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Messy Bleeding Art Tissue Paper

Sweet Pea is 45 months old.

From: I hadn’t heard of bleeding art tissue paper until I read Valerie’s deceptively titled post “Low-Mess Mitten Painting” on her Frugal Family Fun blog.  I couldn’t wait to try this new Low-Mess style of painting.


  • Bleeding art tissue paper. (We found a pack next to the regular tissue paper at Micheal’s for about $5.  Note that regular tissue paper will NOT work.)
  • Scissors.
  • Watercolor or other sturdy paper.
  • Bowl of water.
  • Paint brush.
  • Sharpie (optional).
  • Smock or bib for your tot.
  • Plastic tablecloth to protect your work area.


  • Cut the bleeding art tissue paper into desired shapes.  I followed Valerie’s lead the first time and cut out mitten shapes.
  • Wet your watercolor paper by running a damp sponge over it.
  • Place the tissue paper shapes on the watercolor paper.

  • Allow your tot paint over the tissue paper with water.

  • Peel away the tissue paper.

  • If desired, use a Sharpie to draw an outline around the shapes to make them pop.

Observations: This activity was a blast.  I actually think I liked it better than Sweet Pea did.  Her favorite part was peeling the tissue paper off to reveal the stained paper below.

After we painted the mittens, we just started cutting out squares of paper and painting those with water.

Both of us were very occupied with our own projects for quite some time.

Unfortunately there are some big problems with this activity, which I will outline below; However, we had so much fun that I would recommend it if you and your tot enjoy messy art projects.

Notes from the Trenches: Valerie is a liar.  There is nothing low-mess about this activity.  The color from the tissue paper ran everywhere as soon as the tissue got wet.  It leaked off the sides of the paper and dripped on the floor.  It got all over the table and our hands.  Both Sweet Pea and my fingers were stained for 2 days after we did this.  For less mess, give me Crayola craft paint any day.

Despite the fact that the dye from the tissue got everywhere, it didn’t actually “bleed” enough onto the watercolor paper.  The first time we did this we didn’t wet the watercolor paper, and as you can see from the mitten picture below, there are several white spots where the watercolor paper did not pick up any color.

However, if you wet the watercolor paper too much, the tissue will bleed so much that your shapes will be dull and not well defined.

I thought there was a steep learning curve to getting the tissue to work correctly.  None of our pictures turned out as well as the ones on the Frugal Family Fun post.

Rating: 1 Stars * (Fun.  Lots and lots of fun!)

7 comments to Messy Bleeding Art Tissue Paper

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