Tag Archives: decorative paper

DIY Decorative Gift Container

What started out as a tin for my tea has been transformed into this beautiful decorative gift container.

What started out as a tin for my tea has been transformed into this beautiful decorative gift container.

It’s easy to make your own decorative gift container. All that is necessary is a container, some decorative paper, double sided tape and a craft knife or scissors. Just follow the do-it-yourself instructions below.

From left to right: the tin my tea comes in. the tin with the paper torn off (sticky stuff still showing), tin cleaned, De-Solve-It which really takes the sticky off my tin.

From left to right: original tea tin. tea tin with paper torn off with sticky residue remaining, tea tin cleaned, De-Solv-it which takes off the sticky residue.

I love to use cylindrical containers like the ones that tea or hot chocolate or oatmeal comes in. My favorite is the metal tins in the photo on the left that contains Double Green Matcha Tea from The Republic of Tea.

First I empty the contents from my container and clean it as best I can. For my example I have used my tea tin. I first remove the paper label. There is usually an awful sticky residue and some paper left behind. To clean this I use De-Solv-it which is organic, biodegradable, environmentally friendly and works like a champ to remove all sorts of sticky stuff.

Paper cut to the height of the can and enough to overlap about an inch.

Paste paper is cut to the height of the can and enough to overlap about an inch going around the can.

Once my tin is ready, I measure the height of the tin. I cut a piece of decorative paper the height of the tin and about an inch longer than its circumference. I have found that using a fairly light weight paper works best. In this example I am using a piece of paste paper that I made. For information on how I make my paste papers, see my posts Making Paste Paper: Part 1 and Making Paste Paper: Part 2.

Here I am trimming the double sided tape to the height of the paper.

Here I am trimming the double sided tape to the height of the paper.

Now I attach a strip of double sided tape to each of the ends of the paper. Be sure to apply the tape to the wrong side of the paper. I put the tape as close to the end of the paper as possible and overlap the tape on top and bottom on to a cutting surface. Then  I cut the tape as close to the height of the paper as possible without cutting the paper. See the photo on the left. The double sided tape is just one I picked up at a local stationary store. You don’t need a special type of artists tape.

The photo above shows one side of my paste paper has been attached to the can.

The photo above shows one side of my paste paper has been attached to the can.

Now I attach one side of the paper to the tin. I carefully line up the paper on the can and press to attach the paper to the tin. I roll the tin slowly while making sure the paper fits properly. If I am off, I unroll the tin and carefully reposition the paper and start rolling again. When I come to the end of the paper it should overlap a little and I push to attach the end of the paper. Now all I need to do is to add a gift.

My finished gift container.

My finished gift container. Note that the seam is facing you in this photo. It’s hardly noticeable at all.

See, it’s easy. I love finding ways to re-use things that would normally end up in either the trash or recycle bin. Once I give a gift in this container, I am sure my container will get used over and over again.

Enjoy, Candy

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2013 Lotus Flower Calendar

2013 Lotus Flower Calendar
showing the individual pages and the stand that comes with the calendar

My 2013 Lotus Flower Calendar is here. Each month has a photograph of an actual paper lotus flower that I made. I made lots of lotus flowers throughout the year and photographed my favorites. I ended up with about 50 photos and had to narrow them down to just 12 for the calendar. Not only did I need to narrow the photos down to just 12, I needed each lotus flower to represent its month in some way.

October 2013 from my 2013 Lotus Flower Calendar

October’s lotus flower is made from a marbled paper I found at Paper Source in Portland. It reminds me of a pumpkin. July’s lotus flower is made from a paper I found at the U of O Bookstore in Eugene. It is red, white, black and gold, but it reminds me of the American flag (think 4th of July here). For February’s lotus flower, I did a graduated wash on the petals. They go from pink to pale pink to white on the tips. April showers bring May flowers. Each flower was carefully picked for its month.

2013 Paper Lotus Flower Calendar cover

It was a labor of love that had great results.

Click here if you are interested in seeing the steps involved in making a lotus flower.

You can purchase my Lotus Flower Calendars at the Ashland Art Center.

Enjoy, Candy

Making Paste Papers: Part Two

Paste papers drying

If you haven’t read part one yet, you can find it here Making Paste Papers: Part One.

Once I’m happy with the way my paste paper looks, it’s time to let it dry. I transfer it to another nonporous surface (and clean up the one on which I made the paste paper). To save space, I set up a drying rack in the bathroom to hold the paste papers on their drying boards (see above photo). Why the bathroom? Because the bathroom floor is linoleum. Cleaning colored paste off a carpet is not easy, just take my word for it!

While the papers are drying, I have to regularly lift up each paste paper to make sure it doesn’t adhere to its drying board. Failure to do this results in a ruined paste paper, which is just one more reason why I prefer making them in the summer. The drying time, as well as the constant checking and lifting of each paste paper, is a lot shorter than at any other time of year.

If you’ve ever had to dry out a piece of paper, you know that it warps as it dries. Paste papers are no different; once dry they need to be ironed flat. I like to iron them on a wooden board, with a piece of an old sheet on both sides of the paste paper. This protects both my iron and the board from getting color or paste on them, just in case. I use a dry iron, and I iron both sides of the paper.

Two books I made which have paste paper covers.

Now, I’m finally ready to make art with my paste papers. I originally made paste papers for bookbinding, either as end sheets or as covers for books. Now I use them for all kinds of paper crafts, and I keep finding more!

Three boxes made out of paste paper.

If you are interested in learning more about paste papers, my favorite book on the subject is The Art of Making Paste Papers by Diane Maurer-Mathison. It’s currently out of print, but you can find it on Amazon for around $40 used. That’s pretty expensive for a paperback, but it’s the best book on making paste papers that I’ve ever come across.

Enjoy, Candy

October 2012 Lotus Flower Calendar Page

This is what the October calendar page for my 2012 Lotus Flower Calendar looks like.

The above photo is the October page from my 2012 Lotus Flower Calendar. To me it says autumn is here, the trees are changing color and it’s time to decorate for Halloween. It’s time to put pumpkins on my doorstep and in my windows.

It’s still harvest time here. My tomatoes are still producing. I am making organic apple cider and it tastes wonderful. My paste papers are all made and waiting to be ironed and made into wonderful art. I have lots of new art ideas. As the days get shorter, I will be playing more at my drafting table in the evening.

My 2013 Lotus Flower Calendar is done. I didn’t think I could produce a better calendar than my 2012 Lotus Flower Calendar, but I believe I did. It is available at the Ashland Art Center and  will soon be available in my Etsy shop www.paperandbooks.etsy.com.

Happy autumn, Candy

Making Paste Papers: Part One

It’s Summer, which means I get to pull out my paints, cook up some archival paste, and play for days making paste papers. I only make paste papers during the summertime, because they dry so much quicker. Since I have a limited amount of space in which to work, the faster they dry, the more I can make.

This is what I use to make my paste.

I usually work with two paste recipes. The first is simply methyl cellulose and distilled water, which I use when adding gold and silver highlights. I get powdered methyl cellulose from www.danielsmith.com. Getting it to the right consistency takes about two days and lots of stirring. Once made, this paste can be used for months. The second recipe consists of wheat starch, rice flour, glycerin, tincture of green soap, and distilled water. This requires cooking, cooling, and running the paste through a sieve to remove any lumps. Even when refrigerated, this paste only has a shelf life of a week or less.

Here I am painting yellow paste on wet paper.

Once the paste is ready, I put it into small containers and add acrylic paint until I get the intensity of color that I want. I generally use Golden Acrylic paints because they’re highly pigmented; ‘a little dab’ll do ya’.

Here I have added more colors of paste and am blending them together on the paper.

If you’re working with children, and you want a simple, kid friendly recipe, you can make the paste from flour and water and use tempera paints to color the paste.

Before painting with the colored pastes, the paper needs to be wet. I have a shallow plastic storage container partially filled with water in which I can dip my paper. Now the real fun begins. After putting the wet paper on a non-porous surface and smoothing out any bubbles, I apply the colored pastes, usually with a large brush. Then I make marks, patterns, and textures in the paste with all sorts of objects. I’ve used combs, bottle caps, brushes, rubber stamps, chopsticks, various found objects, and anything else that happened to be around at the time. I also sprinkle metallic powders on some of the paste papers.

Now I am adding texture by stamping a bottle cap into the wet paste.

My favorite paper to use for this is Mohawk Superfine, which I use in a variety of weights, from text weight all the way to cover stock. It all depends on what I plan to make out of the finished paste paper. For my non-porous surface, I use glass, plexiglass, or a piece of laminate.The first day I make paste papers usually feels like a warm-up. By the second day, however, I find myself making some absolutely fantastic paste papers. Since I only do this once a year, I try to make sure the color combinations I use cover all four seasons. It feels weird to be making a ‘Winter’ paste paper on a hot summer day, wearing a tank top and shorts.

Paste paper laid flat to dry.

We’re not done yet! In Part 2, I’ll tell you what comes next, and I’ll show you some of the new paste papers I’ve made this summer.

Enjoy, Candy

P.S. Click here to view Making Paste Papers: Part Two.

September 2012 Lotus Flower Calendar Page

This is what my September 2012 Lotus Calendar page looks like.

It’s September already! Time certainly seems to be flying by this year. I am currently finishing up my 2013 Lotus Flower Calendar. I made lots of lotus flowers, photographed my favorites and sent them to my graphic designer for the final edits. Tomorrow I should have the proofs and hopefully the calendar will go to the printer on Tuesday. When it is finished it will be available at the Ashland Art Center and in my Etsy shop www.paperandbooks.etsy.com.

Enjoy, Candy

Illuminated Paper Sculptures Workshop

The shadow box can be closed with a candle or other light to illuminate it from inside.

I just got back from two incredible weeks of making art, sort of a working vacation involving playing with paper, lamps, calligraphy, bookbinding and so much more. During the first week of my vacation, I took a workshop, Illuminated Paper Sculpture, from Helen Hiebert. Helen makes paper and also makes the most incredible paper sculptures and lamps. You can see her Mother Tree Project along with links to more of her art on her website: http://www.helenhiebertstudio.com

Here is one of the projects I made during the workshop. This shadow box can be closed to make a lamp shade structure or opened to make a screen. It looks great with a light shining through.

Here the screen is open with a light shining from behind.

My problem now is that there are only 24 hours in each day. I want to play with so many of the structures I learned in the workshop and at the calligraphy and bookbinding retreat I attended last week. After being gone for two weeks, unfortunately, there are other things that I need to attend to before I can just play with my art again. I hope to be caught up by this weekend so I can spend more time in my studio next week.

Enjoy, Candy