Monday, 14 May 2012

Papercraft Yo-Yos

Yo-yos or Suffolk Puffs - they're fab whatever you call them!

My papercrafts are often inspired by needlecraft techniques. And I have always
adored yo-yos (Suffolk Puffs in the UK) bigtime! Those gathered fabric circles are so sweet and fun to make. So... here's a simple method to make them up in paper. They look a lot like the real thing. 

Here's the pattern:

I've given the yo-yos to you in graduated sizes. I've also supplied leaves and optional flower-shaped backing mats. But I like them best just plain - that shows off the gathers to best effect. 

To make a paper yo-yo, cut out the 8-petalled shape. Piece or punch the holes as marked - a 1/16" circle hand punch does the job perfectly. I've used 150gsm scrapbooking paper. Fold each of the 8 petals at the base - a soft fold, not a sharp crease. Next, shape each petal over your finger to gently curve it inwards. (The more carefully you do the folding preparation, the more realistically fabric-like your yo-yo will be.) Thread a tapestry needle with some craft thread. Stitch through the holes so that there's an under stitch through the right side of each petal. Now for the fun bit: gently pull the thread to gather the flower. Make sure the sides of each petal fold inwards. When you've drawn up the yo-yo, tie a knot tightly in the centre. Leave thread ends.

You can stitch through to the back of the yo-yo - leave thread ends which can
be used to secure a bead or paper leaves. Or, you can tie a bow at the centre front yo-yo.
Cut, shape, stitch, gather: yo-yo!

Tip: you can fine-tune the look of the yo-yo gathers by gently prodding the
folds with the tip of a tapestry needle. Poke the sides of each fold under. You can also reach into each petal to smooth it from the inside if necessary.

The yo-yos make great embellishments on cards or for gift-wrapping. If you want to add leaves to enhance the flower look, crease a centre fold on each leaf shape using an embossing tool and a straight edge.

I made some simple cards featuring the yo-yos, starting with a 15x15cm (6in x 6in) card blank. Here are the patterns for the backing mats:

If you come up with a fun idea for using your paper yo-yos, please share it here. Thanks. You might want to experiment with different types of paper - for example, crepe paper would produce more fabric-like gathers.

Stuff I used: Dovecraft Back to Basics III paper for the yo-yos, Bazill Basics cardstock for the card mats. Craft thread for stitching the yo-yos, soft embroidery cotton for stitching the backing mat.