Print Tissue Paper with an Ink Jet or Laser Printer

  • 01 of 06

    Easy Way to Print Tissue Paper With an Ink Jet Printer

    Tissue printed with tiny hearts used to make baking cups in dolls house miniature scale.
    Tissue printed with a miniature heart design using an ink jet printer is used to make miniature baking cups in dollhouse miniature scales. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    If you only need small sheets of tissue paper for your craft or decoration projects but want a custom design or something on a smaller scale, this easy way to print on tissue is for you!  Tissue paper sheets can be custom printed with any design so you can make your own small scale designs or custom papers for transfer or decoupage. 

    As shown in the photo above, a miniature hearts design has been printed on tissue in roughly 1:12 scale to allow it to be used to make miniature baking cups or...MORE chocolate cases for a dollhouse.

    You can also use this method to print sheets of custom tissue just slightly smaller than the largest paper size which will fit in your inkjet or laser printer. Sheets of tissue paper printed with this method should be printed on a laser printer if you want the ink to be stable in moist conditions. If you use an inkjet printer for your tissue paper, you may have to spray it with a spray fixative to prevent moisture from damaging your tissue.

    More small scale printable designs for tissue can be found here:

    • Small Scale Halloween Tissue Designs
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  • 02 of 06

    Materials Used to Prepare Tissue Paper for Printing With an Ink Jet

    Printer paper, glue stick and scissors used to prepare tissue paper for ink jet or laser printing.
    Glue stick, scissors, printer paper and sheet of white tissue used to prepare sheets of tissue paper for printing in an ink jet or laser printer. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    Tissue paper on its own will jam in the feeders of your ink jet printer. To avoid jamming the tissue paper as you feed it through, you need to fix the tissue paper to a regular printer paper backing sheet.

    List of Materials Needed to Print on Tissue Paper with an Ink Jet or Laser Printer:

    • Regular Printer Paper - make sure the piece you choose has crisp edges (not dog-eared or folded) and is a size your printer can handle.
    • Glue Stick - The ones that change color as they dry are helpful, but not...MORE essential. Use as fresh a glue stick as possible, as the sticks age, they lay down thicker layers of glue than you may need, and can also lay down 'blobs' of glue.
    • Tissue Paper - I buy large sheets of Acid-Free or Acid Neutral white tissue paper at my local art store for around 25 cents a sheet and cut it as I add it to the backing sheets. Always choose acid-free or neutral materials if possible. If can't find an acid free tissue, use quality gift wrap tissue, the type that comes on a roll is easier to work with than the folded sheets.
    • Sharp Scissors or a Paper Cutter
    • Ink Jet or Laser Printer - some printers have ink and ink dispersal methods that work better on tissue than other printers. Start with an economy ink cycle to see how your printer handles the more absorbent tissue paper move to a higher quality setting (more ink) if you can.

    Why You Should Use Acid-Free or Acid Neutral Materials

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  • 03 of 06

    Prepare the Edges of The Backing Paper For Your Tissue

    Gluing the edges of a sheet of backing paper to prepare for printing tissue paper in an ink jet.
    A glue stick is applied to the edges of a sheet of regular printer paper which will be used as backing for tissue paper for printing in an ink jet or laser printer. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    The backing paper for your tissue will be trimmed to cut your tissue free after printing. For this reason, run as narrow a line of glue as possible around all four edges of your backing paper, using a fresh glue stick. Leave it to dry slightly before you attempt to position your tissue on the backing paper. Make sure there are no blobs of glue, and that the glue is only a light, even coat along all paper edges on one side of a piece of printer paper.

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  • 04 of 06

    Smoothly Apply the Tissue to the Backing Paper

    Tissue glued to printer paper backing so it can be run through an ink jet or laser printer.
    Tissue paper is set shiny side up onto a backing sheet of printer paper with lightly glued edges then trimmed to size in order to run it through a laser or ink jet printer to make custom sheets of patterned tissue paper. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    With your glue slightly dried, position a factory corner or edge of your tissue paper along the edge of your glued backing paper so the factory cut edges of the tissue and the glued printer paper backing line up. I prefer printing on the 'shiny' side of tissue paper but try both sides to see which works best with your printer.

    Gently roll the tissue paper onto the backing paper, using a brayer, acrylic roller, or glass jar, rolling as you fit the paper, so the tissue paper lays down flat...MORE onto the backing paper, especially at the glued edges. If your tissue paper blisters, or creases, gently pull it back off the backing paper and try again. I find it relatively easy to do this with a large sheet of tissue paper on my kitchen table, but if you have limited space, cut a piece of tissue paper slightly larger than your backing paper and work with that reduced tissue paper section.

    If your tissue paper comes folded, iron out the creases first before you apply it to your paper backing using an iron on a low, no steam setting.

    When your tissue is securely glued to the backing paper along with all four edges, carefully trim the tissue even with the edges of the backing paper.

    Set your printer tissue into a straight feed on your printer (rather than a feed that rolls around to reach your print heads). Often this is a suggested entry point for photo printing. Set the paper so the tissue is the right way up to receive the ink from your printer. If you aren't sure which side is up, mark a piece of printer paper with a pencil mark, notice how it fits into the paper tray on your printer, and print a test copy. Take note of whether the print shows up on the side you marked or on the reverse.

    Print your tissue on an economy setting for your first trial, to see how much of your printer ink is absorbed by the tissue. Leave the tissue to dry thoroughly after it has been printed, before you handle the printed paper.

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  • 05 of 06

    Remove Your Custom Printed Tissue From The Backing Paper

    Tissue paper printed on an ink jet printer being cut free from a backing of printer paper.
    Once printed, the ink is allowed to dry and then the printed tissue designs are cut free from the printer paper backing which held the tissue paper stiff enough to run through the ink jet or laser printer. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    When your printed tissue paper emerges from your printer it may be slightly buckled due to moisture. Leave it to dry thoroughly before you proceed to free it from the backing paper. Once the custom printed tissue paper has dried thoroughly, you can treat it with a paper fixative or sealant while it is attached to the backing paper if you wish. When the fixative has dried, use sharp scissors to cut along the inner glued edge of your tissue paper, cutting away the border areas where it was glued...MORE to the backing paper.

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  • 06 of 06

    Experiment With Tissue Papers and Designs

    Valentine's tissue paper designs suitable for dolls' house chocolate boxes and baking cups / cases.
    Sheet of tissue paper printed in an ink jet printer with miniature heart designs suitable for dollhouse scale baking, or chocolate and pastry shop displays. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    Custom printed tissue papers are so sheer and thin that they are a good medium for decoupaging designs onto other materials. Try printing photos on tissue and decoupaging them onto card or photo paper before you assemble printables. Use them as thin labels for dolls house scale jars and bottles, or as ways to transfer designs onto dishes or trays made from paper or plastic. They also make wonderful liners for custom cards, as well as miniature gift wrap, and tissue suitable for miniature pastry...MORE and chocolate cases or baking cups. Custom printed tissue papers are also good for printed leaves for miniature plants, as they allow light to pass through the paper more realistically than regular papers.

    Wherever you use regular tissue paper in small amounts, you can use your printer and this method to produce custom designed papers for the same purpose. If you need small scale designs to experiment with, try some of the printable miniature wallpaper and fabric designs Have fun!