Category Archives: See it – make it

The Light Box – progress report

I made some progress today in meeting my self inflicted deadline to complete the sewing machine drawer project…. I wasn’t entirely happy with the art cover I made earlier so I spent some of yesterday doing some acrylic pours onto plexiglass sheets.

 

Even though they were promising in design when I placed them over the light box the acrylic paint was too thick to let enough light through- although where it was thin some very lovely “light holes” appeared – so there’s an idea bubbling away for a design where I intentionally screen out some areas to get a light pattern- think starry, starry night or bioluminescing water.

Anyway back to the project…I tried an ink pour next and it looked sort of OK .

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Playing with ink pours onto plexiglass sheets.

 

So , out with the drawer which I had previously kitted out with LED light strips attached to a transformer, and on with the plexiglass sheet.

 

The sheet isn’t fixed in place at this stage but I thought it could be OK even though at this stage it looks a little dull. Anyway – on with the lights!!!

 

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WOW! Love it when the light comes on!

It was an instant hit of lovely, warm, bright colour. There are parts of the panel at the top I would like to change but the pouring process is 1 part control, 99 parts out-of-control, and I could do another 100 and not be totally happy. This time I’m going to override my inner perfectionist and let my ‘it’s good enough” out of the box for a play.

I still have work to do because even though I measured twice before I cut it’s still a whisker too tight to recess into the drawer. I’m considering my options carefully to try and avoid shaving the bottom edge of the plexiglass which will be a very painful process-if anyone has any good ideas I’d love to hear! Meanwhile I’ll be straining the brain for a fix or going back for another cut and pour.

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How to make a folded window artist’s book

This concertina artist’s book displays mini garden paintings in graduated windows on each page. You can cut any size window you want but I like the way this book seems to zoom out from the flowers to the full garden as the windows get progressively bigger.

Materials:

fabric scrap or piece if scrap canvas decorated in any way you like ( I used acrylic inks)

PVA glue ( preferably acid free)

scraps of thick mat board or other card for covers

straight edged metal ruler

craft knife or mat cutter

cloth tape

watercolour paper- you will need a sheet approx 100cm wide

length of ribbon or cord

 

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Step 1 Make the covers

Cut 2 pieces of card the same size . Mine were 5 x 15cm. Cut two pieces of your cover canvas or fabric 2 cm larger all round and then cut the corners as shown so you don’t have too much fabric to fold under at the corners. Spread glue on the face up side of the covers and use a scrap of card to squeegee the glue all across the surface of the card so it’s smooth. Turn the card over and centre on the fabric and smooth out so there are no wrinkles.3b

 

Fold the corners in neatly and then tear off strips of the cloth tape and tape leaving 1 cm all round free of tape3c

On the back cover lay a length of card/ ribbon accross the cover side to side and tape over it. The tape should be 3 times the width of the cover.3e

 

The front of your covers should look like this ( only not bluury!)3d

Step 2  Prepare your paintings

Now make sure you have 6 mini paintings ( or poems , or cut outs – whatever you like) that will fit in the windows you’re about to cut. I did flowers but it could be anything you like.3f

 

Step 3 Measure and cut your paper.

Now you need to measure your covers and cut a length of watercolour paper that is

LENGTH =(the width of the cover – .5cm) x 6

WIDTH = ( the height of the cover -.5cm) x 2

Step 4  Mark and fold your pages

Once you have cut the paper fold in halve bringing the long sides together. Crease the fold with the back of a bread and butter knife . Open up your paper and mark six equal sections  along the length of the paper strip.

Step 5. Cut the windows

Now you can cut the windows on the top half of the sheet however you like. I cut mine starting 1.5 cm in from the pencil marks leaving 1.5 cm border at top and bottom of the folded half. I increased the length of each window by 1.5cm.

Use a metal ruler and a craft knife for cutting the windows.

Now fold the long edges together again.

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Step 6  Position the paintings

Next match up your 6 paintings with the 6 windows and try them inside for positioning. I marked around the corners with pencil so I could position them again easily.

Step 7  Fold the pages.

Then you need to fold the strip of paper at each of the 6 sections you marker earlier. Place the metal ruler on the left of the first section mark and fold the right length of paper over the ruler to the left and press the crease. Now lay the ruler on the right of the second section mark which will line up with the start of your paper strip. Fold back over the ruler to the right. Continue the rest of the folds going in opposite direction for each fold. You will end up with a concertina strip as below.3h

Step 8 Glue in the paintings

Open up the strip and glue all along the non window side spreading the glue smoothly with a piece of card. Also place a bead of glue around each window. PLace the painitngs in the pencilled marks you made earlier , fold the strip long side to long side and smooth down to make full contact with the glue. Smooth out any wrinkles or creases. It should look like the photo below.

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You can make sure your page folds are crisp and smooth by ironing them with a warm iron.3i

Then I sandwiched them between some card and placed bulldog clips around until they set.3m

Step 9 Glue pages to covers

When fully dry cover the inside of your cover with glue, smooth out and then carefully position the front page painting side up on the front cover leaving an equal distance from the edge around all sides.3k

Do the same with the back page and back cover.3l

 

Leave for a few minutes then fold up the concertina book , wrap the cord around it twice and tie up.1

Step 10 Weight down for 12 hours

Now place under a heavy weight such as a brick or stack of books for 12 hours and you’re all done!

Step 11  Enjoy!

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Why not try one yourself and send me a link to your art book? I’d love to see where your imagination takes you.

 

DIY Framing a pastel painting.

This is a step by step tutorial on how to frame your pastel painting using a ready made chain store frame.If you choose a well made wooden frame you can save big dollars and still have a tastefully framed painting.

Materials list:

  •  a ready made frame with a mat ( the opening to be slightly smaller than your painting) Check the corner joints are well formed with no gaps.
  • some mat board or foamcore offcuts
  • a sharp craft knife
  • a pair of scissors
  • acid free framing tape ( can be purchased from an art supply store)
  • a kitchen table knife
  • a lint free cloth
  • 2 small screws
  • 2 D rings
  • hanging wire the width of your frame plus 10 cms.
  • a screwdriver

You can buy picture hanging kits from the dollar store which include the screws, rings and wire.

 

 

Step 1 – Remove the backing board using the kitchen knife to prise up the metal tacks flat against the frame.Take out the paper and mat. Make sure you place the mat on a clean surface!I like to use the paper insert from the frame as it’s just the right size.

 

Step 2Check the frame for any damage. Especially check that the corner joints are smooth with no gaps. Check the glass to make sure there are no scratches.

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Step 3 – Make a spacer frame. Cut four strips from your scrap board long enough and wide enough to make a frame that will sit approx  2cm in from the mat opening and 2cm in from the mat edge. You will make the scrap “frame”on the side of the mat that will be facing the painting.The spacer frame will allow any falling pastel dust to fall behind the mat keeping the front of the mat and the glass clean.

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Step 4Attach the spacer frame with the framing tape making sure the tape doesn’t show in the mat opening. You don’t need to tape over all the strips – just enough to hold them securely in position. You could also use double sided tape for this .

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Step 5- Centering your painting on the backing board. Take the pastel painting and sit it on the middle of your backing board. Here I’m using a piece of foamcore cut to the same size as the MDF backing board I removed from the frame. You cam use the MDF board but if you do it’s a good idea to seal it first with a coat of varnish or gesso to prevent any acid in the MDF from causing discoloration of your painting in years to come.

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Now place the mat over the painting to make sure only the painting is showing in the mat opening

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Take a ruler and measure from the top of the mat to the horizon line on both sides to check you have the horizon level.

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Once you’re satisfied with the painting placement remove the mat and tape the top of the painting to the backing board with a small piece of the framing tape. This stops it moving when you place the long strip of tape on.f15

 

Now cut a piece of tape long enough to cover the full length of the painting at the top and attach to the backing board.f16

Step 6Placing the painting in the frame. This is the fiddly bit. As you’re doing this stage you need to constantly be checking for any stray pastel dust on the mat and the glass before you go onto the next step. This is very important!

 

Clean the glass with a lint free cloth ( I use glass cleaning cloth)f19

Lay the mat on the glass making sure the spacer side away from the glass and the metal tacks are all showing. You can use the knife edge to lever the mat in  gently to get it to slip below the tacks.f20

Holding the painting on the backing board carefully place it face down on the mat

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You might need to use the knife again to ease it past the tacks.

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Use the flat of the knife to push a top and bottom edge tack flat onto the backing board.

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Turn over and check carefully for any dust or stray specks on the glass or mat board. If you see any remove the painting , clean the glass and/or mat and replace. You can use a kneadable eraser to clean any pastel dust off the mat. Only when you are completely sure you have no unwanted dust should you move onto the next step.

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Step 7- Taping the frame to keep moisture out. Turn the painting glass down . Take the framing tape and stretch it along the top edge of the frame just in from the edge.f26

Cut each end using the craft knife and gentle pressure.

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If your frame back is flush with the backing board then start in the middle and carefully press the tape downand gently press as you move your hands out to each edge. Don’t worry if you get a few wrinkles- no-one will see it when it’s hanging on the wall! If the frame is above the level of the backing board as mine is just cut  into the corners as below and then starting in the middle press the tape down into angle formed by the frame wall and the backing board. f28

Continue until all sides are covered.f29

I need to cover the small corner gaps now so I just cut a square of tape and place in each corner.f30

Step 8. Attach the hanging hardware. You will need 2 small screws, 2 D rings and some hanging wire. Notice that the D ring has a flat side and a curved side.f33

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Place with the curved side down approx 8cm from the top of the frame and screw in place.

Repeat on the other side using a ruler to make sure they are at the same level.

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You shouldn’t need to pre drill holes but if you do make sure to do it before you put the painting in as the vibrations will loosen the pastel dust and cause you grief!f37

Now stretch the wire across the painting to check the length is right. You should have a bit extra each side.f38

Run it through one D ring and pull it through a second time. Pull tight and tie off .f39

The excess is now wrapped tightly around the wire.f40

Repeat on the other side making sure to keep the wire tight.f41

Now just wrap the ends of the wire in a small square of the framing tape to keep all sharp ends covered.

Step 9. Hang on wall and admire!f43

 

 

Eco printing.

After a weekend visit to the Tasmanian Craft Fair I was inspired to try my hand at eco dying. The Writer bought me a beautiful autumn eco printed wool scarf in Italy this year which I love – the colours are soft oranges and muted browns on a cream ground. I treated myself to a locally made silk scarf with a smokey grey and burnt orange print of eucalyptus leaves at the fair and headed home with a plan to try it myself. (Craft fairs will do that to me – I have a list of three new crafts to try from this fair!)

So I did a lot of googling and found some great articles on how to eco print and had a stab at it. My first attempt gave me some gorgeous colours despite my slapdash approach! I would have pre mordanted the cloth with alum if I’d had any but really I couldn’t wait to try it so I just spread lots of eucalyptus leaves and rusty slabs from the old corrugated  roof I ripped off the Potter’s shed onto a length of calico, placed another piece over it and rolled it all tightly around a metal pipe. Then I wrapped it with string and placed in on a rack above simmering water. I covered the whole thing with foil to seal in the steam and left it to do it’s magic for a couple of hours.

Eco printed fabric bags
Eco printed “Rust and Eucalyptus”

I love the rusty colours and those smokey greys. I was a bit too liberal with the rusty metal additions and lost the eucalyptus pattern but didn’t mind as I like the abstract design that emerged.

The next day I went out and bought some alum from my local art supply shop. It was pretty pricey but will last for ages and as I’ve got the bug I’ll be getting my monies worth out of it. So, armed with the alum  I pre mordanted my second batch of fabric by soaking in a 10% alum solution overnight ( 10% of the weight of the dry fabric mixed with enough water to cover the fabric). Mordanting helps the dye from the leaves attach to the fabric. Then I repeated the process of layering the wet fabric with leaves ( I used maple leaves from the garden this time), rolling and tying. Then into the steamer for 2 hours. This batch was more successful at capturing the leaf shapes and I managed to get some subtle greens as well.

 

I’m a quick project girl and I love the fact this requires so little time and yields such interesting and unpredictable results. I can see me doing a lot more eco printing and dyeing in the future. Can I see me keeping a detailed note book of each experiment as every googled article suggests? Nope! I know I should but I also know I won’t – best just to acknowledge my lack of crafting rigour and get on with the dyeing and enjoy the anticipation every time I snip the string, unravel the cloth and release the print.

Eco dyeing has been a comfort to me this week, making something beautiful feels like a small antidote to the madness that has been the US elections.

 

Coptic bound book

I’ve really got the book making bug at the moment – I tend to go in cycles of enthusiasms that parallel my main painting passion and help to balance out my creative life. Last night I finished my first attempt at coptic binding and I totally enjoyed the experience. I found a lot of useful tutorials online and this one by tortgialla was very helpful in giving me a good idea of how it’s done. Any faults in my stitching are down to me not the well photographed and clearly written instructions in the tutorial!

The Cover

I’d made covers before so that wasn’t too difficult. In fact I made a double cover because I wanted it a bit thicker , so I just covered two pieces of mat board with different fabric and then glued them together and weighted them overnight to make sure there was a strong bond.

 

 

The signatures

I’ve learned a whole new vocabulary swotting up on book binding – that’s one of the things I love about diving into new crafts. It’s like I’ve now got the secret password to an exclusive club. I can decode the articles and tutorials and understand the nuances of  specialists writing about their passion. So I now know that a signature is not only a written name but is also a collection of papers stacked on top of each other and folded in half. A number of signatures together make up the inner pages of a book. Book is a term I already knew in case you were curious.

So I made up six signatures with each having 4 sheets of ivory Mi Tientes pastel paper.

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The tricky bit!

Now I had to join the signatures to the covers and to each other and that’s where the coptic stitching comes in. If you want to know more about how to do this there are plenty of online tutorials and videos . What with threading and re threading my needle, holding covers and papers  tightly, manouvering the needle while holding the paper and the covers tighty, while also pulling the thread tight, and putting band aids on fingers after mistaking flesh for paper there wasn’t much time for taking photos! You might have noticed there’s a bit of an emphasis on keeping everything tight! This is because you want the pages to be snug against the covers and each other so the book doesn’t move around too much. Mine is OK for a first attempt but I think I need to keep it all a little it tighter next time – not sure how I’ll do that but I expect it’s like everything else and just requires a bit of practice.

Stitching to the cover was quite tricky , especially as I tried a bit of a fancy pattern for my first attempt. Once that was done the signatures were plain sailing and not fiddly at all – I think this was helped by using a curved needle which was a tip from the tortagialla tutorial.

Coptic bound book
Coptic bound book

 

The IT Geek wanted to know was it worth all the time it took and I gave a resounding YES. It’s a very satisfying thing to create your own book and even more satisfying to then fill it with your  prose, poetry, and art. I’m going to make a library of them – there’s a ton of different stitching patterns out there and I may well have a go at creating my own. Then there’s the long stitching method of attaching the signatures directly to the spine of a leather cover – I’d like to try that as well. …and maybe some wooden covers ………..

This years handmade travel journal

I shared a tutorial on a hand made concertina sketch book earlier this year which was inspired by a trip to my local art store. Just last week I popped in again and came away with an idea for this years travel sketch journal. Of course the art shop had a lovely little number but at $65 it was a bit pricey – I was recovering from a pre holiday trip to my favourite shop for the well endowed woman in need of reinforced swimwear- the bill was still  weighing heavily on my mind ! So instead I bought an $11  sketch pad and headed home. Once there I searched around for cutoffs and scraps and in no time at all had whipped up my own version which will be just right for our trip to Italy ( only 14 sleeps to go!!)

Canson sketch pad

Materials I used

  • purchased sketch pad
  • mat board off cuts
  • pva glue
  • elastic
  • cutting mat
  • metal straight edge ruler
  • pencil
  • craft knife
  • 250gsm kraft card

Step 1. Marking the covers for cutting

Here I’ve taken a piece of mat board which is stiff enough to form the covers. The Front and Back are the same size – the size of the pad. If you want to make your own just adapt the measurements to your sketch pad.

I need to make one of the spines slightly wider – the thickness of the mat board in fact. This will mean the fold over flap will sit comfortably on top of the front cover. I make the fold over flap roughly 1/4 of the front cover width. Now I cut along the solid lines with a craft knife using my metal ruler to keep everything nice and straight.Cutting guide

Marking the covers
Marking up the covers

After I cut this out I decide I want the cover to be slightly larger than the sketch pad because I’m going to add a brush holder next to the pad so I’ll need a little extra space for that . Luckily I’ve got plenty of mat board off cuts so I just cut a new back cover that’s 2cm wider. I do this quite often – redesign as I go – so it’s no surprise to find I have a lot of offcuts!!!

Step 2 Cutting out the front cover windows.

I love having a cover window or two ( in this case three) so I can add some mini paintings later which will hint at the journal contents. I just mark and cut out 3 square windows at equal distance from each other. I leave a larger gap at the bottom as I think it balances out better. You can leave this step out entirely or cut one big window instead if you prefer. This is a great way to personalise your travel journal.

front with windows

Step 3  Centering the covers and glueing to the cloth.

I take a scrap of bookbinders cloth and lay it face down. Now I assemble my cover pieces leaving a small gap the width of the mat thickness between the cover boards and spines. An easy way to do this is use some matchsticks as spacers . I just eyeballed it. This gives flexibility so the covers will open and close smoothly . ( not the eyeballing – the leaving of spaces!) I mark the cloth 2cm wider than the covers all the way around and cut out. Next  I spread pva glue all over the covers and cloth smoothing it out to the edges . Best to put in all on some scrap paper before you do this step but I was in too much of a hurry and so had to clean up the dried glue off my cutting board later! Now I press down firmly smoothing from the centres of each board out to the edges making sure there are no air bubbles.

Glueing in the covers
Glueing in the covers

Step 4  Neatening the edges.

Quickly before the glue dries I turn in the cloth around all the edges and press down firmly making sure it’s snug against the edges. Now I slash from corner to corner in each window frame and glue the triangle flaps to the cover board. pulling tight as I go. Next I glue a piece of thick sketch paper over the windows on the inside of the cover so when I turn it over the windows have little white inserts. At this stage I also use the blunt edge of a knife to run a crease down the gap between the spines and the covers.

 

Step 5  Adding an elastic closing strap

I wrap a piece of wide elastic all the way around the back cover and cut it 2cm shorter. I butt the ends together and sew with a wide zigzag stitch to secure . I position it 3 cm in from the  spine closest to the front flap with the join on the inside of the cover. If you’re wondering what the black oblong is it’s a piece of fridge magnet I used to try out a magnetic closure but it turned out not to be strong enough. Another redesign on the go!

The elastic could be any colour you like as an accent feature. I initially wanted black but only had white and I think it was a lucky thing as the white looks good against the black cover.

Step 6  Attaching the lining paper.

I cut the kraft lining paper to fit inside the covers leaving a tiny 3 mm edge on the black cloth showing. Smoothing out from the centres again to get rid of any air bubbles. I get out the blunt knife and run it down the creases in the spine gaps. The little white thing is a tiny piece of elastic I glued down to the spine to hold a brush or pen. I just cut a slot in the kraft paper to slip over the elastic.

Lining paper
Adding the lining paper.

Step 7 Inserting the sketch pad.

Lastly I remove the front cover of the sketch pad and glue the back board to the back cover. I push my favourite travel watercolour brush into the elastic holder, fold the flap over and flip the elastic band to secure it. Ready for Italy!!

 

This travel journal might seem a bit slim for a 5 week holiday but the 50 pages mean I’ve got one a day with a couple to spare. I’ll be using it for my round up each night and be using a small store bought sketch book for my out and about sketching during the day. Let’s see how it goes!

How to make a gift box from recycled card.

As promised here is a quick “how to” guide for making the dragonfly gift box featured in last weeks post. Although I’m making it to hold a small purse you can use this method to make a box to fit any size gift.

Materials

  • A sheet of waste card
  • A straight edged ruler
  • A pencil
  • a craft knife
  • double sided glue tape
  • a cutting board
  • a gift to wrap
  • an embossing tool or pair of scissors

 

Step 1 -measure the gift thickness

Place the gift on the sheet of card with a bit of space around the top and sides and a space the same size plus and extra 1/3rd at the bottom. Measure the thickness of the gift and add 0.5 cm to the measurement. The purse is 2cm thick so I add 0.5cm to give me 2.5cm.  Now I draw a line 2.5cm from the edge of the sheet from just above the top of the purse to just below the bottom of the purse. This will form the side of my box.

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Step 2

Now I continue the line to the bottom of my sheet making-Side A. Next I draw a line on the other side from the top to bottom of my sheet and another line 2.5 cm from it.This will make the other side of the box- Side B. To make the bottom side of the box I draw 2 lines 2.5cm apart just below the bottom of the purse.

Now I measure from the top of the sheet to the first line below the purse. I note the measurement and then draw a line the same distance from the second line below the purse. Draw another line 2.5cm distance from this. Now you have the top side of your box.

The last line to draw is the edge of the box flap which can be whatever size you like. I like to use 1/3rd of the box size for the flap.

 

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Step 3

Cut along the outside line of Side A. Now score along each pencil line with an embossing tool  or ,as I’m doing here, a closed pair of scissors. You just want to use enough pressure to dent the card. Lastly cut out the 2 small squares and the sides of the flap as  shown.

 

Step 4

Once you have the template cut out carefully bend and crease along each pencil line.

 

Step 5

Fold in the side flaps. Cut a piece of double sided tape just smaller than the side flaps and stick a piece to the outside of the two top side flaps  Don’t stick any to the top flap.

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Step 6

Now is the time to decorate the outside  with stamps or other designs. It’s much easier with a flat template than once the box is taped together.

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Step 7

Remove the cover tape and firmly press the bottom side flaps to the taped top side flaps. Use your fingers to firmly press the flaps together by putting one hand inside the box and applying pressure from the outside.

 

Step 8

Put your gift in the box and secure. Here I’ve punched two holes in the flap and the box and threaded hemp cord through to keep the lid closed. You could simply wrap ribbon or string a couple of times around the box to tie the flap closed. You could also get a bit fancier and use sealing wax and a stamp – but I prefer to use a method that doesn’t destroy the box flap when the gift is opened- that way the box can be recycled again.

 

You can have a load of fun using  left over bits of card and decorative odds and ends to make  any size gift box. Some things I’m thinking of using on upcoming boxes are seed pods and  buttons as closures – I’ll glue on and then attach a loop to the flap by tying through a single hole punch and  have a loop closure. I also like the idea of using gum leaves to print  the boxes.

I’d love you to share a photo of your own gift box ideas. Happy recycling!

 

The art of recycled packaging.

I love a beautifully packaged gift but I hate the waste of paper and card it generates so I had a bit of a dilemma when I decided I would like to package some of the handmade items I sell in my Etsy shop. It wasn’t just the aesthetics I was after it was also something sturdy enough to keep items in good shape while making their way around the world to their new owners.

My solution was to use scrap cardboard used in packaging disposable items from my workplace. The card is a really good thickness and size with a white side and a natural cardboard side. The sheets have no writing and a great for making all sorts of packaging.

 

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Because I use various handmade stamp designs to print on my fabric bags and cushion covers I decided to coordinate  the packaging by using the same stamps on the boxes and envelopes . I also do a range of hand painted cushion covers and I draw a mini design to match on the cardboard wraps.

… and then I thought why not make little folded cards for my earrings using the same dragonfly stamp.

 

I also made an early decision to keep any branding to a bare minimum and never tape closed a box. I’ve come up with some creative ways to fasten boxes and envelopes so that the recipient can recycle the already recycled gift box or envelope to pack their own gifts.

As time goes on I’m finding more and more ways to fold and fashion minimalist yet stylish recycled packaging. Packaging can be art too!

Stay tuned for an easy to follow demo on how to make the dragonfly box. I’ve got it in the pipeline for next week.

How to make a concertina sketchbook.

Sometimes I see something and think ” I like this, I could buy it or I could make it myself”. This happened just last weekend when I popped into my local art supply shop to pick up some canvas and spotted a very desirable little concertina sketchbook on a shelf in the corner. I could have bought it right then but it looked such a simple concept I bought a meter of bookbinding cloth and some fabric tape instead and decided to make some myself. The supplies cost more than the sketchbook but for the same cost I could make a few dozen.

Here’s how I did it.

First I got all my supplies together.

Supplies

  • a strip of waste artists paper 10 x 60 cm ( you can use any long thin strip of medium to heavy weight paper)
  • a piece of scrap matte board ( any thick card will work)
  • a ruler
  • a  pencil
  • a matt cutter ( you could also use a craft knife)
  • some scrap fabric
  • a roll of cloth tape
  • some glue

Step 1 – marking the pages

I divided the strip of paper into 10 equal “pages” by making a small pencil mark at 6 cm intervals along the top and bottom of the strip. (You can make your pages any number and any size depending on the length of your paper strip but there should be an even number of pages.)

Step 2- folding the pages

Now I used the bevelled edge of my metal ruler and lined it up with the first mark on the top and bottom of the paper and folded the paper firmly over the edge to make a sharp crease.

First fold
Folding the first page

Now I turn the paper over and make a crease along the second fold making sure that the edges of my first and second page line up neatly.

Second fold
Making the second fold

I repeat until all the pages are creased and I have a concertina length of paper.  (If you’ve made an error in your marking and end up with a final page that is too small don’t despair! Just cut off the last 2 pages so you still have an even number and continue on.)

Step 3 – cutting the covers

I measure up 2 rectangles of matte board 6.5 x10.5 cm. Using a matte cutter and my metal straight edged ruler I cut out the rectangles. You could also use a craft knife for this step.

 

Step 4 – cover with fabric

Next I cut out 2 rectangles of scrap fabric 3 cm bigger all round than the covers. I fold the long edges over to the inside of the cover and fix in place with cloth tape. (You can buy cloth tape at a hardware or art supply store). I mitre the corners and fold the short edges in and tape down making sure they sit neatly at the corners. (Mitreing the corners simply means to fold the side edge in to the top of the cover so it forms a 45 degree angle as in the photo below. ) The second photo shows the covers – outside and inside. You don’t have to be too neat with the tape as long as you keep it 3mm from the edge so it won’t show later when you glue the paper over the top.

 

Step 5 – glueing in the paper

Place the front cover face down and spread glue evenly over the taped area . Leave 4 mm unglued at the edges. Place a length of flat ribbon across the centre of the cover over the glue.

Lay down ribbon
Add the ribbon and glue

Now carefully line up the first page of the concertina strip so it sits squarely on the cover and gently wipe away any glue that oozes out. Spread the last page with an even coat of glue and line up the back cover neatly over the page. Check that front and back covers line up squarely.

Glue back cover
Both covers glued down

Step 6 – leave to dry

Now just leave it folded up and place a heavy book for a few hours.

 

weight down to dry
Weight it for a few hours

Step 7 – admire your handiwork.

Here’s one I did using black bookbinding cloth. You can use any covering you like , art paper, magazine pictures, collage, leather or fabric. You could also use coloured matte board and just leave it uncovered.

One I made earlier

I’ll post another photo when I finish making my dozen… and later I’ll post some pics of what I ended up using them for.

So go ahead and sort through your card, paper and fabric scraps and make yourself a beautiful, personalised concertina book- you don’t need to draw or paint – you could use it for poetry, a fun letter to a friend, a Valentines gift filled with expressions of love. The list goes on.

Post a photo – I’d love to see what you and your imagination can come up with!