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What is Tissue Paper?

Mary Elizabeth
Updated May 16, 2024
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Tissue paper is a thin, relatively strong, translucent paper made for use in crafts as well as for wrapping and other applications. Some is coated with wax so that, when it is heated with a warm iron, pieces will stick together. Japanese mending tissue is a kind of paper that is used in art conservation to mend or repair paper that is old or worn. Honeycomb tissue paper, which is sold in pads, is an accordion-folded paper for making three-dimensional centerpieces, ornaments and decorations, and crêpe paper is another variety. Acid-free tissue paper is used in preservation, in folded items such as fabric, and for interleaving.

Most tissue is sold in single sheets or collections of 25, 40, or 50 sheets, but white tissue specifically for bulk wrapping is also sold in 480-sheet reams. Paper designed for crafts might be white or brightly colored, and patterned sheets and pastels, which are matte on one side, are also available. Patterns include things such as animal prints, two colors that shade into each other, stripes, small floral motifs, and plaids. In addition, specialty varieties might use petals, ferns, jute, leaves and other natural fibers to add color and texture.


Paper is described in at least two ways: by point sizes that measure the thickness of a single sheet and by weight. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) paper industry standard is considered the most consistent way to compare paper weights. The ISO measures weight in grams per square meter (gsm). Tissue paper's weight is 10-35 gsm, which is less than half that of medium textweight paper, which is 70-100 gsm. The division between tissue and lighter textweight paper is sometimes given as 40 gsm rather than 35 gsm.

Use in Arts and Crafts

Tissue paper can be used in a variety of arts and crafts, including collage, mosaics, stamping, papier-mâché and découpage. This type of paper also can be used in the making of ornaments, garlands, paper flowers, paper sculpture and things such as pomps for parade floats. Some paper is guaranteed not to bleed, and other types are designed to bleed so that water can be applied and the color used to create artistic effects.

Other Varieties

The term "tissue paper" also might be used to describe products such as facial tissue, paper towels or toilet tissue. These types of paper typically are softer than those used in crafts. Varieties such as paper towels and toilet tissue are sold in rolls rather than sheets.

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Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for HomeQuestionsAnswered, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.
Discussion Comments
By anon57907 — On Dec 28, 2009

Why is tissue paper not to be included in our 'blue bags'?

By anon10231 — On Mar 22, 2008

How is colorful crafting tissue paper made? Is the stuff toxic? I am wondering what kinds of dyes are used to make them colorful. Thanks.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the...
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