Saturday, 27 December 2014

Glue-less ZigZag Paper Chains

Just in time for New Year's Eve: 

These festive rickrack-like paper chains interlock without glue! Just entwine the end portions of each zigzag band to form a loop. The tails tuck behind. Each link has a duo-colour segment and a one-colour segment for variety. 

Here are your free printables:

 Have a happy and creative 2015!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

"Loom Band" Party Garland

I've been brainstorming ideas for "alternative" party garlands - just in case you are bored with gluing loops of paper. Today's idea channels the loom band craze, which, you may have noticed, appeals to kids of all ages. The loops are paper, of course, but the look is pretty recognizable. Bonus: a Woven-Star Charm, which is fun to make in its own right. 

A faux loom band banner is, of course, great for kids' parties. But it would look just fine for New Year's Eve - you can easily make one in time. 

Here are your free designs:

To make up the garland, simply fold each loop in half and slip it through the previous loop. Don't crease the folds - soft folds are more authentic-looking (you can't crease a rubber band!). To end the chain, glue the last loop together. To secure the first loop, you can either tie the ends together with a piece of craft thread, or cut a strip of same-coloured paper, slip it through the ends and glue it down.

The how-tos for the Woven Star Charm are on the pattern template.

Have fun looping the loop!

More garlands here: Retro Flower Garland, Cut-outs, Retro Flower Garlands (Colours)

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Granny Hexagon Gift Bags

I was trawling for a new crochet project, and I came across a Granny Hexagon shopper. I was fascinated by how it was constructed from just ten artfully-arranged hexagons. Magic! I love modular designs. So today's papercraft project is a crochet lesson of sorts. If you ever want to make a crocheted hexagon market bag, you'll know how to put it together.

The secret is that the hexagons at the centre side fold to the back, as do the base hexagons. The pic below is of the bag back:

I've designed my papery bag with a decorative wrapped handle-grip.

I've made the bags in two sizes. The mini fits on an A4 sheet. The larger size is pieced at the bottom and requires two pieces of paper. 

Here are your printables:



The bags are fun to make. Remember to snip into the side margins on either side of the hexagons as indicated. This allows you to turn back the side margins. Glue these first, before you stick down the hexagons onto the bag back.

These would make a fun presentation idea for a gift voucher for a crocheter. You never can have enough yarn (or paper)!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Retro Flower Garlands: Cut-Outs

These pretty filigree flower links have the same basic design as yesterday's project, Retro Flower Garlands. The diff is that these are cut-outs, which makes them completely reversible - and extremely suitable for open spaces. When linked into cascades, the flower streamers will flutter prettily. Make them up all-one-size or in graduated sizes.

To join the links, simply fold the extension around the loop of the previous link. Glue the tail in place (you may need to trim it to fit).

If cutting the .pdf file out by hand, I suggest removing the cut-out teardrop shapes with a craft knife, cutting out around each flower with scissors, and removing the centre hole with a 1/8 in hand-held circle punch.

Of course, a digital papercutter will make short work of the project.

Here are your free files:

 These garlands would make ideal decs for a winter wedding.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Retro Flower Garlands

Thought I'd offer some alternative festive garlands. These "flower power" links can be strung as garlands or cascades. Just a teeny dab of glue is all you need to secure the tab on the flower back. These are single-sided garlands - so best anchored to a wall.

Here are your free printables:


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Tab Mini Baskets

Here's an easy and fun project that you can make up quickly in quantity. These teeny basket bags have a loop handle, all-in-one construction, and a pretty folded swirl star decoration. The pillow-envelope base is coloured for easy folding.

Here are your free printables:


1 Score all the fold lines. I use a fine-point embossing tool held against a small metal ruler.
2 Cut out the Mini Basket, dot, and star.
3 Glue the dot on to the wrong side of the basket back, covering the flip side of the slit. 
4 On the printed side of the basket, carefully cut the slit through all layers, and the U-shaped cut. 
5 Crease all the folds, including the curved pillow bases. 
6 Apply d/s tape or glue to the side flaps. Join front to back along the sides, matching the edges. 
7 Fold in the pillow-shaped marquise shapes to seal the ends. Fold the back first, then the front on top.
8 To fasten the bag top, pop the U-shaped front tab into the back slit.
9 To make the star-swirl decorations: a. crease the triangles at the base of each fold. b. fold each triangle arm down consecutively, hooking them around where necessary. Fluff up the points to accentuate the 3-D effect. Stick onto the mini basket with a sticky dot.

These make sweet party favours.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Paper Furoshiki Bags

Furoshiki is the Japanese art of wrapping parcels in fabric - result: elegant and recyclable giftwrap designs! I thought - why not do a papercraft version? These pretty mini-wraps are inspired by furoshiki.
They look like bunnies - or spacehoppers! Although you may not be able to use them a million times, if you unwrap them carefully they can be re-used several times.

To "tie" them, simply slip the loop through the slots. (I have reinforced the slots, with multiple use in mind.) To make a festive bow topknot, just stick on several loop handles on each side of the wrap (max 3, I recommend). Fan them out after you have passed them through the slot for optimum topknot effect.

A how-to-fold tut follows below.

Here are your free printables: 


How to Fold your Furoshiki:
1 Cut out the bag and loops. Glue on the reinforcements. Fold each loop in half - but do not crease the top - keep it a soft fold. Glue the bottom edges of each loop together. Score the loop base fold. Glue a loop onto the top of each bag side. Remember to fill your bag with contents before you fold it!
2 Pass a loop through a slot until the base is flush with the slot.
3 Pass the remaining loop through the same slot.
4 This is a pic of what you now have.
5 Pass the loops through the remaining slot to close the bag.
6 There you have it - the finished furoshiki bag. Fluff out the loops for max bunny effect. To open the parcel, carefully lift the slots over the loops.
These make great party favours.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Pyramid Surprise Boxes

These little gift boxes make excellent grab-bag gift packaging, or are suitable as tabletop party favours. Add a hanging loop at the apex and you could even use them as tree ornaments. There's a box-within-the-box, so you can put a small gift in the bottom container and pop a choc on top for a double surprise.

Scandi Ski Sweater prints are big this season, so I went with that. The tags are optional. And, of course, either the pyramid or the mini-box can be used on its own.

Here are your free printables:




The boxes are really quick and easy to make. Cut out the boxes, score the folds. Fold the folds - make the creases sharp! The "wings" on each triangle are folded to the inside of the box. Assemble the mini-box - just glue or d/s tape the adjacent tabs. To close the mini box, fold down one top flap at a time, tucking the last one in. The rounded corner of each flap goes on top. Pop the (filled) mini-box onto the base of the pyramid - no need to stick it down. To close the triangle, thread a tapestry needle with a length of Baker's Twine, pass it through the holes at the apex of the triangles. Draw the twine up, tie a bow. The gift tag is optional.

Enjoy making these festive gift boxes.


TM: 29 The Untold Story Behind 29 Classic Logos - Book Review Link

Here's a link to a book review that I've contributed as a guest blogger on the very lovely Make it in Design Blog.

This very accessible graphic design title spotlights 29 iconic logos (biggies like Coca Cola, Penguin Books) - and tells you the inspirational stories about how they came to be. Lots of eureka moments, and of course, plenty of beautiful pics.

TM is written by Mark Sinclair, and is published by Laurence King Publishing. Here's the Amazon link (where you can look inside the book).

Friday, 21 November 2014

Snowflake Interactive New Year Cards

These volvelle interactive cards are shaped like paddle fans to make
them easy to manipulate. Hold the fan handle in one hand, slide the tab with the other: Hey presto!... dissolving snowflake pic. Different styles of filigree snowflakes - whoosh!

The volvelle mechanism works via a slotted base layer and a rotating disc. I've been keen to try making one ever since reviewing Helen Hiebert's book Playing with Pop-Ups. There are also volvelles in Jean-Charles Trebbi's The Art of Pop-Up and in Making Mechanical Cards, by Sheila Sturrock (all of which are excellent papercraft refs). 
My design is a hybrid of mechanisms, with the added paper fan base. And yes, it is just a little bit tricky to make, but like most things, easier when you know how. You've got to put the rotating disc behind the paddle fan. The disc segments are brought to the front, and the jaggedy front segments are brought to the back. It is all held together with an indispensible centre brad, with brad mats front and back.

The how-tos are printed on the download files. If cutting out by hand, follow the outlines to cut out the six segments on the fan and the dial (disc). The cut-outs on the paddle fan are jaggedy-lines and the are cut-outs on the dial are flag-shaped. I have added a reinforcement to place behind the bottom edge of the dial and behind the fan handle because they get the most wear and tear.

Here are your free printables:



Depending on where you live in the world, a fan may be the last thing you need on New Year's Day. But wherever you live, an entertaining New Year greeting is tops!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Art of Pop-Up, by Jean-Charles Trebbi. Review.

The Art of Pop-Up

The Magical World of Three-Dimensional Books

By Jean-Charles Trebbi

Promopress 2012, reprint 2014

Amazon link

ISBN 978-84-92810-65-9

Star rating: *****

The author of The Art of Pop-Up, Jean-Charles Trebbi, says that there are only about 100 paper engineers in the world. Well, those guys are my papercraft heroes, and M. Trebbi’s book is papercraft geek bliss.

This awesome title is a lovingly-curated pictorial history and appreciation of the pop-up book, its masterminds and creators. That description sells this wondrous title short, because although the main focus is on the movable book,  just about every imaginable type of paper engineering mechanism and curiosity is featured,  going way beyond the book:  sliceforms, action origami, origamic architecture, flip books, tunnel books, carousel books, mix and match, and much more. The mind boggles! The author says that the book is not exhaustive, but it certainly packs an amazing amount of info about interactive papercrafting within its covers.

The book is, appropriately, bookended with two superb paper-engineered features. Up front is a pull-out double-sided paper engineering Timeline Fold-Out. Back-of-book there’s a Techniques Guide featuring pop-up book mechanisms and bindings. So as not to disappoint, both are fancy-folded. These excellent resources amount to crib sheets for aspiring paper engineers.

The book begins with an introduction to movable books, followed by a concise (but still lavishly-illustrated) history. There are plenty of fascinating historical details. To whet your appetite (without providing too many spoilers):  instructional movable books, featuring volvelles, rotating wheels which revealed info, were used by Renaissance scholars. Pop-up books for entertainment and for children were introduced in the 18th century. And, of course, the Industrial Revolution (and less expensive paper) in the 19th century brought with it a golden age of paper-engineered book innovation.  

Next up is the Techniques section, featuring a spotlight on paper engineering pioneers – those who masterminded the concepts, then moving on to specific  pop-up variations and their makers. When a mechanism is shown, there are often accompanying  diagrams for your edification and enlightenment, a very handy feature. Example: the birds-eye view of the carousel book.

There is a spotlight on Paper Engineers: designer profiles. Here are the big names: Robert Sabuda, Jennie Maizels (creator of the amazing Pop-Up London), and many more. Meet the makers, view their works, see what makes them tick (or snip, as the case may be...).  Great stuff.

The  Beyond Pop-Up section is about “thinking outside the book”, you might say. This part explores the frontiers of pop-up, such as bigging up the concept for theatrical sets and home furnishings. There’s a look-in on digital developments (this is not in the book, but currently topical - Rob Ryan has a new interactive digital iBook).There are also related ideas, such as incorporating smell and/or textures (me: Pat the Bunny).  The sub-section on book Restoration is commendable. This is a topic rarely discussed in paper pop-up how-to books, yet, paper being what is – relatively fragile and ephemeral – is of prime importance. Valuable tips are included on how to craft archival-quality projects, and also on how to repair and clean mechanisms.

Last of all: Models: photocopiable projects you can try. Fun, challenging stuff, as you would expect. There’s origamic architecture, a one-piece tunnel book, a volvelle disc, a cat-themed sliceform, and a Lotus pop-up. All are contributed by experts in their niche areas. You will learn by doing.

This is a large-format book with quality production values.

The author, Jean-Charles Trebbi, an architect and designer himself, says that the intent of his book “was to pay tribute and give a voice to” a  little-known  profession, paper engineers,”whose craft combines the technical expertise of cutting and folding with producing ingenious creations.”  He has achieved his aim. This book is an inspirational mother lode. It examines the past and imagines the (sometimes digital) future of paper engineering.

This is a book to dip into time and again – a go-to resource and inspiration for everyone who loves 3-D interactive papercrafting.

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