Monday, 15 March 2010

Paper Beads Tutorial

No, I won´t win a coronet for today´s tutorial.
And I truly apologize for not sharing a brand new idea with you, dear reader.

Because today´s DIY project is about:
Paper Beads

I have made these kind of paper beads when I was a kid. And so did my mother when she was a kid. And so did my grandmother. And so did many others - and I guess you made them, too.
Like I said, nothing new under the sun!

I wouldn´t share this idea here if I wasn´t extremely fond of these beads. And honestly - when did we make these beads the last time? At kindergarten? At primary school? They are super easy to make and an eyecatcher too. Perfect for e.g.:

A bead curtain for your home
(my personal project right now, we have very few doors at our place and I want light and the warmth from the fireplace to be able to get into every corner of each room):
A lovely gift for someone crafty, as favours at a birthday party or as a nice prezzie for kids
(I don´t like to buy big presents for little people, either handmade or for creative play - or both):Colour dashes for a spring-like wreath
as a gift for your mother-in-law, your friend, your neighbour:Pretty embellishments for drinking straws for the good old was-this-my-glass-or-yours? problem (at the school party, your child´s birthday, for picnic with friends):
You will need
sturdy paper in different colours such as wallpaper, magazines, gift wrapping paper

(I use wallpaper, ask in the shop for last year´s pattern book. They use to throw them away when the new wallpaper collections are out - and the paper is perfect for a lot of crafty projects)

gluestick, ruler and pencil

toothpicks or chopsticks or a thin spit of wood

cutter and cutting mat, old newspaperMy triangles are 2cm/0.8" wide on one side and 45cm/ 17.7" long
(you will get isosceles triangles, that means that two angles have the same lenth)

Cut out the triangles, using cutter, ruler and cutting mat
(I recommend cutter and cutting mat, it is hard to cut the paper straight when using scissors):
Then put on glue, use either a glue stick or a brush
(spare out the first centimeter of the shortest edge)

roll the paper triangle around the wooden stick as shown on the pictures,
starting from that part which has the shortest edge (which is not the one with the tip ;-)
Roll up and roll up and roll up until your bead is finished.

I use to have a wet cloth on the table - you will get quite sticky fingers while making paper beads and this is a great helper ;-)

If you want to use the beads for e.g. curtains and such, use spray on some enamel, they will last longer. For smaller beads, transparent nail polish is a good solution, too
And while I sorted material, having a big spring clean in my shelves, I even used fabric stripes instead of paper ones for a bracelet
(with three tiny stitches in the very end of each bead to keep everything in place):After some time it will look much more used, you will see tiny threads and such - but this is exactly what I like about it. And you won´t even need a sewing machine to use up all your fabric scraps and leftovers. I will make some more as necklaces for Fröken Skicklig dolls and as gifts for friends, I really like them.

Felt is a great material too and so does leather. Have fun experimenting!I am looking forward your ideas for these kind of beads. Would you like to share them with us? Leave a comment with a link to your blog post or - if you are on Flickr - feel welcome to add your pictures to the Fröken Skicklig Chronicles Group so that we can see what you´ve come up with.

Have a creative week!

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Monday, 1 March 2010

Summer Swallows (Tutorial)

A little note beforehand regarding copyright: Nice that you want to spread the word about this tutorial. But before you use my pictures on your own blog/ website/ online forum, please do not forget to ask me and respect the © sign which is both on my blog as on each of the pictures with good reason. Thanks

End of February means end of winter - and that is one reason why I am always longing for my birthday the 28th. So all of us enjoyed the sunshine yesterday, the smell of melting snow and the twitter of the birds (still a bit shy).

And today the storm is wailing around the house, bringing lots of snow and falling branches. Winter. Still. Although it felt a bit like Spring yesterday...

So it is time for the
Summer Swallow Tutorial!
Pretty paper swallows for your window, for some birch branches or as a nice decoration for a little gift.One swallow doesn´t make a summer, they say. And a bit of sunlight and melting snow end of February doesn´t mean that Spring is around the corner, sigh.

So let us not only make one swallow but several! And then maye winter will get tired so that Spring will come and then summer...

You need:

Wallpaper samples in black and white (ask in a wallpaper store, they use to give away the old books with samples which are perfect for crafting)
alternative: newspapers, black or white paper, gift wrapping paper etc.Scissors, a ruler and a pen,
cutting knife and cutting mat,
sewing thread and needlesClothespegs and a gluestick
and fifteen minutes of your timeFirst download the Summer Swallow pattern here and print it:Transfer the pattern onto the wallpaper samples, cut out the silhouettes as shown in the pattern:
(The easiest way to transfer the pattern is to use some adhesive tape and stick it onto the paper you want to use)
Cut in the slots for the wings, using cutter and cutting mat:Glue together the parts of the head. You can use clothespegs as a little helper:Cut the edges of the head a bit if needed. Then pull the wings through the slots as shown:And pull through a sewing thread:

And remember: One swallow doesn´t make a summer. So do not make only one, make several swallows!

Hang them into some birch branches to spread a feeling of warmer days:Or hang them into your living room window
(I really like the white and black contrast and the way they move):For our Christmas Nightingales I had been using a modified pattern of the Summer Swallows and fabric instead of paper (I have sewn the two parts together then). Felt would be a great material, too, or any kind of metal foil to try the pattern with.

I wish you sunny days and happy crafting!


P.S. Thank you so very much for all the congratulations, gifts, letters, drawings and emails yesterday! It was a fantastic birthday and I enjoyed it very much reading all your lovely lines!Footnote: It should go without saying: this tutorial is under copyright protection and is for private use only. Thank you.
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