Category Archives: Paper cutting/craft

Fairytale update: Craftster Best of 2011!

A perfectly timed update to yesterday’s post: my fairytale papercutting has been chosen as one of Craftster’s best papercrafts of the last year. Very exciting, thanks Craftster!


Never too old for fairytales.

Back in the summer, I sat down and made a papercutting on the spur of the moment – the best kind of art! I drew and cut the dragon, castle, unicorn and wolf in about two hours, while watching a film, and then sat and looked at the bottom of the design for a ridiculous amount of time. I couldn’t work out what I needed to fill that space, and anything I tried just didn’t work.Finally, I realised exactly what that space was calling out for, and after a painstaking eternity cutting out letters I was finally satisfied.

The cutting fitted into a frame I had lying around already, and it sat in that on my mantelpiece for a week or so. Meanwhile, I had posted about it on Craftster, where it received a volume of complimentary messages that I hadn’t anticipated, and also a request for me to sell it to another member for her partner’s birthday. While I have made items to sell in the past, and intend to do so on a more regular basis in the future, it was flattering to be asked about this spur of the moment design! Which is how a tiny papercutting of mine has come to be hanging on a wall in LA, a lovely thought for me as I sit in wintry Yorkshire…

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea…

My mum’s birthday was at the end of September, and I knew that I wanted to make her a special papercut. For once, I even knew what the subject would be. When I was little (as in, as soon as I could speak) we used to recite Edward Lear poems together, particularly ‘The Jumblies’ and ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’. I knew how much Mum would love to have a piece of art that recalled those memories.

Most of the design came together very quickly; the Owl, Cat, tree and writing in particular. Strangely, it took longer to work out how to fit in as many elements of the story as possible, and so the quince and the runcible spoon (if you are looking confused, I recommend reading the poem!) were the very last elements to fit together. I was happy with the design overall, although in an ideal world I would have altered the shape of the boat, but more importantly Mum loved it!

I imagine that I’ll go back to The Owl and the Pussycat for inspiration again, since it holds such a special meaning for me. And after all, it’s a fantastic poem – why not?


Bye-bye sixties beige, hello…stripes and les publicit├ęs?

A month or so ago, I was asked if I was interested in the sewing machine that was being given away by a friend of a friend – obviously, having been thinking about saving up for one, I said yes! The sewing machine was bought in 1964, which I am perfectly happy with – it’s from an era when things were built to last, and there’s no unnecessary computerised bits to be repaired at spectacular expense.

The case, however, was another story…

Really not nice. The machine and the horrific case having been sitting in the corner of my living room ever since, and today I just couldn’t bear it any more!

I started by pasting this stripy tissue paper (recycled from my birthday presents) along the top and sides of the case, using pva glue mixed with water.

After spending an inordinate amount of time placing and rearranging bits of paper, I settled on this arrangement for one side (this photo was taken while the paste was still wet, hence the bumpiness!) The pictures were from a calendar of mainly French advertisements from the twenties and thirties that I have been storing for about three years…

The other side, which took just as long! I found some ribbon left over from Christmas to cover the handle – I’ll probably swap that for some nice material at some point, so this ribbon is just taped on. It looks better than manky brown plastic for the time being…

All done. For now – I’ll probably add to it in the future! It’s now back under the window, an unbelievable improvement on what was there before. Now to learn how to use that machine…

An actual papercut!

You see, most of the times that I have cut designs for cards and so on, I have used card, not paper – it just seemed easier to talk about ‘paper cuts’. This was the first time that I have actually done something that corresponded more to what you’ll find if you google ‘paper cutting’; and I can’t tell you how much easier it is to use paper instead of card! No aching fingers from pressing the knife through the card, no having to make lots and lots of tiny cuts to get a tight curve right – it was so much more relaxing!

Because I was in a hurry, I used an image that I found online to get the shape of the horse, although the rest of the design was more original. The colours are a little off in the above photo – it’s a true red against deep navy in real life.

I framed the design in a simple glass clip-frame and gave it to a friend for her birthday. She loved it – another example of how something that is really quite simple to make can come across so well.

I enjoyed making this and will certainly be using similar designs again, but I won’t be abandoning ‘my’ version of paper[card]cutting – it might be painful on occasion but it still looks effective and it’s a bit less delicate!

A Doctor-less zone, as promised.

I’ve made a few ‘papercut’ cards recently but I haven’t had a chance to take photos of most, due to an unfortunate tendency to start them at the last minute. I have however developed a new favourite technique, which I think looks really effective and ensures more than ever that no two of my cards are ever the same!

As I said, I’ve not had the chance to take pics of most of these cards, but I do have one! I made this for my sister-in-law’s birthday.

It’s my usual technique of cutting my own design into card, but the backing is taken from a page of a food magazine – in this case I believe it was a cheesy pasta bake! For another couple of cards (both with tree designs) I used a picture of a delicious-looking salad, which gave the cards a lovely fresh, spring-y appearance. It’s funny but the design and the backing photo have to suit each other – I tried this flower design against a few pages that looked like they would go really well, but it was only this one (that didn’t look so good in the magazine) that stuck.

I love the way these cards look and I like the fact that I can actually use the magazines that I have collected. It also seems fitting that I combine my love of food and cooking with my enjoyment of cutting designs into card. It’s definitely a technique I’ll continue to play with.

Reading Swap goodies

I made all of this weeks ago for my partner in a swap on Craftster, but couldn’t post about it until she’d seen it for herself! Now she has received the parcel, so I can finally post about it!

The swap was titled ‘Reading Swap’ – basically it was a chance for everybody who loves reading and books to get some new books and some crafts related to their answers to a questionnaire on the topic. Here’s what I made!

This is a ‘reading memory board’ – my partner’s name, I couldn’t think of what to call it! Essentially it’s somewhere to keep all of your reading-related stuff – bookmarks, library cards, notes on books and so on. There’s even a wipe-clean board to write library return dates or anything else that seems important! It’s made from a cereal box and brown paper with a few finishing touches in art paper and butterflies cut from (a really bad) book. I’m not sure if this sort of thing already exists, I haven’t seen anything like it before, but my partner liked it.

I made three bookmarks to go with the memory board – one with butterflies like those in the ‘bubble’, one with a papercut tree (my partner likes nature-themed items), and one backed with a quote from one of her favourite books (The Lies of Locke Lamora).

I also made a little trinket box (it measured about 3 inches wide) influenced by another of my partner’s favourite books, the ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ series by George R R Martin. You may be familiar with this – an HBO series based on the first book, ‘Game of Thrones’, is currently showing on TV (and it’s brilliant! Watch it!) I used the motifs of the House of Stark and the House of Baratheon to make two papercuts to decorate the sides of the box. I really liked this – came very close to not sending it!

I filled the box with various sorts of tea and hot chocolate, and this needle-felted sheep – my partner collects sheep and her favourite colour is purple – see, it is logical!

I rounded off the parcel with two books by one of my favourite authors, Terry Pratchett, and a pack of Mini Eggs. I really enjoyed the process of crafting for this swap…so much that I promptly signed up for another! More to come…