Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Yakawonis Quilling - Posters Giveaway!

Congratulations to krosenthal212, the giveaway winner!

November has been quite the month around here! Each Wednesday a new giveaway has launched and today is no exception. Sarah Yakawonis of Etsy shop Yakawonis Quilling, whose unique paper art you might recall from past features, contacted me about offering two printed posters to a winner anywhere in the world.


She combines graphic design skill with the timeless art of quilling, resulting in an appealing effect. Pop culture - movies, music, tv shows - all are fair game. Quotes, monograms, and fine art are in the mix too.

You'll even find tree ornaments and print-on-demand pillows, iPhone cases, and Samsung Galaxy cases that feature Sarah's art. She has developed a photographic method that captures the dimensionality of on-edge paper quilling and mentions that people have touched her posters and prints to see if they are truly flat!


Sarah's quilled anatomical illustrations have received a great deal of attention, taking her as far as one can go across the United States. Sarah lives in Maine and was a featured speaker last autumn at the Anchorage Museum in Alaska as part of their Body Worlds Vital exhibit.


The acid-free posters are printed on 100 lb. cover weight Accent Opaque brand paper and measure 12 x 18 inches (30.48 x 45.72cm).


This next one is a timely piece since tomorrow night may be when we'll finally get to see the ISON comet.

"This poster features a comet with its tail of carbon dioxide and dust as it melts due to the sun’s heat. It was inspired by my excitement over the ISON comet expected to be seen in November 2013!!! It was created by combining my hand drawn comet with a paper quilling tail, all on a black and starry photo provided by NASA's Hubble space telescope." 


New to Sarah's product line are custom wedding keepsakes and monograms, along with custom portraits that she creates as etched-style illustrations.


To recap, leave a comment as your entry to win two posters (total value $40) from the Posters section of Yakawonis Quilling. (custom prints are not included) The winner may choose two of the same poster or two different posters. Perhaps one for yourself and another to put under the tree. This is a worldwide giveaway; it wraps up at the end of Sunday, December 1. The winner will be drawn at random and notified via email so please be sure to include a way to be contacted within your comment.

As tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. I wish all of you, no matter where you happen to live on this fine earth, a wonderful day. Thank you ever so much for sharing my enthusiasm for paper and for reading along here on the blog!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Quilling 101: Gilded Earrings

This is Part 3 of a three part quilled jewelry series. Each pattern is designed for the person who is brand new to the craft. The first two designs can be found here and here. All are for personal use only.

If you like to give handmade presents, here's an idea... make stylish drop earrings from gilded-edge quilling paper. Your girlfriends will be thrilled at how lightweight and comfortable they are to wear, not to mention surprisingly durable; they'll even survive New Year's Eve and beyond!

Quilled earrings tutorial

Quilling isn't nearly as complicated as you might think... after a bit of practice it becomes very relaxing to do, just like knitting or crocheting. Another nice thing is that the supply list is short - you probably have most everything on hand with the added bonus that a basic quilling tool and paper strips are inexpensive.

Gold-edged strips, even though they look rich and oh-so-shiny are just $5.00/package; many pairs of earrings can be made from one purchase. Silver and copper-edged strips are available too. I ordered my favorite precision slotted tool (blue one in the supplies photo) from Japan, but it isn't a necessity. A slotted tool, available in craft stores and from any online quilling supplier, costs just a few dollars. If you prefer your coils to not have a center crimp, use a needle tool (wooden handle in photo) or substitute a stiff wire, tapestry needle, or corsage pin.

Enough chit-chat, let's get on with the how-to!


quilled earrings supplies

Quilling paper - gold-edged black (1/8 inch standard strips) or cut your own light to medium weight paper in any color using a craft knife, metal-edged ruler, and cutting mat. (In the U.S., shiny metallic-edge strips imported from England and the Netherlands are available from Whimsiquills and Quilling Supply Plus; in the U.K., from J.J. Quilling Design. If you know of additional sites, please let me know and I'll add the names to this list. American metallic-edge strips called 'Touch of' and then the color name are fine too, but the shine is not as bright.)
Quilling tool - slotted or needle
Glue - I like Martha Stewart Crafts Gel Adhesive, but any craft glue will do. Aleene's Tacky Glue is another good one.
Tweezers -
long with a precision tip
Paper piercing tool or cocktail stick -
to form ring coil and to apply glue
T-pin or ball head pin - to shape domed tight coils
Non-stick surface - use as glue palette and work board. An acrylic sheet, waxed paper, or Styrofoam tray are fine too; I often use a jar lid.
Damp cloth -
sticky-glue fingers and quilling don't mix!
Jewelry pliers -
2, mine are flat nose pliers
Jump ring -
gold, 5 mm (2)
Earring Wire -
gold (2)

Quilled earrings tutorial


1. Make a ring coil: Roll a 2 inch strip on a paper piercing tool or cocktail stick. Glue end and slide coil off tool. (make 2) A jump ring will need to slide through the ring coil so be sure the opening is large enough to accommodate one.


2. Make a domed tight coil: Roll a 2 inch strip on quilling tool of choice. Glue end in place without allowing strip to loosen. Slide coil off tool.


 Press against one side of coil with a T-pin or ball head pin to create a dome.

Shaping Domed Tight Coil

 Apply a tiny amount of glue inside the dome to preserve the curve. (make 4)


Note: for ring coils and tight coils, work with strips that have a torn end. A torn end will glue more smoothly than a sharp cut and the coil will appear perfectly round.

3. Make 6 marquise coils:
    7 inch - make 2
   11 inch - make 2
   17 inch - make 2

To make a marquise coil: Roll strip on tool and allow it to relax.

Slip this loose coil off tool and compress it between thumb and index finger.

Note: Use a straight pin to evenly space the inner coils if necessary.

Pinch a sharp point at each end. Glue end in place and trim excess paper.


Hold coil at points and gently compress them toward one another all the way to the center. When the coil is released, the inner coils will spin around and create what Licia Politis has named a vortex coil - a good way to think of it! The vortex shows best in a densely quilled coil with lots of rotating spirals, so don't skimp on the length of the strip.


4. Assemble components: Glue coils together to make earrings as shown. Allow glue to dry for a few minutes, turn earrings over, and apply reinforcing dots of glue to all join spots with the tip of a pin.


 Allow glue to dry overnight.


5. The next day, slide an opened jump ring through each ring coil and slip on an earring wire. Close jump ring, wear, and receive compliments - no one will believe your golden earrings are made of paper!

Quilled earrings tutorial


The finished earrings are about 2 inches in length, not including the hardware.
You'll need far less glue than you expect. When adhering coils to one another, apply glue sparingly with the tip of a pin, paper piercer, or use a fine-tip glue bottle available from quilling suppliers.

I don't apply a fixative to my necklace pendants and earrings as they don't receive a lot of hard use, but if you live in a high humidity area, you might want to apply a spray or brush-on fixative.

In lieu of ordering gilded-edge paper, try adding your own metallic shine with a Krylon leafing pen or even a metallic gel pen. You might also press a silver, gold, or copper ink pad against rolled coils for a gilded effect.

The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry

You'll find many more of my quilled jewelry patterns in my books The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry, All Things Paper and Creative Paper Quilling. Perhaps add them to your holiday wish list or ask your local library to place an order if they don't already have them on the shelf.

If you'd like to receive my occasional and free All Things Paper newsletter that features posts like this one, sign up here.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Nature-Inspired Paper Cuttings - Jen Fry

I'm always amazed by those who can pick up a craft knife and create gorgeous paper cuttings right off the bat. Jen Fry is one such talented person. Probably to no one's surprise, innate drawing ability is key and she is fortunate to have it in abundance. I spotted Jen's lively nature-inspired designs that feature hares, squirrels, foxes, and deer via Facebook.


If you follow My Paper Cut Heart, prepare to be amused because her messages often go something like this: *zooms in* screeeecccch (that's the brakes!) fabric badges!!!! neeeeooowwwww........(zooms back off). Pictures to follow xxx 

my paper cut heart-midsummer-deer

Ha! No wonder Jen has grown a large following in a short time. With a knack for endearing herself and her critters via clever postings, she successfully markets original paper cuttings, prints, cards, and gift items without a traditional website. As for custom designs, Jen is already booked through next summer, but get this... she was a newbie to paper cutting just a year ago!


I asked her to tell us about the swift journey.

I have always done arty things. Up until last year I had lived on a canal boat for fifteen years, where, among other things, I taught myself to do traditional sign-writing and cabin painting. When I left to move into my cottage in the mountains of mid-Wales, I needed to think of a new creative direction. I made some papercut cards last Christmas for family members and things took off from there. 


All my designs are my own and all are hand drawn and hand cut by me. I have no formal art training, but I have been drawing since childhood. I just love making things! The only tools I need are my pencil, paper and scalpel. 


I sell prints in a few shops around the country and my originals are sold via my Folksy shop and a local gallery. I've been asked to participate in an exhibition next spring, so I will be focusing on that for the next few months. 


I adore what I do and feel so lucky to make a living out of something I truly love and am passionate about.


Have a great weekend everyone! Perhaps you'll be raking leaves, planning Thanksgiving dinner, or making holiday decorations and gifts. If you need a few ideas, I just posted a collage of Christmas-y crafts with links on the sidebar.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

3-D Greeting Cards from Smidge Co. - Giveaway

Congrats to the winners - do you have a flag?, Josh Freeman, and The Wedding Bistro at Bellenza!

Ooh, I have something very neat to show (and offer!) you today... whimsical three dimensional cards from Jason Lynch of Smidge Co. That's the name he's given his brand new world of curious creatures, and frankly, I can't imagine anyone not smiling when they receive one of these delights in the mail.


Jason, a graphic designer and art director at Hyperakt in Brooklyn, designed his own laser cut wedding invitation and save the date earlier this year which led to the development of Smidge Co.


He's currently designing cards for more occasions, but at the moment these three birthday designs are heralding the line.


Each colorful card comes with a page that tells the character's story, and also a special mailer and adhesive-backed address label.


The personality of the cards is so much fun, not to mention all pop open very easily - no assembly is required. My nephews will soon be turning 7 and 10 and I know they'll love to receive them!


Jason has offered to send a set of all three Smidge Co. cards to three winners worldwide - yay! To enter, just leave a comment below by the end of Sunday, November 24. Winners will be selected by a random number generator and announced on this page as soon as all have been notified. As always, please include a way for me to contact you within your comment.

Monday, November 18, 2013

DIY: Quilled Flower Locket Tutorial 2

This is part two of a three part jewelry series on learning to quill. Last week's tutorial showed how to make a crimped flower locket... a super-simple design, good for those who are brand new to paper rolling. The same can be said about today's ring coil flower... it can be made in under an hour and the end result is nice enough to give as a gift. This pendant isn't as feminine as the first considering the gray and black color scheme and tartan ribbon. It's a little larger too - 1.25 inches in diameter.

Quilled Flower Locket Tutorial


Quilling Supplies

Quilling paper - gray, black (1/8 inch standard width strips) or cut your own light to medium weight paper using a craft knife, metal-edged ruler, and cutting mat
Quilling tool - slotted tool or needle tool or substitute a stiff wire or even a muffin tester
Glue - I like Martha Stewart Crafts Gel Adhesive for quilling and Crafter's Pick: The Ultimate or Aleene's Tacky Glue to adhere quilling to a slick surface
Paper piercing tool or cocktail stick -
to apply glue
T-pin or glass head pin - to shape flower center 
Non-stick surface - use as glue palette and work board. An acrylic sheet, waxed paper, or Styrofoam tray are fine too; I usually use a jar lid
Damp cloth -
sticky-glue fingers and quilling don't mix
Jewelry pliers -
2, mine are flat nose
Jump ring -
Locket -
silver (the one I used is from Michaels; read more about it in Part 1)
Ribbon  - 3/8 inch width; about 24 inches


1. Make the flower center: roll a 3 inch black tight coil on quilling tool of choice. (You'll find more info about choosing a tool in Part 1) Glue end in place before slipping coil off tool. Tip: if the strip has a torn end, the paper will adhere smoothly when glued, making the coil look nice and round.


Shape the coil top by pressing a T-pin or a glass head pin against one side to make a rounded dome.


Then apply a small amount of glue inside the dome to preserve the curve.

Gluing Domed Tight Coil

2. Make 10 matching ring roils by wrapping a length of quilling paper three times around a dowel. Experiment with different dowels to determine which one produces the correct coil size for the pendant you are using. Probably one of your tool handles will work; I used a paper piercer.


Slide coil off dowel, tighten it if necessary by pulling the strip end, and pinch one spot to a point to create a teardrop shape. You'll feel all thumbs at first with the wrapping/sliding/pinching, but after a little practice it becomes second nature.


Glue end and trim excess paper.


3. On a non-stick work board, glue tips of teardrop petals around the domed center taking care to space them evenly.

4. When the glue has had a chance to set for several minutes, apply a thin coating of glue to the back of the flower with a fingertip or cocktail stick. Use tweezers to center the flower on the locket. It's best to not wiggle it into position as this will leave a snail trail of glue. Allow the flower to dry overnight... try not to be impatient. :)

Quilled Flower Locket Tutorial

5. The next day, twist open a jump ring with pliers and slip it through the fixed locket ring.


Close jump ring and thread onto ribbon. Finish off with an adjustable sliding knot so the necklace can be slipped on and off over the head.

The locket is ready to wear or give to someone on your holiday list; perhaps a young girl who might be inspired to try quilling too. Kids usually love to quill!

Quilled Flower Locket Tutorial

For next week's jewelry project I have something more sophisticated in mind, so I hope you'll come back then to see if you agree. (Edited to say, here's that new tutorial.)

September 2017: You'll find many new quilled jewelry designs in my how-to book, The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Art Made from Books - Review

Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed is a weighty, paper-covered hardback with more than two hundred beautiful photographs that depict the work of nearly thirty altered book artists around the world, primarily in the U.S. and UK.

 Cara Barer
cover image, Explorer, 2011

Admittedly, I spend more time than the average bear scouting the internet for the newest paper-themed content to share here. Thus, quite a few of the images and names were as familiar as old friends, but then again, many were new to me. There is much to see between the stitched covers.

Guy Laramée 
The Web, 2012

Yes, stitched... a unique feature is the book's exposed spine. If I were to spy this title on a coffee table, the binding alone would make me curious enough to thumb through the pages.

Mike Stilkey
Reminiscent, 2010

The tactile stitching can serve as a reminder that all books were originally crafted by hand, as well as a nod to the strength of the printed book which will allow it to coexist with that young upstart, the e-book. As this collection of art pieces proves, tattered books, worn and past their prime, can be reshaped into extraordinary objects.

Arián Dylan
Semillas de libro (Seed Book), 2012 (detail)

Art Made from Books was edited by Laura Heyenga and begins with an interesting preface by artist Brian Dettmer, followed by Alyson Kuhn's introduction of the artists and a history of the altered book, a relatively recent phenomenon dating back just to the 1960s. A description of each person's work precedes the images; bios of the artists are located at the end of the book. Su Blackwell, Jeremy May, Kylie Stillman, Robert The, and many more are represented here, including the mysterious Edinburgh artist who placed intriguing sculptures in libraries and cultural institutions around the city.

James Allen
Skulduggery, 2012

I suggest not rushing through Art Made from Books, but instead set aside time to savor each artist's thoughtful work. Perhaps you'll be inspired to create your own altered book.

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