Archive for the ‘Tutorials and Tips’ Category

Holiday Wrap Countdown #11

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011


Wrapped with: Silver wrapping paper
Tied with: Metallic silver embroidery floss
Topped with: A paper snowflake and a metal rim tag

I discovered this pretty solid silver wrap at the 99¢ Store. That’s right, an entire roll for 99¢!

If you have a stash of unused embroidery floss, why not use it to tie your packages? Use multiple strands together to make it more visible.

I created a template for this snowflake which you can download as a pdf right here. Metal rim tags are available at most office supply stores.

See all twelve wrap ideas for 2011 here.

Holiday Wrap Countdown #12

Monday, December 5th, 2011


I am counting down toward the holidays with twelve different ideas for gift wrapping. Stay tuned for more!

Wrapped with: Sheet music
Tied with: Torn strips of fabric
Topped with: A paper ornament and a paper tag

Keep an eye out for sheet music at thrift stores and garage sales.

Tearing fabric into ribbon strips is simple. Choose a lightweight woven fabric that does not stretch. Quilting fabrics work great. Make a small starter cut with a sharp pair of scissors along an edge of the fabric piece. Tear down from this cut; don’t be shy! You may need to iron the torn strips before tying them to packages.

To make simple tag that works for any occasion, cut a rectangle of paper and fold it in half. Write a “to and from” inside and attach it with double-sided tape.

See all twelve wrap ideas for 2011 here.

Holiday Wrap Ideas

Sunday, December 4th, 2011


In conjunction with the Creative Gift Wrapping Workshop that I’m presenting this week, I’d like to share a few ideas with you! Over the next several days I will post each of these Holiday wrap ideas with links and details for how to create them yourself.

A trick to making evenly spaced holes

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

One of the best parts of teaching is learning new things! Below is a new technique that I learned from a student for how to accurately create evenly spaced holes. This template is for the 4-Hole Japanese Stab Binding.


1. Draw a line 3/8″ in from the spine, parallel to the spine (from top to bottom). Along this vertical line, mark the top hole 5/8″ from the head and the bottom hole 5/8″ from the tail. Draw a line through each mark, parallel to the top and bottom of the template (from left to right).


2. How many holes do you want to add? In this case we want to add 2 holes between our top and bottom holes. If we add 2 holes, that will make 3 gaps, or spaces, between the top and bottom holes.

Start with the number of spaces (3), and look for a multiple of that number on your ruler (i.e. 6, 9, 12, 15…). You can use either inches or centimeters. Choose a multiple of 3 that will touch both the top and the bottom line at the same time. In this example, I chose 12 cm.

Touch the end of the ruler at zero to the top line and hold it in place. At the same time, touch your chosen multiple (i.e. 12 cm) to the bottom line. Make two evenly spaced marks along the ruler. I made one mark at 4 cm and another mark at 8 cm.


3. Move the ruler over an inch or more to the right. Touch the end of the ruler at zero to the top line and hold it in place. At the same time, touch your chosen multiple (i.e. 12 cm) to the bottom line. Make two more evenly spaced marks along the ruler (i.e. at 4 cm and at 8 cm).


4. Draw a line between the two marks made toward the top. These are the marks that I made at 4 cm. Draw a line between the two marks made toward the bottom. These are the marks that I made at 8 cm.

You now have two evenly spaced holes between your top and bottom holes!

New DIY Kit – Business Card Book

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

After fumbling through a box of business cards looking for one specific card for the umpteenth time, I finally smartened up! I created a business card book to keep my card collection organized and in one place.

Since I know that I’m not the only one with this problem, I created a simple kit and template so that you can be organized too! Each little kit comes complete with detailed instructions and hole punch template, hand screen printed (100% recycled) book covers, metal book ring and rubber band closure. All that you need is a regular hole punch and your own collection of business cards!

Kits are available on Etsy.




How to make your own button & string closure

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009


When designing the geek books (posted below), I was on the look out for the perfect closure. Inspired by a button and string envelope, I figured out how to make my own. Here’s how I did it!


You will need these tools and supplies:

1. 5/8 in. – 3/4 in. hole punch or circle cutter
2. 1/8 in. hole punch
3. eyelet setter
4. linen thread or other string
5. 1/8 in. eyelets
6. scissors
7. thick card stock
8. hammer or mallet
9. cutting mat or surface protector


1. Cut out a 5/8 in. – 3/4 in. diameter circle from thick card stock.
2. Punch a 1/8 in. hole in the very center of the circle.
3. Tie a tiny loop at the end of your thread. You may wish to tie the thread around the tip of a pencil or pen to help you tie the right size. Tie a double knot and trim the extra thread. This loop will need to fit around the back side of the eyelet.
4. Punch a 1/8 in. hole in your book cover or envelope.
5. Place your materials in this order: eyelet, circle, thread loop. Place this stack through the hole in your book cover or envelope from the front side. The back side of the eyelet will stick through to the back of the cover or envelope.
6. Place the stack face down onto the cutting mat or surface protector. With the back side of the eyelet showing through the back side of the cover or envelope, use an eyelet setter (and hammer or mallet, if needed) to firmly set the eyelet.
7. Voila! A button and string! You may wish to wrap the string around the book and back to the button to secure, or you may wish to add another button (without the string) and wrap the string between the two buttons to secure.

Bingo Books – part 4 (binding)

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009



Allllmost finished! I decided to try a new binding (new to me), which is a combination of two stitches that I have tried separately, but not together. I followed the instructions for the Long Stitch/Link Stitch in Keith A. Smith’s “Non-Adhesive Binding Books Without Paste or Glue“. His instructions are very thorough and easy to follow. I also referred to Esther K. Smith’s “How to Make Books” for inspiration, as there is an image of a handmade book on the introduction page showing a unique variation on the long stitch/link stitch.

Before binding the pages to the cover, I created an introduction page. I printed a design onto lemon paper, trimmed this page to the same size as the cover and used paper clips to hold it in place. When the book is assembled, this introduction page will wrap around the book block, between the pages and the cover. I then used a tiny hole punch and an awl to punch the holes in the cover. The sewing instructions are a bit complicated for me to explain here, so I recommend checking out Keith A. Smith’s book. I tried a few different variations of this binding, just for fun. So now the Bingo books are almost done! I just have a few details to finish up and I will then post photos of the finished product.

Bingo Books – part 3 (papers)

Thursday, March 26th, 2009


Next step, papers! I decided to use a large selection of papers for the pages inside of the Bingo Books. I like the eclectic look, and a mixture of papers are fun to sketch on. These are the papers that I chose and where I found them:

1. Lemon paper – This 100% recycled paper is a mixture of tree free agricultural by-products and post consumer paper waste. Purchased online from EcoPaper.

2. Cigar paper – Like the lemon paper, this is also 100% recycled. Purchased online from EcoPaper.

3. Strathmore Sketch premium recycled paper- Nice quality sketch paper, made with 30% post consumer waste. Purchased from Dick Blick (also available in most art and craft stores).

4. Primary writing tablet paper – This is like notebook paper, but the ruling is large for kids to practice their lettering. I had this notebook lying around, but I imagine that this paper is available in any school supply store.

5. Grid paper – I love the Ampad Gold Fibre Planning Pads. They have grid paper on the front, and ruled paper on the back of each page. I purchased this at Staples (also available at most office supply stores).

6. Ruled paper – I have so much ruled paper left over from school! I guess I should have taken more notes.

7. Green bar dot matrix paper – This is the old style techie paper used in dot matrix printers. It is available on Ebay.

8. Old paper – I inherited a giant bag of this when a friend moved.

9. Computer printouts – After using both sides of leftover computer printouts, they can then be recycled one more time into sketch paper.

10. Sheet music – Damaged music books make pretty papers. I found these at a second-hand store.

11. Discarded library book pages – Even if the covers are falling off of a book, the pages may be in perfectly good condition. Keep an eye out for free books being discarded at your local library. The cute illustrations inspire me when I find them tucked into my sketch books.

Bingo Books – part 2 (pocket envelopes)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009



Whew! I finally did a bit more work on the Bingo Books (which I first mentioned in an earlier post). I decided to use paper scraps, leftover from making the covers, to create little library pockets. I plan to glue a pocket inside each book cover.

Here are the steps that I took:

1. Carefully pull apart a library pocket. If you don’t have one, you can use this downloadable PDF template.

2. I need my pocket to be a bit smaller than a regular library pocket, so I folded and taped my template into a narrower shape. When your template is to size, place it onto your paper and trace it with a pencil. (Be sure to make pencil marks for the fold lines)

3. Use a bone folder and ruler to score the folds. Use a ruler and craft knife to cut out the envelope.

4. Fold the envelope and adhere the flaps with either double sided tape or glue.

5. Voila! Cute little library pockets!

Bingo Books – part 1

Thursday, March 12th, 2009


I’m so excited to be working on a set of new books (even if in-between everything else)! Since I will be working on these over the next several days, I plan to post pictures as they progress. First step: make the covers. I stumbled upon a stack of vintage Bingo cards at a consignment store and decided to pair them with some cute vintage illustrations from a children’s primer. Here’s a great tip that I learned (thanks for the suggestion, Ben!): instead of using the actual vintage primer pages, which are very brittle and crack when folded, I scanned in the pages and reprinted the designs onto thick card stock. I glued the newly-printed papers to the vintage bingo cards with a thin layer of glue and pressed them until dry. I then sewed along the spine for extra strength (and for looks!). Next step?… to tie off and trim the threads and select papers for the inside pages. I can’t wait!