Saturday, 28 February 2015

File Tab Matchbox Caddies

Here's a fun desktop storage solution for stationery sundries: a matchbox caddy. The contents of each matchbox is identified with an attached file tab. You can go for a pictorial label, or the "words and pictures" style.

These are really easy to make and are great to gift.Two styles to choose from: the flower-y version or the allover print.

Here are your free printables:


Making the caddy is a cinch, so no tut for this project, just a few pointers. I have decorated that project components so you can clearly see where to make the folds. Re: the file tabs on the matchbox wraps. The plain-coloured backing tab is optional - stick it behind the file tab projection if you want it to be coloured and not plain. Stick the file tab label on top of the file tab projection of the matchbox wrap. You can use eithe d/s tape or extra-tacky PVA glue. Use mini-brads for the matchbox drawer pulls.

I've given you some blank tabs so you can label your own stationery stash.

These matchbox caddies are great all-occasion gifts - but, thinking ahead, you can make them for National Stationery Week, which is 27 April-3 May. Wednesday, 29 April is World Stationery Day!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Ziggur-Basket Tutorial

I call these gift containers Ziggur-Baskets. Actually, they are inverted ziggurats, but they wouldn't make great baskets the other way around:
The amazing thing about these unique stair-step containers is that they are pretty easy to make. Just do your homework and carefully pre-crease the pattern template and they practically self-assemble! In keeping with the zig-zag theme, the handles are streamlined gum-wrapper chains. 
Stackable storage.

Here are your free printables (a tutorial follows):


Ziggur-Basket Tutorial
1 Cut out the pattern templates. Score the folds using a fine-point embossing tool held against a small metal ruler. Turn one of the two basket units 90 degrees and stick the basket units together at the base. Pre-crease all the folds. The basket sides accordion. The base of each deep blue stripe is a valley fold, and the top of each deep blue strip is a mountain fold. Put pieces of double-sided tape on all the side tabs and also under all four top edges.
2 Join all four side tabs on the base layer. The square ends of the deep blue layer slide beneath the angled ends - that's the important bit. On to the next level:
3 Join-and-slide tier two in exactly the same way. Next, join the tabs of level three, then turn the top flaps to the inside:
You have now completed the basket base. Punch or pierce holes at the dots for the handles.
4 Make the gum-wrapper chain handle. You need two end links and 19 or 20 handle links. 
To fold each link: fold each strip in half. Fold strip ends to centre.
To make the handle: a Slip first link over end piece as shown (1). Seal the end piece shut. b) Slide each link through the loops of the preceding link (2). Alternate the colours. Continue to a length of about 19 or 20 links.
4 To finish the handle, open out the last link to insert the link ends into the remaining handle end.
5 Attach the handle to the basket sides with brads.
Fill your basket with paper shred for a perfect little Easter basket. The baskets make fun party favours.


Thursday, 19 February 2015

I Love Handmade Books, by Charlotte Rivers. Review.

I Love Handmade Books

Timeless Techniques and Fresh Ideas for Beautiful Handmade Books

By Charlotte Rivers

Jacqui Small 2014

Hardback £14.99

ISBN 978 1 909342651

Star rating: ****

A handcrafted book is the perfect antidote to e-book overload.  Small wonder that this artisan craft is  enjoying a revival.  Practitioners of bookcraft have given it a playful contemporary spin – you won’t find any fusty Morocco-bound volumes in Charlotte Rivers’ magical appreciation of handmade books. Instead, you will find imaginative, innovative design treatments that stretch the boundaries of what a book is. Perhaps not thinking “outside the binding”, but redefining the concept of what a book can be.

The author sees book-making as an umbrella craft, “which can incorporate illustration, graphic design, design, photography, papercraft and many other creative disciplines.” (My italics.) Books being primarily paper-based, there is much here to fascinate the papercrafter.

The heart of the book showcases the work of bookbinding talent worldwide. You will find whimsical creations such as the layer cake slice-books from Boundless Bookbindery of Vienna. There’s lots of spectacular origamic fancy folding and paper manipulation to see. The “display” chapters are Folded Bindings, Sewn Bindings, Page and Cover Treatments, and Experimental Packaging (the title of  last chapter is particularly enticing). The chapter on sewn bindings is delightful, highlighting many clever ways to combine form and function – such as the stitched butterfly binding by Becca Hirsbrunner of Arlington, Texas. Another book of hers has stitching that looks like a suspension bridge span. Nice work. With each entry you get soundbites from the artist/studio about their mission statements.

All very lovely. But wait – tucked away at the back of the book is the Book-Making in Practice chapter – a hidden treasure trove of how-to goodness. Here, you will find a carefully curated selection of D-I-Y projects giving a taster of the myriad skills that bookbinding encompasses.  Learn to make a Flag Book, a Dragon Book, or a Secret Message Book – each is a showstopper of paper manipulation (can’t wait to have a go!). Try your hand at several stitching methods. Learn how to make a padded Pillow Book, and how to stiffen fabric for use as book covering material. And more. 

The Resource section at the end of the book contains useful info aplenty. You will find lists of specialist suppliers of bookbinding materials and equipment, blogs, and references. There’s also a glossary and an index.

So, job well done to Charlotte Rivers, who has come up with a winning follow-up to her equally delightful previous title, I Love Stationery.  I Love Handmade Books is a charming gift book. And, in case you were wondering – the book itself has a stitched binding, a dust-jacket,  and beautiful bookcase-print endpapers.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Make a Storage Bunting!

Here's a festive way to organize your craft supplies -  a storage bunting. Each pennant is a triangular pillow box. Identify the contents on the flip side of the pennant-shaped tags. Make as few or as many as you need.

The containers are ideal for small craft supplies such as brads, buttons, or paperclips. Fun - and functional!

Here are your free printables:






Storage Bunting
To Make:
1. Print out the templates on 160gsm photocopier card.
2. Score the fold lines with a fine-point embossing tool (held against a small metal ruler for the straight lines).
3. Cut out the pieces.
4. Carefully pierce brad holes in the centre front and the top pillow arc.
5. Insert brads through the brad mats and through the holes in turn. Spread the brad wings.
6. Crease all the folds, including the curving pillow arcs.
7. Fold the top of the container back down. Stick it down.
Make sure you glue down the top edge of the cut-out area - but don't glue the hanging loops together! (You can use PVA glue or d/s tape.)
8. Stick the triangular backing onto the back of the pillow box. 
9. Stick the long side seam of the pillow box.
10. Tie on a length of craft thread onto the top brad. 
11. Tie the tag onto a hanging loop.
12. Thread ribbon through the hanging loops. Alternate colours of the pillow boxes.

This bunting would make a cute party decoration. Party favours could be placed in labelled boxes, and the bunting could be taken down at the end of the party and the gift boxes distributed.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Free Valentine's Printable Papercrafts: Round-up

Here's a round-up of this year's Valentine's makes. Click on the link to go to the blogpost for your free printable project (pics clockwise from top left):

Matchbox (top left) 
Valentine's Pyramid Surprise Box 
Valentine's Gift Box 
Valentine's Gift Basket 
Secret Message Valentine 

Still time to make them! The matchbox and the pyramid are especially quick and easy.


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Valentine's Matchbox Gift Box

A Valentine's matchbox gift container today - inspired by Mexican papel picado. You can make the easy option (top) - and print out the entire project. Or, you can make a hybrid version (above) and cut-out the banner design on the lid. The cut-out panel can be cut with a digital papercutter or - if you like a challenge - by hand.

Assembling the matchbox is a cinch. The curved panels on the matchbox wrap indicate where to fold it. And - I have devised foolproof drawer pulls:
By attaching the pull to a paper rectangle that fits exactly inside the matchbox drawer side, you get a perfectly centred drawer pull every time. I guess in this case, you could call them "love handles"...

Here are your free printables:


Some more notes about making the project: If you cut out the banner design, glue the provided backing shape behind (choose a contrast colour - vellum is nice). Only make the tags as printables - cutting out is way too fussy!
Have fun making your matchboxes. Have a lovely Valentine's Day.