Building Community Through Art

30 Atlanta Street, SE

Marietta, GA 30060


Paper Pulp Fresco

Frescoes are painted directly on wet plaster so that the paint is a permanent part of the surface. Since plaster is hard, fresco paintings can last thousands of years. There are ancient frescoes in Egypt, Greece, and India, and it was a popular technique in Europe during the Renaissance.

Famous frescoes include the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Italy – painted by Michelangelo – and the Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, India.


styrofoam tray
celluclay mix
small cup (3oz)
big cup (16oz)
acrylic paint
plain paper

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  1. Dump the dry celluclay into the big cup and add 2 small cups of warm water. Stick your hand in the cup and squish the pulp until there are no dry lumps. (If you don’t like touching squelchy things, add the water to the plastic bag, zip it up, and squish the bag instead.)

  1. Scoop the pulp – it’s just wet paper! – into the tray and push it around until you have a flat, smooth layer that goes all the way to the corners. It gets lumpy if you rub, so patting the pulp like cookie dough works better.

  2. Let the pulp dry for at least 20 minutes. (2 hours is better if you’re not in a hurry.)

  3. While you’re waiting, sketch what you want to paint on a piece of plain paper.

  4. To make your “fresco,” you can either sketch gently with your pencil first or just start painting. Start with lighter colors and fill in large areas, then add darker colors and details on top of the first layer.

  5. Since the pulp is wet, you can blend colors easily! Also, you can get rid of mistakes by wiping them off with a wet brush, or by just adding more paint on top.

  6. Once your fresco is done, let it dry. This can take up to 5 days!

  7. When it’s completely dry, your fresco will pop out of the tray. (You can recycle the tray or use it for another art project.) You can prop it up, frame it, or glue a string to the back for hanging.

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