What Can You Do with Mulberry Paper?

Becky Higgins

Figure 1.To tear mulberry paper in straight lines for items such as Christmas trees, use the fold-and-lick technique. Page by Becky Higgins, photos by Stephanie Raquel.
Supplies Mulberry paper: Personal Stamp Exchange. Note: The mulberry paper was not acid free, so Becky deacidified it first with Archival Mist spray.
Add Fabulous fuzz to your pages

Look around you. What do you see that's fuzzy? What has a fibery texture? Now look at your pictures. Ask yourself the same questions. Maybe you see a Christmas wreath in the background that has a textured outline. Look even closer. Perhaps you see the fuzzy cuff of someone's mitten or a tree far off in the distance.

Life is made up of all sorts of textured things. You can find fuzzy edges and furry linings in everything from nature to someone's hair. How do you best replicate this kind of texture in your scrapbook? I like to use mulberry paper. In our  February 2000 issue, I featured this specialty paper as my editor's pick and for good reason! Not only is mulberry paper the perfect way to imitate any feathery item, it's also a beautiful enhancement to photo mats, journaling blocks, page accents, titles, lettering and even borders.

Chances are, you've seen mulberry paper before in a local craft, scrapbooking or specialty paper store. You've probably seen it used in magazines and idea books as well. Have you wondered how the artist got that incredible feathery look? She certainly didn't treat this unique paper like any old cardstock. It's meant to be torn!

What Can You Do with Mulberry Paper?

Figure 2. Enhance your titles by using lettering templates and placing mulberry paper behind each letter. Page by Becky Higgins, photos by Heidi Swapp.
Supplies Mulberry paper: Printworks; Lettering template: Pebble Tracers, Pebbles in my Pocket.
Tearing can be done in several ways. The most popular and traditional method is to fold and lick. You simply fold the mulberry paper where you want to tear it, then lick the crease (yes, lick it) and tear the now-dampened line. The Christmas trees in Figure 1 were created with this technique, which is great for straight lines. Another big plus? It only requires what your mouth already has!

What Can You Do with Mulberry Paper?

Figure 3. Ring around the rosies . . . a pocket full of compliments when people see the adorable page accents you can create with mulberry paper! Page by Becky Higgins.
Supplies Mulberry paper: Printworks; Small flower punch: McGill.

What Can You Do with Mulberry Paper?

Figure 4. To add elegance to a layout, run a strip of dry-torn mulberry paper down one side. You can also use it to lend a subtle touch behind page elements such as the leaves above. Pages by Becky Higgins.
Supplies Mulberry paper (deacidified with Archival Mist): Personal Stamp Exchange; Leaf punches: Martha by Mail.
If you need more flexibility and freedom for wavy, circular or free-form lines, try something else. Use a small paintbrush and distilled water to "paint" where you want to tear. It only takes a second for the water to loosen the fibers in mulberry paper, then you're ready to tear! The letters in Figure 2 and the heart in Figure 3 are two quick examples of this paintbrush technique.

Mulberry paper is a wonderful medium to work with on your scrapbook pages. Here are three quick tips to help you use it most effectively:

1 Choose the tearing method—damp or dry—that will provide the best look for your page. Damp tearing provides a soft feathery look, while dry tearing provides a rougher edge (see the left-hand side of the layout in Figure 4).

What Can You Do with Mulberry Paper?

Figure 5. Make a splash with seaweed made from mulberry paper. Applying water with a paintbrush will help loosen the fibers so the paper is easy to tear. Page by Kim McCrary.
Supplies Mulberry paper (deacidified with Archival Mist): Personal Stamp Exchange; Fish die cut: Ellison; Sea grass die cut and lettering template: Pebbles in my Pocket; Computer font: Albertus, Corel WordPerfect. Idea to note: Kim enlarged the photo of her "sea monster" on the Kodak Picture Maker.
2 Remember, mulberry paper should be a subtle accent. Don't overwhelm your pictures by using too much. For example, you don't always need a full inch of mulberry paper matting behind a picture or journaling block. In Figure 4, the leaf blocks on the right-hand page have a very slight border of mulberry paper behind each element. This provides a soft look that isn't too overpowering.

3 Use tiny scissors to help with thick fibers. Mulberry paper can get a little stubborn to work with when thick fibers appear right where you need to tear. Try using a pair of tiny scissors to break the fiber apart or cut it if you have to. These scissors can also come in handy when you're trying to tear in small areas such as the nooks and crevices of template letters. Just use the tip of the scissors to break the fibers apart.

I've shown you a few possibilities with mulberry paper—here are more ideas to consider for using mulberry paper on your pages:

  • grass in a flower pot (see example below)

  • fuzzy sweater (see example)
  • frayed ends of shoelaces
  • hair or beard
  • trees or bushes
  • fringe on a pillow
  • flowers and leaves
  • garland (around a banister or over a doorway)
  • animals (including stuffed animals)

  • sun and sun rays (see example)
  • edge of a baby blanket
  • raffia accent in an Easter basket
  • sandy or dirty ground
  • seaweed (Figure 5)
  • wispy clouds
  • scarves or shawls
  • mittens or gloves (Figure 6)
  • fringe on placemats or napkins
  • paper-doll or die-cut accents
  • wreath (see example on page 106)
  • snow

  • What Can You Do with Mulberry Paper?

    Figure 6. The weather outside may be frightful, but the mittens, gloves and sweaters on your pages will be delightful when adorned with "fuzzy" mulberry paper. Page by Becky Higgins.
    Supplies Mulberry paper: Printworks; Snowflake stickers: Frances Meyer; Mitten die cut: Ellison.

    Look around and you will see lots of items with fuzzy edges. You can use mulberry paper to create the same soft look for your layouts. You and others will bask in the beauty of your pages!


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