like the poppies.

  13. I would like to try the Sunflower kit.

  14. The kit I like is the Plum And Bush Warbler

  15. I would love to try the Teddy Bear Kit. It would be so much fun to make with my daughter who loves teddy bears as much as I do.

  16. karen mayernick says:

    WooHoo! Thank you so much for choosing me as the winner! I’m so excited! I can’t wait to make one! Thank you!

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