Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bow Tree-topper

Last year my boyfriend's sister and her husband celebrated their first Christmas as a married couple.  They didn't have a tree-topper (unacceptable!), so I offered to make one for them.  And since paper is my preferred medium, I made them a folded paper star.  Cute, but not terribly durable. So, I figured this could be the start of a tradition; each winter I would make the lovely couple a different, disposable tree-topper. 

This year's model was inspired by the paper bow tutorial I mentioned last post. It could easily be adapted to make giant paper bows for any giant presents you may be giving this year. 

Cut wide (1.5-2 in) strips of decorative paper.  I ended up using two 12 x 12 pieces of paper in complementing patterns/colors. However, depending on the size of the topper, you probably won't use up all of the strips. You'll also need to cut out a circle of card stock with a diameter roughly four inches smaller that the size of the  bow that you want (1).  Place glue on the end of a strip of paper, patterned side facing up (2).  Fold over to form a cone (3). Trim off the rest of the paper (4).  Finally, glue the back of the cone to the edge of the card stock circle (5).

Alternate gluing down the different colored cones until you have made a border almost all of the way around the perimeter of the circle (6). In a gap between two of the cones glue a coiled piece of floral wire to the circle. This will be what attaches the star to the tree (7).  To provide some reinforcement, glue a scrap piece of paper over the glued down wire (8).  Continue gluing down cones, still trying to alternate patterns (9 & 10).  It doesn't have to be exact though, bows are often somewhat chaotic and messy.  Finish off the bow with a loop of paper glued to the very center. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Recycled Gift Packaging

If you're anything like me, the holidays aren't just a time for snow and poinsettias and thoughts of dancing sugar plums. They're also a time for junkmail.  And lots of it.  However, thanks to some creative re-imagining over at How About Orange you can turn those piles of catalogs and coupons into gift packaging!

Out of magazine advertisements I made miniature gift bags based on the newspaper gift-bag tutorial and a version of the magazine gift bow. I also adapted the yellow page bow tutorial to make the miniature decorative/magazine paper bows shown below. 

The steps are basically the same, I just used thinner, shorter strips of paper and only four (~ 9 cm) large and two  medium (~ 7.5 cm) sized strips. Fold and glue all of the strips into loops (2 & 3). Then place a dab of glue on the inside of each loop (except the smallest one) and pinch the loops closed (4). 

Glue the loops in an overlapping pattern, start with the four largest (5-7) and continue with the two medium ones (8 & 9). Finish with the smallest loop (10). 

Wouldn't they be just adorable decorating these miniature paper boxes

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Flower Ornaments

Happy Holidays! Here at Paper Pendulum, we are celebrating this season with twelve days of Christmas-themed crafts.  Or Craft-mas if you will. And true to form, the first craft features coffee-filter flowers.

Cut out small four-petaled flowers out of coffee-filters, mine were about nickel-sized (1).  Then, tie a loop of ribbon (2) and bend a length of wire into a "U" shape (3).  Attach the ribbon to a small Styrofoam ball with the wire (4).

Bend small lengths of wire around beads (5).  Pierce the center of the flowers with the wire loop (6) and attach them to the Styrofoam ball (7 & 8). 

And voila, Craft-mas Ornaments!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Paper Bead Bracelet

A while ago I posted about these paper buttons that I'd recreated from a tutorial seen on Splitcoaststampers.  Unfortunately, I don't often have much of a use for buttons.  Beads, however, I can always find a place for.  The steps are similar, just adapted slightly.

Punch out eight circles from card stock and two circles from decorative or scrap paper (1).  Glue four of the card stock circles and one decorative circle in a stack.  Repeat with the remaining circles (2).  Varnish and age the bead halves.  I mixed a little bit of wood stain in with the varnish to achieve the antique effect (3).  Glue a thin piece of wire to the back of one of the bead halves (4) and glue the halves together.  Clamp the bead until the glue dries (5).  Apply several coats of varnish to the bead and hang to dry (6). Finally, clip off any excess wire and bend it into loops on the side of the finished bead.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Coffee Filter Chinese Lanterns

Happy Halloween!

Look!  A seasonally appropriate post!  Unfortunately, this post doesn't technically fit into the series of coffee-filter flower experiments, since these aren't really flowers. According to Wikipedia, the papery lanterns are actually the plant's fruit.  Regardless, they are charming and feel very 'fall'. 

The lanterns are very easy to make (I think I say this about all of my projects). Cut out four-petaled shapes from coffee-filters (1).  You can experiment with different sizes; I just folded a large coffee filter into fourths and then cut out the rudimentary shape.  Using watercolor paints, color the 'flowers' orange (2).  Allow them to dry.  Pierce a hole in the center of the 'flower' (3).  Next, cut out four 3-3.5 inch sections of thin wire (4).  One inch from the top, wrap the wires together (5).  Wrap this inch in brown floral tape (6).  Insert the taped section through the hole in the 'flower'.

Spread out the four wire sections to line up with the four petals (7). Using masking tape, tape each wire to the middle of each petal (8 & 9).  Trim any excess wire or tape that extends past the end of the petal. Finally, bend the petals downward to form the lantern shape (10).  Attach them in a row to a thick piece of floral wire using more brown floral tape (11).

I hope you enjoy making these and I hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Coffee Filter Daisies

In one of her movies, Meg Ryan says that daisies are the friendliest of the flowers.  On this subject, as with many issues, I agree with Meg.   There is something so cheerful and bright about the plant!  So, in the midst of a time filled with ghosts and ghouls, severed hands and spiderwebs, I thought I'd make a few dozen daisies to help offset the fear with some friendliness.

The basic flower is rather simple and pretty easy to make in bulk.  I think that the separate center helps give the flower some dimensionality and depth.  To make the center, cut out several quarter-sized circles from a coffee filter (1).  Next, fringe the edges of the circles (2). Twist a loop at the end of a piece of thick wire (3) and slide 7-8 circles onto the wire (4 & 5).

Cut out a quarter-sized circle from card stock (6) and cut a slit in it (8).  Form a cone with the circle around the wire stem (8 & 9).  Slide the cone up to meet the rest of the center (10) and color it a vibrant yellow with markers or watercolor paints (11). 

With the center completed, we now want to focus on the petals.  To save time on tracing and cutting, I fold the coffee filter in half (13), and then into quarters (14).  Next, I fold the resulting fourth of a circle in half (15) and then in half again (16).  One of the edges will give you a pretty good guide to the size of your petals. Cut out thin, slightly rounded petals (17 & 18).

One coffee filter should produce four 'flower layers'.  After applying glue to the base of the flower center (20), slide the layers onto the stem. Press the top layer to the center to form a cohesive flower (21).  Then wrap the stem tightly in floral tape and you're finished.  Make a dozen of these and you'll have a touch of spring to counteract the spookiness of the season!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Watercolor lilies

This was a project that I actually completed a while back.  And since we obviously don't care about seasonality over here at Paper Pendulum, I thought I'd go ahead and post it! When searching the internet for inspiration for more coffee filter experiments, I came across some beautiful pictures of oriental lilies. However, the coloring of these flowers was a little too detailed for the coffee filter medium.  Watercolor paper, on the other hand, worked rather well.

The materials are pretty basic: watercolor paper, watercolor paints, floral wire, floral tape, and thick green paper. I found I was able to make two flowers out of a single sheet a paper, making up for the added cost of the paper.  

First, cut out the rudimetary petals of the lily.  They should be about 3.5 inches long and 1.5 inches at their widest.  One end should come to a narrow point and the other should be rounded. You will need 6 petals for each flower. If you draw a template on plain cardstock and then the petals onto the back of the watercolor paper, you can cut down on wasted paper (1).  Next, comes the actual painting.  Remember to paint on the correct side of the watercolor paper!  You can of course tailor the coloring of flower to your own tastes. I first painted a wide swatch of pink/red in the middle (2). Next, using a finer paint brush, I colored the center a darker pink.  At the pointed end (the one that will be the center of the flower) I painted a triangle of yellow (3).   After letting the petal dry, I made a series of pink dots; more concentrated at the center, the distance between the dots slightly increased as I worked my way up the petal (4).

Next, using the scrap water color paper, I cut out 5-6 thin 1.5-2 inch strips.  These were colored yellow on both sides and allowed to dry (5).   After being arranged in a bundle the strips were attached to the floral wire with floral tape.  A thin dowel was then used to curl the ends of the strips (6).  The petals were then attached around the center of the flower.  Three petals should be attached first in a group.  The last three should be arranged in the gaps between the first three petals and then fastened down with floral tape (7).  Using the dowel, I carefully curled the petals downward (8).

After you're done, the flower should resemble the one in step 9.  Finally, cut out long, thin leaves from the green cardstock.  Bend them slightly in the middle (10).  Attach two to the stem of the flower and cover the rest of the wire in floral tape (11).  Bend the head of the flower slightly downward, and you're finished!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Paper Fans

Now, I realize that fall is probably not the best time to make paper fans.  However, down here in New Orleans it still feels like summer!  Besides, all the DIY brides out there can get an early start making fans to hand out during their summer ceremonies!  So despite this project being off-season, I'm pretty proud of it; the materials are cheap, and the final result is rather adorable. Unfortunately, since they are made of paper, the finished fans are somewhat delicate.  In future experiments, I hope to substitute the paper with fabric to try and make the fan a little more durable. 

As I mentioned, the materials needed for this project are very cheap.  A package of skinny sticks (I bought mine from Walmart), a 12 x 12 sheet of decorative paper (double sided would be best), craft glue, a pin, sand paper, a hammer, scissors, a bone folder, and a pair of pliers. The first step is to sand the rough edges of seven skinny sticks.  Stack them so that the ends meet up.  Next, insert a pin about in inch from the end of the sticks. This step is actually the hardest part, because you need to avoid splitting the wood of the slender sticks. My solution to this problem was to use a pin as a nail and hammer it through the skinny sticks.  However, I bent a lot of pins using this technique, so a very slender nail or drill bit might work better. Once the pin is inserted through all seven sticks, bend the end to form a loop (my picture actually is from a fan made with 8 sticks).

The next part doesn't have to be exact. Measure a point 5 inches diagonally located from one corner of  the 12 x 12 paper. Draw a line 6 inches from that point in either direction. Get as close to the edge of the paper as you can. The angle of the two lines should be 160 degrees or so. Again, it doesn't have to be exact. Cut along the two lines.  Next, fold the paper like an accordion in a series of slender triangles with a width of about 1 inch.  The apex of each triangle should be close to the point you measured earlier (this also doesn't have to be exact).  Use the bone folder to get nice and crisp folds.  Make sure that all of the triangles have the same width.

The peak of the final triangle might not meet the point of the other triangles.  Cut off this section and the one next to it.  You should be left with 14 triangles.  Snip off the bottom 3 or so inches closest to the apex.  Line up your fanned out paper with the pinned together skinny sticks.  The head of the pin should be facing downward (toward the side you want to be the outside of your fan).  Each stick should correspond to every other triangle.  Visualize how the fan will close and make sure that your arrangement makes sense.

Start glueing the sticks down.  About 3-3.5 inches of the stick should overlap with the paper.  You can play with this; the more stick overlapping with the paper, the more fanned out the finished fan will be.  Continue glueing the sticks down.  Make sure and line up each stick with the one below it.  Remember, there should be a fold of paper between each stick!  Glue down the leftover flap of paper to the final stick. 

When the fan is folded up, cut off the top of the fan to form a level surface.  Open up the fan, and you're done! 

Obviously, you can play with these steps to customize your fan.  Attach a string of beads or some other bauble to the bent loop of the pin.  Scallop the edges of the fan.  Vary the number of sticks or play with the size of the paper. You could even use personalized paper with a photo printed on it. Just let me know how they turn out!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Knitted Cacti

Birthdays present shopping has never been a strong suit of mine and in the past year I have come to the conclusion that the only worthwhile gifts that come from me are alcohol and hand made crafts. (these also happen to be the only birthday presents I enjoy receiving as well) So when my roommate asked me to make her a meal of knitted sushi (as seen in earlier posts and already in the possession of your most dedicated blogger and my beloved Linda) for her birthday I decided to try my hand in her favorite plant instead. The Cactus.

Knitting the body of the cactus was much like knitting a tiny hat. I used a garter stitch and ended up preferring the pearl side for it's texture. I then stuffed it with yarn scraps and created a circle to close the bottom. For the needles I cut craft wire into inch long pieces and twisted them around the yarns of the cactus form. To top it all off I knitted a long, thin rectangle and simply twisted it and stitched it into a circle which created a flower.

The finished product was a little
messy and I think if you were to try this it might make sense to insert a styrofoam ball inside and use that to stabilize the wire needles.

In the end, it has become a lovely addition to my roommates potted garden, and unlike the real cacti, it's needles have not protected it from the terrors of my cat.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Coffee Filter Hydrangeas

Since the most popular posts seem to be those concerning coffee filter flowers, I thought I'd try to experiment with a few more types of flowers.  I've always liked hydrangeas; every time I enter Whole Foods and see the blue-green potted plants featured in the flower display, I have to sternly remind myself that anything dependent on me for food and water would die within a week. Paper hydrangeas, on the other hand, are much easier to take care of!

Materials need for this project include: coffee filters, thin silver wire, Styrofoam balls, watercolor paints, floral tape, green paper, and thick floral wire.

To begin, you need to cut out a large number of four-petaled flowers. They should be about 1.5 inches in diameter (1).  Next cut 1 inch pieces of wire and bend them into a narrow "U" shape (2). Insert the wire through the center of the flower (3). Small pins would work just as well if you want to skip step 2.  Attach the flowers to the Styrofoam ball in an overlapping pattern (4).  Make sure the ball is completely covered.  If you want to cover the ball first in coffee filter paper, you can avoid any unseemly white patches in your finished project. 

Paint the flowers in a mixture of blue, green, and purple hues (5 and 6). After the ball dries you will need to "fluff" the matted down petals. Finally, cut out a broad leaf from green paper and attach it to floral wire with floral tape.  Insert the wire into the base of the ball and you're done! I used rather small Styrofoam balls in my project because that's what I had on hand. After grouping three of the flowers together and pinning the sides together with wire, I think it came out rather cute.  A larger Styrofoam ball might work better and appear more realistic.

Let me know how your flowers turn out!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stuffed Creatures

First of all, I want to apologize for the delay in posting.  I've been moving, so my craft supplies have been in complete disarray, making new projects difficult. Secondly, I'd like to thank Vixen for featuring my coffee filter gladioli on her blog.  As I'm somewhat of a techno-peasant, I had difficulties leaving my thanks in a comment on her blog.  Thirdly, I'd like to mention a blog that I've become obsessed with.  After my foray into sewing in June, I started researching stuffed animal designs and patterns. Abby Glassenberg over at While She Naps does amazing soft toys and sculptures.  She also has a very through series of blogs detailing the basics of soft toy design.

I first attempted to recreate the stuffed bear shown here. It ended up turning into a strange bear/pig hybrid. My boyfriend thought it was a cat. It was still pretty adorable though (at least I thought so). My first attempt at solo design turned out better, so well in fact that I made a second one.

Please tell me you know what these are supposed to be!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Exchangeable Earrings

This is the second project that will focus on accessory adaptability. This is a very simple craft; it allows for a great degree of versatility with very little effort. All you will need for the undertaking is earring backs (the ones below were obtained from Michael's), designer paper, clear tape, and Elmer's glue. 

Cut out circles that are the diameter of the recessed interior of the earring. For these earrings a one inch hole punch worked very well.  Next, laminate the paper circles or seal them with contact paper or tape.  Attach the circles to the earrings with Elmer's glue.  When you wish to switch them out, simply peel off the circles and scrap off any remaining glue.  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Shoe alterations

The next few posts are going to center around versatility and reuseability.   I'm very attracted to the idea of taking an item and altering it slightly in many different ways.  So instead of buying six different pairs of shoes, you would alter one pair six different ways.  In this manner, you could easily customize the shoes to match a particular outfit.

To make this idea a reality, I took a pair of old black heels and punched six holes along the sides, Two in the front, and two along each of the sides. Then I threaded a black ribbon through the holes; as you can see below, there are several different configurations to choose from. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stuffed Elephant

I've always had a complicated relationship with sewing. It's the one skill that I've always wanted to master, but time and time again it eludes me.  Part of the problem (ok, most of the problem) centers around my resistance to instructions and patterns.  Every few years or so I decide to try my hand at sewing. I figure I'll take it slow, maybe a purse to start.  Then I think, I know how a purse looks, why should I bother with a pattern?

And I invariably end up with a misshapen fabric blob.

Earlier this week I felt the call again.  However, instead of a purse, I decided I'd try a stuffed animal.
And, because I never learn, I thought I'd forgo the pattern.

And amazingly, the project turned out pretty well. As you can see I made a small stuffed elephant.  The design was pretty rudimentary, but I think it's rather adorable.  Definitely preferable to a misshapen blob.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Coffee Filter Gladioli

These gladioli are the result of yet another coffee filter flower experiment. They are very simple to make if not slightly time consuming.  The basic components are coffee filters, floral tape, floral wire, and watercolor paints. 

To form the buds of the plant, I bunched up a small piece of scrap filter paper (2). After wrapping floral tape around the base of the pinched paper (3), I attached it to a 12 inch long piece of 16 gauge floral wire. Several more buds, made in a similar manner, were then attached to the wire in an alternating pattern (4).  The amount of exposed paper in the buds should gradually increase as one continues down the wire.

In order to make the flowers, I needed to cut out several circles of filter paper. I freehanded the designs, cutting wavy edges around the perimeter of the circles (6).  The circles ranged from around 1.5-2 inches in diameter. After layering two of the circles, a piece of 26 gauge wire was looped through the middle of the circles (7). The circles were then pinched around the wire and one of the ends was wrapped around the base of the flower (8).  Floral tape was wrapped around the exposed wire (9) completing the rudimentary flower. Next, I attached the flowers in increasing size in the same alternating pattern as before (10 & 11).

Paint the petals of the flowers and the buds with watercolor paints in hues of red, orange, and yellow. And you're finished, a fresh bouquet of coffee filter gladioli of your very own!