The rice paper sold in arts and craft stores is often delicately textured and very decorative, with dried flowers, leaves or colored threads incorporated into the paper. This pretty rice paper can be used in a wide variety of craft and home improvement projects. There is also edible rice paper, which is used in Asian cooking and is great for wrapping candies, cookies and other treats.
Rice Paper Lamp Shades
The opaque nature of rice paper makes it a natural choice for artistic lamp shades. Simply take an old lampshade that you're sick of and carefully remove the existing shade from the frame. Stretch the rice paper across the frame and glue it in place with regular household glue or with a hot glue gun.
Covering an empty wine bottle or old cigar box with rice paper decoupage turns everyday objects bound for the trash into elegant vases or storage receptacles. Mix a high-quality craft glue (such as Mod Podge) with a little water until it is the consistency of cream, dip the cut strips or torn pieces into the glue mixture, and then smooth it over the object you are decoupaging. Allow the object to dry for 24 to 48 hours before using. Treat vases with a waterproofing sealant (available at craft stores or hardware stores) before using them for fresh flowers.
Greeting Cards and Scrapbooks
Use decorative rice paper for handmade greeting cards or scrapbooks. Adorn the rice paper with stamps, cut-outs, photos or paintings.
Rice paper at the craft store usually comes in small sheets, but that's still enough paper to wrap up tiny, special gifts, such as jewelry. Larger sheets of rice paper may also be available, or you could use smaller pieces to decoupage a plain gift box or gift bag.
Rice paper was originally used for origami, the Japanese art of folding paper. Today there are many beautiful rice paper options available to use for this traditional craft. Consider making a collection of rice paper origami cranes to use as Christmas ornaments or household decorations.
Edible Rice Paper
Thicker sheets of edible rice paper are used to wrap spring rolls in Thai or Vietnamese cuisine, but you can also wrap dumplings, sweets or other food with them. Thinner, sweetened rice paper (sometimes called wafer paper) can be used to wrap homemade candies or cookies, or you can fold a sheet of it into shapes for cake decorations. Bakeries use edible rice paper and nontoxic inks for printing photos to transfer to custom decorated birthday cakes.
Heidi Almond worked in the natural foods industry for more than seven years before becoming a full-time freelancer in 2010. She has been published in "Mother Earth News," "Legacy" magazine and in several local publications in Duluth, Minn. In 2002 Almond graduated cum laude from an environmental liberal arts college with a concentration in writing.