Friday, 31 January 2014

Crazy Patchwork Valentine Gift Set

Today's project is a co-ordinated Valentine pop-up card and gift matchbox. The pop-up is engineered to fit the top of the matchbox perfectly. 

There are two different card styles, three different matchbox wraps, and three different drawer styles, too - so you can mix and match the patterns to your heart's content (see what I did there).

Here are your free downloads. (A tut follows - but everything's easy as pie!)



Crazy Patchwork Valentine Gift Set Tutorial
The Card
1 Above, the card creased but unfinished. As you can see, the card is divided into thirds - the cover folds back to conceal the pop-up mechanism. The important thing to remember is this:
Crease the card centre fold - to either side of the heart pop-up - before
you cut the card out from the paper.
At the same time, mark all the other fold lines with an embossing tool held against a small metal ruler. Folds at the base of the heart, at the top and bottom ends of the two heart strips, and also mark the foldline across the base of the card front.
2 Cut out the card and the pop-up sections as require. Fold the pop-up - gently pull the heart outwards and upwards. On the back of the card, apply d/s tape as shown above.

3 Press the cover down onto the tape and smooth it down. Your card is now finished!:
Valentine Matchbox
1 Fold the drawer and the wrap as shown. The design lines guide your folds. You must fold the long sides of the matchbox drawer in half lengthwise, inwards. Punch the brad holes with a 1/8in circle hand punch.

2 On the right side of the drawer, apply d/s tape to the right sides of the short tabs. On the wrong side of the drawer, apply d/s tape to the outer edges of the long and short sides.
3 To assemble the drawer, fold up the drawer sides and join side tabs to their adjacent sides; then fold down and stick the long and short sides.
Insert the brads, spread their wings. 
4 To assemble the matchbox wrap, crease the folds and overlap the long side on one side of the box. The top long side is a smidge longer than the bottom one: this side belongs on top. Slid the drawer into the wrap. It's a wrap!: your matchbox is now finished:
You can fix the pop-up to the box top with sticky dots, or simply tie it on with ribbon (the preferred option). I like to make a stack of matchboxes with a card on top. Go wild!
There are gift tags, too - so you have the option of giving a gift box without the pop-up card.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Super-Sized Sequins & Spangles

These are cup sequins. The facets make the sparkle!
These are spangles: flat cutouts. Some have "engraved" details.

Today I have two good ideas for the price of one (they're both free!). Number one: D-I-Y super-sized sequins and spangles made out of mirror card. Big fun. Number two: give them as a gift to a crafty friend. Or, give them out as party favours in their cute packaging, and spend the party sequin-and-spangle-crafting (I am thinking kids here).

Papercrafted sequins can be easily stuck onto card with foam squares (I use Thin 3D Foam Squares from Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L). I like to use the foam squares for the spangles, too - gives them a bit of lift.

These shapes are best cut out with a digital paper cutter, but I've also given .pdf files for those who want to give hand-cutting a try.

Here are your free downloads. A tut follows.
Here's the glitz:

Here's the packaging:


Super-Sized Sequins & Spangles Tutorial

1 Cut your sequin shapes out from mirror card. Cut the guide stencils (in green) out from plain cardstock. If hand-cutting, use a 1/16" circle hand punch for the holes. You also need a fine-point embossing tool, a small metal ruler, and a foam mat (for flower-making, or a the flip side of a mouse mat will do).
2 Place the guide over the sequin shape, edges aligned, sequin mirror side face down. Inscribe the centre shape firmly. Remove the guide.

These sequins are inscribed, but not yet folded.

3 Next, draw the short lines that go from the centre shape to the outer edge of the sequin. Butt the tool against the ruler to make straight, accurate lines. I have marked the wrong side of the sequin so you can see the "fold lines" - but in real life, they are only inscribed.
Aim for a gently domed look.
Four-sided shapes are even easier to fold!

4 On the right side of the sequin, gently squeeze the fold lines - the "cup" takes shape. You can squeeze adjacent sides together. Aim for visible fold lines, but not sharp creases.
5 Back on the flip side, you can make final adjustments. You can go over the inscribed lines with the tool for more definition.
 6 Above, the finished sequins. Very snazzy - and convincing!

To make the spangles: 
The spangles are a simple cut-out job. Mark the design lines with the embossing tool as indicated - on the right side of the spangle.

To make the gift packaging:
Card topper: place the embellishments in a cello bag. Fold the cardstock topper in half over the bag top. You can attach the card topper with d/s tape or staples (hold the stapler sideways, or use a long-reach stapler).

Ice cream cups: see how-tos for Valentine Ice Cream Cup Gift Boxes, an earlier post.

What to do with your sequins and spangles? You could make a card...

They're not fake anything... they're real paper sequins!
Have fun making your papercrafted sequins and spangles... and lots of bling things.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Paper to Petal - make crepe paper flowers

Paper to Petal:

75 Whimsical Paper Flowers to Craft by Hand

By Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell

Potter Craft, October 2013

Hardcover, £16.99

ISBN 978-0-385-34505-7

Good news for papercrafters – paper flowers are having a moment. (Of course, if you are a papercrafter, nearly every moment is a paper flower moment - but right now, the publishers have cottoned on to this, too.) Several new titles have already come out – more to come in the Spring. Paper to Petal is a lavishly-produced all-singing, all-dancing production. It has the Martha Stewart seal of approval – an endorsement in the form of the book’s foreward. So I would expect a quality product that outruns the competition. And that’s what you get – this book does indeed live up to the hype.

This book is a labour of love from the wife and husband team of  Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell. As an art student, Rebecca Thuss began to collect vintage paper flower-making instruction booklets. She has learned the trad skills and added her own imagination, updated materials and techniques to the mix. The flowers in the book are crafted from crepe paper, with added elements and embellishments.

Some of my favourite projects include: Bookworm Bookmarks. A playful take on vintage ribbon bookmarks. (Concept: some very artistic bookworms have “munched their way” through the blooms.) Multifarious Foliage: ferns and such. Great collective effect –  lush, sort of like a terrarium. Delft & Flow Blue. Blue and white china-look always charms me. Confiseries Colorées. Re-purposed doilies in sweetshop colours. Double Scoop. Inspired by ice cream cones. Love the waffle-look leaves. Multiblooms: beautiful cascades. Flying Kites. Takes a theme and runs with it: kite-shaped petals, knotted tail leaves, kite string flower centres. Pin Stripe & Pin Dot: fun with felt-tips. Fading Fall Wreath. Oak leaves, graduated colour effect, unusual rectangular shape. Nice one. Trompettes: works the metallic crepe to great effect. Cheerleaders: pompoms are everywhere these days. If pompoms are for you, then so are these mega-blooms.

The format of the book works a treat. The book is divided into five sections. Part I: The Flowers is a gallery section featuring the beautifully photographed projects. Part ll is the Materials section. Seven different types of crepe paper are listed. Who knew? An education. Tapes, adhesives, tools, findings, paints and colourings – it's all here.  Part III – Skills. This section is impressive. You’ll learn about flower components, layered construction, different petal styles, methods of decoration, and assembly techniques. Part IV: How-Tos. Skill levels are given for each project, always useful. Instructions for each and every flower, with photos of components and construction techniques. Part V: Full-size trace-off Templates with crepe paper grain direction indicated. And there’s an index, too.

Paper to Petal would make an ideal gift for a papercrafter. It delivers the goods - you learn a new skill – making crepe paper flowers – in great style, which is what you want from a craft title. 

Note: I received a review copy of this title.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Valentine Ice Cream Cup Gift Boxes

Ice cream cups (or tubs - whatever you call them) are irresistibly cute - which makes them the ideal box shape for small gifts or treats. I call these Valentine Ice Cream Cups, but you can use them year round for many occasions. The colourway is retro. The cups have a slot-top closure. And they come with optional gift tags. Best of all: they are super quick and easy to make.

Here are your free downloads:


To make each cup:
1  Shape the cup body over your fingers to make it curve gently, then join the flap with d/s tape or tacky PVA glue.
2 Score the folds on the base piece tabs and fold them upwards. Apply a dab of glue to each tab. Place the cup body on a flat surface and insert the base piece, face down. Adhere all the tabs. I like to stick down the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock tabs first, then do the ones in between. Make sure the cup base is flush with the table. 
3 If using a gift tag, tie in onto the cup through one of the top slots. 
4 Score and fold the lid tab upwards. Insert the tabs in the slots. Tah dah - ice cream gift box. 

Of course, you can mix and match the lids and bases - go wild. And re-use the cups if they haven't been used for food items.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Valentine Treasure Chests

These petite treasure chests make perfect Valentine gift boxes. A surprise is always nice, in addition to a card! These treasure chests are just the right size for sweets or trinkets.
With a pink colour scheme, they are ideal for Valentine's Day. But switch to tan for a more authentic olde treasure chest appearance and you can use them all year round (Talk Like a Pirate Day?), birthday party favours.

Here are your free downloads:

I like to use 160gsm cardstock for the chests - a nice printable weight that's easy to fold. You can get some interesting effects by printing on slightly patterned paper: try kraft or distressed-look. The hardware is made of double-sided gold pearlescent paper.

Here's the tut:

Treasure Chest Gift Box Tutorial
1 Above, all the template pieces cut out and prepped. All the tabs and flaps have been scored and folded. I like to use a fine embossing tool held against and small metal ruler.
2 Make the treasure chest base first. You can use PVA tacky glue or d/s tape. I've used d/s tape to demo because it is quicker. Tape on the side tabs and under the long top flaps. To assemble the box, stick adjacent sides. 
3 Turn under the long top flaps for a neat finish. Like so:
4 The next step is optional. Attach the chest end liners:
5 Time to make the domed lid:
On the front sides, attach tape snippets to all the short tabs. On the flip side, attach tape to the bottom turnings.
6 Next, join the side sections to the main section, matching sections as shown.
7 Next, gently shape the main section so that it curves:
8 Now for the tricky bit. Take it slow and easy. Attach the remaining tab of the side piece to the other side. Then attach the short tabs inside the side dome. Stick the middle tab first, then work outwards on either side:
You want a nice, smooth curve. Repeat for the other side, of course.
Here's a view from the inside:
Next, turn under the bottom flaps on all four sides.
9 This bit is optional - for pretty appearance: lining the lid side panels. Like so:
10 Time for the hardware now. To make each side handle, fold a handle piece in half and a backing plate, too. No need to glue the sides of the handle together. Add a snippet of d/s tape to one half of the plate and also on the back of the plate. Pass the plate through the handle, catching in the handle top bar. (You will have to squeeze the plate together slightly.) Seal the plate halves together.
Thread a piece of string through the key, and tie the key onto one handle. 
Stick a handle onto each side of the chest top:
Align the handle bar with the lid side border.
11 Attach lock to lid front.
Punch or pierce a hole in the centre front edge of the chest lid. I used a 1/16" circle hand punch. Also punch a hole through the lock top. Attach lock to chest front with a brad.
 Alternatively, you attach the lock to the lid with a piece of ribbon:
Curling ribbon, as I've used here, is fun.
So that's it. Sweets for the sweet. Yo ho ho!