Want to know how different materials work on Yupo paper?

Yupo PadI picked up some translucent Yupo paper (a special kind of synthetic paper similar – but different – to mylar) at the Dick Blick store in Savannah during the FATE conference in April and have been really eager to experiment with the layering and multi-media capacity of the material. I’m a paper junky – what can I say?!

Now that the semester is over I’ve had some time to explore the way that different media work on Yupo. Though there are many different media represented in the samples below – I went with the types of media that I favor the most and there are many many more possibilities that have not been included. I did not do a bunch of watercolor samples – these are a dime a dozen in a google search anyway – but I did come up with the following experiments.

Perhaps because I’m a teacher (and this is just what I do), I made a high-quality PDF of the following samples that are ready to be printed on regular paper. If you’d like this document, please comment or message me and I’ll gladly send it to you for free.

First off the dry media:

Yupo Mixed Media Tests (2)Because I used a sheet of paper that I’d covered with a light wash of watercolor I did work with these media again on untreated Yupo and found that the same results occurred. The following samples were all done on plain Yupo.

Yupo Mixed Media Tests (1)

Yupo Mixed Media Tests (4)

Yupo Mixed Media Tests (3)Gouache is one of my favorite media so of course I devoted a whole sample just to it – unfortunately I don’t have all of the major brands of gouache. I’d really like to try the M. Ghaham gouache paints but I would suspect that these would not be as conducive to Yupo because of the honey that is used in the actual paint. I had enough problems with sticky, hard-to-dry, media – not sure I want to deal with any more!

Warning: Yupo ripples and melts when a heat is applied (it is plastic afterall!) so be careful with hot air from a blow dryer or heat guns. I just let everything dry overnight (or over multiple nights). It is going to take forever anyway – might as well live with it.

I’ve also been working with toner the past few days. So far, so good. I love, love, LOVE toner (though the majority of my students detest it and lack the patience for it) and I think it is really conducive to Yupo – it sticks well but needs extra drying time for crisper transfers  I suspect that ink-jet may work (after a happy accident) but will get back to that later.


Watercolor has been laid into the back of the unsealed transfer of this bird (my own drawing laid on a toner photocopier). The paper was not completely removed (probably 98% of it gone) so a bit of peeling occurred – which I like and wanted. The watercolor absorbs nicely into the unsealed toner surface. It is noticeable when the watercolor goes over this edge onto the Yupo surface though – changing the visual quality of the paint.

I printed an ink-jet copy of one of my favorite photographs and created the following study by adhering the image face down to one side of the Yupo (remember, I’m using translucent Yupo) and then flipped it over and worked back into it with china markers, Prismacolor Colored Pencils, and powdered pastels applied with soft applicator. All the white in the image is from the image glued to the back. The darker color in the negative space is the solid black inked area of the same image on the back altered by the semi-opaque “translucent” surface of the Yupo paper.


Now I just have to decide what I want to do with this. I feel that some of the things I’ve discovered while playing will be fairly conducive to some of the imagery that I want to explore (which has evolved from the study below created with toner transfers on watercolor paper).

We shall see… we shall see… 



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