Made using a centuries-old technique, paste paper is great for greeting cards, photo frames, collages, and gift wrap. Besides the tools mentioned below, try scraping patterns in the paste with a cookie cutter, balled-up paper, a comb, and even your fingers. Note: Prepare the paste base in advance to give it a chance to cool.
In a stainless steel or aluminum saucepan over medium-high heat, use a wooden or stainless steel spoon to combine the flour and water. When the mixture reaches a gentle boil, reduce the heat and simmer the paste, stirring frequently, for 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the paste cool. You can make the paste the day before and refrigerate it overnight.
To make tools for scraping patterns into the paste, cut notches along the sides of old credit cards or pieces of cardboard. Vary the shapes of the notches to get different line widths.
For each color you'd like to use, spoon a generous amount of paste into a disposable cup. Stir a dollop of acrylic paint into the paste, adding more paint if necessary to reach your desired shade. We coated blue paper with yellow paste for this design.
Use a wide brush to cover a sheet of paper with a thin, even coat of paste. Drag a scraping tool across the surface of the paper; this will remove some of the paste, exposing the paper beneath. Experiment with making curvy lines, zigzags, crisscrosses, and circles. This design was made with white-tinted paste spread onto blue paper. The circles were created by pivoting a notched card.
When you have a pattern you like, let the paper dry -- overnight is best. The paper will wrinkle; to flatten it, place the dry artwork under a stack of heavy books for a few days.