A few months ago, I put together a little collection of children’s summer holiday crafts for Papercraft Inspirations magazine. The finished feature is in the current issue (on sale until Sunday), and covers a total of ten projects, including paper fortune tellers a Harry Potter-inspired train and a chess board with edible playing pieces. As a fun bonus to go along with the feature, I thought I’d share a more detailed how-to for one of the projects, plus a couple of free downloads.
The rosettes above are actually part of a larger project idea – holding your own back-garden Olympics (the sillier the events, the better) – but as a basic premise, can be used for all sorts of different things. The one featured in the step-by-step is a birthday rosette, a handmade alternative to the bog-standard and not especially pretty ‘I am 8/9/10/30ish’ age badge, but the idea could also be adapted to work as a decorative detail on a card or scrapbooking page.
So, to make your own, start off by cutting three 10x25cm strips of gift wrap or similar lightweight patterned paper. Accordion-fold each one lengthways, making the folds roughly 1cm high.
Hold your first folded strip together, with all the folds in place, then fold it firmly in half widthways.
Cut and layer circles of patterned paper to make a centre for the rosette. I used a mixture of stamps and alphabet stickers to decorate the first two, spelling out ‘1st' and ‘2nd’, and then a simple circular ‘celebrate’ sticker for the birthday rosette. You could also try chipboard initials, rub-ons, a hand-lettered or printed sentiment or even a photo, depending on how you’re planning to use the finished project. Whatever you choose, stick the circular centre on top of your folded rosette.
For some reason, the finished rosettes remind me of village fetes, as worn by the winner of the egg and spoon race, or pressed onto the best-in-show Victoria sponge. They definitely feel very summery, either way, and I’ve got a feeling these won’t be the last I make before the season’s out.
OK, I also mentioned free downloads, didn’t I? These are for a slightly different kind of project – party invitations. To make sure no-one's left out, there are girl and boy versions, with both in three dimensions, rather than flat old two.
First up, for girls, these matchbox-bed sleepover invitations are super-simple to make. The outside is a larger-sized matchbox, with a small one inside as a pillow. All you need to add are some scraps of patterned paper to decorate, and then download, print and cut-out Miss Sleepy Invitation. Her head rests on the pillow, and she’s all tucked up under a clean white sheet which very handily has space for you to fill out the party details on top.
I love the idea of message-in-a-bottle notes and invitations. This one was made from a small acrylic bottle (the kind you can buy in chemist shops for taking your toiletries on holiday), with a strip of self-adhesive cork wrapped around the open top. I cut a skull and crossbones from a plain white sticker to decorate the front, then sprinkled a few bits of sand inside for added sea-faring atmosphere. The downloadable bit, though, is the invitation itself.
To age up your paper, place in a shallow tray and pour a cup of strong tea on top. Allow the paper to soak for a few minutes, and then lift it out. Sprinkle on some coffee granules to make dark spots. While the paper’s still wet, gently scrunch it up to make crease marks, and then flatten out again, before setting aside to dry. For a brilliantly blackened and singed finish, light a candle and hold one edge of your paper just above the flame. Move it along slowly, blowing out any flames if it catches alight rather than just scorching. (It’s a good idea to do this either outside or over the sink to be safe.)
Finally, to print the invitation onto your ancient (ok, older than it was when you started . . . ) parchment, fix to a sheet of regular copier paper with masking tape or temporary spray-adhesive and run through your printer, as usual.
And because it’s impossible to talk about pirates without talking like them, that be your lot for today, mateys. Some summery fun, I think, and hopefully a little inspiration, whether you’re celebrating a win, a birthday or just a happy weekend.