Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Calendar Globe 2016

Here's a fun dodecahedron calendar - just in time for posting greetings cards. I like to flat-pack them as a card enclosure:
Here is your free calendar file:

The calendar is fun to make. Cut it out by Silhouette machine or hand, score and crease the folds. Glue or tape the tabs. Two jaggedy egg-halfs fit together to make the finished shape - January at top, December at the base.

Hope your 2016 is happy and creative!


Sunday, 6 December 2015

Toast Rack Card Racks 2015

Here are my toast rack-style card racks, 2015 edition. They are handy for those of you who prefer to browse, rather than display greetings cards - or to handle the overflow. 

Here are toasties 2015:


There are separate .pdf files. The Silhouette digi-cut file has all the toast rack components in it.

You can mix and match the toast rack sides and bodies to make different colour combinations.

To make the toast rack:

1 Print the rack components. Two sides and one body per rack.

2 With a fine-point embossing tool and a small metal ruler, score the fold lines (indicated by notches on the body).

3 Cut the toast rack components out, either by hand or digitally. By hand, you will need a craft knife an ruler to cut the slots.

4 Carefully crease the folds. To fold the toast rack body, place a small metal ruler behind the fold line before creasing it.

6 Attach a toast rack side to either side of the toast rack body base. Use double-sided tape or tacky PVA glue.

7 Fold the toast rack, gluing the side tabs and finally, the long base tab.

I like to flat-pack the toast racks and send them as card enclosures. I have provided you with a printable label. You can partially assemble the toast rack (I like to attach the ends to the body), then fold along the creases and pop it into a cello bag.

Christopher Dresser's Victorian toast racks.

I am not the only designer to be into toast rack permutations! I have a very emininent predecessor - the visionary Victorian industrial designer
Christopher Dresser had a thing for silver toast racks. Check it out on Google images! His designs are amazingly inventive.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Free Printable Xmas Card Envelopes 2015

Here are co-ordinated envies to go with the 2015 cards, posted yesterday. The envelopes fit dinky size cards measuring 6.5 x 9.5 cm (2-5/8 x 3-3/4in) folded.

Here are your freebie envelopes 2015:


.pdf file

The .pdf version is two to a page for paper economy. The .studio file gives you both colours, but only fits one to an A4 page due to registration.

Card racks next post.

Enjoy the holiday season!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Free Printable Xmas Cards 2015

Just when you need them - free printable Xmas cards! As you can see, the cards are fold-ins with a surprise factor. The designs are ski jumper-inspired, and I got the idea for the hexagonal medallions from this lovely new book (click for Amazon link), which admittedly has nothing to do with papercraft:
... crafters rarely stick to one medium! :) 

Back to papercrafting - here are your free cards:


As you can see, I've given you .pdf files for handmade cards, and digi-cut files for Silhouette machines (I made mine on a Silhouette Cameo). 


1 Print the cards on photocopier card.

2 Mark the fold lines (indicated by the notches along the top and bottom card edges) using a fine-point embossing tool held against a small metal ruler.

3 Cut out the cards. To cut by hand, use a scalpel to cut around the righthand side of the lefthand motif - and of the 2015 tag. Then cut the perimeter of the card with a craft knife held against a metal ruler. By Silhouette: just cut out the card - the settings are in the file.

4 Fold the card as shown in pics. If you wish, the lefthand card edge can be stuck down for a more conventional card look:
I personally prefer the open zig-zag:
Next post: card racks 2015. 

Have a warm and cosy holiday season!


Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Art of Paper Weaving, by Anna Schepper and Lene Schepper. Review.

46 Colorful, Dimensional Projects

By Anna Schepper and Lene Schepper

Quarry Books 2015

Paperback £15.99 UK/$24.99US/$29.99CAN

ISBN 978-1-63159-039-9

Star rating: *****+

Have you ever made a woven paper heart? Paper weaving is a craft tradition in Denmark and Norway.  Anna and Lene, the Danish mother and daughter team behind Paper Matrix, have taken the art of paper weaving and updated it for the 21st century.  From a papercrafter’s viewpoint, their book is about exciting as it gets.  What do you get when you combine reverence for tradition  past, a deep understanding of geometric principles (Anna is a trained architect),  and an assist from some powerful design software? – the unmistakable genius of Paper Matrix.

If this book were only a project book, it would have earned its five star rating. But it goes beyond the presentation of  wonderful projects – it aims to build skills so that eventually the reader will be able to combine ideas and eventually innovate. Wow. 

Beginning with an attractive triangle bunting, the book introduces designs of increasing complexity. The triangle bunting, no less attractive for its simplicity, teaches several skills used in more complex paper weaving – weaving in rows, weaving around a centre, and sliding. The book then moves on to the Basic Cone – a cornet shape with a handle that would make an ideal tree decoration. Before weaving, the two pieces of the cone template look like angel wings! Invaluable tip – they are interwoven over a paper cone armature. Next come spheres – the swirling pattern pieces are awesomely beautiful in their own right. The last basic shape is the basket, the most functional  design.

With basic skills established, the book moves on to ever more intricate creations – hot air balloons, and exquisite shaped creations like onion domes. The Heart in Hand, based on 1840s friendship tokens, would make a wonderful Valentine’s project. There are sections of themed projects, such as Magic Circus, and Tivoli Gardens (Copenhagen’s famous amusement park). 

A delightful section at the back of the book, Pretty Handles, shows a variety of interwoven handle options. The handle strips can be interlaced in various ways to produce different designs. There is also a nifty spread, On Colors and Patterns, that tells you how to interweave the coloured strips to produced desired pattern results (takes me back to when I studied woven textiles).

The projects are accompanied by carefully detailed step-by-steps, illustrated as required. The back-of-book templates are full-size, with more available online. 

How do you go about reproducing the intricate design templates? The authors suggest three different methods:  photocopier and scissors; scanner, printer, and scissors; or scanner, software, and digital cutter. (Surely the last method is the optimum method for crafting professional-looking results.) So - not exactly easy-when-you-know-how - but a fascinating creative skill to learn and build upon.

I have previously reviewed Fletvaerk, Anna & Lene Schepper’s Danish-language title, on my blog. Although there is some overlap in the content of the two titles, The Art of Paper Weaving is a more comprehensive skill-builder.

If you are looking for a Christmas gift for a papercrafter, then the unmistakable magic of Paper Matrix should be top of your list – The Art of Paper Weaving.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Ski Sweater Drawstring Gift Box Mini Tutorial

I have a thing for ski sweaters - a cosy and comforting  motif. So, in addition to yesterday's dinky cubes, here are some drawstring gift boxes. The top closure forms a pretty star shape. This project would be thoughtful gift packaging for a knitting or crochet enthusiast, or it would make an ideal container for a small handmade item - like a pair of gloves or mittens.

There are two different co-ordinating colour combos. You can place the boxes side-by-side and the jumpers form a continuous repeat. Cool.

I have embossed the folds with a Silhouette Curio machine, but I also provide .pdf files for those of you who haven't yet gone digital.

Here are your free printables:


For each gift box, you need:
3 pieces of photocopier card
45cm (18in) of 3mm(1/8in)-wide ribbon; tapestry needle
2 seed beads; sewing needle, thread 
Craft thread
Double-sided tape and/or PVA tacky glue

To score by hand:
Fine embossing tool, small metal ruler

To make up:
1 Print the design and cut out the box pieces. For each box you need two body pieces and a base. (The reinforcements are optional.) 

If cutting out with a Silhouette Curio, turn on the registration marks and print out the box body. (Pic below shows box on cutting mat).
Next, slide the cutting mat on top of the box body, with edges aligned. Use Advanced cutting - cut by colour. Emboss the blue lines with the fine embossing tool (pic below). 
Next, cut out the box body (purple lines, ratchet blade). Repeat for the remaining box body piece. Cut out the box base and the tags by standard cutting method.

If cutting out by hand - cut out with scissors and mark the fold lines with an embossing tool held against a metal ruler.

2 Pic above shows how to piece the two body pieces. Glue reinforcments over the holes on the wrong side before joining together to make a ring. Crease all the folds. Mountain folds at the peaks, valley folds in between.
3 Glue (or tape) the tabs onto the base to complete the box (see pic above).
4 Using a tapestry needle, lace the ribbon through the holes. Thread a bead on to each ribbon end. There's a trick to this. Thread a sewing needle with sewing thread and stitche through the ribbon end. Re-thread both thread ends through the needle, then pass through the hole in the seed bead. You can now slide the seed bead up the ribbon.
Tie a knot below the bead and trim the ribbon end. I seal the ribbon tails with a smidge of PVA glue applied with a cocktail stick.

5 The gift tag is tied on to the drawstring using a bit of craft thread.
Enlarge the pattern pieces to make bigger boxes. If using the Silhouette Curio, the long base will be required for bigger box sizes.



Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Winter Woollies Gift Box

These dinky cubes (4.5cm/1-3/4in) are great as party favours - they are stackable and fun. They are decorated with a seasonal ski sweater motif. If you put a ribbon hanging loop in a cube corner, then you have a tree ornament!

I have given you two versions - .pdf printable, or print-and-cut for a Silhouette Curio machine. The Curio will emboss the fold lines and cut out the template pieces for you. 

Here are your free templates:

The .pdf printable is all-in-one.

The Silhouette Curio cube is in two pieces.
Winter Woollies Gift Box How-Tos:

.pdf Version:
Cut the box out (photocopier card is ideal), score the fold lines with a fine-point embossing tool and a small ruler, crease the folds, join the one flap to complete the box. 

Silhouette Curio Version
1 Open the file. The registration marks are turned on. Print the box portion on the mat on to photocopier card.
2 Place the print-out on the embossing mat. Move the folding guide over the box print-out, with edges aligned. Choose Advanced cutting.Place the fine embossing tool in the righthand carriage. Emboss = blue. Select Cardstock and the fine embossing tool. Send to cut - and the fold lines are embossed.
3 Re-insert the template into the Curio. Adjust the cut settings. Purple = cut, Ratchet Blade in the lefthand carriage. Deselect the blue. Select the purple. Choose Cardstock and Ratchet Blade. Send to the machine.

4 Repeat this process for the second half of the box. 
5 Join the two box pieces together, as shown above. Crease the folds. Join the end tab - your box is complete.

If you have the Silhouette Curio Long Base, you can enlarge the templates to make bigger boxes.