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!