Saturday, 28 June 2014

Washi Bands Friendship Bracelets (Digi-cut version)

... and now for the Digi-Cut version of Washi Bands. Digitally-cut links are, of course, more precise - and the shapes are fancier and can have greater variation in size. The links cannot be cut from rolls of washi tape - you must use self-adhesive Washi Paper (WRMK Washi Paper), stuck onto a backing of tracing paper or vellum. You get the same lovely translucent links as in the hand-cut washi bands

Here is your cutting file download:
And here is the file for the gift container/storage box (in a different colourway from yesterday):

Making Up Tips:

I have supplied you with with a basic cutting file for the links. To make a bracelet, you will need to cut out one "first link" (with the centre bar) and several ordinary links (about 11-12 ordinary links). Adhere the washi paper onto a tracing paper or vellum backing before digi-cutting the links.

Here's a pic of some digi-cut links:

Bracelet (and gift box) assembly is exactly the same as for hand-cut Washi Bands.
Digi-cut links can be made up in quantity. You don't absolutely have to use washi paper: try cutting them out of ordinary paper in small print patterns. The effect is still very pretty!

Washi Bands: washi tape friendship bracelets

The Loom Band craze is difficult to ignore. (I'm sure that when I purchased my own loom, the sales assistant thought it was for a daughter or niece!) I got to thinking: how about coming up with papercraft friendship links... and tie that in with the washi tape trend. So... here they are: Washi Bands - friendship bracelets made out of washi tape links. The translucent effect is lovely.

Washi Bands are really easy to make: cut, fold, link. The bracelets above are the hand-cut version (digi-cut Washi Bands to follow in my next blogpost). I have devised a system so that you can cut the links from standard 1.5cm (5/8in)-wide washi tape. 
The secret: you print out rows of washi tape links on an ordinary sheet of tracing paper. The outlines are greyed out, so they don't show through. You stick the washi tape onto the flip side of the printout, then cut the links apart.
A bonus: a gift presentation/storage container for the wash bands. You can fill it with completed bracelets or pre-cut links. (The container is supposed to look like stacked rolls of washi tape.)
Here are your files:
Print the template onto a sheet of tracing paper or vellum.

Washi box: lid, base, tag.
Following - step-by-step how-tos:

Washi Bands (Hand-cut)

1 Print the grey template onto an A4 sheet of tracing paper or lightweight vellum.

2 Turn the printout over and stick a strip of washi tape over each row of outlined shapes (visible through the translucent paper). Make sure the edges are aligned.

3 Cut out each row of attached shapes. Using a craft knife, carefully cut out the little triangles. (You may prefer to use a craft knife to cut the initial slit at the triangle's base, then use small scissors to cut out the remaining sides.)

4 Cut the links apart, finishing any other necessary shape-cutting.

Cut out links in three or four colours.

To assemble the washi band:

1 Fold all the links in half crosswise, creasing the centre fold crisply.

2 Start with the first link - the one with the centre bar. Fold it in half with the bar at the top.

3 Open out all the other links. To thread the links, squeeze each link in half lengthwise - but do not crease the fold. Pass the link through the triangular hole of the previous link, then open out the link and re-fold the crosswise fold. Continue this procedure to finish the band, alternating link colours. Make the band as long as necessary to fit around your wrist (probably 10-13 links). Stick the final link together with a snippet of double-sided tape. To fasten the band, pass the bar through the hole in the last link (you must fold the bar ends to pass it though). Open out the bar ends to secure the fastening.

Washi Band Box

1 Print and cut out the template. Cut out the pieces: lid and lid side,
base and base side, tag. 

2 Fold all the tabs on the lid and base to the underside.

3 Join the lid side to make a ring. Join the base sides to make a cylinder.

4 Lid: apply tacky glue to all the tabs. Place the lid ring on a tabletop.
Carefully lower the lid, face down, into the lid ring. Make sure the edges of the lid are flush with the tabletop. Glue down all the tabs.

5 Glue the base to the bottom cylinder in a similar manner. (The dotty "roll of tape" belongs at the bottom.) 

6 Pierce or punch a hole in the gift tag and thread it with a piece of craft thread.

Now try this:

* You don't have to use the links to make friendship bands. Use them to make pretty borders for cards and scrapbook pages. 

* Of course, you can alter the link sizes. Big the links up to make room-sized paper chains.

Have fun playing the chain game.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Beautiful Paper Flowers: more than just a book...

Elegant – and easy to make– Blossoms

By Laurie Cinotto

Sterling Innovation,  June 2014

Boxed kit with paperback, £9.99 UK, $14.99 US, $15.95 CAN

ISBN 978 45491163

Star rating: *** ½

... and, it’s another paper flower book! This one is not a wallflower – it stands out from the crowd. Why?  Because it is more than just a book.  It is a beautifully-boxed kit. Known in the book trade as a “value-added” book. What you get is everything you need to make 9 different types of paper flower – plus an accompanying how-to paperback.

Here’s the kit inventory: you get 24 squares of crinkle crepe paper (posh – not the stretchy craft shop variety), a roll of green florist’s tape, stem wires, a pack of flower stamens – and the instructional book. The flower designs are for: 1 Anemone, 2 Carnation, 3 Peony, 4 Poppy, 5 Rose, 6 Daffodil; 7,8,9: Dahlias 3 ways: Water Lily, Cactus, and Round. 

The style of the flowers is realistic with a crafty touch (the anemones have button centres). When I first saw this kit, I thought it looked a little thin on the ground – but on closer examination, I was very impressed by the quality of the kit materials and of the instructional book. Two other plus factors: the distinctive crinkled-paper squares would be difficult to track down left to your own resources, and the price is quite reasonable for what is provided. 

The book is a slim paperback, but it does a very good job of packing all you need to know into 64 pages. The author, Laurie Cinotto, is very knowledgable. The text is written in a friendly conversational style and is filled with plenty of paper flower-making tips. There are tutorials on how to use floral tape, and how to attach petals. Leaves are considered optional, but they do get a mention, as does leaf placement. The author also describes how to make your own duo-coloured (in bands) papers.

As for the flowers: the Rose is breathtaking. The Round-Style Dahlia with fluted inner petals is a winner. The Daffodil is not very convincing – but that is a small quibble in an otherwise very nice package. There are full-sized photocopiable templates at the back of the book – for flower petals and leaves. 

Beautiful Paper Flowers is very giftable – perhaps for yourself!

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of the kit.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Playing with Pop-Ups, by Helen Hiebert

Playing with Pop-Ups

The Art of Dimensional, Moving Paper Designs

By Helen Hiebert

Quarry Books 2014

Paperback £16.99 UK, $24.99 US, $27.99 CAN

ISBN 978-1-59253-908-6

Star rating: ****


Pop-ups are the graduate school of papercrafting. They dazzle and entertain.  Also intimidate -  pop-ups are called “paper engineering” for a reason!  If you are a fledgling papercrafter, possibly even if you are more experienced, pop-up construction is the ultimate challenge and goal.  In this new book, the intriguing secrets of pop-up construction are revealed.  Plus, there’s lots of enticing background info to put you in the (unfolding) picture. (For instance, The Production of a Pop-Up spread is a fly-on-the-wall experience charting the production cycle of a pop-up book  -  from artist’s roughs to factory assembly.)

The author is Helen Hiebert, talented paper artiste and author of Playing with Paper. She networks with the best and the brightest in the papercraft world. For this book, she made a very shrewd call by assembling an ace team of contributors to provide the projects. The  term “pop up” is an umbrella term that covers many different types of interactive papercrafts. So, the format showcases the paper engineering skills in individual areas of expertise. In all, there are 15 projects by some of the world’s top paper engineers.

This book is full of delights. Amaze to the dissolving picture effects of volvelles (rotating discs). (Must try making a volvelle! I can see why they were so popular in the 19th century.) The slice-form Pop-Up City Skyline (Paul Johnson) will enchant you. The Carousel Pop-Up Book (Emily Martin) is like a miniature doll’s house and would make a fabulous gift for a child. The Pop-Up First Bank (Colette Fu) very cleverly combines pop-up paper engineering with a photographic image. You will also find a tunnel book, a yappy puppy finger puppet, and a pull-tab project. The book is not an  exhaustive examination of pop-up possibilities, but it does cover a good cross-section of paper engineering mechanisms.

At the back of the book is a spectacular Gallery section featuring the creations of  world famous paper engineers: Robert Sabuda, David Pelham, Carol Barton and more. Thrill to the amazing origamic architecture and feats of papercraft dering-do. 

The book does contain a template section, and some double-sided pages that are meant to be cut apart and assembled. I, for one, would have preferred more editorial content to the cuttable pages – because I have no intention of chopping up my lovely review copy.  The Resource section contains a tasty list of books on pop-ups that I intend to chase. Several unfamiliar titles (I thought I knew them all!).

This is a personal hobby horse: I do wish that the book had a look-in on digital papercrafting. Many hobbyist papercrafters are exploring digital pop-up design with their very own home cutting plotters and software. But this is an area that is often overlooked by paper artists. It is like the great art/craft divide. 

Playing with Pop-Ups would make a lovely gift for a papercrafter. Or, treat yourself. And check out the other titles in this excellent series: Playing with Paper, Playing with Books.

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

Monday, 9 June 2014

Washi Tape, by Courtney Cerruti

Washi Tape:

101 Ideas for Paper Crafts, Book Arts, Fashion, Decorating, Entertaining, and Party Fun!

By Courtney Cerruti

Quarry Books 2014

Paperback, £14.99 UK, $ 22.99 US, $24.99 CAN

ISBN 978-1- 59253-914-7

Star rating: ***

Chances are that if you are reading this review, then you are in possession of a sizeable washi tape stash. And you are most probably on the lookout for project ideas. Yes, the craft book world has been in need of washi tape book. Look at the cover of this title by Courtney Cerruti.  Yum. It says “buy me.”

Washi tape – the semi-transparent Japanese low-tack tape, often patterned – has taken the craft universe by storm. The subtle colours and intricate designs of this decorative masking tape are irresistible. The ribbon-like tapes have a charming and ephemeral beauty (like many Japanese papercrafts).  But what to do with washi tape, apart from sticking artfully torn snippets on any available surface? That’s where I was hoping this book would provide an assist.

Well, I was just  a teeny bit disappointed – not that this isn’t a very lovely book. Its production values are swish, the photography is beautiful.  But it is more a washi tape lifestyle book than a craft title. An appreciation. Crafting lite – no dazzling new techniques requiring a small learning curve.  More the results of a brainstorming session on what to do with washi. There are lots of pleasant and inventive ideas for using  washi tape. Ideas that are appropriately pitched to tie in with the temporary nature of the material. Which I suppose is what the subtitle promises.

There are plenty of inspired ideas – like the impromptu indoor hopscotch (a half-term life-saver, for sure) – but not much crafting. Flash of brilliance – the “colorized” vintage photos – big fun. Or the surprise message on the Venetian blinds. But also lots of predictable stuff – washi on paper cups, washi tea light holders (these clock in more than once). Also some “get a life” stuff – like the chair partially wrapped in washi tape (looks like a mistake – should have been edited out). Or the washi tape nail art. Just no.

I loved the washi tape photo wall. The perfect combination of form and function.  A temporary gallery affixed with temporary tape. A delightful patchwork of pics and patterns. Speaking of patchwork, the washi tape patchwork design and washi tape plaids are good ideas – I wish practical projects had been made with them.

A couple of the projects which involve covering objects with a patchwork of washi tape strips are very do-able – like the jumbo papier maché letterform or the wooden coat hanger. But, ultimately, they are just washi-covered stuff  – you could have thought of it yourself. 

The section on Washi Tape Storage is very good indeed. Love the idea of using a wall-mounted thread spool organizer. Also the recycled cigar boxes and tin foil box. 

You will also find some handy tips for working with washi. For example, which type of pen to write or draw the slightly waxed washi surface. Or the idea of sticking washi onto waxed paper while assembling larger washi shapes (it can be peeled off later). 

So, a nice gift book.  More of an idea-browse than a making spree.

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of thist book.