Tag Archives: papercrafts

Embroidered Flower Paper

Last summer I had great fun making some gorgeous flower paper with the lovely Annie from Dragonfly Studio in Skye.  If you look back to Project 9 you can see exactly how I made the paper, but basically we layered up flowers and leaves between sheets of good quality paper, tied them all together and left them to soak in a basin of water and vinegar for as long as possible.

 

The result was a wonderful selection of subtle coloured paper with the imprints of what we’d pressed.  Certain foliage worked better than others, but I ended up with a good stash of paper for future projects.

 

 

At the time Annie had mentioned the possibility of sewing onto the paper, so I thought I’d have a go at that.

 

Once I’d chosen my paper, I looked through my embroidery thread collection and picked out a few complimentary colours that I thought would work well.  There was a pale blueish tint to a couple of the flowers, along with browns and greens too, so I selected a few thread options and laid them on the table where I was working so that I could place them on the paper to see which ones worked best.

 

 

I knew I’d have to be really careful as the paper would rip easily, and the stitches would have to be fairly well spaced apart or a hole would form if the needle marks were too closer to each other.

The aim was to subtly enhance the shapes of the foliage by stitching along the out edges to highlight certain parts of the picture.  You can see below that I used a selection of chain stitch, running stitch, whipped running stitch and blanket stitch.

 

All that I need now is to find a frame for the picture and it’ll be ready to hang.

 

For the moment though, it’s resting on the mantle place so I can keep looking at it in case I decide it needs a little more adding to it.  The hardest part is definitely knowing when enough is enough!

 

Mini Noticeboard

I’m definitely one of those people who keep things in ‘safe places’.  You know the places I mean?  They seem a really good idea at the time, but when it comes to actually finding the receipt or piece of paper you need, somehow you can’t quite remember where you put them!

 

What could be better then than a little mini noticeboard so I can clip receipts etc in full view.  I had a few of these mdf mini boards left over from a workshop a few years ago, so thought I’d have a go at decorating one.

 

I had a root around my paper and card stash and found a lovely piece of thin card with a pattern and wording I really liked.

I placed the board onto a piece of baking paper and drew around it, making sure I marked where the holes were too.  I was then able to draw the exact shape I wanted onto the baking paper and cut it out.  Because the baking paper is translucent, it’s easy to place it over the card and position it so that you get it exactly where you want it before drawing around the edges and cutting out the card.

 

I used double sided sticky tape on the back of the card to attach it to the board.

 

 

I thought a couple of buttons might be a nice addition, so had a little play around with various colours and shapes before deciding on two yellow flower buttons (which I attached with small pieces of double sided tape).

 

I then used a gold gel pen to work my way around the edges of the card to give it a bit of definition.

 

 

 

Next it was time to add the two little pegs.  They came in a mini jar and I thought about leaving them as they were (plain wood) but then had a go colouring them in using the gold gel pen.

 

 

I used double sided tape again to attach the pegs to the board, making sure I spaced them evenly apart and the board was almost finished.

 

I was tempted to use some twine to hang the board but settled for a nice piece of yellow ribbon from my stash in the end.  It was just a case of threading it through the holes and knotting it at the back and hey presto, one mini noticeboard!

 

Wedding Drawers

I still have a few bits and pieces left over from my wedding last June, including these gorgeous serviettes.  Like lots of other things, they’ve been living in a basket until I could decide what to do with them.

Well, last week it came to me!

 

 

Now that I’m finally managing to reduce my stash, I’ve been moving things around in my craft room and realised that I could do with some drawers under my desk (an old kitchen table).  We’d recently visited Orange Box North East, a furniture collection and redistribution community interest company where I found a small set of drawers that would go perfectly in the space, and they only cost me £8.  I wanted to use the serviettes to decorate them.

 

Once I got the drawers home, I gave them a good wipe down, but other than that there was no preparation needed.

I gathered together my serviettes, pva/water glue and brush.   Now most decent quality serviettes are 3-ply, ie they’re made up of 3 layers, with only the outer layer being decorated.  When using serviettes for decoupage, you only need the top layer which is really thin.  I found that the bottom layer came away quite easily, but it was slightly trickier to remove the middle plain white layer which seemed to be attached to the patterned outer layer.  In the end I realised that if I ripped these two layers together, then the bottom one would come away slightly allowing me to lift it up and gently pull it away leaving me with the patterned outer layer that I wanted.  I worked my way through the pile until I’d separated all of the layers, and put the white bits to one side as I’m sure there must be something I can do with them (but I’m not quite sure what just yet!)

Next I divided up the patterned layers and worked out how many I could afford to use on each section of the drawers.  I didn’t want to find I’d only got a few left, but still had quite a bit to cover.  I had more of the pink ones than the yellow ones, so decided to just use pink for the drawers themselves, but to use a mixture of pink and yellow for the main shell of the drawers.

Once I knew how many I had to work with, I ripped the serviettes up roughly and mixed in the two designs so that I could just pick them up at random as I worked.  The principle is really simple.  Making sure you don’t use too much glue so that the paper becomes soggy and rips, glue your first piece of paper onto your surface and use your brush to carefully brush it flat and remove any air bubbles and as many of the wrinkles as you can.

 

Continue adding a piece at a time, overlapping them carefully as you go.

There are lots of tutorials showing how to decoupage without wrinkles in your work, but to be honest it’s quite fiddly to do (especially with thin serviettes).  Personally I like the wrinkled look, but if you want yours perfectly flat then I recommend you start with a smaller project and be prepared to take it nice and slow until you perfect the technique.

With practice you’ll realise how much glue to spread on the surface and how much to put on the top of your paper.  You’re aiming for enough so that the piece sticks, but not too much that it rips or moves about which can be really frustrating.  You’ll soon get the hang of it!

Continue working your way over all of the surfaces, remembering to cover all of the bits that will be on view when the drawers are pulled open too.

A larger item like these drawers will take a few days to do, but it’s really therapeutic and thoroughly enjoyable.  Just make sure you take your time, and keep looking over each of the surfaces to make sure you haven’t missed a bit!  Once everywhere is covered, go over the whole thing again with your pva glue to give it a good finish.

Now I’ve got no excuse not to sort out all my paperwork!!

 

A Project of Note!

I’m one of those crafters who likes to keep notes on what I’m doing.  If I’m knitting or crocheting then I always like to have a notebook handy to jot down where I am in the pattern in case I get interrupted.   My preferred size for craft notebooks is A6 as these fit nicely into project bags and are easy to carry around with me.

 

As you can imagine, I go through notebooks quite quickly so I thought I’d make one for my next project to show you how easy it is!  I came across this gorgeous turquoise textured paper under my craft table – I found it in a Paperchase sale about 3 years ago and I’ve still got about 4 big sheets of it left (I’ve no idea why I bought so much!), so decided to use it to make the cover of the notebook.

 

I’ve got small supplies of good quality white and cream paper left in my stash, so decided to go for white.  I always like to add a bit of interest to my notebooks though and add in other handmade papers, so set out seeing what else I could find that would fit in with the turquoise cover.  Once I’d decided on what I was going to use, I cut it all to size using my guillotine and carefully folded each piece in half.  I then experimented with the order in which I wanted the patterned pages and plain paper pages to appear.

As well as using patterned paper, you can jazz up your plain paper too – I opted to decorate the edge of one of the pieces using a pretty tulip stamp, and another by simply cutting a thin strip of patterned paper and gluing it down flush with the edge.

 

I also decided to use one of my ceramic buttons that been in my tin for a few years now and sew it onto the front cover.

 

 

 

So, once you’ve cut all your paper to size, folded it and decided what order you’d like it to appear in your notebook, it’s time to sew it together.

Now I always buy my bookbinding tools from The Vintage Paper Company and they have a really lovely guide to making a simple book here if you’d like to have a go, but I’ll try and explain my method below with the help of some photos.

You need to make yourself a stitching template out of stiff card that’s the same length as your book, and on which you’ve marked the centre point of the book, as well as 2 cms from the top and bottom (or wherever you want your stitch to finish.

Next, you push all the papers right into the cover so that they sit flush, and hold them in place with 2 small bulldog clips (or pegs etc) – one on each side.  Now you need to place your book inside a really thick book or pile of magazines (an old telephone directory is ideal for this if you have one).  Slide the template inside the book, right in the centre, and using an awl push right through all the layers into the book or phone directory below in the 3 places marked on the template.  You want to make sure your tool goes all the way through so you have 3 good holes to thread your needle through.

Keeping the clips in place, it’s now time for the sewing.  Thread a nice long length of thread (ideally a waxed linen bookbinding thread is perfect as it’s nice and strong, but you could use embroidery thread or any other thick thread you have).

I like to start my stitch on the inside of the book, but some folk prefer to start from the outside.  Here’s how I do it:

  1. From the inside of the book, push the needle through the centre hole to the outside
  2. Insert the needle from the outside into the bottom hole and bring it through to the inside.
  3. Insert the needle from the inside into the top hole and take it through to the outside.
  4. Insert the needle from the outside back into the centre hole.
  5. Ensure that the two ends of your thread end up on either side of the central stitch on the inside of your book.
  6. Pull the ends tightly and turn the book over to check that the thread is lying flush with the book on the outside.
  7. Make a double knot and trim the ends.  I like to leave a good inch and make a feature of the knot.

If you start your stitch from the outside, then the knot will end up on the outside too, so it’s just a case of which you prefer really.

If you were making a larger book, you could work 2 smaller  pamphlet stitches on the spine rather that one larger one, but again, that’s up to you.

 

Once the stitching is finished, you can remove the clips and there you have it – one unique notebook all ready to be filled with lots more crafting!