4 steps to a pretty paper basket

A Tisket, A Tasket, I Made a Paper Basket

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And you can whip one up, too, if you’re so inclined.

I’ve been looking forward to this next art for some time now, though this isn’t the project I was planning to kick it off with.

34 Plaiting cane baskets, etc.

Making solid seats with dry canes.

Small basket made out of magazine covers and pages.

I’m not quite up to cane seats (though I do have an old chair on the garage that could use a new seat), but I do remember doing some basic basket-weaving in elementary school. I thought I’d seen supplies at my local Hobby Lobby but apparently I hallucinated that (or, you know, in a year the inventory has changed, but that couldn’t be it, right?) so it was on to Plan B.

Besides, cane is wood(ish) and paper used to be wood.

All justification aside, if your weaving skills are a little rusty, or you’ve got little ones around in need of a rainy-day projects, this might just be the ticket. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve got plenty of materials around.

My magazine stash, or at least part of it

This totally makes me look like a hoarder, doesn't it?

My magazine-saving obsession notwithstanding, I was happy to find the instructions from the Family Fun site to follow. Of course, I did things a bit different: I overlapped my magazine strips to make a sturdier basket and used 2 of the leftover strips as crossed handles, secured by little brads.

4 steps to a pretty paper basket

Todd had the awesome idea to use some of the wallpaper sample books I’ve got saved up in The Abyss, but they’re, ah, not exactly as easy to get to. In fact, I think the stacks of magazines are blocking the sample books.

A basket like this (mine is about 3 inches square, not counting the handles) would be perfect for delivering a small stuffed toy to a sick friend, as a cute place-setting for a summer garden party, or even just to organize light-weight craft supplies.

Intro to Scherenschnitte

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Did you get creative with the scissors this weekend? Well, now it’s time to break out the craft knives.

At a book festival a few years ago I came across a woman working on a beautiful Ketubah (Jewish marriage contract). The artist specialized in intricate paper-cut borders and it was just amazing to watch her work. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated by the paper cutting that also goes by the name Scherenschnitte.

Spring Flight by Scraps

Scherenschnitte (pronounced sharon-sh-net or sharon-sh-net-eh, depending on the country) is deceptively simple. It’s sort of like that old saying of the sculptor who takes a block of marble and removes what doesn’t belong. In paper cutting you just remove what isn’t a part of your picture.

In order to have the best look on the front, it’s best to draw or print your design on the back of your paper. Remember to reverse any words your using unless you plan for folks to read it in a mirror!

Just like the paperdoll style we talked about last week, you have to make sure everything is connected within your design, so get creative with your connectors. In the picture to the left I used bands of sunlight to keep my bird in place.

You can see my step-by-step process for “Spring Flight” over at eHow.com.

Paper cuts can add a really elegant touch to your home when framed for decor or bring a smile to a friend’s face if used as a card. They can be fun or formal, and tomorrow I’ll share some of my favorite resources and blogs that use Scherenschnitte in amazing ways!

Cunning with Scissors

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(that’s me trying to be cute–is it working? lol)

When’s the last time you folded up a piece of paper and cut out a string of paper dolls? Come to think of it, have you ever?

I know I haven’t done that in ages, but while brainstorming “cutting paper” it was the next thing to come to mind after yesterday’s eyebrow templates. And, sure, it’s a bit old-fashioned and all but I think there’s some serious potential left in this forgotten rainy-day project.

Time to put on the thinking-tiara! (I’m not really a hat type of girl)

First, let’s look at the basic mechanics of this art:

  • Long piece of paper (or short pieces connected) folded accordion style
  • A design that extends just off the folded edges in at least one place per side
  • Simple designs that work well repeated

Symmetrical designs work really great (like the paper doll) because every other panel is going to be backwards. This is why words are kinda tough to do unless you’re dealing with a palindrome (wow, for instance, would be fun because it reads the same pretty much any way except upside down, then it’s mom and, well, depending on the application that could work, too!).

Besides being something like a magic trick to little ones (viola! a string of shapes from just a few cuts!), what practical applications are there for these things?

  • Party decorations–either suspended across doorways or hanging down in the windows
  • Table decorations–spruce up your disposable tablecloth by accordion folding it and cutting out a patter of the lower 6 inches or so!
  • Wrapping decorations–a little craft spray and it can dress up any package wrapped with plain paper (wrapping paper, because it already comes in long lengths, works great for paper garlands, too)
  • Modern art–use some fun papers and place them in an inexpensive frame for some unique wall art
  • Clothing mods–use fabric and pinking shears (or felt and regular scissors) to make a fun border for hems, necklines or totes
  • Shaped cards–use a large design with at least 3 panels and make a card that can stand up on a desk or mantle; an egg-shaped card would be perfect for the upcoming holiday!

What other ways could this technique be used? I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface!