Acetate & Tissue

by Beate Johns

A great technique to try when you need vibrant colors or if you want something to look like it is caught in a liquid (fish) or a crystal (like a fossil in amber!).


  • Rubber gloves
  • Tissue Paper
  • Acetate, Window sheets or other acetate, such as overhead transparencies
  • StazOn Ink™ or Versamark™ and Embossing Powder
  • Stamps, Gina K's Holiday Cheer used here
  • Crystal Effects™, or other clear drying glue or glaze
  • Dye Ink Reinkers
  • Pearl Ex or Glitter , (optional) Pearl Ex can be rubbed in with the reinkers for a more sparkly, metallic look
  • Neutral colored cardstock


  1. Step 1

    Stamp your image on the Acetate with Stazon™ . If you use overhead transparencies, you might be able to emboss your image as well. Just be careful heating your image or you will warp the actetate.

  2. Step 2 (Optional)

    Stamp your neutral colored cardstock with an image you want to appear in the back of your Acetate piece.

    This will only work if you use light colored reinkers for your background..

  3. Step 3

    Turn the "unstamped" side of the acetate up and scribble Crystal Effects™ over it.

  4. Step 4

    Add a few drops of dye ink reinker randomly around the sheet.

    Don't use too much. You can always add more later.

  5. Step 5

    Wear a rubber glove and move your reinker over the entire image. You can do that by smearing the ink, or tapping it with your finger.

  6. Continue to move your ink around until you like the coverage. Add more reinker drops if neccessary.

    When using multiple colors, be careful that they don't blend too much or it will look muddy.

  7. Step 6

    Apply a light dusting of glitter to add some sparkle.

    Pearl Ex™ can be used here as well.

  8. Step 7

    Add a slightly bigger piece of tissue paper over your piece of Acetate.

  9. Step 8

    Turn Acetate piece around and place it on top of your neutral cardstock piece.

  10. Step 9 (Optional)

    If you want a less wrinkly, more liquid, clear look, press your Acetate into your cardstock.

  11. Continue to move the glue/reinker mixture around with your fingers until you like how it looks. Let dry.

  12. Step 10

    Cut your image down to the size needed. (Spellbinders Label 3 Nestabilities were used here.)

  13. Step 11

    Finish your card.



    Cut it up.
    Cut your finished piece apart and use only part of it. This sample uses only one of the three pears.

    Skip the stamping.
    Skip Step 1 and don't stamp an image on the acetate. Use it as a background and layer a cut out image on top, or stamp on it later.

    Paint it
    Apply your reinker to the glue mixture with a paint brush for more control.

Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Acetate & Tissue. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

I love it! The stazon ink is so black, as sticks so well, I thought it was going to smear for sure! The glitter makes it sparkle, I love that touch, and the card itself is wonderful, so sophisticated. Thanks, I'm going to try this technique for SURE! Louella
LouellaMarie  |  Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 12:13 AM
I tried it with puffs tissue and also a used dryer sheet both look great. Thanks
Martha  |  Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 2:32 AM
So you leave the tissue on and sandwich it between the card stock and acetate? I really don't understand how a dryer sheet would work. I must have missed something in the video. Help!
Barbara  |  Thu Jan 21, 2010 at 10:13 AM
Barbara, yes, you leave the tissue paper between the acetate and the cardstock.

I have never tried this technique with a dryer sheet. If you try it, use a used dryer sheet.
Beate  |  Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 12:15 AM
I have been stamping on transparencies for a couple of years and love the effect of using them when creating cards, but this is a fun and new way of using transparencies and I will keep on experimenting with this technique. Thank you for sharing.
Marlene H  |  Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 7:09 PM
I have a question. What is acetate, and where can you buy it? Thanks.
Tina  |  Thu Jul 8, 2010 at 2:32 PM
I love the look but am unable to make mine look the same. I am using acetates and tissue paper that is used to but in gift bags, and alcohol ink. My stamped image on the card stock barely shows and the ink doesn't spread well. Any suggestions?
Darlene  |  Wed Sep 8, 2010 at 10:16 PM
I love this effect! So pretty, Beate! I have a question. Do you leave the tissue on? And do you just use like gift wrap tissue?

Thank you.
smadson  |  Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 10:30 AM
so the tisue- I'm assuming any kleenex tissue will do??? thanx- t.k.
trish k  |  Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 3:26 AM
Yes, you leave the tisuse paper on.

Smadson and Trish K,
You will need to use gift wrapping tissue paper, not kleenex tissues.

Hugs and smiles
beate  |  Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 9:58 AM
this is is my first time following a tutorial using distress inks, but this is not my first use of this acetate and tissue idea, i made atcs a few years ago, so here are my tips for those who dont think they have any acetate or tansparency. i use clear plastic from packaging after i have carefully washed and made sure there are no scratches, i use pva glue and if i have no tissue i use 3 ply kitchen roll just take the back layer of, even if it has a embossed pattern thats fine it either disappears or adds to it. Hope these alternatives work for you, another idea i have yet to try is laminating sheets just run through the laminater and you have something to work with.
tracy  |  Sat Oct 30, 2010 at 4:30 PM
I'm trying this technique with the Glorious and Free set for my Christmas cards - I'm having a problem with the finished piece curling as it drys - even when I weight it down - anyone have any ideas why this is happening and how I can fix it and stop it from happening?
Dee  |  Fri Nov 26, 2010 at 7:49 PM
i use the clear plastic from packaging,as its stiffer, never had a problem with it curling, i have even made atcs that only require plain white paper (copy) on the back to write my details on then put in a clear plastic wallet,
if yours is curling try brads to fix to the card stock then dst to fix to the card base.
tracy  |  Sat Nov 27, 2010 at 4:40 AM
Are you using tissue like you wipe your nose with or tissue paper like you use when wrapping a gift?
Karin  |  Sun Dec 5, 2010 at 7:57 AM
i use tissue you use in the kitchen or paper napkins, i take the layers apart usually there are three layers and use the back one, the napkins with images on are great for this technigue, no stamping required, just paint the acetate with the glue sprinkle some glitter then layer the imaged tissue on top, gently add a bit more glue all over being carefull not to break the tissue, allow to dry, if i can find the atcs i made a few years ago i will post a pick of them, got to be later though as drier just stopped
tracy  |  Sun Dec 5, 2010 at 8:10 AM
Karin, I used gift wrapping tissue paper for the tutorial.
Hugs and smiles
Beate  |  Sun Dec 5, 2010 at 8:42 AM
This is a really fun technique. I did this several years ago with future floor wax instead of the clear glue.Smae technique different product, we made large 81/2 x11 sheets and cut them up for further use as panels on cards
It just takes the floor wax overnight to dry
this is more instant !
Pauli  |  Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 9:14 PM
I just tried this today and had good results except for the die cutting part. I used a spellbinders die and the sandwich for cutting, but it didn't cut all the way through the acetate. Should I have used a shim of some sort? Any suggestions would be great. Great tutorial, thanks!
Penny  |  Sun Jan 8, 2012 at 10:28 PM
This is a wonderful tutorial, and very helpful comments from everyone! I have some napkins with snowmen on them, been saving them for years, and now I know what to do with them! I am wondering if would be o.k. to die-cut the acetate and background piece first, before gluing the layers together? (You could trim the tissue after it's dry?) Would that make it go thru the Cuttlebug (or Big Shot!) better? Thanks!
liz b  |  Thu Jan 1, 2015 at 10:54 AM
Why do you use tissue paper? Won't the tissue cloud the background image? Or does the glue make the tissue paper transparent.
Margaret  |  Sat Jan 16, 2016 at 3:12 AM

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