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!