Solvent Set Tissue

Last Friday Henry and I set out to make a supply of toned solvent set tissue for future use in the lab. Several techniques and many hours later we were very pleased with our new supply.

Light brown and medium dye in bath

The first step in the process was toning the repair paper (in this case a strong Kozo). Two methods of toning were used, first Hewits Aniline Leather Dyes and second thinned acrylic paints. As both of us were inexperienced in using dye to tone paper we started with the leather dye.  We quickly learned that the “light brown” is mostly yellow, the “medium brown” has a lot of red and the “dark brown” is actually brown. It was difficult to achieve a color we were both happy with using this method, however after several test samples we were able to produce two colors that will hopefully come in useful in the future.

For those interested in trying this method I would recommend using a strong solution of dye if you want a dark color as the paper fibers become saturated quickly. It is also important to remember to apply Hewits Dye Fix once the dyed paper has dried, this will prevent the color from becoming fugitive.

Toning with acrylics was much more straight forward. We mixed our desired color, added water to allow for a thin translucent coverage and painted the color on the repair paper.

Toning with thinned acrylics....our preferred method.

Now that the paper was tinted we were ready to make it into solvent set tissue. We referred to an article by Priscilla Anderson and Alan Puglia entitled Solvent-Set Book Repair Tissue (The Book and Paper Group Annual 22 2003) which provided excellent instructions on the process.

First a thin layer of undiluted Lascaux 498HV was applied to a sheet of silicon coated polyester by squeegeeing the adhesive through a silk screen. Next the surface of the adhesive was misted with deionized water, this was done to give a consistent layer of adhesive. The tinted repair tissue was also misted with deionized water to allow the paper fibers to swell and reduce the probability of wrinkling when applied to the adhesive. Finally the damp paper was carefully layed on the adhesive and left to dry.

Henry applying the Lascaux 49HV to the polyester using a silk screen

Unfortunately our silk screen was not able to give us a thin even layer of adhesive. Previous use had left adhesive in the tiny holes of the screen resulting in a tissue with inconsistant adhesive coverage.

Unwilling to give up on our project, Henry and I decided to experiment with applying the adhesive to the polyester using a brayer. Our first try went well and the adhesive rolled on in an nice thin layer, however once misted it began to disburse on the silicone coated polyester. Next we experiemented with rolling the Lascaux out on uncoated polyester.

Applying the Lascaux 49HV using a brayer

Success! The adhesive went on smoothly and stayed in place after being misted. The damp paper was then applied to the adhesive and left to dry.

Finished product dry on the polyester

Should you decide to make up your own supply of solvent set we have a few bits of advice. It is difficult to know what colors to tone your paper, but if you start with your lightest color and work towards the darkest desired color you will likely end up with a versatile set of papers. We ended up having the most success with the brayer; if you do not have access to a silk screen we would recommend this method of application. It gave an even coat of adhesive, plus it was easier to clean up!


  1. Yes, we tried this and it worked beautifully. The only change we made is we used Silicone saturated paper instead of the mylar. Once dried the Japanese paper release quite easily.
    Thank you so much for this blog.

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