i managed to make some paste paper, and had a good time with it. need a little more practice with different shapes, but what always attracts me are simple geometric shapes repeated over and over again, sharp outlines and good contrasts.
using the basic recipe of flour and water, i mixed a little water based varnish into the paste; about a teaspoon per 3 ozs of paste. it doesn't give the surface gloss, but i imagine that it gives the mixture a bit of strength, necessary if one is covering books or boxes.
in some of the pieces i painted the paper with orange, then overpainted immediately with black. i wanted a good solid black but now realize that isn't really possible, since one is mixing colour into transparent paste. will try again though, and see how it works out.
i used mat board cut as a comb, in various widths depending on what size of shape i wanted. and i used a rubber tool to make the curved shapes. since i am always looking to get around the lack of tools available, specially if i want to teach this, i am going to experiment with making the same shapes as i made with rubber, using matboard. also, i've discovered over time that one must never compromise on quality, but there are some things around the house or at hardware stores that one can substitute for expensive fancy items. like when i was making my arizona rock study collagraphs, i used car filler paste to make a plate. it came out really well, and is very very durable! i pressed silk and plant material into it, made cuts etc and it took the texture beautifully.