The delicate nature of tissue paper makes it seem like an unlikely medium for sculpting. When dipped in wax, the paper takes on a surprising strength and sturdiness. Creating small sculptures such as flowers or boxes from wax-coated tissue paper is much easier than you might imagine. These crafts don’t require years of experience to complete successfully; instead, you’ll just need patience and proper preparation. Following these steps will help you understand the correct way to dip tissue paper in wax to make small sculptures.
Prepare the wax mixture that you’ll be using. Inexpensive candles, preferably white, will probably provide the least expensive source of wax. Melt the candles in whatever way you find easiest; heating them in a microwave-safe bowl is simplest. Remove the wicks with a pair of tweezers.
Prepare your work surface. A large piece of cardboard or cork will work best, although neither is required. Spread wax paper over the cardboard then use the straight pins at several points along the edge of the entire sheet to hold it in place. If you choose not to use cardboard, tape the wax paper to a flat work surface.
Cut the tissue paper down to the size and shape that you desire then lay it flat on top of the wax paper. Scissors will work best for this.
Coat the tissue paper pieces with the initial layers of wax. Brush the melted wax over the surface of the tissue paper in even strokes. The initial coat should dry within seconds, when it does, carefully peel the piece up and flip it over and coat the other side.
Shape the coated tissue paper. Once the initial coatings have dried the paper should be pliable enough to shape. Or, you can “glue” the coated pieces together using melted wax to make any number of items, such as flowers or boxes.
Dip the single pieces of tissue paper or your sculpture (depending on what you’ve chosen to make) in the melted wax. Each dipped piece should dry in a matter of seconds.
Let the tissue paper dry on the wax paper-covered work surface. Once the paper or sculpture has dried, unfasten the wax paper from the work surface and peel the wax paper from the tissue paper. This is less likely to cause damage to your sculpture than peeling the sculpture from the wax paper.
You’ll likely need to reheat the melted candles several times throughout the dipping process as candle wax hardens in a matter of only a few minutes.
Keep in mind that the more times you dip the tissue paper, the lighter it will appear in color. This problem can be remedied by using candles of a similar color to the tissue paper that you’re coating.
Hot or melted candle wax can cause serious injury. Wear rubber gloves when dipping the tissue paper in the wax. Additionally, use caution when picking up or moving the bowl of melted wax.