HAVE YOU TRIED YUPO PAPER?

Yupo paper is a synthetic made from polypropylene - it's waterproof, very smooth, tree-free and well known for its use with alcohol inks and watercolours and dry media too, recyclable, and considered an environmentally friendly substrate. It comes in white and translucent. It's often used in product packaging, as banners, menus, signs, waterproof maps and more. 

Although I had briefly tried Yupo paper a few years back, it's only now that I'm really beginning to experiment with it.

Alcohol inks are the most popular mediums used on Yupo - google "Yupo paper", and alcohol inks will come up multiple times. Markers work great too, as do watercolours. The inks and paints flow around on the paper, it's important to let the paints do what they want and not try to control them too much. A fixative should be used with paint to protect your final "painting"

But what about uses in fibre art? Here is what I have tried so far:
  • Sewing - very easy by hand and with my sewing machine
  • Sun printing - in this experiment I used Pebeo setacolour inks (see post here for more info on sun printing)

  • Metallic transfer foil - using glue and an iron - the heat causes the Yupo paper to ripple, an effect that could be favorable depending on the outcome you are seeking

  • I also tried sewing Tyvek fabric to the Yupo, then used a craft heat gun to distress the Tyvek. The heat created wonderful wrinkles as well as melting in some areas (be sure to do this outside so you are not breathing in any fumes from the Yupo). 

  • A soldering iron was next - I found some interesting pictures on Pinterest of Yupo painted with alcohol inks and using a soldering iron to make holes of varying sizes.  The picture below was just a quick experiment to make a few small holes and determine how much control I would have over the sizes of the holes (as above, be sure to use the soldering iron outside or a mask to protect yourself from any fumes).


  • Yupo paper can be easily folded - its strength provides potential for book arts, or maybe even pop-up cards. This could be fun to play with.
I also found an example of a basket made with Yupo, in an interview between the World of Threads Festival in Toronto and a basket maker. Scroll about halfway down to see her diagonal twill basket called "Onyx", created using only Yupo paper, acrylic paint, and waxed linen thread. (All her other baskets were made using watercolour paper.) I like that she commented in the interview that she consistently asks herself "If I do X, what will be the result?"

We are just beginning to tap into the potential of this paper, I think, as fibre artists. I purchased a pad of the translucent, rather than white, and plan to begin using some in my art in the coming weeks. Results to follow.

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