Thursday, May 17, 2012


Remember these papers from the marbled paper tutorial?

marble paper 
tutorial 10marble paper 
tutorial 9

Well, they have now become these:

little orange
handmade book 3

longstich book 1

Two new hand bound books!
I originally became interested in bookbinding because a lot of artists make their own sketchbooks because it's cheaper than buying them, and you can make them exactly to your specifications.

little orange
handmade book 2

I started with simple long stitch first to practice (Coptic stitch seemed to be the most popular for artists sketchbooks). I quite like them! The orange was the first one I did; I covered a piece of card stock with the marbled paper, then marked and scored for the folds, and sewed in eight signatures (bunches of folded paper) of five pages each.

little orange
handmade book 1

I had punched the holes a bit unevenly, and then forgot to keep all the signatures pointing the same way, so its a bit uneven, and I had a bit of difficulty keeping my sewing tension even. Even with that I like it, and I'm kind of glad that it's not perfect, because then I would be afraid to use it.

longstich book 3

After a while I couldn't stop thinking of making more books, so I got out my supplies and made the purple book. I made the cover a bit larger than the pages this time, and added a sheet of plain paper on the inside of the cover too. I think it looks much nicer this way. I also used seven signatures of six sheets each this time, which made a slightly skinnier spine.

longstich book 4

The corners are a little rough, but overall I’m really happy with it. It feels really nice in my hands, I think I got all the proportions just right on this one. And I had a much better time keeping my sewing tension even too.

I'm definitely going to make more books, it is so fun! Now I just have to decide what to do with them all!

longstich book 5

Monday, May 14, 2012

Marble/Crackle Paper Tutorial

This results in a really nice marble/crackle look/texture. The paper will be a bit stiffer and a touch more brittle than normal paper, and of course will have much more texture.
Feel free to play around with multiple colors and density of paint to water for different effects.

I used this method to create the background papers in these cards:

Gather your materials: printer paper, a bowl of water, a big brush, and watercolors:
marble paper 
tutorial 1

Take a sheet of paper and crumple it up nice and tight:
marble paper 
tutorial 2

Quickly dip it in the water, making sure it is fully submerged, then remove it. Do this quickly; you don't want it to get TOO wet. (You will notice that in this photo the ball is beginning to pull apart, I let it sit in the water way too long to take the photo.)
marble paper 
tutorial 3

Take it out and gently squeeze the water out, then VERY CAREFULLY uncrumple the paper and flatten it on the table. If it starts to pull apart and rip too much it's too wet; you might be better off starting over.
marble paper 
tutorial 4

This paper is way too wet; see how it tore while I was uncrumpling it? And you can't see any dry spots.
marble paper 
tutorial 5a

You want your paper to look more like this, with lots of dry spots. At this point, you can blot the paper with a towel if you would like.
marble paper 
tutorial 5b

Start painting, using as little water on your brush as possible. The more pigment, the more saturated your page color will be.
marble paper 
tutorial 6

After painting, the pigment will be lighter than it appears when wet. It will still be darker along the crease lines, making the marble texture. Allow to dry.
marble paper 
tutorial 7

If you are impatient like me you can place the painted paper paint side down on a clean sheet of paper and carefully iron it. I finish all my papers like this. The paper will be a touch brittle and will want to curl. Be firm but don't let the iron stay in one place too long or you risk burning your paper.
(You will notice this is a different pattern than earlier. The first piece was way too wet and disintegrated when I tried to pick it up.)
marble paper 
tutorial 8

Finished paper. The more paint you use, the more saturated your page will be. Also feel free to use multiple colors for a more tie-dyed look.
marble paper 
tutorial 9marble paper 
tutorial 10

A bonus of ironing is that the paper you use to protect your ironing board will have cool patterns too!
marble paper 
tutorial 11

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Handmade Cards and Free Digi Stamps

I've been sitting on this post for almost two weeks now, but I wanted to be sure that all the recipients got their cards before I posted.

I've started dabbling in card making. I resisted for a long time since we have nether the space nor the money to buy bunches of colored cardstock, fancy scrapbooking papers, paper punches, rubber stamps, and markers. But a while ago I stumbled on a method for blending colored pencils using baby oil that results in a more blended 'painted' look rather than the colored in/crayon look that one usually gets. I played around with this method (you can see tutorial here and video here) in my daily drawing journal and had a lot of success and fun.

Then one of my friends had a baby and I wanted to send her a card, but the store had nothing that really fit. I saw a really cute giraffe digi stamp, and I got to thinking. I have a very limited colored pencil palette, but a giant box of crayons. And since the baby oil blended by smooshing around the wax, it should work on crayons too. (And it does, but a little differently. Experiment first if you are going to try it.)

In the end I came up with this:

giraffe card
for tommy

Not bad, kinda simple, and I felt weird using somebody else's drawing. So when my cousin had HER baby I made up this little elephant:


and then made this card:

welcome baby

Still super simple, but at least it was my own art.

Then my best friend had HER baby (yeah, babies everywhere), and I came up with this little sheep because she likes sheep:

baloon and

And I played around and came up with this card:

sheep baby

The sheep is only attached with the string, so she hands free. Also, the balloon is on a little folded scrap of card stock to make it “dimensional.”

I had gotten better at editing the drawings in Inkscape for a nice dark, smooth outline. And I was really proud of the background.

Since Mother's Day was coming up I decided I would make cards for that too. I started doodling and came up with this:


but I thought the stem was too restrictive, so I edited it out and was much happier:

Then I began playing around with background ideas. I had really liked the way the sheep background had worked, and I wondered if I could do something similar but on a larger scale, since I had four cards to make.

I also decided to make each flower different to better suit the recipient, since otherwise the cards would all be the same.

In the end this is what I had:


My handwriting needs A LOT of work still, and I'm not completely pleased with the leaf shape, but I am incredibly happy with how these turned out. The flowers and leaves have little bits of folded card stock under them, so that they stand out from the card, and it looks really nice in person. I'll probably be posting a tutorial for the backgrounds soon too. I really loved how they turned out.

All in all I'm a far cry from a master scrapbooker/cardmaker, but I had a lot of fun and I'm really happy with my results. I'll probably be making more cards in the future and I'll post my “digi stamps” here for free when I do. (Click on the image and you can go right to Flickr and download them for your own use, just don't sell any cards you make from them.)

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