Translucent paper may be made from any lightweight paper. The properties of lightweight paper allow for the wood particles, glue and air to become translucent when a fatty oil-based substance is applied to the surface. It allows light to pass through the paper without being bent and refracted by the individual particles. This process is similar to snow changing to ice. One group of particles is changed into another.
Making translucent paper in school is an excellent way to have students experience the physical change of matter by simply applying an oily substance to paper. The Art classroom can utilize the lesson as a cross-curricular expansion and explore what can be done with the paper after it dries and becomes translucent. Adding an oil based marker or crayon on the paper prior to oiling will create a different affect for that area. Experiment with the students and have fun.
Newsprint or white paper
Paper ball of white beeswax
1/2 pint turpentine
Glass cake pan
Process for School Project Translucent Paper (K-6) :
Step 1 – Cover surface of table with newspaper. Place the piece of newsprint or white paper on the newspaper surface. Pour vegetable oil in bowl.
Step 2 – Paint surface of newsprint or white paper with vegetable oil. Cover the entire surface.
Step 3 – Hang the paper to dry using clothes pins on an inside clothesline. Discard unused oil and newspaper. Clean the paint brush.
Process Using Turpentine (7-12) :
Step 1 – Place the beeswax in the glass cake pan. Cover the beeswax with turpentine, and allow the beeswax to dissolve.
Step 2 – Dip the paper into the turpentine and beeswax mixture. Completely saturate the paper and remove.
Step 3 – Place the paper on a wire drying rack or flat surface for two to three days to dry. The paper will then be ready to use as tracing paper.
You can draw on the translucent paper after it has dried with an oil-based crayon or marker.
Tissue paper can be placed on the surface of the newsprint or white paper prior to applying the vegetable oil. The vegetable oil will work as a glue allowing the tissue paper to become translucent. The end result will be an artificial stained glass panel.
Use crayons and draw designs on the paper prior to applying the vegetable oil for a decorative look when finished.
Tracing paper is manufactured using sulfuric acid. Making homemade tracing paper requires substances that are less toxic.
Produce the tracing paper using turpentine in a well-ventilated area. Do not allow children to make this type of translucent paper without supervision.
Custom Tracing Paper
Homemade Carbon Transfer Page
Answerbag.com: How does grease make paper translucent?