59. Another Birthday Card

It is my friend Julia’s birthday on Monday.  She loves dogs, so I thought I’d make her a personalised card.

Those of you who followed this blog in its first year will recognise the method – it is a papercut.  I drew a design in pencil then cut it out with a craft knife. I then stuck the design on to a contrasting backing paper with Spray Mount.

It would probably have been better to have drawn the design on the reverse of the paper so I didn’t have to erase the pencil marks; but being no Leonardo Da Vinci, my brain power does not stretch to mirror writing.

57. Valentine Card

Some days crafty things just don’t go right. I was full of enthusiasm to make some Valentines cards and had found one online that I thought I would have a try at making.

Take a look at this one

Gorgeous and relatively simple, I thought.

Not so fast…

I gathered the equipment together

and marked out the lettering.

Then I carefully cut around the solid lines and folding at the dashed lines.  This took a while.  I was engrossed in listening to Danny Baker on the radio that was mistake number 1! I wasn’t concentrating on the card and glued the wrong side of the cut out piece:

How can I fix this? – mistake number 2. I should have put it in the bin at this point.  I decided to put glitter on the glue and make it look like I meant to cover the front with glue.

The pot of glitter had not been opened before and was covered in tape. I took much too long trying to get it open – mistake number 3. By the time I had finally got into the glitter the glue was almost dry.

But I carried on – mistake number 4. Glued it to the card and found that I had cut the heart too big so it didn’t fold properly – mistake number 5.

At this point I decided to try making a different card.

This one is much simpler.

Cut 2 hearts the same size from some pretty paper. The picture below shows enough for 3 cards.

Here comes mistake number 6.  I had drawn the heart shape on the reverse of the design and found when I turned it over that I had missed the design in some places – the white stripes in the picture above.

Stick one heart to the front of the card.

Then stitch the matching sized heart on top of this one.

If you look closely you will see mistake number 7.  I accidentally got some purple pen marks on the large top heart and had to disguise it by going around the whole heart with a purple outline.

As I made these 3 cards, I refined the method.  On the last one, I glued some tissue paper to the reverse side of the top heart which hid the print on the underside.

I also made mistake number 8…as I was finishing off the stitches on one of the cards, I snipped off the thread too close to the card and cut off the knot I had carefully made to secure the stitching so the inside has a loose end.  If I had more time and wasn’t making so many mistakes today, I would cover the stitching on the inside with another layer of card in a contrasting colour but I’m going to stop while I’m ahead.

45. Paper Cut Design for a Card

I’ve been experimenting with paper cutting and wondering what to do with the finished product.   This week I’ve made one into a card for a family member’s birthday.

Firstly, draw a simple outline onto some scrap paper.  Once you are happy with your design, either copy or draw it onto some coloured paper.

Using a craft knife and a self healing mat, cut around your design. This is quite fiddly and requires some care.

Once the design is cut out, stick it onto a piece of contrasting paper and then onto a blank card.

Or, you could paint a background and then stick the papercut on to it when it is dry – depends on what time you have and how arty you are feeling.

42. Card for Mike

One of the family has a big birthday this week and as he loves maps as much as I do,  I’ve made him a card using an old map and some cut out letters.

I learned how to make letters like this in art class in my first year of high school – one of the more useful things I learned in school.  When I was in school we made the squared paper from scratch but that is hardly necessary (I wonder why we did that???).

So, using some squared paper, I marked out the letters with a pencil and ruler. Then I cut them out. I found an old map featuring the town where Mike was born and grew up and placed the letters on the map.  I then drew around them with a pencil.  You could do this on the reverse of the map if you don’t want to get pencil marks on the front but I wanted to make sure I got the town centrally placed.

I cut out the letters on the map and stuck them to the front of a blank card.

35. Paper Weaving

For this week’s make I’m going back to card making, this time with a paper weaving theme.

First of all find some interesting and colourful pictures that you can cut up.

I used an old calendar – sorry about the flash in this photograph.

Then cut the page into 1cm wide strips.  I used a guillotine as it was quick and easy.

Interweave the strips under and over each other.

Once you are happy with the size, shape and design, glue the front of a piece of folded card and stick on the woven paper.

34. Pen and Pencil Desk Tidy

My desk was a mess and had attracted a lot of pens, paintbrushes, scissors and other tools that I had dumped into 2 old coffee mugs.  I needed a desk tidy urgently and here it is:

I made it by cutting down a sturdy cardboard box.

I then took the box apart and opened it out.

Having a huge stock of old maps, I lined it with a piece from one of those.

Then I glued the box back together again.

Last year we visited the magnificent Abbaye de Fontevraud near Tours in France and I used some of the pictures from that trip to decorate the outside. As a backing I used a map of that region of France. Then I painted pva glue over the whole thing to protect the paper.

For the history buffs, the picture is Eleanor of Aquitane, wife of Henry II.

14. Spice Bleachers

This make is a little unusual, some (like husband) might even say ‘weird’.  But it has solved a problem in my kitchen cupboard and is made from recycled materials, so it makes me happy.

I’m not the tallest of people and our kitchen wall cupboards have been built by and for giants.  Consequently, I can’t see things that get pushed to the back and have wasted many minutes looking for specific herbs and spices, think we’ve run out, buy some more and then push those to the back too.

Then I had an idea…Herb and Spice Bleachers.  So now they are all stacked in rows of increasing height and are easily found.

I’d spent a few weeks trying to find suitable containers or boxes that I could build some bleachers with and at last, this week, hit upon the ideal thing. An empty cling film box. I then set about looking for more of similar that I could use.  Luckily, my mum had just finished off some foil and also cleared out her cupboard and provided me with several more boxes. Thanks mum!

Here is what you will need (ignore some of the things in the photograph, I found after I started that I didn’t need glue and a brush).

Empty paper/film/foil boxes (keep the cardboard tube inside as it gives them some stability)

Masking tape

Clear sticky tape

Old food/recipe magazine

Double sided sticky pads (I got mine in the Pound Shop)

Take any sharp cutting pieces off the boxes or fold the top over them.

Stick the boxes together with masking tape.

If the box doesn’t have a strong cardboard inner tube then stuff it with crumpled newspaper or some of the magazine pages.

Before you cover each box, check how they will fit together in your cupboard.

Next choose some interesting pages from the magazine and cover each box like you are wrapping a gift. Sticking the paper down with clear sticky tape.

Unless you have a really large magazine, you will need to overlap the pages.

Starting at the back of the bleachers stick the boxes together with the double sided sticky pads…or if you don’t have these use sticky tape.

Place inside your cupboard and add the herbs and spices.

My very funny daughter added some props when I wasn’t looking:

Michael McIntyre talks about his herbs and spices – this is hilarious!

13. Paper dolls

“What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes?

Here is the key to your earthly pursuits.”

(When I first saw this quote it was attributed to Carl Jung but as I’ve found no reference to when or where he wrote it, I’ve not put his name to it.  If you know where it came from please let me know and I’ll be very happy to attribute it to the genius who said or wrote it.)

So, what did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes?  I’m guessing that asking the question ‘what do you do now that makes the hours pass like minutes?’ will also give a key to your earthly pursuits.  As you can probably tell, for me, making things makes the hours pass like minutes especially if I’m making something new. When I was a child, I spent many an hour making paper dolls. I came across this tutorial on how to make some and then had a go myself.

First draw some outlines on some cardboard packaging.  Anything will do – cereal boxes are perfect.

Sorry, this picture isn’t very clear.  I didn’t want to make the pencil outlines too strong as I wasn’t sure if I’d want them to be visible or not.  The outlines all have an integral semi circular shape at the bottom which will form a base.  Also make another semi circular shape for each figure. This will then slot into the figure at right angles so that they stand up.

Next go over the shapes you’ve drawn with gesso (a type of primer that you can find where art supplies are sold).

When that is dry use something like a pastel to colour the shapes in.  I used oil chalks from Koh-i-Noor and shaded the colour with my finger tips.I then outlined the shapes again with a darker pencil for more definition.

I coloured the bases at the bottom of each figure and the stands in green and then sprayed the whole thing with fixative.

When the fixative is dry, cut around each figure and each semi circular base. Then cut a vertical slot in the bottom of each figure and in the top of each base.  Slot the base into the figure and hey presto, with a bit of bending, the figures will stand up.

On another note, my good friend, Mary Fraser runs Poppyfields, a children’s charity. Poppyfields gives children space to express themselves. For many children, communication can be a real issue. Often they lack the words to describe what they want to say and that can leave them feeling angry and frustrated. Using creative play and listening to them in a relaxed and playful environment, helps them to unravel their thoughtsand worries.  If you would like to know more please click on the link above to contact Mary through her facebook page or if you would just like to support her, click ‘like’ on the page.

8. Gift Tag Made from a Napkin

That sounds a bit unlikely doesn’t it?  I have a bundle of odds and ends of paper napkins.  You know the kind that you might buy for a birthday or barbeque, use most of the packet but find there are always one or two left over that never get used again.  So I was looking for something to do with them.

Apart from the napkin, here is what else you will need:

Piece of card, pick a colour that will go well with your chosen napkin

PVA glue

Small brush for applying the glue




Hole punch

Hole reinforcers – but I didn’t have any to hand today.

First cut out the card into the shape you would like to make your gift tag.

Check how many layers your napkin has and peel off the top layer – the one with the design. Place the piece of card under the design and draw around the edge of the card with a pencil.

Using the brush, paint a thin layer of glue onto one side of the card.  Make sure the glue goes right to the edges.

Place the cut out napkin piece onto the glue. Press down gently from the middle outwards, smoothing out any wrinkles or bubbles.  Be careful as it is quite delicate – too much pressing can tear it.

Turn the tag over and cut any excess napkin off from the edges so that it is flush with the card.  While the tag is right side down, put a small pencil mark where you would like the hole to be.

Place the tag under a heavy book and wait for it to dry.  Once dry, punch a hole on the mark with the hole punch and place a reinforcer (if you have them- do they even sell them anymore?) on each side of the tag. Thread a piece of ribbon, string or rafia through the hole and it is ready to use:

While I was looking for a piece of ribbon, I came across some plain white cardboard tags that I bought from the Post Office a while ago and used one to make this tag with one of the other odd napkins I had:

I’m pleased with how these have turned out – the napkins are so fine that they look like the design has been painted on to the tags.  I will probably make more to keep in my wrapping paper box.

It would also be a good technique for making cards or bookmarks.

6. Making Paper

A few weeks ago one of our craft group gave a demonstration on paper making.  ‘Perfect for my blog’, I thought. Here goes-

You will need:

An empty plastic bottle.  The bigger the bottle, the more paper pulp you can make.  I used a 1 litre bottle.

Some clean waste paper.  I used 2 different colours of tissue paper (the stuff you wrap gifts in) but you can use the other type of tissue.  Val used toilet paper in her demonstration.

  • Tap water
  • A shallow dish or plastic container
  • A piece of mesh. The size of the mesh doesn’t really matter except that a smaller piece is easier to manage to start with.  I used a piece of plastic mesh I found in the shed.  You can buy metal mesh in craft shops.
  • J cloth or similar
  • A sponge
  • A small tray
  • A cooling rack or similar

First of all tear the paper into small pieces and feed into the empty plastic bottle.  Half fill the bottle with tissue.

Next add the tap water to about the top of where the label of the bottle would have been (or is if you haven’t taken it off).

Leave it like this for 24 – 48 hours until it looks like it is going mushy.  Feel free to shake the bottle as much as you want as it hurries it along.  Some people do this stage in a liquidiser as it is faster but if you don’t get every last piece of paper out, it sets like concrete.  For the same reason, please do not tip any leftovers down the sink!

When it is ready, pour the mush into the shallow bowl.

Get the tray ready by placing the J cloth on it.  This will be where you place the paper while you layer it.

Next, using the mesh scoop out a layer of paper.

Turn this over so that the paper is on the J cloth

Press down with sponge so that it absorbs a lot of the water. Wring out the sponge and press down on the mesh again.

Gently peel the mesh off the layer of paper.

Repeat the process adding more layers on top of the first.  If you want to make a larger piece of paper then place the layers side by side, overlapping them slightly until you get the size you want. I decided to make 3 small pieces of paper.

The next step is to add some embellishment.

I left one piece plain and added wool in the shape of a heart and some gold foil scraps to the other two.

I then covered the wool and foil with another layer of paper but if you press the pieces into the pulp using the mesh you may not need to use another layer of paper.  I found that it covered the pieces up too much. It may have been because my layers of paper were too thick.

When you are happy with the thickness of your paper, transfer the J cloth with the paper on top onto the cooling rack.

Leave overnight or until dry.

My layers of paper pulp were definitely too thick as my paper took forever to dry.

In fact, while they were drying they looked distinctly unsavoury.

How can I possibly  pretty them up?  (A, if you are reading this…I was intending that one of these would adorn your birthday card. Bet you’re glad it didn’t! Happy Birthday for yesterday!)

Here is the final version.  I will probably have another go at papermaking sometime.  I think there is a lot of potential in it that I haven’t found yet.