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Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer

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arts

Monthly tutorial: Fun paper projects

Before Christmas I promised I’d show you some crafty ways of making use of that mountain of wrapping paper that inevitably amasses after Christmas day. If you’ve recycled your paper already (some papers can’t be recycled, see last months post here: link) this is a good way to use up those annoying bits that are too good to recycle but that clutter up your wrapping stash.

Please forgive my less than perfect photos, my 8 year old digicam has served me well but I have a suspicion it’s on its way out!

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You can easily find origami tutorials online and your library may even stock some books. If your new years resolution was to try a new craft, what better excuse to give it a go? This works best with thicker wrapping papers.

Another craft you may enjoy (and which I find very relaxing) is decoupage. You can buy special materials such as decoupage papers and glue/sealer but really all you need is some thin wrapping paper and PVA glue. It’s so simple you can get stuck in without much preparation. The Range stock extremely reasonable wooden shapes. I’ve used a little wooden birdhouse.

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You will need:

  • Your base shape (such as my birdhouse)
  • Scrap wrapping paper
  • PVA glue
  • A paintbrush
  • A container with a little water in

Instructions

  1. Tear your wrapping paper into small pieces
  2. Mix a little bit of water in a pot with a blob of PVA glue (make sure to stir well until fully mixed)
  3. Paint a thin layer of your PVA mix onto one area of your shape and put bits of wrapping paper over it
  4. Paint over with your PVA mix
  5. Keep layering and painting on glue until you’ve finished the entire shape
  6. Put somewhere to dry

Useful Tips

  • Don’t mix your glue with too much water or your paper won’t lay flat
  • Smooth the paper as you go along to get rid of any lumps and bumps (yes, you will get a little messy!)

 

This is great to do with children as it’s simple and your get results quite quickly. The next how-to is also fun to do with slightly older children but again be prepared for gluey fingers!

Paper beads

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You will need

  • Left over/scrap wrapping paper
  • cocktail sticks or kebab skewers
  • PVA glue

Instructions

  1. Mix a small amount of water with PVA glue
  2. Cut strips of wrapping paper approx 1/2 cm in width (the length you use will depend on how layered/thick your beads will be)
  3. Get one of your skewers/cocktail sticks and loosely wrap your paper once, fixing it with a dab of glue (try to avoid getting too much glue on the wood or you won’t be able to get your bead off later!)
  4. Continue to build up, adding a coating of glue as you go and smoothing out gently with your fingers
  5. Once you reach the end of your paper strip, make sure the outside has a coating of glue and either put your bead stick somewhere to dry or continue using it
  6. Leave until completely dry (the glue will have given your beads a slight gloss and hardened them up) then gently twist to get your bead off the stick.

Tips & Notes:

There are two ways you can make your beads, either tapered at the ends or just even. To get a tapered effect (like the red beads above) your beads will be a bit longer as you need to work from one side to the other. The easiest way is to just keep rolling your paper up, but once you’ve practised a little you can start trying other ways of wrapping.

This works best with brighter, patterned paper and you can use this method with fabric too. Get creative and try wrapping bright threads around your beads!

The most useful tip is to NOT WRAP TOO TIGHTLY around your cocktail stick/skewer as you won’t be able to get your bead off. I made this mistake myself when I started learning to make paper beads but you’ll soon get the hang of learning just the right ‘hold’ on the stick.

Whilst I waited for my wrapping paper beads to dry, I made a bracelet using some paper and fabric beads I’d already wrapped before. For these I used scraps of handmade paper, felt scraps, recycled sari material and even some left over paper I’d been stamping on (rubber stamping that is! Not foot stamping!)

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Monthly review: Derwent Graphitint pencils

After postponing this review it’s finally here! The promised Graphitint review. Here’s what you need to know…

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Product name: Derwent Graphitint 12 Tinted graphite pencils

Price: £5 (without postage) – £20.96

Rating: 4/5

About: A set of 12 tinted graphite pencils which can be used dry as you would a pencil/watercolour pencil, as well as brushed over with water to ‘soften’. They give a subtle colour finish.

observations

I was so excited to try these out, not knowing quite what to expect;  would these handle like graphite pencils? How would I get tone like I would from B-6B? I was keen to get stuck in, and they didn’t disappoint, though did take some getting used to. I initially made the mistake of setting out using them as I would normal graphite pencils, but these are something different entirely. I soon realised that these pencils are a medium all of their own; not quite a watercolour pencil, not quite a graphite pencil, and like when you’re just starting out with a new medium these need a little getting used to and a little practise.

Due to cost I opted for the set of 12 (having just given in to the temptation of Derwent’s Inktense watercolour pencils)  and rather than feeling as though I was limited by not having the available range of 24 colours, I came to realise it was the very fact that I had a limited palette that put me in the right direction in terms of use. When using graphite pencil I focus on tone, when using colour mediums to depict reality I try to get the colour as close to reality as possible, but this is a mistake when using this medium. Because these pencils offer only a tint, and therefore limit your ability to depict the colour of the animal/object in reality, you will not achieve exact likeness, and therefore must treat these as what they are: a combination between graphite and watercolour pencil – bear colour in mind, but also bear tone in mind. It really is about not boxing yourself in to think of these as one medium with one set of rules. This is a medium with which two set of rules apply. To be successful you have to get in to this mind-set.

Whilst some of the characteristics are the same as graphite pencils, blending is not one. This is where the medium crosses over into watercolour pencil territory. Forget attempting to use a blending stump or your fingers, as these can only be blended using water. They have a harder point than I had expected, which actually makes them more economical than Derwent’s watercolour pencils, which, due to softness wore down very quickly.good bits

  • Portable
  • Economical
  • Unique
  • Good for detailed work

notso

  • Take some getting used to
  • I very much missed white in the 12 pack (though this is available individually)
  • Generally pricey (though in my opinion it’s not worth scrimping on materials and these are good quality)
  • Availability of individual colours (so far only found on derwentart.com)

 

concludePersonally I’d buy these again as I found them quite unique. However, it’s worth looking around a bit first as price can vary drastically. Availability of sets is an issue, though The Range seem to be the best high street store for this, offering sets of 6,12 and 24. I feel these are more suited to those with a real interest in art and mediums, as opposed to simply for use in colouring in for example.

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Monthly tutorial: Scrap daffodil brooch

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Here in Cymru we’re celebrating Saint David’s Day, so as promised I’m bringing you a special Saint David’s Day tutorial. Today I’m going to show you how to make a unique daffodil brooch, using just scraps of fabric and a brooch back.

youwillneed

 

 

 

  • Yellow/orange/green fabric scraps
  • Matching cotton
  • A small sewing needle
  • A brooch back (You can find these in Hobbycraft, independent craft shops and on Amazon)
  • Fabric scissors

If using thin fabric:

  • Iron-on interfacing (available in craft/sewing shops and online)
  • Iron on adhesive (Therm-o-web, fuse-a-web etc, again available in craft/sewing shops and online)

method

 

 

 

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Start by drawing out your templates. The template for the centre of your daffodil (the spiky part) should be around double the width of the bottom of your petal template, as shown in the diagram. The good thing about this project is that you don’t have to obsess too much about measurements. The template for the centre of my daffodil was approx. 7.5cm width and 6cm in height. My petals were approx. 3.5cm in width with a peak of around 5.5cm. The leaf can bee free-hand.

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Cut your template pieces out.

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With pencil or fabric marker/chalk draw around each template and cut the shapes out. You will need to cut 10 petals, 4 leaves, and 2 centres.

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If you’re using a very ‘sturdy’ material which will hold shape well (such as felt sheets) you can skip this and the next step. If you’re using up your cotton scraps as I am, you’ll need to draw around your templates and cut out the same amount as in the previous step. Interfacing will make your fabric much more sturdy. Be sure to read the pack, as some interfacing is sew-on.

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Draw around your templates and cut out 2 leaves, 1 centre, 5 petals, and follow the instructions on the iron-on adhesive pack to stick all your pieces together, until you’re left with 5 complete petals, 2 leaves, and one centre. Don’t worry too much about precision, as we’ll be trimming the uneven edges before moving on to the next step. (NB: be very careful not to melt iron-on adhesive on to your iron! – I learnt the hard way a few years ago)

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Once you’ve trimmed any uneven edges, bring the two sides on the base of the petal together, one slightly overlapping the other, to form a slight trumpet shape.

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Sew a few little stitches to secure. Do this for all of your petals.

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Now for the centre of your daffodil. Slightly over-lap one side, and secure with a pin. Use matching cotton to sew along the edge.

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Once you’ve got you tube shape, pinch the bottom part of the tube together and secure with a few stitches.

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Now we need to attach the petals to the centre. This can be a bit tricky, so I recommend using the shortest needle you can, and allow yourself more cotton than you actually need, just to allow you some ‘manoeuvre’ space. You’re just putting  a few stitches through your petal and centre, up along the line where you’ve stitched your petal sides together.

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Repeat the above step until all of your petals are attached.

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Now our flower is complete, it’s time to work on the leaves. Just to get the leaves in the position you want, put a simple cross stitch in the centre of your crossed-over leaves.

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Take your brooch back and attach it securely to your leaves.

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Attach your flower to your leaves. You can use this step to make your brooch back even more stable; sew carefully through the centre of your daffodil, going in and out of the brooch holes each time.

 

idea

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