TerraSkin Review and Paper Flower Gift Topper

Recently I received an intriguing email from MitzArt [shop has closed], the supplier of an art sheet, TerraSkin. Not paper in the true sense of the word, TerraSkin is a high quality and environmentally friendly alternative composed primarily of calcium carbonate, as well as a very small amount of polyethylene that acts as a binder. Unlike typical paper, copious amounts of water and chlorine bleach, not to mention trees, are not required to make TerraSkin.

Terraskin sketch pad

TerraSkin sketchpad

The list of potential uses for TerraSkin is practically limitless - shopping bags, cartons, signs, cards, books, and labels - but I was most interested in seeing how it would perform as an art supply. Mitz sent me a variety of products to try - art sheets, a sketchpad, notepad, and sample squares in various weights. These range from a very thin sheet, which works perfectly for origami, to heavy art sheets. Actually, all TerraSkin feels heavier than one might expect... I don't mean thick to touch, but actual weight in the hand. No surprise there - we are talking crushed stone, after all!

Smooth to the touch, waterproof, and non-yellowing, I found that TerraSkin takes paint and ink beautifully. Less product is required and both dry quickly. The large art sheets don't need to be prepared beforehand with gesso in order to accept paint. Acrylics, charcoal, pen, pencil - all good. When using it for origami, I would recommend a bone folder to ensure folds stay crisp... make sure the folder is synthetic, not metal, to avoid marks. TerraSkin can even be shaped with gentle, hot heat from a blow dryer.

Terraskin white soufflé flower

natural TerraSkin soufflé flower

When I saw a tutorial for a lace cuff bracelet on Ucreate.com, I was excited to make the folded flower that adorned it by using TerraSkin instead of fabric. (And finally, the perfect home for a couple of favorite buttons I'd been saving, yay!)

Terraskin white soufflé flower

Here I applied Color Gelatos to TerraSkin. Gelatos are a type of crayon that can be applied to a surface as is, or transformed into watercolor paint with a wet brush.

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watercoloring with Gelatos on TerraSkin

The red and pink mixed and dried beautifully to give an intentional marbled effect on the snowy white TerraSkin. I worked the brush quite firmly to see how well TerraSkin's surface would hold up, and found there was no adverse effect - it still looked perfectly crisp and fresh, even after being painted on both sides. I chose to make the color darker on top and a lighter pink for the inner "petals".

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watercolor TerraSkin soufflé flower

A bonus was that I was able to rub off the faint pencil marks I'd made when tracing the circles, while painting with the brush. (A punch would have come in handy instead of cutting out the circles by hand.)

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Perhaps you've heard the buzz about mineral makeup. I have to say I've found that it pretty much lives up to the media hype. So... did I also like mineral paper?

The answer is yes, but I must add a few qualifications that pertain to quilling. Because TerraSkin relaxes after being rolled - for example, in a mailing tube or backpack - which is a very good thing, this also means a quilled coil doesn't hold an especially tight center. Of course, it's not always a problem depending on the look you want.

TerraSkin quilled coil

On the other hand, strips of TerraSkin work perfectly for alternate side looping, as with this asymmetric heart I made to decorate a wedding place card.

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TerraSkin heart

Because TerraSkin contains no cellulose fiber, it has no grain; consequently it doesn't tear easily. Most often this is a benefit. As a quiller though, when rolling tight coils or joining two strips together, I like to tear the ends. TerraSkin stretches a bit before allowing itself to be pulled apart. I will say that cutting strips with my paper cutter was a joy... TerraSkin slices like butter, baby! The blade glided easily and silently, and the cuts were very smooth. It also works beautifully for die cutting.


Does TerraSkin hold up over time? Similar to tree or fiber paper, it must be exposed to heat, ultraviolet (sunlight) and humidity (rain) to degrade, and as with tree paper, it takes three to six months under those conditions to be destroyed. When protected from Mother Nature, TerraSkin is inert and stable. A UV-resistant version is in development for outdoor use. Can it be recycled? Yes, or left to degrade naturally.

You can find even more information and a video at TerraSkin.com, but Mitz is the only supplier of the art sheet, which can be found in stores across Canada. Mitz is currently introducing TerraSkin art products to the U.S market. They have a MitzRocks Etsy shop [shop has closed] if you don't want to wait for your favorite retailer to stock it. By the way, TerraSkin is only available in white for now, but any color is possible if demand warrants it. The vibrant sketch pad cover, for example, was printed with eco-veggie ink.

Welcome to the new stone age! Do you think TerraSkin is something you would use for your art?

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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