Saturday, 5 December 2015


 I usually fold my little books or attach the pages with rings or ties, but I have branched out a little with this book which has a sewn spine.

I made three signatures (sheets of paper folded and stacked) and sewed them together.  You can find any number of examples of how to do this on line, but basically, starting on the outside of the folded stack,  I just made three holes went in at the middle, then out on one side, back in on the other side, out again through the middle and then tied of the threads.

I used some lilac handmade paper that I have had for ages but for which I've never quite found a use.  I used quilting thread, passed through bees wax to do the actual sewing, and pre-pierced the holes using an awl.  If your stack is too thick to go through is one go, make a template with the position of the holes marked so that you can do a few sheets at a time, but still get the holes in the right place.

The cover was made with two pieces of packing card slightly larger than the pages, with a third piece placed between with a couple of mm between, for the spine.  (I just measured the height of the sewn signatures to work out how wide to make this.  After cutting a piece of darker and thicker lavender handmade paper, about 1cm larger than the three pieces together, I applied double sided tape to the edges of the card pieces and centred them on the cover.  After mitring the corners, I put some more double-sided tape on the edges and stuck them down.

Next up I just checked everything for size, and then stuck the front page of the inner pages to the inner edge of the front cover, and repeated the same with the back page and the back cover.

I probably should have re en-forced the spine with masking or cloth tape but as the cover paper was strong, and the book quite small I didn't bother, and I think it will all stay together OK....time will tell.

Excuse my gardening fingers but I thought I'd include my hand to give you a sense of scale.  Rather than stick to any pre-determined measurement I simply used the size of the paper as a guide.

Clearly if you wanted you could easily add extra decoration to the front, which I may well do once I decide how to use the book.

Saturday, 7 November 2015


 I'm always keen to try new background techniques, but as this one is a bit on the messy side, I haven't had the chance to try it until now.  (Hence I have forgotten the source of the idea.....sorry....happy to credit if you want to claim it as your own).

The idea is basically just to spread a layer of very watery acrylic paint, and then sprinkle rice on top immediately.

After the paint is completely dry, the rice is removed.  The rice absorbs some of the paint, leaving paint-free areas, and creating patterns.

As you can see, it worked OK.....not remarkably.  I think it would probably be better had a used a less absorbent paper as the background so that more liquid is taken up by the rice.  I also found it impossible to remove the rice without ripping some of the paper underneath.  This isn't necessarily bad - it does have its own "look."

All in all I'm glad I finally got around to trying this technique but don't think I'll be using it frequently. There are easier ways of creating similar effects, and in terms of the lay on/take off technique, salt seems more reliable.  Still, if you haven't tried it its worth a go.  I imagine dark blue paint on gold or silver paper might make a nice starry sky.........

Saturday, 17 October 2015


Closed Sewing Kit

Open Sewing Kit
I have lots and lots of paper.  I am not complaining about this fortunate state of affairs, but every now and then I do feel that perhaps I should actually use some of it.

As I seemed to be forever borrowing sewing needles from the ladies at work, these little kits seemed appropriate.

I just folded a long strip of textured white card three times (to make four panels) - up then down then up again to make an accordion.

I added paper to the back panels, securing a ribbon under the end one (which becomes the front of the book) so that it can be tied around the book to keep it closed.

On the other side I added little pieces of felt secured with split pins to sticky backed magnets to hold needles and pins, and a little pocket to hold a bobbin shaped piece of card wound with three different colours of cotton.

They won't last forever but don't take too long to make and are very functional - just a nice size to slip in your handbag (or desk drawer for the next time some annoying person like me wants to borrow a needle or pin!)

Saturday, 3 October 2015


Here's one for folks who can't bring themselves to throw out even the tiniest scraps of handmade and Japanese some earring backings and little glass cabouchons and go wild.

Due to a slight misreading of quantities on ebay,  I now have enough to wear a different pair each day for, oh, well, give or take.....about a year!!  (But I have used up a lot of little bits of paper!!)

Some polystyrene packing provided a nice stable base, whilst I was gluing the bits together.  The black, gold and burgundy examples were made by colouring the base of the glass with Sharpie markers before glueing them to the base, but the rest were all made with scraps of paper.

Saturday, 5 September 2015


This is a rather bad photo of clear-embossed Versamark on a black background.  I hope you take my word for it, that it does, in reality look great!!

I used a flash to photograph it, hence, the reflection of the stamped image, and the appearance of a far greater contrast between the image and background than exists in the real world.

The actual example is very subtle and would make a great background for cards.  Try it yourself to see!!

Monday, 24 August 2015


Often I'm playing with various bits and pieces in the craftroom and have a "good idea" only to be disappointed to find only a few thousand other people have already posted the same idea to Pinterest, their blogs and any other place you like to name.

I'm pretty sure someone, somewhere has put this one up too, but I haven't seen it yet!  Its a stupidly simple idea too - just pop a sheet of carbon paper (blue side down towards your paper) inside your embossing folder before winding through your Cuttlebug or Big Shot.

You get the same result as inking up your folder without making a mess (not that this has ever deterred me, but I know its an issue for some folk).  The blue and white is, as they say on all the home reno shows "on trend" at the moment, and you can get some really cool results by re-using the carbon paper with a second patterned folder.

I did this with the top example (the paisley), apart from being lighter, if you look closely you can see shadows of the little flowers in the background.  The carbon is fairly stable, but you could probably spray some sealer on top if you want to be extra sure that the blue stays in place.

Saturday, 8 August 2015


Last week, I showed an example of colouring a stamped image with Fusion pens, which didn't work overly well on metal.

This week I've embossed an image, again on the reverse of a soft drink can, and coloured the image with Sharpie pens.

I'm much happier with the results - still a little patchy but not nearly as bad as my last try.

It was also a lot easier colouring the debossed areas of the panel, which had a nice easy to feel edge (yes, my eyesight is terrible - and yes, that may explain a lot!), but also meant that there was no need to carefully avoid a Staz-on stamped outline.

All in all though, I have to confess to preferring the plain black ink stamped Beethoven image I posted ages ago!

Saturday, 1 August 2015


Metal coloured with fusion pens.
I've been trying out some different ways to add colour to metal.  (Yes I know its not paper, but you can use them on cards!)

This weeks example is a stamped image coloured with Kaiser fusion pens.  The metal was the reverse of a Diet Coke Can, cut with deckle scissors.

I chose alcohol based markers because the water based variety would bead, and probably not dry, although I was aware that I would have to avoid colouring over or if possible into the stamped lines, as two different alcohol based products might dissolve into each other.

 I wasn't overly impressed with the results. There was a lot of streaking.  This might work OK (although I'm not convinced it does) for the water, but not so well for areas requiring a smooth result.  I tried colouring in long streaks, randomly, and in small circles. The latter worked best, and is the example shown.  All in all the Fusion pens which are great for all sorts of other things are not ideal for this application.  I did find something better though.........I'll post the result next week.

Saturday, 18 July 2015


There are a lot of sites around that feature different ways to cut up and use punched shapes but not so much about dies, which are just as versatile, if not more so.  I played with my lectern and bird set from Couture Creations and came up with a few ideas, and that was without even combining shapes....I must have a look at some of my other dies and see how else they can be used!

Saturday, 4 July 2015


Here are a couple of ideas for easy fridge magnets.

The first isn't strictly papercraft but it does involve a couple of things you might have in your craft room - the thin magnet sheet that comes with most dies, a die (in this case a Spellbinders dress stand), and a die-cutting machine in which to use it.  (I used my trusty Cuttlebug).
I expected to be able to cut the shape with the die, but was pleasantly surprised to find that with the rubber embossing mat, the detail could be embossed onto the magnet!  I made this over a year ago, and have been kind of waiting for the detail to disappear - it hasn't!

The second magnet is just some pretty Washi stuck onto a glass cabouchon, with a fairly heavy duty magnet (due to the weight of the glass) stuck onto the back.

I'm happy enough with both of them to allow them a spot on the side of the fridge!

Saturday, 20 June 2015


Someone made reference to something being "as boring as a paperclip collection", and although I agreed, whilst I was sorting thorough my craft room, it dawned on me that I might just possibly, at a stretch, perhaps be........a paperclip collector myself.

That left two alternatives - denial or celebration.  Having decided on the latter, Imade this little accordion book in which to display (some of) the collection.  I love this style of book.  Its super easy to make, but it sits so nicely that the whole contents can be displayed at once, or you can turn the pages like a regular book.  Better still it packs away easily for storage.  I used a fairly stiff card for the "pages" and covered some slightly higher and wider panels for the back and front, securing some ribbon under to tie it closed.

I was sure that the paperclip comment was a quote, and upon consulting Dr Google was delighted to find that it came from Sesame Street (Ernie to Bert, even although Ernie had his own collection!)
Better still, there was a whole song!!!  This solved the problem of what to write on the back - and I liked the sentiment - its easy to find beauty in a sunset or panoramic landscape - sometimes you just have to try a little harder to see it things like.........PAPERCLIPS!!!

Sunday, 7 June 2015


 Its always good to find a new way to use an old product - I'm sure someone else has probably thought of this, but as I haven't come across it before I'll stake a claim!

Its a simple idea - after you remove the sticker from an outline sticker sheet, use the remaining outline as a guide to pinprick the pattern onto card.

You can either remove all the pieces and reassmble them on the card (difficult and hard to use more than once) or just cut around it and hold it in place with Magic tape whilst you make the holes!

Saturday, 16 May 2015


This is one of the very simplest ways to make a little note book.  I should have put something next to it to indicate scale, but its about 9cm high - just right for pockets or bags.

I just folded up some nice handmade paper for the pages (folding each in half and then stacking), cut the cover out of double-sided scrapbooking paper (G45), and placed in around the outside.

I lay the stack out flat and put some paper clips around the edge so the stack wouldn't slip whilst I used a sharp, thick needle to make a hole in the middle of the fold (spine).  I then added two holes equidistant on either side of the middle.

All that remained was to sew the pages together, using thin twine.  Starting from the outside of the middle hole, sew into the centre then out through one of the side holes, then back in through the other side hole, then back out the middle hole again.  Finish by tying the ends together.  How simple is that!!

Saturday, 2 May 2015


I've been playing with paper clay - here are a few ideas to try.

Beginning at the red rose circle and working in a clockwise direction:

RED ROSE CIRCLE - I rolled out some paperclay fairly thinly, then inked up a Darkroom Door background stamp with red Versacolor ink and pressed it into the clay.  I then cut a circle using a cookie cutter.  It would be OK as a feature or background on a card but would probably look better on top of a box as though its light its fairly chunky.

LEAF IMPRINT - The clay was rolled thinly again but this time a (real) fern leaf was pressed into it.  The only trouble was, that it left all its brown spored behind in the clay!!  I cut it out very badly, but the general principle is OK, and it should work with any leaf with prominent veins or stiff fronds.

PINK ROSE - I used the stamped clay left over from the rose circle, kneading it well to mix the red ink through the white clay (hence the pink colour), I then formed it into a rough sausage shape, then pinched it flat, so that it stayed flattish on one side and "petalish" on the other, then I rolled it into a coil and pinched it well together at the end, cutting off the "lump" at the bottom so that it sat nice and flat.

FACE - I used a silicone mould to make the face, leaving it to dry overnight, then added details with Sharpie pens, and a ribbon scarf (OK, I admit to doubting my skill at drawing hair).

GREEN TILE - I tried adding colour to the clay with strokes of alcohol marker  (as suggested on several sites).  It worked, but was a bit like hard work compared to using the stamp pad ink.  I inked a large background stamp from Stamp-it with black ink, stamped onto the rolled-out clay, then cut one of the tiles out.

I don't think I'll be using paper clay a lot - its not really my thing, but it was interesting to play with and I can see that for some applications it will be exactly what I need.  I like its lightness, that means it can be used on cards without overbalancing them, or for Carmen Miranda-esque earrings that don't pull your earlobes down to your waistline!  I also like its flexibility and will, at some stage see how it goes as a mould for polymer clays and suchlike.

Saturday, 18 April 2015


Tunnel Book
This was supposed to be a sample, but I liked it enough to add a cover, so at least it's a pretty sample.
Begin with two accordian pleated sides of the same size.  Add panels of the same size with centred cut outs of decreasing size.  (I used nesting dies).
I put a piece of mirror board at the end, so you can look down the tunnel and see yourself!  If you're more arty, you could make a scene with different features on each layer.

Saturday, 4 April 2015


Its really tempting to look at all the fabulous ideas around on Pinterest and in magazines and reproduce the work of some of those amazing crafters.  The trouble being, of course, that its their work.

Sometimes, though a little inspiration is needed so I've been making a conscious effort to look at things other than cards for card ideas.

This example started as a big of a joke, but actually ended up OK....not sure that I'd give it to anyone but the concept kind of works.

Being a creature of habit, I have one of these little cheese and biscuit packs as an  afternoon snack, almost every day at work, so this particular piece of inspiration was close at hand.

I inked a small-patterned Cuttlebug folder with brown ink before embossing some dark yellow card, as a reference to the colours and vague design of the biscuits.  I made a tile by stamping into paperclay and then colouring it with water-based markers in biscuit and cheese colours, and then cut a little dark yellow butterfly.  I cut a piece of craft card, traced around the plastic blister of the biscuit container, and cut just inside the line of this as well.  After adding a few embossed lines for decoration, I pushed the container through the hold, and taped the edges to the back.

I used a Kraft basecard and put the embossed layer next.  I stuck the tile and butterfly (with wings raised) to some pretty Graphic 45 paper and secured it to the back of the blister, then stuck the whole assembly on top of the embossed panel.  A quote (also cut from Graphic 45 paper) finished the card.

Yes it is a bit wierd but its inspired me to look a little further afield for card ideas, and besides, it was fun!

Saturday, 21 March 2015


This is my second try at an envelope book - not because the first one didn't turn out - quite the reverse.  It proved so useful to store all those little alphabet die-cuts etc that I thought I'd better make another one.

I used the super simple approach of just sticking the flap of one envelope onto the body of the next (using double-sided tape rather than the envelope adhesive for a more reliable bond).  I cut patterned paper (Graphic45) into rectangles just large enough to cover the reverse of each envelope with a little border around each.

Then it was just adding some paper decoration to the front, and a reinfoced hole (glue the layers together first then use a handpunch to punch through all layers) for the tie.  Fold in an accordian and there you are!


Saturday, 7 March 2015


 I keep seeing references to sticking strips of washi tape to card and then die-cutting it.  In some ways it sort of made me think "WHY".....but having tried it out (the sensible thing to do if you can't answer that question), I've sort of come around to thinking its not a bad way to use up some of those tapes you sormehow acquire and then are at a bit of a loss as to how best to use.  The texture was interesting, and the rather different patterns looked better than I had anticipated.  Obviously one of the advantages of using Washi tape is that you have instant matching borders to use for cards or scrapbook pages.

Saturday, 21 February 2015


A nice batik-like result can be obtained by colouring part of a dry embossed image with white crayon, then adding a watercolour wash.
Colourless crayons are also available if you wanted to try the technique over patterned or coloured paper.

Now....on a different topic.  I've been doing a Papertrek posting every week for three years and three days now!  This means that there are over 150 posts so I have a collection of techniques preserved for myself to browse and hopefully to be of use to other folk who find their way to the blog.

I think its time to concentrate a bit more on quality over quantity now.  Like most people, I'm rather time poor so rather than just put things up for the sake of it, I'll wait until I have something I think is worth sharing.  So....I might post a few weeks in a row, I might have a few weeks "off" or I might even put up a lots things in two or three days.  Who knows.  The blog will continue but for now.......I'm taking a couple of weeks holiday.  Be back soon.

Saturday, 14 February 2015


I love hardware shops - just giant craft stores by another name.

This is just a giant washer wrapped with layers of handmade paper, and sealed with a coating of Mod Podge.  A ribbon makes a hanger.  I wish I'd been a bit more careful now, as it could easily make a very wearable necklace.  For this example now, perhaps I'll tie it to the spare house key, to make it a bit easier to find!!

Saturday, 7 February 2015


The Tim Holtz spritzer which is designed for use with Distress markers is very poular at the moment.  These examples were done with a "kiddy version" of this tool, which blows air across the tip of the markers, spattering the colour on the page.  I used some unloved generic pens as well, so imagine a much better result with the "real thing."

The samples were made just to explore a couple of techniques and to see if I wanted to buy the more upmarket version of the tool.  The first is just to spritz through a punched hole, which as you can see worked quite well.  The second is a daisy punched from a piece of paper with colours sprayed over some outline stickers which were then peeled off.  This worked OK too, so...maybe my bright orange spritzer will do for now........

Saturday, 31 January 2015


A lot of people are covering books for kids before school goes back.  Why make it just for them!

Covering (in my case cheap) notebooks with those scrapbooking papers you bought five years ago and never quite got around to using, is a great way to get them out of the cupboard.

I've added a frame with a couple of split pins and a simple die-cut with a black rhinestone centre to the panel of paper on the front of my notebook, and put a simple piece of the same paper on the back.

If you have a big stack of your own notebooks ready to go, why not make some for family/friends.  

Saturday, 24 January 2015


I was sorting out my embossing folders when I found a business card holder book (storage tip) filled to the brim with little Cuttlebug folders.

I don't know why I haven't used them for years as I could instantly think of 101 great things to do with them.   (Suspect its more likely I've improved over time than they have).

Here's one simple idea which was just to ink up the folder with Versamark run it through with paper inside, and then heat emboss with gold embossing powder.  I used my circle punch to cut the central emblem from the folder and there we are -  a cool little embossed "button" to use on a card.

Saturday, 17 January 2015


A couple of weeks ago I posted an example of stamping onto a book page.  This is fine with a solid stamp, but works less well with a stamp that has fine detail such as this typewriter from Rubbadubbadoo, which tends to get lost amongst the text.

One solution is to make a background stamp - I used fun foam cut with deckle scissors - stamp over the text with this, then stamp your feature stamp on top using a darker ink.

I whipped this example up fairly quickly and would probably use a lighter brown for the background and a very dark cocoa brown for the typewriter if I was making for a "real" project.

Saturday, 10 January 2015


You might have noticed that I've been doing lots of experimenting lately with inks and various surfaces. This is another example.

I was fairly confident that Versafine would work on wooden buttons but as most of them are plastic, wondered how Staz-On would go.  (I know that this does not involve paper but my intention is to use the buttons for papercraft projects so......)

The red button was fairly flat and the stamp was OK, although it was really hard to stop it slipping on the shiny surface.  The second button, even on the reverse (shown) had a bit of a curve (as do most buttons).  I tried using an acrylic stamp without a block so that it could bend with the surface, but wasn't able to hold it well enough and as you can see, I ended up with a blodgy mess (its supposed to be lace).

I think my conclusion is that unless there's a compelling reason I won't be stamping onto plastic buttons and if I need to add some pattern I'll just reach for my Sharpie pens and draw on the design.
After all, how hard can it be...................

Saturday, 3 January 2015


....Just thought I'd share how cool Beethoven stamped onto the reverse of a Diet Coke can (using BLACK Staz-On) looks.......Lots of jewellery potential here!!!