Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Technique of the Week: Paper piecing

This week, I’m sharing my favourite technique, or at least the one I use the most often: Paper piecing. If my favourite magazine is anything to go by, its quite a popular one in the world of card making but I particularly enjoy it as it allows me to combine my sketching and drawing with my paper craft and gives me freedom to create my own designs and styles. It’s also a great way to use up scraps of paper!

I tend to use my own sketches at templates but I do occasionally use existing ones so its no biggie if you aren’t as skilled with  a pencil. This post however is going to go through my process from sketchbook to greetings card.

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The first thing I do is sketch out my design. I have a small sketchbook especially for my card making where I can jot down a new idea or sketch out a design. My book is A6 which means that even if I fill the page, it will still fit onto the front of my preferred size of card blank. It also means I can actually draft out a full design. (I’d love to say it was planned that way but unfortunately it was just a happy coincidence). I do occasionally use bigger sketchbooks.

 

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Once I’m happy with my design (and this can take a couple of attempts and quite a while depending on how carried away I get with the sketching. I have been known to completely finish and shade in with extra details before now), I get out my trusty tracing paper. As an architecture student, I used this almost as much as normal paper so I always had some lying around whether a clean sheet or an old drawing or even just scraps. I then trace over the line drawing, not necessarily in very much detail – some things can be added in free-hand later.

 

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2014_0729-0027With the basic template done, it’s time to start transferring the different shapes onto coloured paper. I flip the trace over so that the design is reversed. This is for two reasons. The first, so that I can transfer the design simply by drawing over the template again; the second, so that pencil marks will be on the back of the paper and out of sight without me having to rub them out. When tracing the shapes onto paper, I make sure to leave a little extra in order to glue the layers together, occasionally using on piece for a couple of sections – here, the face and the ear were one piece, with the hair placed on top. Once all the pieces are cut out, the picture can be assembled (this bit can be a bit messy!)

 

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To finish off my paper piecings, I add detail with a black pen. This depends on the style I’m going for and can range from simply outlines to more detailed shading.

2013_0425-00052012_1118-0019While I tend to keep the more detailed ones for the frames, simpler designs are great for greetings cards. This Iron Man birthday card was made with very few different shapes. The hand was stuck on using foam pads to give the design some depth but all of the detail was done with black pen and a sharpened white pencil in order to mimic the comic book style.
In contrast to this, the Suits themed birthday card focused on mainly the silhouette of the character, with very little detail added to the hair. I was unsure how obvious this design would be to the recipient but as she is an avid Suits fan, she understood the reference immediately (phew!).

 

Would love to know what you think of my Technique of the Week posts so leave a comment below! Any suggestions for future posts more than welcome!