So, I took the class at the San Francisco Center for the Book (SFCB). I had a LOT of fun and learned a bunch more about book binding. For the class we had some really cool Paste Paper, made by our instructor, Juliayn Coleman. The colors were interesting and the paper had a 3-D sort of vibe when you looked closely at it. I was inspired.
Paste paper is basically sheets of paper that are decorated with pigments mixed in a paste that creates designs. The papers are used to cover books or boxes, or for other projects that a book binder might need decorative paper for. This is not marbled paper, which is even more interesting a subject but takes a lot more equipment to get going.
I searched the internet on methods for making paste paper and there was a ton of information. There are some videos on youTube and plenty of other places to gather knowledge. Armed with a bit of information and with no fear of failure, I started making paste paper. The first few pieces were kind of clunky, but I am getting some nice techniques down that are generating useful papers.
There is a very good tutorial here: http://lilbookbinder.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/paste-paper-tutorial/
Doing paste paper is a very low-cost, easy project to try. I got set up with paper and paints for less than $30.00. Give it a go and let me know how your papers turn out!