Thursday, 30 August 2012

Digital Textile Design

Digital Textile Design Second Edition
Melanie Bowles and Ceri Isaac
Laurence King
ISBN - 978 1 78067 002 7
Paperback £22.50
October 2012

And now for something completely different – a book review.  Although this is a papercraft blog, textile design is not off-subject, as you might at first think. You can apply the practical skills and abundant inspiration offered by the above title to create scrapbooking papers and engineered designs for papercrafting. Transferable skills!

Print design has always fascinated me. I studied Textile Design in pre-digital times. Pattern repeats were cut-and-paste jobs and colourways were individually handpainted. Labour-intensive and time-consuming. Digital advances have revolutionized textile design. Not only are there computer-based techniques and resources for generating designs, there are new manufacturing methods (some of which, like short runs on digital inkjet printers, are affordable and accessible to the individual designer).  These digital methods accelerate productivity and fuel creative innovation, which is why Digital Textile Design, first published in 2009, is on its second edition.

The digital textile scene is an exciting place to be – and  the authors of this book are leaders in the field.  Melanie Bowles is a senior lecturer in Digital Textiles Design at Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts, London. She is also a textile designer and researcher. Ceri Isaac designs digital textiles. Their book surveys the current digital textile scene, discussing the application of technological advances, showcasing the work of individual designers, and providing practical know-how.
Detail of a digi flower fantasy print by author, Melanie Bowles.

Even if you are not a design student or professional, this lavish book has much to offer in the way of design inspiration and how-to info. The step-by-step design tutorials guide you through the mechanics of textile design using the industry-standard programs of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. There is much to learn about textile design principles, even if you do not have access to these programs. If you are a weekend crafter, for example, you might have Photoshop Elements or Paint, which are similar in many ways.

Designer profiles are an important part of this book – and they add warmth and personal interest to the mix. 

This book might encourage you to try something new in your crafting – say, using a pen tablet, or making greater use of your scanner.  There is a chapter on digital craft, which highlights a variety of hybrid projects – embellishing digital projects with handcrafted elements. (This idea has  great appeal for papercrafters.) Perhaps you will be encouraged to add a photographic element to one of your projects – or to try to design a simple repeating pattern on your computer.  ...Or maybe you just want to gain an insight into the process of computer-assisted pattern design.  Take a look at this beautifully-produced book that fizzes with enthusiasm and creativity.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Back-to-School Satchel Tutorial

On trend - and fun to make!
Make them with brads and a front "kangeroo" pocket...
Or make the "no-frills" version - sans pocket, with fake brads.
Less is more: no-frills satchel in "genuine leatherette" paper.
Where did the summer go? Never mind - this fun, geek chic seasonal project will cheer you up (and the recipient, too). These cute mini-satchels are pretty easy to make, so you can craft a bunch to give as surprises to returning students of all ages (brad-free version for the little ones, of course). Why not make one for the teacher, too. The bag measures 9.5 x 7cm (3-3/4in x 2-7/8in). You can make the no-frills version out of a single sheet of A4 paper (not counting the gold buckles).

Here are your pattern templates:
There's a choice of two front pocket styles - basic or accordion.
Here's how to make the satchels:

1) Cut out the pattern pieces and score the folds. (Use the printout of the pattern as your scoring guide.) Score the folds using an embossing tool held against a metal ruler. Mark the position of the name tag pocket on the front pocket and the completed front pocket on the main
body of the bag with pencil dots.

2) If you've cut the buckles out of one-sided gold cardstock, glue two
pieces back-to-back to make double-sided buckles.
 3) Fold and glue the name tag pocket as shown.

 4) Insert the name tag.

4) Glue the name tag pocket in place on the front pocket. Fold strap in half over centre bar of buckle. Fix buckle to pocket front with mini-brads. (If you are not using brads, fold strap over buckle, glue halves together, and glue strap onto pocket front.) Repeat for other strap and buckle. Fold pocket and glue the folds. (Use tacky glue or ds tape.) Very important: attach the straps to the pocket front before assembling the pocket.

5) Attach the remaining bag fittings to the bag body: the handle,
the flap straps, and the D-ring buckle straps at the sides.
 6) Glue the pocket onto the bag front. (Or use ds tape.)
 7) Glue or tape the satchel body together - bottom tabs first, then
the side flaps.
 8) Almost finished - you just need to attach the strap.

 9) It is an adjustable two-part strap. Fasten an end through each of the side D-rings. Attach a buckle to the shorter end.
10) The satchel is complete! Other versions: if making the no-frills satchel, the buckle straps must be attached to the bag front instead of the pocket. To make mock brads, punch circles out of gold cardstock using a 1/8" circle hand punch; glue the circles on in the brad positions.
You can, of course, omit the strap to make a briefcase-style satchel instead of a shoulder bag look. You can also make a one-piece strap.

Stuff I used: Inspire Me Premium paper (for the brightly-coloured bags), gold cardstock (for the buckles), mini-brads.

Just visited the newly-refurbished William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, Greater London, UK. Saw the humble satchel that belonged to the great man! (He used it for distributing leaflets.) It was brown cloth - and similar in design to my papercrafted satchels! Satchel serendipity!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Petal Pairs Basket Bouquet Tutorial

A basketful of stemmed Petal Pairs: 100% papercrafted!
Craft a batch - or just a  bunch - of long-stemmed Petal Pairs.
I wanted to create a Petal Pairs bouquet for you - to give you the option of making a 3-D project beyond a card embellishment. So
I took out my floristry craft kit - you know - stretchy green tape, wires,
wire-cutters. Lots of hardware! And I had a mini-epiphany: papercrafters love to papercraft. So... I put the wires and wire-cutters away and worked out an easy (and fun) method to make Petal Pairs flowers entirely of paper. The flowers are light, the stems are flexible. You can use them on cards or as giftwrap adornments.

Here's how-to - yes - lots of steps, but really very simple:

1) Cut narrow strips of green paper with a paper trimmer - about 5mm(1/4in) wide. Each strip is the length of an A4 piece of paper. (I used Inspire Me Premium paper.) Fold each strip of paper in half. At the midpoint, glue on a strip of 3mm (1/8in) quilling paper.
 2) Wrap the quilling strip around the green strip 12 times. Trim away the extra quilling strip and glue the end down with tacky glue.

3) Apply tacky glue along the inside of one half of the green stem strip.
Fold the stem in half, aligning edges. You now have a stem with a paper bead "stop" at the top.

4) These are the Tonic Studios Petal Pairs you need for this project - 
the punch on the left is from Petal Pairs Box Set 3 (882e), the middle punch is from Petal Pairs Box Set 4 (883e), and the punch on the right is from Petal Pairs Box Set 5 (884e). (Box Sets 4 and 5 are brand new!) The photo shows you the quantity and colour of shapes to punch out. (I used Inspire Me Premium paper.)
5) To make each flower: pink and purple shapes are treated as one and interlocked with a purple flower shape in the usual way to make a Petal Pair.

6) A red circle is glued onto the centre of the flower to make it pop. You can cut the red circle from a punched Petal Pairs shape - cut off the petals to obtain the circle. (Alternatively, you can cut out an 8mm circle using a digital cutting machine or you can buy self-adhesive signal dots from a stationery store.)
 7) Take an embossing stylus and score centre lines on each petal of the green Petal Pair with heart-shaped petals. 

8) Glue the scored green Petal Pair shape onto the back of the interlocked Petal Pair flower. The Petal Pair shape now has 4 layers.
9) Punch a hole through the centre of the 4-layered Petal Pair. Use a 1/8in (3mm) circle handpunch. (Alternatively, carefully cut a small slit through all layers with a craft knife.)
10) Pinch the bottom of the stem and insert it through the centre hole in the Petal Pair flower.
11) Slide the flower up the stem until it reaches the top.
12) The flower now looks like this. Almost finished - you just need to dimension it and add the leaves.
13) Lift each pink petal and gently shape it. Next, fluff up the two purple layers beneath.

14) Pinch the green leaves and pull them downwards.
15) All you need is leaves.
16) ... but first trim the stem to the desired length. (Looks smart cut on the diagonal.)
17) Cut two leaves like so. Score a centre leaf vein with the embossing tool.
18) Pinch each leaf in half and fold it crosswise. Glue the tail onto the stem. The flower is finished! (You may have noticed, there is also an alternative yellow colourway to add variety for your arrangement.) 

This flower-making method can be used for all the Petal Pair shapes.

We're not done yet. Thought I'd give you a bonus: a basket for your flowers. Here's the pattern template:

To make the basket:
1) Cut out the basket base, handle, and two squares. Punch holes as shown with circle handpunch. Score the fold lines with an embossing tool held against a metal ruler. Crease the folds. Glue the square inside the basket base - their purpose is to weight the basket so it doesn't tip over when filled with flowers. You need robust cardstock for the basket.
I used Bazzill Basic.
2) Tie a ribbon bow to join adjacent basket sides. Use a tapestry needle to thread the ribbon. For each bow, you need 25cm (10in) of ribbon. For the basket waist bow, you need 35cm(14in) of ribbon.
3) Attach the basket handle to the basket base with brads. All done!
You can make the basket up in different sizes. For smaller baskets, you will, of course, need to trim the stems. And of course, it will require fewer flowers to fill a smaller basket. It takes about three dozen flowers to fill the original basket size (base of 4cm - 1-1/2in). (I know -
you'll be surprised how quickly it goes. Do it production line-style.)
So, that's it: your basic all-occasion Petal Pairs stemmed flowers and basket. Happy crafting! : )

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Petal Pairs Window Wind Chimes

Window-sized wind chimes to catch the summer breeze.
Here's a quick, summery project I ran up so I could play with the new Tonic Studios Petal Pairs punch shapes - Box Sets 4 and 5 are out (yay!). To make the wind chimes, I have fashioned the Petal Pairs into fluttery little ballerina tutus that catch the wind. Alternate them with 6mm pearl beads.

To create a slightly cupped shape that would catch the wind, I altered the Petal Pairs like so:
... just snip the Petal Pairs shape to the centre, glue the shaded area, overlap to make a 4-petal flower with a dimple in the centre. Interlock two Petal Pairs flowers in the usual way. Pierce or punch a hole in the centre (I used a 1/16" circle hand punch) from the concave side of the 
flower. Shape the petals downwards to make an umbrella shape. For each wind chime, you need 21 completed Petal Pairs "umbrella flowers" - seven for each of the three wind chime strands.

For stringing, I used ordinary craft thread. Knot the bottom of the strand. Thread on a bell/bead. Here's the secret of how to pass thick thread through a bead hole (magic- works every time):
The beading sequence goes like this: bell, three pearl beads, umbrella flower - alternate the beads with the Petal Pairs flowers, ending with three beads. Make three identical strands. Re: the bells. You can purchase mini-bells from craft shops or bead shops. (I always hoard the cute little bells from chocolate reindeer and bunnies...).

Almost done. Here's the wind chime header to cut from cardstock:
And here's how to attach the bead strands to the header:

Pass the strand top through the card and knot the end close to the card. Fold the header into thirds and glue or tape it shut. Pierce or punch the holes for the hanging strand through all three layers. Finally, knot a piece of baker's twine through the header for the hanging strand. Add a bead to each baker's twine tail, knot the end, and trim. Tease out the strands of the baker's twine below the knot with a needle-tip to make a simple self-tassel. That's it. Wind chime finished.

More pics:
Pearlescent paper used for the Petal Pairs here.
Vellum for the Petal Pairs here.

Note: if you prefer a silent window decoration to a tinkling one, you still need a bell-shaped bead at the bottom of each strand to weight it!

Stuff I used: Tonic Studios Petal Pairs Box Set4 and 5; AC Cardstock (for header), 6mm pearl craft beads, Divine Twine, mini-bells, craft thread.