Most versions agree that Paper tole was invented by the Japanese. They have always had a mastery of paper: origami and Japanese decoupage are vivid proofs of this. In the XVII century, sailors visiting the ports of the Land of the Rising Sun brought paper masterpieces to Europe. Local masters adopted the technique, but slightly modified it. They liked the idea behind Japanese decoupage: cut and glue. Europeans began to apply this technique to decorate furniture and interior items. They cut out compositions from paper (first the patterns were drawn by hand, then they began to print), glued them on the object and covered with a large amount of varnish: up to 20 layers.
Americans found an unusual application of Paper tole in the early XX century. They came up with the idea to decorate postcards with three-dimensional pictures. Several identical images were superimposed one on another in a certain sequence, creating a 3D effect. Americans liked bright, unusual postcards very much. They sent them to each other on almost all holidays. Paper tole gradually spread around the world. And if earlier the technique was considered one of the varieties of decoupage, then in a few decades it became an independent kind of art.
The popularity of Paper tole today can be explained by its simplicity. It is enough to know how to handle scissors to create three-dimensional realistic paper paintings. Another advantage is the low cost. Paper tole sets with different subjects (still lifes, houses, flowers, fairy tale characters, animals, etc.) are inexpensive. They include an image, disassembled “on layers”, applied to thick quality paper. It remains to cut out all the elements, glue correctly (according to the instructions included in the set), frame and enjoy a beautiful 3D-picture.
You will still need special glue pads, which are not included in the set. They are bought separately.
Technique of creating three-dimensional Paper tole paintings
It has already been said that the process is not complicated, but for the first acquaintance with Paper tole it is better to choose subjects with large details. Having opened the ready set, you will see about 6 sheets with printed images. All of them need to be carefully cut out, and then, following the instructions, connect them with glue pads.
In order that the white edges do not stand out on the general background, they are painted with a felt-tip pen. If you can not pick up a shade, use universal colors suitable for any picture: brown and gray.
Volumetric paintings are usually divided into 3 zones: background, foreground and intermediate layers. Forming the plot, it is important to observe the natural perspective, so that the picture turns out realistic.
To avoid mistakes, first assemble all the cut out elements without glue pads. See if all the details lie down correctly, if the perspective is maintained. When you are sure that everything is put together correctly, start gluing. Start with the background, then move on to the intermediate layers, and at the end add the details of the first plan. The picture will turn out even more realistic if you add dried flowers, dried leaves, shells, pebbles, etc. to it.
The assembled picture is filled with liquid glass. This protects it from fading, from deformation, from minor damage. You can cover some areas with varnish (preferably water-based). This will create an unusual trick effect for the human eye. The varnished areas will reflect light. The pupil works like the focus of a camera. When it sees objects that reflect light, its diameter changes. That is, it creates a visual “deception”, the image seems more three-dimensional than it really is.
To emphasize the volumetric nature of the picture, it is framed in a recessed frame.
What you need for Paper tole technique
Buying a ready-made kit is the easiest, quickest and most convenient way to get acquainted with Paper tole technique. If you are confident in your abilities, you can print out your favorite subject on heavy paper (photo paper will do). Make at least five copies of the picture, one of them will be the background, the others will need to be “cut” into intermediate layers and the foreground. Take into account that it is not easy to correctly distribute what will go forward, and what – in the middle. With a ready-made set this problem is eliminated.
What else do you need to create a volumetric picture? First of all – scissors. And preferably not one. If with large elements you can cope with the usual clerical scissors, then over the small details will have to sweat. Help sharp manicure scissors, and better – special “tsapelki”, leaving a smooth and beautiful edge. Avid needlewomen probably have them in their arsenal. If not, you can buy them in needlework stores. “Tsapelki” will be useful not only in papertoli, but also in other kinds of creativity. The thing is necessary, so it is worth spending once.
You also need something with which to glue the layers. Above we wrote that for these purposes it is most convenient to use glue pads. These are small pieces (most often square and rectangular) of adhesive material. They bind the paper well, do not leave traces on your hands.
Bulk double-sided tape is also suitable. The principle is the same as with glue pads, only you will have to cut small pieces of tape yourself. This is a little longer and more labor-intensive. The most difficult option is to use silicone glue. It is important to make sure that its composition does not contain acetic acid, otherwise the glue will seep through the paper.
Additionally, a scalpel and a cutting mat may come in handy. In the event that you need to cut out elements that you can not reach with scissors.
You will also need liquid glass, which is used to cover the finished picture. This will help to preserve its beautiful volumetric appearance longer. The material contains acrylic varnish and two more components. They need to be mixed according to the instructions and applied to the image. After drying, liquid glass turns into a smooth, hard, transparent surface, like real glass. Thanks to this, the picture looks even more spectacular.
Whichever subject you choose, it will look gorgeous in Paper tole technique. In the assortment of ready-made sets you can easily find a picture that will suit your taste and fit into the interior. The process of cutting and assembling will already give you pleasure, and when you see the finished three-dimensional masterpiece, you will get even more pleasure.