Soluble Paper
Soluble Papers and Films

Whilst not strictly fitting with the rest of this site, I have been looking at uses for soluble films or paper in messy activities for a little while. These technologies are far from widespread yet, but are getting some commercial use.

There are two main technologies available- those based on PVA (Poly Vinyl Alcohol aka PVOH) (1) which are used in such items as detergent tablets and a ‘paper’ manufactured from Sodium Carboxy Methyl Cellulose and wood pulp (2).

The PVA films tend to be translucent, and have been used by an artist Helen Storey in her wonderland project to manufacture clothes that dissolve, but isn’t widely available through retail sources.

The paper seems to me to have more potential applications as it can be printed on, used as bio-degradable confetti(2) and seems to be a little more available. I have recently bought a couple of rolls of the paper to experiment with, and will expand this section when I have done so.

The best example of an artistic or playful use I have so far come across is a dissolvable dress using stitches applied through the paper, and with the dress given structure is by Maisiekg and can be found on youtube: dissolving dress

The paper has uses in embroidery as a support on the back of the fabric as stitching is carried out, it can therefore be obtained relatively easily through embroidery suppliers, albeit relatively expensively. A typical UK supplier is:

Soluble Paper

Soluble Paper Dissolving in a Shower

A short video of dissolving paper Soluble Paper

I’m sure that this material will have quite a lot of possible messy games or artistic uses- it will be interesting to see what can be thought of. My current ideas include;

Backdrops or drapes that use water to reveal an object or a scene for theatre, exhibition or TV use
Games involving firing water at the paper to dissolve a message or image
Confetti or shredded paper as part of an obstacle course
Joke or prank items such as umbrellas
Other forms of clothing
Lamination to another material that can then ‘appear’ when wetted
Soaker vests for water pistol games scoring


Home : Gunge Index
(c) M.Pantrey 2015