Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Surface Design Bookshelf (Part 5)

Part 5 of Surface Design Bookshelf, which concludes the series, is now up on the Make it in Design Blog. The ability to design prints and patterns comes in very handy for papercrafters - so you may want to check out these titles!

Paper Flower Books

Paper flower-making books are having a well-deserved moment. The good news is that there's not a dud in the bunch. How to choose? It depends on what you're looking for. Below, some points about each book. Click on the title for a link back to my original blogpost review.
The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers
By Livia Cetti

Abrams & Chronicle Books 2014

Paperback, £14.99

If you are a paper flower traditionalist, and your goal is to make realistic-looking flowers, then this is the book for you. Most of the flowers are made of crepe or tissue paper. Lovely section on painting techniques. Floristry skills to the fore. For paper flower artistes.
How to Make 100 Paper Flowers 
By Maria Noble
Creative Publishing International 2013
Hardcover, spiral-bound, £16.99

Here you will find the best of both worlds - trad crepe paper lookalikes up front, crafty fun stuff (cupcake liner flowers, origami, quilled designs) in the back. A good choice if you plan on crafting with the kids.
Paper Blooms
By Jeffery Rudell

Lark Crafts, February 2014

Paperback, £ 12.99
Not every papercrafter likes working exclusively with crepe paper and tissue paper. If you like to flower-craft with firmer papers of different types and textures, and are into paper manipulation and pattern cutting, then this is the book for you. Lots of amazingly clever folding techniques. Many of the flowers are layered.  
Paper to Petal

By Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell

Potter Craft, October 2013

Hardcover, £16.99

This title makes a great gift book. It is hard-covered and the production values are lush - all-singing, all-dancing. It is great for opulent party makes and quality fun stuff. Excellent on crepe paper flower-making skills. Good use of prints and patterns in the designs.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Cantilever Sewing Box Re-visit

There's been a flurry of interest in sewing-related things - The Great British Sewing Bee, and lots of new sewing mags. I have been championing Papercraft Sewing Accessories for a while - they make such lovely gifts to make and give to sewing enthusiasts. 

This week, I received a delightful email link from papercraft blogger Asmah Zainal AbidinShe has made up my cantilever sewing boxes as keepsakes for two of her daughters - and entered the projects in crafty challenges. Nice work - and thanks for sharing.

I thought that it would be a good time to re-visit the Cantilever Sewing Box Tutorial. Just follow the link and get crafting. This project is well worth the time you invest in it. 

I'm thinking of designing some Cantilever Sewing Box variations because I enjoyed the project so very much. Watch this space.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Magic Borders

Today I have a fun party trick for you to play with. These 3-D "Magic Borders" can be folded either vertically or horizontally. They can be used as a pretty alternative to paper-punched borders on cards or scrapbook pages. 

The flip side of each border is attractive in its own right. If you want to add even more dimensional interest, crease the leaf veins or obvious folds. Makes for a pretty flutter effect!

How to work the magic:
As you can see in the pic above, each border has a zig-zag template. The directional effect is created by how you fold the little bridges between the shapes. For a horizontal border, fold the linking bridges at the top of each shape, going sideways (of course). For a vertical border, fold the linking bridges at the bottom of each shape, going downwards. Always wind to the back in a spiralling motion. Have a go and experiment!

You can fix the borders to the page with d/s tape or strategically-placed dabs of PVA tacky glue.

Printable borders follow. I have given you both .pdfs and .svgs. For this particular project, the digi-cut option is preferable. It will take patience aplenty to handcut these guys!



Have fun doing the twist and making your borders to order!


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Surface Design Bookshelf (Part 4)

Part 4 of the Surface Design Bookshelf is now posted on the Make it in Design Blog. Both of the titles featured are of interest to papercrafters.
The first book gives advice on packaging for craftsellers with an emphasis on handcrafted "krafty kraft paper" looks.  The fabric design title clues you in on how to create original pattern designs. Although the content deals with fabric, you can use the same techniques to make printed designs for giftwrap or scrapbooking papers. In addition to digital design generation, screen printing, hand block printing, and letterpress printing techniques are discussed. Check out the Make it in Design Blog for further details.

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers: Review

The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers:

a guide to making unbelievably realistic paper blooms

By Livia Cetti

Abrams & Chronicle Books 2014

Paperback £14.99

ISBN 978-1-6179-100-3

Star rating: ****1/2

Yes, here’s another ace paper flower title!

How do you like your paper flowers – realisitic or fun?  If you like your paper flowers to be dead ringers, then this is the book for you. Livia Cetti is a floral artist who works in paper, as opposed to a paper artist who fashions flowers. She is a superstar floral stylist and paper flower artiste based in New York City. She does the flowers for society weddings, magazine photoshoots, and posh shop displays. She has lots of big-name corporate clients. And in this lovely book, she does indeed share her making-up secrets. 

Livia Cetti  had a lightbulb moment when she noticed that a two-sided crepe paper called Doublette could be manipulated to create a realistic hibiscus, complete with fluted ruffled edges. That’s when her  paper flower-making journey began.

Most of the flowers in the book are made of either crepe- or tissue paper. You are taught how to dip-dye the paper using either water or bleach to create subtle gradient effects. The section on painting techniques is especially strong. (Merely wetting the tissue paper strips imparts delicate crinkles.)

You will learn the construction techniques used by florists – use of stem wires and floral tape (didn’t know the latter came in a variety of colours). 

The section on leaves is a revelation. The author says, “... I gently bend – and never crease -  the paper to create the look of veins, and I very rarely bend a vein fold in a straight line, instead opting to meander slightly from center to edge for a more organic shape...”

You are also taught how to make darts in the tissue paper petals, to impart gentle curves.

How-tos are given for 26 flowers, arranged alphabetically. I particularly liked the Night-Blooming Cactus and the towers of Hollyhocks. There are some well-thought-out project ideas at the end of the book. The 3-D Wallpaper – single-stem flowers stuck to a wall with snippets of coloured tape works a treat. The Tuberose Lei is simple but effective.

The photography is beautiful and the step-by-steps are clear and well-explained.

Full size templates are provided at the back of the book (love those ginko leaves!). However – there is no index.  Although the flowers are arranged alphabetically, this does not compensate for the lack of an index. For instance, you might want to look up a particular technique. (Lack of an index is why I gave this title 4-1/2 stars instead of 5.)

This title would be ideal for those who want to create bridal arrangements with keepsake potential. This book is also ideal for papercrafters who want to expand their paper flower-making repertoire with genuine floristry skills. 

Spoiled for choice with paper flower-making titles. How to choose? Watch this space.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Hatbox Pincushions

I don't have any Easter bonnets for you, but I do have some hatboxes - Hatbox Pincushions, that is. They are another addition to my range of papercraft sewing accessories. 

The secret: inside each hatbox is a coil of corrugated paper. The pins slip conveniently into the loops of the coil. 

The bigger hatbox measures about 6cm tall x 5cm diameter (2-3/8in x 2in). The smaller size measures about 5cm x 4.5cm (2in x 1-3/4).

Of course, the hatboxes don't have to be made up as pincushions - they make cute dinky gift boxes on their own.

The Hatbox Pincushions are reasonably simple to make if you take your time and do things carefully - so there's no tut with pics. I'll talk you through the making-up. 

Here are your printables:



Hatbox Pincushions

1. Print out the hatbox pincushion and cut out all the pieces. Crease the tabs on the lid and base circles. Prime the hatbox Side and Lid Band into shape by gently curving them with your fingers.

2. Assemble the hatbox base: glue reinforcements over the cord holes on either side. Glue the side tab to make a ring. Apply tacky PVA glue inside the ring, all around the base (the edge closest to the cord holes). Next, carefully lower the base circle into the ring, making sure that it is flush with the tabletop. Carefully glue each tab in place.

3. Next, make the cord handles out of craft thread. Each cord handle is a loop chain - familiar to you as the foundation chain if you crochet. For the big hatbox, you need a loop chain about 17cm (6-3/4in) long. For the small hatbox, you need a loop chain about 15cm (5-1/2in) long. To attach the handle: knot one end of the chain. Pass it through a hatbox side hole with the knot inside the hatbox. Pass the other side of the cord through the other hatbox hole and knot the cord end inside. Trim off the cord end close to the knot and seal it with PVA glue to prevent fraying.

4 Next, make the hatbox lid. Glue the Lid Band into a ring. Apply PVA tacky glue inside one edge of the Lid Band. Carefully lower the Lid, face down, into the ring so that it is flush with the tabletop. Carefully attach the tabs to the ring.

5 Bow: glue the bow tabs behind the bow centre, one on top of the other. Place the Bow backing behind the bow, centred. Wrap the Bow Band around the bow centre, overlapping and gluing the ends at the bow centre back. Finally glue the bow onto the centre top of the Hatbox Lid.

You Hatbox is now finished if you plan to use it only as a gift box. Read on to transform it into a pincushion:

You will need a roll of corrugated paper. I used Canson Corrugated Paper in Buttercup Yellow, which is available by mailorder from Fred Aldous.

For the big pincushion, cut the corrugated paper into strips 3cm (1-1/4in) high. For the small pincushion, cut the corrugated paper into strips 2.5cm (1in).

Roll the corrugated strip into a tight coil. You will have to piece the strips to make up the diameter of the coil needed to fill the hatbox. Simply stick down the end of each strip with a piece of double-sided tape, then butt up the next strip of corrugated paper, with edges aligned. Stick that in place with d/s tape. Keep rolling until the coil is just a little bit smaller than the diameter of the hatbox base. Check the coil size like so:
How to check the coil size
When you have reached the required size, cut the strip end and stick it down with d/s tape.

Now all you have to do to complete the pincushion is to pop the coil into the hatbox!

If you belong to a sewing group, the Hatbox Pincushions make lovely surprises.

Surface Design Bookshelf (Part 3)

Part 3 of Surface Design Bookshelf is now up on the Make it in Design Blog.

Scrapbookers and cardmakers: these books could be the beginning of an amazing design-your-own adventure. Digital brushes can be used to create repeating border patterns and design motifs of all sorts. And being able to design your own pattern repeats - wow! Your own giftwrap, card backgrounds, scrapbooking papers. 

If you like to solve puzzles, then designing your own brushes and patterns will have enormous appeal!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Surface Design Bookshelf

Hello - I'm wearing my guest-blogger hat again! I'd like to bring your attention to a series of book reviews I have written on the subject of surface pattern design. The reviews are now running on the very lovely Make It In Design Blog.

Papercrafters - pattern is important to you! If you'd like to branch out into D-I-Y pattern design, I've rounded up some reading material for you: 

Pattern Design, by Lewis F. Day, is a Dover paperback - a gem of a blast from the past. Sadly, the Dover Bookshop on Earlham Street in Covent Garden, London closed last month. The good news is that it still has an online presence:
Pattern Design is available on Amazon.

I hope that my book round-up guides you on a fascinating decorative journey!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Free printables on Bella Blog!

Here's a link to my guest post on the very lovely Bella Blog, from Bella Crafts Quarterly. Thanks, guys.

The post is about papercrafted embellishments - using them to jazz up projects and purchased cards - and packaging them to give as gifts.
Lots of printables!

Hope you like the post.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

"Mini Muffin Tin" Tutorial

Choose from solo-, quad- or hex-compartment trays.
The tray above has lined compartments, rather than removable "muffins".
Today's project channels the home-baking trend. Since this is a papercraft project, these aren't real muffin tins - but they can be put to good use, nevertheless. Use the "muffin tins" as desktop organizers or as party favours for a baking-themed party (a yummy treat in each compartment!). Choose from one, four, or six compartments. I guess I could have called them "Cute Compartments" or "Pretty Party Organizers" - but Mini Muffin Tins it is.
As you can see above, the "muffin" container can be removed from its compartment. You can line the compartment for a "deluxe" version.

Here are your printables for all the variations:


The Mini Muffin Tin solo is a larger size, so it requires a larger "muffin".
The smaller "muffins" fit the 4- and 6-compartment trays. For each size, you can choose from a rectangular or angled tray top. The Egg Tray has a plainer top end than the Muffin Tins (make it now and fill it with choc eggs).

Mini Muffin Tin Tutorial
1 For the purpose of the tut, a Mini Muffin Tin Solo will be made. The construction for the other styles is similar - only more compartments to be made. Above, parts cut out and prepped. I make the Mini Muffin Tins out of 160gsm copier cardstock.
2 Glue adjacent flaps to form a cup, like so:
Lining the cup with patterned paper is optional - but if you are going to do it, the time is now:

(Make sure the print faces inwards.)
3 Apply glue onto the cup tabs. Lower the top onto the tabs, aligning cup with the window opening: 
4 Next, apply the base cover, gluing around the edges and the hexagonal window. Smooth it in place. This is an optional step - the Mini Muffin Tin looks neater with the tabs concealed.

5 Next, make the Muffin from pretty print paper. Glue adjacent sides.
The muffin fits neatly in the tray compartment. To close the muffin top, fold down the sides consecutively in a clockwise direction, tucking the inner corner under where nececessary. (The outer corner is rounded, the inner corner is squared.)
Now you are done:
Add a tag, if desired.
A Mini Muffin Tin would make a gread brad, bead, or button stash - and/or suitable gift packaging for gifting to a crafty friend.