Tag Archives: papercraft

Papercrafting Post #6: Parchment Craft/Pergamano

Today’s post features a papercrafting art that is both decorative and functional: parchment craft (or Pergamano). It is generally used for greeting cards and gift tags, but it’s also extendable to ornaments, picture frames, and even boxes!

How Do You Do It?

To craft with parchment paper, you can emboss or paint designs onto the paper, and/or cut it into interesting shapes. Parchment is thinner than regular paper, so it takes better to raised designs, like fancy lettering or detailed shapes, but you do have to be careful with it so you don’t accidentally tear it.

Tools You Need and Basic Techniques

  • Mapping pen (used generally with white ink) – for drawing out larger, bolder designs on the “rough” side of the parchment paper before you emboss them
  • White pencil – for tracing smaller, finer designs before you emboss them
  • Embossing tools – for raising designed lines on the paper. Press down/rub back and forth gently on the “rough” side of the parchment, and on the other side, your design will appear as a whiter area. Narrower embossing tools make sharper lines; wider tools make softer raised areas.
  • Scissors – for cutting and shaping the paper
  • Needle tools – for perforating parchment, lending a light and lacy look–great for borders and within embossed designs. Single-needle and multi-needle tools are available to create different shapes!
  • Felt pads – for cushioning your parchment so that you can emboss and perforate the paper without damaging the paper or the surface underneath.

Other Fun Techniques

  • Add color with markers, acrylic paints, colored pencils, crayons, and even watercolors. Doing this gives your parchment crafts a more modern look, since colors were not traditionally used for Pergamano until the 20th century.
  • Use the needle tools in concert with small scissors to create interesting borders for your designs. Perforating and then cutting selectively can give you lovely snowflake-like looks in a matter of minutes!

To Learn More:

Parchment Craft Magazine
Free Pergamano Patterns
CreativePapercrafts.com Pergamano page
The Pergamano Place

Papercrafting Post #5: Origami

Without Reading Rainbow back in the 80s and 90s, I would have never learned anything about this beautiful, sculptural Japanese paper art. Thanks to the Reading Rainbow episode The Paper Crane, I was intrigued, and since then I’ve tried my hand at it several times.

Starting Out with Origami

Trying some simpler origami crafts, even the ones meant for kids, may help you start with this papercraft if you’ve never tried anything like this before.

First, I’ll share with you my favorite simple origami form: the paper cup. I do this a lot at restaurants when I’m bored, using square paper napkins or whatever vaguely square paper is lying around. It’s also fun to do with wax paper–you get a cup you can actually use for a bit of water! (Forgive rudimentary images–this is what happens when your hard drive fails and you have no sophisticated image or photo software to work with. Microsoft Paint to the rescue, LOL!)

Origami Cup Instructions

1. Start with a square piece of paper. This is important, otherwise your cup will look deformed at the end! (speaking from experience… -_-)
2. Fold the paper diagonally in half. You’ll end up with an isosceles triangle like the one to the left.
3. Take one of the narrow corners and fold it across the triangle so that the tip of it touches the other side of the triangle. It should lay straight across, not pointing down or up at an angle.
4. Take the top point of the triangle (only one of the sides, not both) and fold it down across the folded corner. Then tuck the newly folded flap into the little “pocket” formed by the folded corner.

Flip your half-formed cup over and repeat steps 4, 5, and 6 on the other side, folding the other corner over, then folding the remaining top point down and tucking it into the second little “pocket”. (see following images on left)
You should have a finished little origami cup!

Other Instructions from Origami-Instructions.com

For More Advanced Learners: The Star Box

This festive, four-pointed folded box form is a form I have yet to master again–I used to make them all the time, but have lost my touch over the years. It’s a really fun craft (and useful for storing small trinkets, bobby pins, or anything else light and easily lost). Try it out if you’d like a more challenging origami form!

Instructions from EHow
Instructions from Origami-Make.com

Resources to Learn More about Origami

Origami @ Wikipedia
Origami-Resource-Center for all levels of crafters–easy and kids’ origami, novelty origami (with toilet paper!), and even Star Wars/Star Trek-themed projects!
Origami.com Diagrams for the more advanced paper-folders–detailed, almost scientific step-by-steps.

Papercrafting Post #4: Quilling

For a change of pace, this papercrafting post focuses on a purely decorative craft instead of the practical papercraft I’ve been discussing in earlier posts. But quilling is quite lovely and fun to do; it’s something you can easily add to gift tags or greeting cards, and it can be done alongside ornare for an even more crafted look.

What is Quilling?

Quilling is the art of rolling paper into beautiful shapes for decorative purposes. First a distraction for the wealthy, it is now a very approachable art form for all people. Coiling, pinching, and twirling thinly-cut pieces of paper yield delicate and ethereal miniature sculptures!

Quilling basics @ Wikipedia.org

What is It Used For?

Mostly, quilling takes a low-priced medium (paper) and uses it to embellish other items for a very high-style look. You can add all sorts of rolled-paper decorations to handmade greeting cards, wall art, decorative trinkets, and even furniture! (I could definitely see a glass-topped table with colorful or metallic quilled paper underneath the glass in small niches, able to be seen but not squished.)

Types of Paper to Use

Printer/computer paper can work while you’re trying to learn the craft, but you can also use lighter-weight paper like origami paper (and possibly even tissue paper for a wispier look, though I haven’t tried this). Any paper seems to work well–just cut it into thin strips first so that the coiling process will be easier.

If you want to practice and you have no thin-cut paper to hand, even a straw wrapper will suffice. Get rid of boredom while waiting for your food at a restaurant AND practice quilling at the same time!

How to Start Quilling with Just Fingers

  1. Taking one end of your cut piece of paper, roll it as tightly and roundly as you can (i.e., no folding it over and over itself) until you get to the other end of the paper.
  2. Slowly release the paper so that the coil expands a bit.
  3. Holding the coil with two or three fingers, affix the last end of the paper to the closest side of the coil so that it won’t come apart. A small drop of glue (something a bit stronger than white glue, but no superglue, please) should work.

You now have a beautiful little coil of paper! Once you have mastered this design, you can start to make other shapes that work off of the basic circular coil.

More Advanced Quilling Techniques and Tools

For excellent tutorials and more advanced quilling work, these two websites show more than I could possibly do, being a novice quiller myself. Try this out–have fun coiling, gluing, and twirling!

More Quilling Basics and Intermediate Techniques @ HandcraftersVillage.com
Advanced Techniques and Quilling Tool Advice @ Craftzine.com

Papercrafting Post #3: Gift Tags

Yes, I know, Walmart and other big-box or discount places sell little gift tags you can tie onto your gifts. But who wants to spend $2 a pop for these little cardboard gift tags, when you can make loads of them yourself for a lot less money (and a much craftier, customized look)? This is part of papercrafting–making personalized items that cost less and also use up material that you might otherwise throw away.

The reason I chose to cover gift tags on this Papercrafting Post is because it’s a useful item that could easily save you money if you know how to make it yourself. You just have to be willing to break out a little creativity and spend a bit of time putting it together. Not as hard as it might seem!

What You’ll Need

  1. Card stock of any color OR unlined index cards of any color
  2. Any colorful or patterned paper you have lying around (crumpled-up tissue paper, old wrapping paper, etc.)
  3. Solid-color printer paper OR construction paper
  4. Double-stick tape OR a glue stick
  5. Single-hole puncher
  6. String, thread, ribbon, OR yarn

Eight Steps to Your Own Gift Tag

  1. Cut out a piece of card stock or an index card in the desired shape. Doesn’t have to be square–you could even cut it into a really fun shape if you want to!
  2. Using your cut-out shape as a guide, cut out a piece of your selected patterned/colorful paper. Make sure that your paper’s shape is about a centimeter/half an inch bigger around the edges than your card stock/index card shape.
  3. Wrap your paper shape around one side of the card stock/index card, taping or gluing down the edges as you go, kind of like wrapping a present. You will end up with one side of the tag completely covered with the paper and one side just covered around the edges. This is what you want.
  4. Get a piece of your solid-color piece of paper and cut out a smaller version of the shape of your gift tag.
  5. Affix this to the back of the tag (the side that is only partially covered) with tape or glue stick.
  6. Use a single-hole-punch tool to punch out a hole in your gift tag, for the string to be threaded through.
  7. Sign your tag on the solid-color side as appropriate (better to write on it now rather than wait until after you’ve tied it to your gift, trust me)
  8. Thread string, thread, ribbon, or yarn through the hole and tie to your gift, and you’re done!


Available at Office Supply Stores

  • Card stock
  • Index cards
  • Printer paper
  • Double-stick tape
  • Glue sticks
  • Single-hole punchers

Available at Big-Box Stores’ Craft Sections

  • Wrapping paper
  • Construction paper
  • String, thread, ribbon, and yarn

Likely Available In Your Home
Don’t forget to shop your home first–you might have more crafting materials hidden in your junk drawers and recycling bins than you’re aware of.

  • Old giftwrap/tissue paper
  • Scraps of printer paper and construction paper
  • Random bits of thread, yarn, string, or ribbon–even a twist tie can work!
  • Index cards that have been barely used and could be erased

Papercrafting Post #2: Ornare

Though the word “ornare” may look exotic and strange, it’s actually the word for piercing paper to “draw” cool patterns and designs.

I never knew this crafting art existed until I was researching my first papercrafting post and happened across supplies for “ornare” among the listings at various papercraft websites. “What in the world is ornare?” I wondered. Then I clicked and found out!

Ornare the Professional (More Expensive) Way

You can buy actual ornare kits, complete with special foam board, all kinds of pretty paper, and special needles to poke the holes with. Along with Creative Papercrafts’ page, I discovered a couple of other interesting sites where you can pick up ornare supplies, like pattern templates, piercing pads (to protect the surface underneath your pierced paper as well as to give you a cleaner punch), needle tools, etc. They appear listed below:

Kamya.com Ornare Templates
EcstasyCrafts’ Ornare Section
TerryficTimes.com Ornare Introduction
PaperWishes.com Ornare Template

Ornare the Cheap Way

However, while looking at all of this, a thought kept popping to mind: “Why couldn’t I just do this with regular printer paper of any color, a few pieces of foam core or flat styrofoam, and a regular sewing needle?”

So, here’s what I brainstormed (and my theory is backed up by this post over at Gem’s Cottage):

  1. Find an outline of a picture you like (nothing too detailed or you’ll go crazy trying to copy it).
  2. Lightly draw your chosen pattern on your printer paper with pencil. Make sure the outline can erase neatly!
  3. Lay your paper pattern on top of some foam core or flat styrofoam. Likely you will need to affix it using either some sort of clip, or even a piece of easily-removable tape or pins.
  4. With your needle, begin to punch holes at small regular intervals along the lines of your pattern–almost like Connect the Dots in reverse!
  5. Once you’re finished piercing the pattern out, erase all the light pencil marks.
  6. Now, you can leave the paper as is, cut out your pattern and layer a contrasting color of paper underneath it, or whatever your crafting heart desires!

With these kinds of instructions, ornare is an approachable and easy art form for making delicate and beautiful paper art!

To Learn More

The Search Press Book of Traditional Papercrafts offers even more insight on how to start doing crafts featuring ornare. Try it and let your imagination pierce through the paper!

Papercrafting Post #1: Greeting Cards

When we think of paper, we usually just think of writing something on it, or perhaps cutting shapes out of it. Maybe back in our childhood heydays of Elmer’s Glue and pipe cleaners, we did something more with paper, but as adults, we likely don’t give much thought to the material. It merely carries messages for us most of the time.

But there’s a whole section of crafting that just involves paper. It’s not just kid stuff, either–papercrafts can turn out some of the most astounding creations, and you’ll never believe it’s just made of paper. Today, I’ll cover one of the more accessible forms of papercraft–greeting cards.

Why Make Greeting Cards?

In these tough economic times, who wants to pay tons of money for greeting cards and gift tags that will more than likely just be thrown out with the gift wrap? Not to mention that it’s difficult to find just the right message amid the sea of overly obnoxious or generic cards.

So, instead of trying to buy the right card, we can make some ourselves–that way, they can be treasured items!

Robin’s Homemade Greeting Card Solution

You will need:

  • 1 sheet of card stock, color of your choice (available in large packs at most office supply stores)
  • (optional) Construction paper or printer paper in different colors
  • Markers, colored pencils, or crayons (whatever you have handy that has a color other than blue or black)
  • Regular ink pen and/or pencil
  • Scissors
  • Calligraphy markers and/or access to a printer
  • Glue stick or double-sided tape

4 Styles of Greeting Cards

Basically, a greeting card needs 3 things: originality, a fitting picture on the front, and a meaningful message inside. I personally like to draw simple, almost clipart-style images and write pretty poetry on the front of my card and then extend the poetry into the inside message, because I write better poetry than I draw.

You, on the other hand, may love to draw but hate to write, or you may feel that neither your drawing skills nor your writing skills can match up to the people at Hallmark. Don’t fret: there are solutions for every level of artist.

Folding/Sizing The Card Stock

  1. Fold the card stock either in half width-wise to form a larger card, or fold twice into quarters to make a smaller, thicker-feeling card.
  2. Alternatively, you can cut the card stock down to a specific size you want.

If You’re Creating Everything From Scratch

  1. Sketch the appropriate picture for the occasion, either on a separate sheet of paper or directly onto the front of the card. If you’re sketching on the card itself, use light pencil lines first so you can place your picture appropriately (you don’t want to end up with something lovely but off-center!)
  2. Once you’re satisfied with the drawing, go over its lines with an ink pen or marker (whichever thickness of line you prefer)
  3. Then, color it in using your favorite medium, or leave it colorless as desired.
  4. Write out your message on a scrap sheet of paper, checking wording and spelling.
  5. Letter your finished message directly onto the card, or print it in a cool font, cut it out, and attach with glue stick or double-sided tape.
  6. If your art was on a separate sheet of paper, cut it out and attach it to the front of the card.
  7. Sign the card inside, and you’re done!

If You’re Drawing but Not Writing

  1. Follow the first three steps of the “do-it-yourself” instructions above.
  2. Search the Internet for a meaningful poem or quote that would mean a lot to the person you’re giving the card to. Great resources for poetry and quotes: Bartleby.com, BrainyQuote.com.
  3. Letter your finished message directly onto the card, or print it in a cool font, cut it out, and attach with glue stick or double-sided tape.
  4. Sign the card inside, and you’re done!

If You’re Writing but Not Drawing

  1. Search the Internet for fitting (and free-usage) clipart, images, or photographs; alternatively, you can use your own photographs.
  2. Print your image(s) out on regular paper or glossy photo paper, cut them out, and attach to the front of the card using double-sided tape (glue stick won’t hold photo paper as strong).
  3. Write out your message on a scrap sheet of paper, checking wording and spelling.
  4. Letter your finished message directly onto the card, or print it in a cool font, cut it out, and attach with glue stick or double-sided tape.
  5. Sign the card inside, and you’re done!

Super-Quick-Style Greeting Card

  1. Search for a free-usage image or two on the internet, and a poem or quote that works well with the person and occasion, and print both of them out.
  2. Cut out the image and message, and attach to the card using glue stick or double-sided tape.
  3. Sign the card, and you’re finished in record time!

Optional Steps for Extra Care

  • If you want to, use the scissors to trim out a pretty border on the card (gentle curving waves look pretty, as do pinking-shear-style edges). You could trim out just the front three edges of the card, or all six edges (front and back cover).
  • You can layer a different color of printer or construction paper in the interior or exterior of the card, cut to either the exact same width and height of the card stock, or cut to leave a border of the card stock color around the edges. Attach with a few swipes of a glue stick or double-sided tape.