Paper Maki-e

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Create beautiful faux Japanese lacquerware with paper on chipboard, coated with a clear, glossy acrylic and sprinkled with powdered pigments.



1. Make preliminary sketches. This piece will be assembled as a mosaic, with individual pieces placed so that they form a complete picture. Plan to use a limited palette of colors, just as Japanese artisans worked with inlaid metal, mother-of-pearl, and wood to create each design. 2. Coat one side and the edges of the chipboard with black acrylic paint and allow it to dry. When dry to the touch, paint the reverse side. 3. Cut shapes out of the construction paper, based on the sketches. For more complex shapes, turn the paper over and draw it out on the back first, then cut. 4. Secure the shapes to the board using a glue stick. Reposition if needed and remove any excess glue with a paper towel or tissue. 5. When the entire mosaic is assembled on the board, brush a generous coat of Acrylic Gloss Medium over the entire surface of the piece. Allow it to dry and apply a second coat. While the second coat is still wet, sprinkle Pearl-Ex powdered pigment into the surface for the look of “maki-e” lacquerware. For a controlled way to distribute the Pearl-Ex, dip a soft camel hair brush into the powder and tap it once on the side of the jar. Hold the brush over the surface and tap the brush lightly with a forefinger to release the powder into the wet coating. A light application is best. Once the gloss medium is dry, remove any excess powder by gently blowing on it.