Bamboo Paper detailed review

Seattle had an eventful week of storms- we lost power , stuck in our home for a week and now things are getting back to normal. And hence, I am late on posting this review !

The bamboo paper comes in just one color – a warm white and has 2 sides, rough and smooth. It’s hard to see the texture difference, it was easier to feel the paper and notice it. I had a single sheet of 9×12 to do my experiment so I cut them into 3 strips and made the following tests.

Same set of experiments was done on both the sides. The image above shows the results (click to enlarge). The main difference I found between the two sides was that the rough side erased better and showed some texture on a completed piece.

Graphite – The paper took 2-3 layers of graphite on both sides before I started seeing a lot of dust. I grinded the pencil down so I assume it will take a lot more if it were lighter pressure. Both Masking tape as well as the eraser worked better on the rough side. On the smooth side, the eraser left a ghost image which I did not like.

Colored pencil – I really liked how the paper took several layers of pencil without giving any trouble. I do not use light layers so you could really grind the pencil down and the paper took all that beating. I would say that the paper easily took 8-10 medium pressured layers and gave vibrant color plus good coverage.

Blending – For blending I used the blender pencil, bristle brush as well as Gamsol.  The blender pencil and Gamsol worked the best. The white spots of the paper showed through when using the bristle brush.

Pastel – This paper seems a very good choice for pan pastel especially on the smooth side. The application was a breeze as well as erasing.

Neocolor II– I was not very pleased with the way the neocolor interacted with the paper. I felt that the colors washed right out when I added water. I was unable to get rich darks with just one layer of neocolors, which is usually the way I do on pastelbord. That said, I was very much impressed with the no of layers of neocolors I could add to the paper. This paper took 4-6 layers of wet neocolors , buckled initially but fell flat completely after drying.  I was also able to blend colored pencil on top of neocolors  using the bristle brush.

Light on dark – I tried adding white color on top of a dark color and had moderate success.

Spray and Varnish – The completed painting was done using my usual method of neocolors and colored pencils. I used 2 layers of neocolors (wet) and  4-5 layers of colored pencils on top . The final drawing was fixed with one coat of Las caux fixative and a brush-on varnish.I usually use a spray varnish on the board, but I wanted to see if this paper would take a brush-on varnish. I was surprised to see that it did without any problems!! I applied 2 thick coats of varnish , though it buckled while it was wet it fell flat completely after drying. The painting was not affected in any way while using a brush on varnish, the varnish seemed to float on the surface instead of being absorbed into the paper which I really liked.

In conclusion, it is  a great mixed media paper. I would recommend people to try it especially if they want to mix colored pencils with a wet media. For some reason my battery operated eraser did not do well at all. I used a white plastic eraser for all the tests. If you are okay with some texture showing through your piece then rough side is what I would prefer.


6 thoughts on “Bamboo Paper detailed review

  1. This is such valuable information! Thank you for sharing your experiments! That must have been frightening when the paper buckled under the varnish… I’m so glad it smoothed out. I want to try varnishing and mounting like you do, but I’m so afraid to!

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