Merry Christmas! I hope that you had a good one. I wanted to quickly share the final project of my Twelve Days of Bookish Crafts Blogmas that I didn’t get round to posting (birthday, teething baby, preschooler with a raging fever who shared her germs with her baby sister and parents…) a papercut of Twas the Night Before Christmas.
I’d meant to print the whole poem out on A4 in columns so that this would look something like an inverted book on one page image, but the house move had nixed that because (even though it happened in the summer) my printer cable had disappeared and by the time I realised where it was it was Christmas Eve and very much now or never. Maybe next Christmas. Or for another project.
I’ve been playing around with paper cut recently to make shadow puppets for Phoebe. It started with me cutting very basic shapes out with a scissors and some cardboard, but then she started asking for more complex characters (a dragon, a wolf) which really stretched my art skills and meant that my scissors were too crude an instrument, so I bought myself a cheap (under £6) multiheaded craft knife from Amazon which has been really good. I’m sure any would do if you wanted to play around with paper cut, but the one I use can be found here (affiliate link).
I draw the image that I want to cut out on the reverse of the card in a light coloured gel pen so I can see it against the black card. Obviously when the paper is flipped over, the image is flipped as well, so if there particular details that need to be in certain places I keep that in mind as I sketch out the design. I use a second colour to go over any details that I sketched over before I cut so I know what line I want to follow, but it’s all pretty simple.
I’ve drawn my papercut out in silver pen here then drawn the cut line in copper
When I’m happy with it, I cut it out using my craft knife on the chopping board. Because I bought the materials for shadow puppets, I’m using card and keep the details fairly basic, but I might get some paper and try something more complex soon.
I was inspired to make this starburst having seen this Prairie Point Star from Supermom No Cape and even tried making a 3D paper version of it, which I still think is possible, but would need more headspace than my toddler and baby give me during our crafting sessions!
Even though it’s not quite what I was planning to make, I’m happy enough with it and think that a few in various sizes would look quite nice stuck to the wall en masse as a Christmas decoration. I might even try layering the starbursts to make a wreath of sorts when I have a bit more time.
To make a paper starburst decoration you need:
Two different coloured cards, one plain one patterned works well
An embellishment to hide the central join
How to make a paper starburst decoration:
Measure out five squares from each card and then cut these in half on the diagonal to create twenty right angled triangles. My squares were 5cmx5cm
2. Measure out another square and draw out lines marking each of the quarters.
3. Begin placing your triangles on this guide square, deciding what level of spacing you prefer. If you like a more spread out starburst use four triangles per quarter, if you like a more compressed look use five per quarter. DO NOTglue the first triangle to the paper, glue the second to the first and then each triangle after that to the triangle before it while building up the pattern in a circle. You will need to be able to lift the first triangle to slot the final joining triangle beneath it to create a unified look.
4. When all the pieces are in position, you can securely stick the first piece and the final piece together. Add a splodge of PVA glue in the middle and glue an embellishment in the central spot to hide the join and hold the whole ornament firmly together.
Depending on the size of your final ornament you could hang this on a string to use as a tree decoration, or blue tack to the wall in a starburst scene.
Day Nine of my 12 Days of Bookish Crafts Blogmas and I bring you this Alice in Wonderland Drink Me ornament which would be perfect for hanging on a tree.
This is a really easy craft project as it doesn’t take any degree of skill, just collection of parts for assembly, and you can tweak the final look very easily depending on the materials you use. My current decoration is a really budget friendly version, an upcycled empty glycerine bottle, a snippet of cheap ribbon and some craft ribbon roses. But with a pretty glass bottle, a nice quality ribbon and some dried rosebuds you could make a nice bookish bottle present for someone, and I might actually experiment with making a more up market version one day.
To make an Alice in Wonderland Drink Me decoration you will need:
How to make an Alice in Wonderland Drink Me Bottle
Make sure that your bottle is clean and dry – I used an empty Dr Oetker glycerine bottle that I had left from making a sensory bottle for the baby, they are pretty cheap in most supermarkets – and fill this with the red roses.
Add your ornate key to the string and loosely tie to the bottle neck so that it will have the appearance of hanging slightly seperately from the bottle when displayed. Leave long ends loose to use for hanging on a tree should you wish to use this as a Christmas ornament.
Tie the ribbon in a bow around the neck of the bottle to disguise the string. If it’s likely to be fiddled with by small children, I’d recommend securing the bow in place with a stitch through the knot.
Write “drink me” on a piece of paper and glue to the bottle.
If you’re friends with a bookworm, the chances are they are a massive penguin fan and will have a collection of vintage penguin books (guilty) or some kind of penguin lifestyle item hanging around their house.
What better way to jazz up a book that you’ve bought them for Christmas than this handmade bookish penguin gift tag which doubles up as a unique bookmark that can be enjoyed long after the rest of the wrapping has gone?
To make a bookish penguin gift tag you will need:
Old book page
Cardboard (I used white watercolour paper and gold card)
Decorative twine or ribbon
How to make a bookish penguin gift tag:
Sketch out your penguin onto a piece of plain paper. When you’re happy with the design, turn your paper over and shade heavily with a graphite pencil. Hold this over your book page and pressing heavily on the paper, draw over the penguin so that the image transfers like the one below.
2. Using black paint and a fine brush, carefully go over your pencil lines then fill in the black parts of the penguin on the book page.
3. When your penguin has dried, cut out an oval of paper which fits around the penguin and trace the shape around your penguin to give it a good border. Cut this shape out and stick it onto a white card background.
4. Cut around the oval to create a white border and then stick the bordered oval onto another shade of card of your choice. I chose gold to make it feel Christmassy. Once these have dried, make a small hole in the top of the card and thread with decorative twine or ribbon to allow you to use it as a tag or as a bookmark.
Happy Friday! Today is day seven of my Twelve Days of Bookish Crafts Blogmas and I wanted to share some 3D snowflakes which were inspired by these medallion snowflakes that I saw on One Dog Woof after reading a post on Apartment Therapy (an ironic guilty pleasure since my home is a chaotic mess more than half the time). ChiWei’s blog is so full of creative ideas you need to read it all, but I loved the snowflakes and thought they’d look great with book pages instead of plain paper.
The basic steps for this are very similar to creating a pinwheel (like I did for my snowflake pinwheels) but I added washi tape to a larger piece of paper to make a bigger snowflake and give what my partner likes to call “a pop of colour”* It’s very easy to do, you just need to position the washi tape either at the edge of your pages to give the snowflake a coloured edge, or in the centre to give it a coloured centre.
If you’re creating a coloured centre, you should fold the page first to ensure that it doesn’t look too wonky, if you’re putting colour on the edges then it’s much simpler and you just line it up with the straight edges of the paper as I show below.
Once you have it in the correct position, it’s a simple matter of fold and cut though I would avoid cutting through too much of the washi tape as this is extra thick and it makes any kind of precision difficult to achieve.
I’m half way into my Twelve Days of Bookish Crafts Blogmas and I have to say I’m really enjoying it. The crafts that I’ve been making are really simple, but as I put them around the house they instantly make the place feel a little more festive and it’s quite calming sitting and making some little decorations, either by myself or even better with Phoebe as we chat about our projects and life.
Today’s craft couldn’t be much simpler, a book page pinwheel with a snowflake button sewn into the centre. But it looks really good, or I think it does, and you can imagine how it will look when it’s hung on a tree with fairy lights shining off the snowflake button.
To make the pin wheel you will need:
Needle and thread
Decorative button (I bought my snowflakes from ebay)
String for hanging
How to make a snowflake pinwheel decoration:
Cut your book page in half so you have a long, thin strip of paper. A maths whizz could probably tell you the minimum width to length ratio needed to get the pinwheel to fold into a circle. I’m reasonable at maths but my head isn’t in that place right now, but if your paper strip is too wide then your pin wheel won’t fold.
Fold your paper into a concertina, then fold this in half to find the middle point.
If you’re only planning to make a pin wheel you can staple the mid point or wrap string tightly around it to secure it. To sew the snowflake button in place, I’d recommend sewing thread through the centre point of the concertina and then sewing through this on both sides and through the button to secure this to the exterior of your concertina.
When the button is in place, glue the edges of your paper together on one side to form an arc.
Then repeat this on the other side.
Carefully make a hole in the paper and thread through to hang.
The collage below has come out quite low res, but it gives you the basic idea for making the pinwheel.
When I, a witch, offer you, a muggle, a Christmas present from the Harry Potter universe, the chances are that you, like me, want Hermione’s timeturner.
Tough break I’m afraid, because for day five of my Blogmas of Bookish crafts, I’m not giving you what you want, but what you need with this Harry Potter inspired, easy to make golden snitch and felix felicis DIY. Yes, I’m giving you recreation and good luck, because no one needs to be running around like a headless turkey trying to avoid their past selves during the festive period.
To make an easy golden snitch and felix felicis ornament you need:
How to make a golden snitch and potion step by step
Here I’ll guide you through making the snitch and the felix felicis potion bottle which I join together at the end. Though in this step by step guide I’m starting with the snitch, you can do it in any order. This just allowed me to work on the potion while the snitch wings dried.
Make your snitch wings- this is the most difficult part of the whole project, mostly because the cutting is fiddly. I drew around a real feather so that I would have a natural feather shape to cut because I wanted my wings to look organic, there are lots of guides on how to make papercut feathers online but I found that the key was to decide on a central spine in the feather and to cut from the narrow base of the feather to the wider tip in precise, narrow cuts as I’ve indicated with arrows below. This helps avoid your cuts overlapping and taking a section out of your wing.
2. When you’ve cut your feather shapes out, fold them gently along the pencil mark you’ve made for the central spine of the feather to give them a natural wing shape and colour or paint them in silver. I used a silver sharpie (affiliate link) which I liked because didn’t affect the texture of my paper or weigh down my design.
3. Wrap a ball of cotton wool in gold foil and pierce this through with a cocktail stick to create a frame to attach your paper wings. I dipped the cocktail stick in PVA glue to keep it in position.
4. Spread a small amount of PVA glue on the inner curve of your feathered snitch wing then gently position these on the cocktail sticks. Allow to dry.
5. Fill your small glass bottle with gold glitter and seal in place with a cork. I found the corks that came with my bottles were slightly too large so I trimmed it gently with a craft knife to prevent it breaking when the bottle was sealed. I then threaded gold craft wire through the hanging fixture and wrapped it around the bottle’s neck both to secure the cork and to embellish the decoration.
7. When your snitch has dried, add a small hanging fixture to the top of the snitch, secure (mine had a screw fixture and came from a broken cork lid from my tiny bottles) and string on a wire along with the potion bottle.
There you go, really simple and I think it would make a nice project for a Harry Potter fan, or a handmade gift for a Harry Potter fan to hang on the tree.
It’s day three of my blogmas and I’m really excited to share today’s bookish craft with you – an easy DIY tiny paper house. I’m going to show you how to make a tiny paper house step by step so you can have your own (free!) lantern.
This was great fun to make and it’s made my mantlepiece look really Christmassy. I’ve got a feeling that I’ll be making a lot more of these before December is out, so my currently minimalist Christmas display will turn into a bustling paper village.
An important point to make, but one that bears saying, is if you do make a paper lantern, don’t put a real tealight in it as a candle is obviously a massive fire hazard. I’ve used an LED tealight in mine and these are widely available to buy. They are pretty much all I use with small children in the house. Speaking of small children, an adult will need to help them with this because the detail work requires a sharp craft knife.
To make a paper house lantern you will need:
Cardboard (I used watercolour paper for the main building for the texture and gold cardboard for the roof)
Sharp craft knife and a protective mat
Any embellishhments that you’d like to add- I used a strip of printed paper on the eaves of the roof to give the appearance of bookish snow
How to make a paper house lantern
Draw out your paper house template carefully on a piece of card making sure that all of the supporting walls have right angle corners (unless you’re making a model of The Burrow for a family of tiny Weasleys to live in). Each of my walls is 6cm wide and 8cm tall, so the base of my house is 6cm square with space left for gluing flaps. The apex (if that’s the word?) of the roof is 3cm up from the central point of each wall, as you can see in the picture of my template, so it was just a matter of joining the corners of the walls to this upper point on the reverse of my building while sketching out the design. As long as you know how to make a cube, this is pretty easy.
Step one, plan your build- my template for my tiny paper house lantern
2. When you’re happy with the shape of your template, add in the features that you will cut out for the light to shine through. As you can see in my template above, I’ve roughly sketched out windows and a door at the front, and two large windows on either side. I left the rear wall solid since this side won’t display to the room and it makes the paper house a little more robust. It doesn’t matter if the pencil sketching is a little messy as this will be the inside of your paper house so isn’t visible when you’ve folded the cardboard template together.
3. Cut out your house template, scoring the lines between walls gently with a craft knife so that they fold together smoothly but you don’t cut all the way through the card. Check that you’re happy with how your building folds together.
Check that your happy that your paper house folds together well
4. Using a very sharp craft knife cut out the detail on a protective mat. I used our plastic chopping board because I have no idea where my cutting board with measurements has gone during our house move. If your glue tab is going to obstruct a feature when your building folds together (as mine does above) trim this out of the way now.
This is the slow part
5. Use your glue stick to apply glue to your tabs and then stick your paper house together! Use the paper clips to secure the building in place while it dries.
Paper clip holding the paper house together, I also used them either side of the doorway to hold the small tabs in place while the glue dried.
6. Measure and cut your roof to have a little overlap. I made mine 7 x 11cm long and scored a line at the centre so it would fold smoothly. It holds itself very well but if you want a tight join you could probably weight it or use some washi tape inside.
7. Add any embellishments that you like, pop an LED tea light inside and put the lid back on. Voila, a wintry house in paper lantern miniature.
I’m looking forward to making some more of these. I’m even tempted to go wild and make some houses and buildings from literature. Hogwarts sprang to mind but that would be a lot of tiny windows and doors!
For day two of my 12 days of blogmas I wanted to make some bookish star place holders that were inspired by these lovely thanksgiving pumpkins. A larger star would make a good photo holder.
What I really like about these is that you could make tiny versions to hang from the tree. They’d be good to make with older children as a STEAM craft activity as they’d have to work out the best way to rotate the shapes and how to coordinate the cut lines to create a 3D shape. Thicker card is best for this to ensure that the final star decoration keeps its shape and stands up independently.
Younger children will probably need a lot of help with this and an adult to do the cutting. When I made them, Phoebe decorated her own 2D shapes that I’d cut out ahead of time while I sat with her and made my 3D stars.
To make a 3D star place holder or ornament you will need:
A star template if you don’t want to draw free hand (I used a biscuit cutter)
Decorative paper (book pages in this instance)
Scissors and/or craft knife
Fine wire to mount a piece of card or string to hang
How to make a 3D star:
Trace matching star shapes onto the wrong side of your gold card and cut out.
Smear the wrong side of the card shape with glue and stick on your decorative paper so that the gold side of the card is facing up. Allow to dry.
Cut around the stars on the decorative paper so you have a star that is gold on one side with decorative paper on the other.
Take two stars and sing a scissors or craft knife, carefully cut a line half way through the star- one from the top to the centre of a star, and on the other star from the bottom to the middle.
Slot the two stars together through these cuts so they stand up by themselves.
Using the needle, carefully poke holes through the top of the star, then thread with wire or string.
To make a place holder, curl the wire in a spiral and then flatten as in my picture so that the name for the placeholder can be slotted in between the wire.