Friday, 25 July 2014

Paper Beads: my lightbulb moment

Blogger Phillipa Reid has come up with her personal take on my Paper Bead "discovery" (decorating the apex to create a contrast band in the bead centre). She's crafted some fun earrings using a variation of my technique (click for the pic). (I love her clever use of paper twine for the hanging loops.)
Have you had a go using my paper bead-making method?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Paper Only - The Papered Parlour welcomes you

Paper Only
By The Papered Parlour
Pavilion, August 2014
Paperback, £16.99
ISBN 978 190 844 9511

Star rating: *** 1/2

The Papered Parlour is a celebrated craft workshop/studio space in Clapham, South London.  It was founded by Claire Heafford and Louise Hall in 2009. This very likable new book aims to bottle the magic of their influential design venue, a boho hive of crafty activity. The aim is to inspire the reader to find their creative mojo by sharing the Papered Parlour mindset. The book contains 20 do-able projects to direct the creative journey.

The book successfully conveys the mood of the venue – it radiates a joyous creative warmth. The book’s centrefold is a photographic portrait of the studio in full swing – a wallpaper-printing session. In another craft book, a fold-out like this might be considered filler – but here it is intrinsic to the nature of the book. “Welcome to the studio – please do come in.”

“Just do it” is the Papered Parlour’s mantra. Learn from your mistakes and don’t worry about the mess. As the book points out, “Happy accidents are the source of innovation”. 
Paper Only is not so much a project book as a pep talk on how to kick-start your creativity. The actual projects are a mixed bag. Paper projects, are, of course, ideal for the beginner, paper being easy to work with (and relatively inexpensive). The Origami Bow and the loopy Star Bow are winners (can’t wait to try). Some of the projects are a little bit too easy and obvious – like the gift tags made from recycled maps and the paper envelopes. (I guess the idea is that an easy initial success is encouraging for a newbie.) 

The section on pattern design is very strong and is an excellent introduction for the beginner. Here, the book comes into its own. The  Geometric Pattern Generator is a fun and useful exercise involving re-arranging paper cut-outs. How-tos are given for both block-printing and screen-printing. The achievable goal: to print a length of wallpaper on lining paper.  Screen-printing is usually associated with fabric-printing. It is good to see it treated as a papercraft.

This title would make a good gift for someone who is thinking about learning a craft, and wants to dip a toe into the water.

The Papered Parlour is the home to 24 creative practitioners, and it also hosts a public programme of workshops, talks and events.

Note:  I was provided with a review copy of this title.

Designing Patterns - Lotta Kühlhorn's inspirational new book

Yes, Lotta Kühlhorn designs for IKEA - and she's got a spectacular new book out that shares her pattern design tips and sources of inspiration.
Check out my review on the Make it in Design blog. 

The book, published by Gestalten, is lavishly illustrated, contains lots of tips - and no techie overload.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Japanese-Inspired Printable Paper Beads

More paper bead printables for you. Today's beads are inspired by the prints you find on origami- and washi papers. I do love mixed prints!  As before, I've given you both the beads and the packaging.

For a refresher on how to make the beads, check out last Monday's
Paper Bead Masterclass . Remember - there are two ways to make the beads. You can either print-and-cut the entire bead or you can print the topper and glue it onto the tip of a triangular bead form cut out of plain coloured paper.

Here's a tip: a flat brush is recommended for coating the beads. Use the sealant (Paper Mod Podge Matte) very sparingly.

Here are your paper bead printables:


Beads & toppers.
Beads group A.

Beads group B.

Beads group C.

Here's your packaging:


When you are stringing the beads, aim to balance pattern, shape and colour - get a good mix. For a necklace, you need about 12-15 beads. For a bracelet, about 7-9 beads will do.

All these Japanese-style prints have put me in a washi tape mood.
Washi tape beads are on the agenda... 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Paper Bead Printables: Mexican Paper-Cut

Today's Paper Bead Printables are inspired by papel picado - the craft of Mexican punched paper. You've seen those magnificent cutwork banners. I had fun designing these paper beads - working out the connecting "bridges" that keep true cutwork designs together. (But don't look too closely - I did cheat a little!).

Yesterday's blog was the Paper Beads Printables Masterclass - so today's post is an instruction-free zone.

Here are your beads (choice of Toppers or All-in-One):

Here's the co-ordinated packaging:


So, there you go: Mexican Paper-Cut (look!) Printable Paper Beads.
Instructions (including a very handy drying rack) in yesterday's blogpost: Paper Bead Printables: A Masterclass.

Enjoy making your Printable Paper Beads!



Sunday, 13 July 2014

Paper Bead Printables: A Masterclass

I just love paper beads. It’s the transformation  thing – a long, narrow paper triangle morphs into a cute little bead – magic! And I am intrigued by how a nuance of change in the pattern shape alters the final appearance of the bead.  If you like quilling, you’ll love paper beads. Roll ‘em!

Making paper beads, like quilling, is fun – but labour-intensive. (I know- that’s not why you do it!) Good news. Just like most things, techie advances have come to paper beadery.  Paper beading is now faster in four different ways. 1. Your friendly desktop inkjet printer. 2. An amazing patent-applied-for paper bead tool from Paper Bead Girl. 3. Digital paper cutters. 4. A clever new gadget for stringing beads – the Knot-a-Bead from Beadalon.  Make use of all – or some.

I’ve been on a paper bead binge – playing with my toys. And I have come up with a new phenomenon – the paper bead topper. Because the most visible part of the finished bead is just the final 5cm (2in) of the triangle – the apex end. This is visible as the centre portion of the bead. To me, this  represents a blank canvas (well, a nano blank canvas).
Two types of Paper Bead Printables.

I’ve been having a great time making engineered prints to fit the bead templates – so that the bits that you want to see are accentuated, and shown off by the rolled ridges to either side. 

To start you off, I’m presenting a paper bead Masterclass, to get you up to speed on basic paper bead skills. And to introduce you to the new gadgets.  Here we go:

Printable Paper Beads: A Masterclass

Part One: Making the Beads

For my examples, I will be making one of the topper-style beads, as seen in the pic above. As you can see, there are three bead template bases of varying widths and a choice of toppers to fit. (Your free templates will follow later in the blogpost.) Cut the base out of cartridge/construction paper (I used Inspire Me paper in Midnight blue). Print the toppers onto ordinary thin photocopier paper.
1 Glue the topper onto the tip of the bead template with edges aligned.
Use tacky PVA glue applied with a cocktail stick.

Above, a pic of the fantastic new paper bead tool from Paper Bead Girl.
If you don't have the gadget, no worries - you can still make the beads. Roll your beads around a cake pop stick or a cocktail stick. Make a few test beads to make sure that the bead holes are big enough to accommodate your chosen stringing cord. There are also beading tools 
that are really just large-diameter quilling tools.
2 Time to start rolling. Slide the wide end of the bead strip into the slot. The patterned side of the bead strip is facing upwards.(Doh - of course you do want the decorative side facing outwards.)
3 Twist the barrel away from you, while keeping hold of the bead strip and maintaining an even tension. Keep the bead strip centred, equal
amounts to either side.
4 When you get to the end of the bead strip, it is time to glue. Grasp the rolled bead firmly and apply tacky PVA glue along the inside edge of the strip.
5 Press the glued strip end down firmly onto the bead barrel. Hold it in place until the glue sets. (We are talking seconds here, not minutes!)
6 Time to eject the bead from the tool. Just give the purple barrel a shove to release the bead. Easy! (If you a using a low tech bead-rolling method, you will have to prise the bead off the rolling stick.)

The all-in-one-printed paper bead strips are made in the same way.

It is now time to coat the beads with sealer to make them more durable and give them a nice finish. Mod Podge Paper Matte is my sealing medium of choice. It is water soluble, non-toxic, and dries quickly. (Because it is water-soluble, your brush cleans up quickly.) Mod Podge Paper also comes in Gloss. My personal preference is Matte.
I love the sophisticated subtle sheen.

Your paper bead sealing supplies are shown in the pic above. In addition to the Mod Podge, you will need some cocktail sticks, an inexpensive brush, and a bead drying rack.
I have supplied you with a template for a drying rack (at end of blogpost). The rack is easy to make, so there are no step-by-step pics.
Instead, I'll talk you through it.

Here's how: 1 Cut the template out of cartridge/construction paper. 
2 Score all the fold lines. 3 Crease the folds. 4 Fold the sides up and glue the short tabs to adjacent sides. 5 Apply double-sided tape to the bottom edges of the four turn-backs. Fold these to the inside of the box. The bead-carrying cocktail sticks fit into the notches:
Back to the beads:
7 Brush the beads with a thin coat of Mod Podge. Wipe the brush clean between beads (keep a tissue to hand). Make sure that the beads are not touching each other on the cocktail stick "dowel" (you don't want them to stick together). The Mod Podge dries quickly - about 15-20 minutes. It's up to you whether you want to apply a second coat. 

Note: the Mod Podge is water soluble. So is inkjet printer ink. So, when you apply the Mod Podge to your printable beads, it is going to run just a little. Personally, I like the slightly smudged vintage-like look. And to me, the benefits of working with a quick-drying, non-toxic sealant far outweigh a little smudging. It is advisable to coat a few test beads first.
Top tips: 1 don't saturate the beads with the Mod Podge - be sparing. 2 Wipe your brush clean between beads. This will remove any colour that has bled from the ink.

Okay. You've now got a pile of paper beads. Time for stringing!

Part Two: Stringing the beads
When it comes to stringing, I like to keep things simple. I string my beads onto waxed nylon cord. (They have a nice selection of pre-cut lengths in the hobby section of John Lewis.) I knot the cord between beads to keep the beads in place. Knotting is also an attractive design feature. To wear, I just tie the necklace on - no need for fancy fittings. A simple bow is compatible with the folk-art look of paper beads.

Here's how to string your beads using a Beadalon Knot-a-Bead gadget:
1 Knot the end of your cord. Then make another knot 20cm (8in)
beyond the first one - this makes a tying tail. Thread the first bead onto the cord. Pass the cord end over the bar of the Knot-a-Bead.

Now, the instructions on the Knot-a-Bead box tell you to string all your beads first. My personal preference is to string-then-knot the beads individually. I find this to be a much less cumbersome process. The paper beads have large holes, and stringing them is easy.

Note: when you are stringing, you should give some consideration to the "running order" of the beads. Balance the shapes and the colours.
Alternate dark and light beads. It takes about 12-15 beads to make a necklace. You might want to use a Bead Design Board.
  2 Tie an overhand knot around the bar and pull it tight.
3 Pass the bead(s) to the back and slide the knot into the righthand chamber. Pull the knot tight.
5 Slide the button over to release the bead. Take the strand out of the Knot-a-Bead.

6 String on the next bead and repeat the knotting process. When all the beads are strung, tie another overhand knot 20cm (8in) beyond the last bead. Trim the cord after the knot. Your necklace is complete!
In addition to the Paper Bead Printables, I have provided you with two packaging options: a handbag-style presentation box or a card-topper that fits a cello bag. You can fill them either with a finished necklace or with bead components (paper beads + waxed nylon cord).

With these Paper Bead Printables, you've got plenty to keep you going for a very enjoyable craft session. In fact, you could make a paper bead party.

Here are your Paper Bead Printables:


Here's the packaging:


I haven't provide how-tos for assembling the box because this blogpost has turned into a bit of a marathon - and it's basic box: cut, score, fold, assemble. (Bottom tab to tuck in.) The ribbon handles on the box are vintage-look seam binding - a great finishing touch.

So, now that you are up-to-speed on paper beadery, I've got more to come:
Next up: Paper Bead Printables inspired by Mexican Paper-Cutting.
Soon: Washi Beads.

Stay tuned! And happy beading.

Here are the links to your other Paper Bead Printables (taking the TARDIS to the future...):