Saturday, 29 June 2013


This is a digi-cut Bagvelope.
This is a printable Bagvelope. Clock the trompe l'oeil effect - no cutouts here (well, just the handle). Looks pretty convincing!
Four different styles to choose from!
Here they are as printables.
Inspired by mesh shopping bags, these cute mini-folders make handy note enclosures. The sides are pleated, so each can hold several note cards (supplied in the download).
A Bagvelope is ideal for gift card presentation. Just stick the gift card onto a note card with a sticky dot (Dodz from Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L). Inscribe the card on the back. Then tie the Bagvelope handle with a bow for security.
Bow-tied Bagvelopes.
Here are your free Bagvelope downloads, followed by several making-up tips:
Slip a coloured liner inside the lattice-cut cards.
The Bagvelope's one-piece construction, folded.
Crease the turn-backs, then fold each extension in half, accordion-style.
Use a bone folder to make nice, crisp pleats.
Stick the sides, fold up the back, then set the creases.
Stick the oval labels onto the Bagvelope front. Use Dodz.
The Bagvelopes are fun and simple to make, whether you are making a digi-cut version or simply cutting out a printable. If you want cards rather than envelopes, simply remove the folded flaps to either side of the card front.

Other ideas: for a fancy version, do a bit of ribbon-weaving in the lattice-cut version. Try it with quilling strips!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Penny Rug Cards & Envelopes

Print-and-cuttables... inspired by American folk art.
Dimension is added with layers of chipboard.
The distinctive look of today's project is inspired by the American folk art of making Penny Rugs. Penny Rugs are, like patchwork quilting, a thrift craft. Wikipedia tells us that the craft began at around the time of the American Civil War (1860s). Penny Rugs are not actually rugs, but are table mats or runners made from recycled scraps of wool. Coins were used as circular templates (hence, the name). To make a penny rug, felt circles, in graduated sizes, are layered and stitched onto a background fabric using blanket stitch. There may be additional embroidered embellishment.

These easy-make print-and-cut cards and envelopes recreate the rustic and welcoming look of the craft - no stitching required.

Here are your downloads. A tutorial follows.

I've provided .svg files for digital print-and-cuts, and .pdf files for handcrafting. This project is do-able by hand - plenty of scissoring, but pretty easy. (Note: the selected font doesn't come out in the .svg. You can change the font in your cutting programe. I used Hobo.)

Penny Rug Cards and Envelopes Tutorial
1. Pieces for each card: 12 printed circles, oval message centre, oval card mat, and the shaped card blank. You also need 36 circles and three centre ovals cut from chipboard. I used the new Silhouette chipboard, which is a dream to work with - but you could also cut these pieces from a recycled cereal box.

2. Glue three chipboard circles together, edges aligned for each printed circle. In the same way, glue three chipboard layers together for the centre oval.

3. Ink the edges of the printed circles and oval, and of all the chipboard pieces, too. I've used Tim Holtz Distress Markers for the purpose. The inked chipboard really does have a felt-like appearance!
4. Glue the printed circles onto the chipboard discs with edges aligned. Likewise for the oval centre.
5. Score the fold in the card blank, fold it in half. Stick on the coloured mat, centred. To position the centre oval on the card front, place penny rug discs at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock. Attach the centre oval first, using sticky pads (3D Foam Squares from Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L are ideal for the job), then attach the first four penny rug discs.
6. To complete the card front, stick on two discs between each of the  original four "clock face" discs. Do not put like-coloured discs next to each other. 

7. You can use a print-out of the card topper as a placement guide.

8. Above: placing the last disc. The discs all fit perfectly in the available space. The card is now finished.


1. Above, the bits you need to make the envie. Print out the envelope and cut it out. (Note: if digi-cutting, the envelope is a tight fit on the page. The digital cutter will not cut out the entire envelope - you can finish cutting by hand - the digital cuts will act as guides.) 

2. Prep secret: glue a small chipboard disc onto the back of the brad mat. This acts like a button shank - it gives the mat a bit of lift, so it is easy to wind the thread under it. Pierce or punch a small hole in the middle of each brad mat, through the chipboard. Also pierce a small hole in the middle of the centre disc in the envelope border pattern.

3. Place a brad through both brad mats. Attach the brad and mat through the hole at the envelope bottom. Cut a piece of craft thread and make a slip knot. Tighten the slip knot around the arms of the remaining brad. Insert the threaded brad through the hole on the envelope flap.
4. To complete the envelope, fold in the side flaps, apply adhesive to the sides of the bottom portion. Fold and stick as shown. Slide the card in. Secure by winding the thread in a figure-of-eight around the brads.
Like so:
 More pics:
A folk craft updated for the digital age!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Mirror Magic: Papercraft Shisha Embroidery Tutorial

Boat-shaped gift bags adorned with mock shisha embroidery.
The boat-shaped bag base.
Two sizes. They are supposed to look like straw beach bags. Retro!
Infinite combos of borders and "mirrors".
Use the mirrors and borders for card-crafting.
Add a message tag to complete the card.
Festive fiesta colours - an alternative to the girly stuff.
I've always loved Indian mirror embroidery - shisha work. Today's project provides you with freebies to make unlimited numbers of mock-embroidered designs with borders and mirror motifs.

In real shisha embroidery, a mirror tile is caught in a net of stitches, then buttonhole stitch is worked around the edges to secure the mirror to the fabric. Additional stitched embellishment may be added. For the papercraft version, you simply pop a paper mirror disc under the prongs of the surround (or glue the mirror onto the decorative base).

For the mirrors, you can use metallic cardstock or paper. I have used both Frosted Silver Canford Card and Centura pearlescent paper.

The designs are kind of fiddly so this is a digi-cut project. If you don't have a digital cutter, you can approximate the look by cutting the mirror discs with a circle punch and the surrounds and trims with decorative edging scissors or border punches as appropriate. I have supplied a .pdf of the gift bags because they can easily be crafted by hand. The .pdfs of the mirrors and trims are for reference - so you can design your own handcrafted versions if you don't have a digital cutting machine.

Here are your free downloads for the mirrors, trims, gift bags and card blank, and greetings tags:

Now for the tut:

There are three styles of mirrors: for Style A (Basic Shisha), you simply pop a paper mirror disc under the prongs of the base surround. Use a small mirror disc. Style B (Faux Embroidered Surround) uses a slightly larger mirror disc which is glued onto a pinked circular base. The fancy surround is glued on top. In Style C, a mock blanket stitch effect is created by gluing a notched surround onto a contrasting backing circle. Clever use of negative space (tah dah). A small mirror disc is inserted under the prongs of the notched circle before gluing to the base. (Spot the deliberate mistake - the pic above shows a larger disc. Oops.)

Style A:

1) Apply a sparing dab of tacky glue onto the base shape.
2) Insert the mirror disc under the prongs. Easy!

Style B:

 1) The mirror disc for this style is slightly larger.
2) Apply tacky glue sparingly around the inside of the decorative ring.
 3) Glue the ring, centred, over the mirror disc.

Style C:

 1) This style consisted of a notched topper and a circular base.
2) The mirror disc has been inserted into the topper in the usual way. The topper is then glued onto the contrast-coloured base, centred. Result: a mock blanket-stitched border around the mirror disc.

Boat-Shaped Gift Bag

1) Pattern pieces cut out and prepped. Lightly score the folds with an embossing tool. Mark the strap placement. Fluff the fringe on the straps.
2) I've used double-side tape for a speedy demo - you can use tacky glue in the indicated areas. (Glue as you go, not all at once.)
3) Fix on the straps. Prime each strap before you attach it - run it between your fingers to shape the strap into a curve.
4) Slide the tab of the base under the centre bag front.
5) Attach the tabs, bending the bag front to fit. It's a perfect fit. Repeat for the bag back.
6) Finally, tuck in the side flaps and fix them in place, aligning carefully.

Note: decorate the bag front prior to assembly. You can place border trims under the straps - it looks fine.

That's it for the papercraft shisha tutorial. You can used the mirrors and trims for zillions of different projects. Enjoy!

Here's one last beauty shot:

... lastly: thanks to patient Leah, who did the photo-shoot despite feeling exceedingly meh with a sore throat!