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Archive for Paper Crafts

reconstructing a yarn swift

Thanks to Heather and Jesse, I now have a very cool vintage umbrella swift, with one slight problem: the spinning part is missing, so all I had was the umbrella part to hold the yarn. I’ve been waiting for months to find the time to buy wood and get my handy husband to help me make 1) a new base that I can clamp to the table and 2) some sort of rotation mechanism so it can spin freely. So far, we’d only got as far as finding a Lazy Susan bearing mechanism.

Yesterday I got sick of waiting and decided to rig something from available materials: cardboard, craft glue, and thumbtacks. Less than an hour later, I had a functional yarn swift and ball winder combo:

yarn swift

All I did was build 2 cardboard blocks, each made from 3 layers of corrugated cardboard glued together. Corrugated cardboard is very strong, especially if you stack each piece at 90 degrees to the last so the ribs run perpendicular to each other. Here you can see the swift in action: the bottom block remains still, while the top block and swift both rotate as the ball winder pulls on the yarn:

yarn swift

This was my magic idea that would allow it to work without damaging the swift with glue or nails: before I assembled the top block, I cut a fitted hole into each layer of cardboard. With the swift snugly embedded into the cardboard, the two should be able to rotate together:

yarn swift

Here you can see the Lazy Susan ball-bearing mechanism between the two cardboard blocks. I attached it to the blocks with a simple thumbtack through the screw hole at each corner and pushed into the cardboard:

yarn swift

The moment of truth – does it really work? I wasn’t sure if it’d need some sort of non-slip mat underneath the bottom cardboard block, or a clamp to attach it to the table, but it was perfectly stable without either; as I turned the handle on the ball winder, the swift started to spin easily, allowing more yarn to be wound…

yarn swift

…until, within minutes, the entire hank had become a beautiful centre-pull ball. This is the first time I’ve ever been able to wind an entire 400m laceweight yarn hank without getting into a terrible tangle.

yarn swift

Once the umbrella is folded up, the whole thing is very conveniently small:

yarn swift

It’s so refreshing for me to take a break from my usual perfectionism and just MacGyver a ‘good-enough’ solution to a problem. It may not last forever, but I can easily make replacement cardboard pieces (or a sturdier solution, when I have time) – it’d only take seconds to remove the thumbtacks and have the bearing mechanism ready for reuse. But this is the perfect solution for now.

Mission accomplished: now I can crochet my gorgeous yarn into a new design!

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punchneedle globe WIP (part 2)

So, as everyone guessed from my last post (yeah, I didn’t think it’d be much of a stumper!), my ongoing punchneedle project is going to be a 3D globe, embroidered onto two flat circles (with wedge-shaped gaps around the edges so I can stitch them into hemispheres later) and then stuffed and stitched into a full globe.

punchneedle project - work in progress

It’s pretty ambitious, and even more so than I first imagined when I decided on the size: as the fabric will be curved after punching it, the loopy stitches will end up splaying further apart than usual, so I’m punching my stitches very close together so you (hopefully) won’t be able to see the fabric between the stitches after the globe is assembled. It’s sloooow going, but also quite nice to have a ‘mindless’ project I can work on – designing projects all the time is tiring, and, now I’ve completed the design for the globe, this is a soothing project to work on when I’m watching TV, just filling in each area with the right colour.

As you can see from the picture below, I have completely finished 2 of the 12 sections of the southern hemisphere, and I’m partway through the rest. And – hey – is that Australia I spy?

Here’s something that’s made it more fun though: Jessica at How About Orange linked to these cute printable floss bobbins designed by Wild Olive, and I thought they’d inject a bit of cute into the process.

I printed a sheet of bobbins onto white cardstock and cut them out (yes, I did pick the 4 shades that were closest to my floss colours – silly things like that make me happy). In contrast to the globe, they were a very quick and satisfying project!

Here’s a little papercrafty tip for you: to cut a smooth curve like these bobbin edges, hold the scissors steady and rotate the cardboard as you cut.

punchneedle project (work in progress) + cardboard bobbins

As I punch with 3 of the 6 strands of floss at a time, I usually cut a 1.5m length of floss, split it into two, and then leave the other 3-strand length languishing in my project box until I need it. Now I can wind the spare length onto the bobbin, and it’ll be neatly stored until I need that colour again. And I’ve even pre-cut and split an entire skein of the blue floss and wound all the lengths onto my blue bobbin, so I won’t be interrupted with cutting new lengths during my next punchneedle session. (As I’m working on the southern hemisphere, there’s a lot of blue ocean to fill in!)

Printable cardboard floss bobbins: recommended! They may not last forever, but they make me smile and I can always print more when these wear out. Or – shock horror – use the other shades that I already printed… but I don’t know if my matchy-matchy self will allow me to do that: green thread on a red bobbin? That’s just crazy talk! :D

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writing my first craft book

Last week, I got a big box in the mail. It contained all the sample projects I made for my book, Paper Chains & Garlands, and shipped off to New York over a year ago to be photographed. It’s so strange to see them again after all this time!

paperchain projects

It brought me right back to early 2009, when I was writing the book – it was my first experience of print publishing, after years of self-publishing patterns and writing web-based tutorials. I thought some of you may be interested in hearing a bit more about my experience of writing my first craft book…

paper chains and garlands

The timeline was very tight. I spent my days writing, designing, shopping for paper and tools, and learning more about how to use Adobe Illustrator for the book’s illustrations. Evenings were spent cutting, scoring, folding, gluing. I re-started every time my scissors slipped, because I was not going to have an imperfect sample in my book. I cried in frustration when my hands were too painful to hold the scissors any more, and I had to stop for the evening. I gritted my teeth and went paper shopping yet again when my editor told me that one of my colour schemes wasn’t going to work (when I’d already cut and folded over 100 pieces for the original sample!).

And then, after killing myself making 16 perfect sample garlands (of at least 5 ft long, and some much longer), the photographs in the book are all close-ups (at least my perfectionism paid off there!) and show no more than 1 ft of the garland in most cases, so most of my work was wasted… Although, now I finally have them back, I have ready-made paper decorations for every possible occasion :)

paperchain projects

All this had faded in my memory, but seeing all the paper projects brought it all back. Please don’t think I’m complaining: it was great experience and an eye-opening introduction to print publishing. The book is a Barnes & Noble exclusive (the big US bookstore chain), so it’s hard for me to gauge how successful it is, when it’s not even available to purchase here in Canada! But I see that its status at bn.com is ‘sold out’, so I assume that’s a good sign! I’ll let you know if/when it’s reprinted and available again.

paper chains and garlands

Don’t get me wrong; I’m very proud of my first craft book and happy to have been given the chance to write it. But let me just say this: if anyone tells you that writing craft books is easy and fun, they may not be telling you the whole truth…

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‘grass’ sticky page markers

I’ve been avoiding paper crafts since I stopped writing for Folding Trees. Trying to scan the web every day for paper craft resources to highlight was exhausting and ultimately put me off papercrafting. But I’ve started to miss coming up with my own crafty paper tutorials – I think I’m out of my paper funk!

Here’s a really simple paper project. The idea came from these GreenMarkers that Kari found in a Japanese online shop:

GreenMarkers from Yuruliku

When you need to mark up a lot of pages of a book, you end up with a swarm of sticky arrows sticking out of the edge of the book. I love the idea of forming a little clump of grass ‘growing’ out of the book instead, so here’s my simple 5-minute DIY version:

‘Grass’ Sticky Page Markers

grass sticky page markers by planetjune
They look especially cute in my papercraft book, Paper Chains and Garlands, don’t you think? :D

You will need:

  • Green sticky notes (if you can’t find green ones, you could colour normal coloured notes with a green pencil or paint before you begin)
  • Pair of sharp scissors
  • Bone folder (optional)

I found these recycled paper Post-It notes that include a lovely spring green colour:

grass sticky page markers by planetjune

Take a sticky note and make sure the sticky edge is at the bottom:

grass sticky page markers by planetjune

Cut out blades of grass from the note. You need to make a long thin triangular shape with a slight curve, starting from the bottom (sticky) edge and tapering to a point. Cut the shapes freehand – if they aren’t exactly the same size and shape they will have a more organic, natural feel.

grass sticky page markers by planetjune

Note: Make all the blades curve in the same direction – it saves paper, and when you stick some on left-hand pages and some on right-hand pages of your book, you’ll end up with some blades curving in each direction anyway!

Stick the blades down on a piece of paper.

grass sticky page markers by planetjune

Turn the paper around so that the sticky edge of the blades is at the top. Use a bone folder or the wrong side of the edge of your scissors to score a line down the middle of each blade, drawing the folder towards you from the base to the tip of each blade.

grass sticky page markers by planetjune

You don’t have to be too exact! If you look carefully you can see my scored lines on the 4 rightmost blades:

grass sticky page markers by planetjune

With your fingers, pinch the sides of each blade slightly so that it folds up around the scored line. This adds a little dimension and realism to the grass!

grass sticky page markers by planetjune

Use your blades of grass to mark up your reference books without damaging them!

grass sticky page markers by planetjune

A touch of spring, whatever the weather! I hope you like my grass markers :)

Comments (14)

Paper Chains & Garlands is here!

Okay, you know you’re too busy when you forget that your first book was released 2 days ago and miss doing a post on the release date…

My papercraft book and kit, Paper Chains & Garlands, is now here! It’s available to purchase exclusively through Barnes and Noble.

Paper Chains & Garlands by June Gilbank (planetjune)
Front of box

I was hoping that I’d be able to sell signed copies through my site, but it turns out that the shipping costs for me to receive author copies from the US make that an impossible dream. So, instead, if you’d like to buy my book, I’d be very grateful if you’d click through from the links on my site, so I can make a tiny commission from your purchase!

Paper Chains & Garlands by June Gilbank (planetjune)
Back of box with pictures of all the projects down the left hand side

For those of you without a magnifying glass, the back of the box reads:

Paper chains and garlands make everything more festive! Turn your next celebration into a creatively crafted occation to remember. Create delightful decorations on themes that range from the seasonal (snowflakes, autumn leaves, cherry blossoms) to the decorative (pleated flowers, pinwheels, elephants). The illustrated instruction book by expert crafter June Gilbank shows you how to fold, cut, unfurl, and string chains and garlands like a pro. With tips on how to cut simple paper dolls as well as elegant Chinese lanterns, Paper Chains and Garlands is the perfect craft kit for expert crafters as well as beginners.

Paper Chains & Garlands by June Gilbank (planetjune)
Inside the box: the book, 4 rolls of paper chain paper and 10 sheets of double-sided garland paper

The book has full illustrated instructions for all 14 projects and includes full-size templates.

Paper Chains & Garlands by June Gilbank (planetjune)
Inside the book: pretty colours, and full instructions & illustrations by me!

I hope you’ll enjoy Paper Chains & Garlands. It’s a sweet little book and kit, and would make a perfect Christmas gift, if you’re thinking that far ahead!

If you’d like to buy it, please click through to Barnes & Noble now. It’s a total bargain at only $9.95, so don’t miss out! Thank you for your support :)

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my book: Paper Chains & Garlands

FINALLY! I can give you a sneak preview of my papercraft book, Paper Chains and Garlands. After months of waiting, it’s wonderful to see how my projects, text and illustrations have been transformed into a thing of beauty… And it’s not only a book, it’s a kit!

Paper Chains & Garlands by June Gilbank (planetjune)
Front of box

Paper Chains & Garlands by June Gilbank (planetjune)
Back of box with pictures of all the projects down the left hand side

For those of you without a magnifying glass, the back of the box reads:

Paper chains and garlands make everything more festive! Turn your next celebration into a creatively crafted occation to remember. Create delightful decorations on themes that range from the seasonal (snowflakes, autumn leaves, cherry blossoms) to the decorative (pleated flowers, pinwheels, elephants). The illustrated instruction book by expert crafter June Gilbank shows you how to fold, cut, unfurl, and string chains and garlands like a pro. With tips on how to cut simple paper dolls as well as elegant Chinese lanterns, Paper Chains and Garlands is the perfect craft kit for expert crafters as well as beginners.

Paper Chains & Garlands by June Gilbank (planetjune)
Inside the box: the book, 4 rolls of paper chain paper and 10 sheets of double-sided garland paper

The book has full illustrated instructions for all 14 projects and includes full-size templates.

Paper Chains & Garlands by June Gilbank (planetjune)
Inside the box: the book, 4 rolls of paper chain paper and 10 sheets of double-sided garland paper

Drawing all the step-by-step illustrations took me sooo long, but I’m really happy with how clear and colourful it all looks. The inside of the book isn’t all purple, by the way – the instructions and illustrations for each project match the colours in the actual project – it’s so pretty!

Paper Chains & Garlands will be available in Barnes and Noble stores and from www.bn.com from September 30th 2009 – that’s just over a week from now!

I was hoping to be able to sell signed copies from my shop, but sadly due to the box being over 2cm thick, Canada Post would charge me $8 (Canada), $9 (US) and $16 (International) just to ship the book, which I doubt any of you guys would be willing to pay for a $10 book, right?! :(

I think it’s a really cute kit and I hope it’ll do well. Now I just have to wait until the 30th and see what people think of it!

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book news

As you may or may not have picked up from reading my blog over the past few months, I’ve written a papercraft book, to be released exclusively through Barnes & Noble. I finished writing and illustrating the book months ago, but haven’t seen a copy of it yet, so it all feels very unreal at this point – did I really write a book?! Maybe I just dreamt it…

Well now, thanks to my friend Jana and her camera, I have proof that it really did happen! Although it doesn’t yet appear on their website, a search for “June Gilbank” on the in-store Barnes & Noble catalogue computers reveals:

screenshot of B&N catalogue computer

That’s Paper Chains and Garlands: Easy-to-Make Decorations for Parties, Holidays, and Home Decor by June Gilbank! It really exists!

Not long to wait now – I hope I’ll be able to show some pics from the book itself shortly! I can’t wait to finally be able to show you the result of all the hard work I put into it. :)

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origami x-wing

This post was originally published on my old papercraft site, Folding Trees.

origami x-wing

As a lifelong Star Wars fan, when I saw the instructions for an X-wing origami model [via @avgjanecrafter on Twitter] yesterday, I just couldn’t resist trying one!

Pictured above is my attempt, using a 6″ square of silvery grey origami paper. It was all pretty easy until the last step - folding up the 4 wing tips (I can never get this part looking neat with origami cranes either – it’s just too thin!). Still, I think it looks pretty cool.

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lotus card

I made this pretty pop-up card a couple of weeks ago, but had to wait until it arrived with its recipient before I could post about it!

lotus blossom pop-up card

lotus blossom pop-up card

It’s a lotus blossom that we featured on Folding Trees last year – such a pretty design! You can now see my review of the process of making the card, below.


Tutorial Review: Lotus Blossom Card

This review was originally published on my old papercraft site, Folding Trees.

In progress

Cutting the template pieces:lotus flower card

Finished piece

The finished card, open:lotus flower card

And from the side:
lotus flower card

Notes on this tutorial

The template comes on 2 pages. Unfortunately it’s designed for 11.7″ long paper, so for folks with letter-sized or A4 paper, the template is slightly too long and a couple of edges will be cut off. I didn’t realise this, so I had to draw the missing bits back onto my printouts by eye before cutting them out. You can avoid this by making sure “Shrink to Printable Area” is selected in Adobe Reader when you go to print.

I found it slightly annoying to have to cut everything out twice (once on printer paper to make the templates after printing, and then again on the coloured cardstock after tracing the templates), but you could save and reuse the printed paper templates, so you only have to do that step once. You could print directly onto your cardstock, but as each piece is cut from a  different colour, you’d waste a lot of cardstock that way.

The card came together easily enough – the directions are very simple. The stamens were a bit fiddly to cut and to attach; I’d advise that you treat them gently so you don’t bend them.

The finished card is stunning and the pop-up effect works well. You could modify the idea with different coloured cardstock, or, if you’re feeling very creative, change the shape of the petals to make a different type of flower. If you haven’t checked out the tutorial yet, I recommend you take a look!

Level of difficulty

intermediate

Time

moderate

Cost

low (recycle away)
 

Link

The original tutorial is available here.

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keeping cool

My craft room/office is upstairs, so it gets pretty hot in summer without the air conditioning on, especially with my big computer purring away generating heat all day. I didn’t want to run the air conditioning in the house all day, every day, when I only use this one room during the daytime, so I bought myself a cheap desk fan. It works really well – I don’t feel sluggish any more, and my concentration has increased dramatically! The only downside is that it’s not pretty. Not at all:

the ugly desk fan

Ugh, that’s really not what I want to look all day – it’s hardly part of my ideal creative ambience! Now, if only there was something I could do to improve the appearance… Hang on – I’m a crafter! I make things! No problemo:

folded paper embellishment by planetjune

I revisited my own teabag folding tutorial on Folding Trees, and used some beautiful origami paper from Alice to make a little paper medallion to cover the logo in the centre of the fan. It makes such a difference to the overall appearance. Notice the cool colour palette in the paper design, which adds to the effect of the fan – now just looking at it makes me feel cooler!

folded paper embellished desk fan by planetjune
It’s just a little thing, but it makes me happy :)

In case you’d like to make your own paper embellishments, I used two squares of 3″ origami paper which I quartered to make eight 1.5″ squares. This made a medallion of just over 2″ wide. To make a larger medallion, just start with larger paper squares. See my tutorial on Folding Trees for the simple instructions – it’s a lot easier than it looks!

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    June Gilbank
    Hi, I'm June. Welcome to my world of nature-inspired crochet and crafting. I hope you enjoy your visit!
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