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A while back, with the help of this blog post about photo backgrounds, I decided I needed to pep up my plain white cartridge paper backgrounds.

owl earrings

The photo on the right has a better sheet of paper which I think is warmer and more interesting, but it also looks like a fly has been rather busy! I had a scrap from a lovely sheet of handmade paper with wonderful texture, but…

handmade paper

I thought the purple inclusions were just too distracting. So I decided I needed to buy some handmade paper. Then I thought: “Hang on, I have hands, I can make paper!”.

I don’t think this is the proper way to make paper, but it works. 🙂 A few years ago, I even used this method to “paint” landscapes (excuse the retro quality of the photo).

scraps on mesh

Scatter a layer of torn up cotton wool squares and scraps of toilet paper or tissue on a sheet of sculpting mesh.

shredded organza

Then I separated the fibres from an off-cut of gold organza fabric and scattered these over the top. I think you could use strands of cotton thread if you don’t have fabric off-cuts lying about.

repeat layers

Repeat the layers of cotton, tissue and fibres several times until there are no holes.

cover with another sheet of mesh

Cover with a second sheet of mesh.

rub with wallpaper paste

Now rub wallpaper paste through the holes of the mesh. Turn the whole lot over and repeat on the other side. You want to make sure that the glue saturates all the layers.

The next step is the most difficult – waiting for it to dry. Once it is dry, carefully peel off the mesh (try not to stab yourself on the edge of the mesh – no one actually wants to see the blood, sweat and tears on the finished creation).

While I was waiting, my little owls flew off to a new home, so I chose the next most neutral earrings I had to photograph with the new background.

shell earrings shell earrings

There are a few hard edges from the cotton squares which I should have shredded more thoroughly. What do you think? Better?

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