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Creative Ways With Decorative Paper - FREE PRINTABLE INSIDE!

Friday, August 23, 2019

There are so many ways to make decorative paper, and then of course it can be used in countless creative projects....card making, Scrapbooking, mixed media pages in art journals, wrapping paper, covering hand made books, the list goes on. I like  to be able to personalise the design on my papers, change the colours, and give them that lovely handmade look.  I try to avoid using ready made papers, because then my work starts to look like everyone else's! Here are some suggestions about different ways to make and use decorative paper.



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The video above is a teapot stamp I carved, actually it is two stamps which you use together to create a whole object, in this case a teapot.  One stamp is for a lighter colour, and the other is meant to be used as a darker shadow, which gives a very interesting and dramatic effect.  I love this technique, I really should make some more stamps like this!  Notice how I used quite a few different lighter colours for the soft shade, whereas I used black for the dark area on all of the stamps. Use this in a repeating pattern, and voila! Instant decorative paper! I used this same design to cover some cardboard boxes which I then made into a temporary set of craft drawers! They looked really cute, and they were also very useful to store all my junk.


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In this video I have created a different teapot design with straighter sides, just a simple stamp to be used all by itself.  You can see how I decided to make the pattern staggered, but still keep the teapots in nice neat lines. I had plans for this design, I wanted to use watercolour paint to add some interesting details to each teapot (see video just below this where I am adding the paint). I was really happy with how this turned out.  Of course it's more work than the first example, but I can also use this in many different ways by scanning the design and using the teapots to make digital paper, and then print it out whenever I need it!


Here's a photo of the finished painted teapots...I still have a few to go...phew!  Lots of fun to paint, though :)

Here's a nice, simple example of how effective a hand carved stamp can be to create design on a surface such as paper, just by creating a chequered pattern.  Here I have used the stamp in Hangul (Korean writing) which means 'Thanks'!



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 You can use interesting lines to create a repetitive pattern on paper, or maybe try a thin paint brush dipped in ink! Try different colours too.  Here's a nice example just using a few different thin black pens.

So simple but so effective! You could also use a very light colour on white paper to give a more subtle effect.




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 Take a look at the instagram post above, I have gone totally wild with a thin white gel pen to create a border around each portrait (I go through so many of these pens...they are so addictive!).  I think this would be a great technique to use on wrapping paper, or to embellish cards, or to make a decorative paper for Scrapbooking. The trick is to use paper that is quite dark.  Not necessarily black, although that looks great, but you could also use a brown kraft coloured wrapping paper that is blank, and get to work with the gel pen.  If you want bigger, easier patterns, try using white 'ink' with a paintbrush.  The pattern doesn't have to be as intricate as mine, though, just experiment and have fun, you will be surprised what happens!

Speaking of going wild with pens, here is an interesting pattern I made on white paper with a chunky chisel point black permanent marker!  It was very quick to draw, I just kept going in the same direction flicking the pen quickly away from where I put it on the paper.


I love this pattern I made in my art journal, I have saved the idea away in my head for future surface design projects.  Can you guess how I made this pattern? I had some small bits of rubber left over from carving stamps, which just happened to be different sizes of triangles....I grabbed my black ink pad, and the rest is history!  I added accents by colouring in some of the triangles with brown coloured pencil, and in the gaps I drew some empty triangles with a black pen, then coloured them blue with watercolour. I added some outlines here and there.


Here's an art journal page that would be perfect for a pattern on paper, used in all sorts of projects.  I used watercolour and different coloured thin pens for this one.  Lots of different layers make it look quite interesting.


Above is a photo of a couple of organisers I made for my art studio, to hold paintbrushes (left) and modelling/sculpting tools (right).  I made some hand carved stamps and printed them with black ink on to white craft paper, and covered used milk cartons which I had cut to size beforehand with a craft knife.  The one on the right has three cartons stuck together.  They are only temporary, but they look interesting and they do the job just fine!  They also didn't cost me a fortune, and when I am sick of them, out they will go into the recycling bin!


Here are some examples of my hand carved stamp designs used to make cards, just using black ink, but changing the direction of the stamps every now and again in some of the designs.

In this photo (above) I have made some cards, again with the hand carved stamps printed in plain black ink, but added nice bright colours with very inexpensive felt pens.  Some of these combinations would look great on decorative papers, don't you think?


Here's a nice simple example of black stamps on cream coloured craft paper.

Here's the same sort of thing, just with colour added (those very cheap kids felt pens from Daiso come in very handy!). I used a vase stamp, added some flowers, and then drew some flower stems with a thin black pen, if you are wondering.  Pretty easy stuff, but such a cute design would be great wrapped around a gift with a lovely ribbon, or as the background for a layout in your scrapbook.  What about a vase of flowers in the corner of a snail mail letter, or to brighten up a planner page?  So much fun to be had with stamps!  The good thing is that stamps are fun to use and also very quick ways to make cool backgrounds.


If you have a printer, then digital paper might be the way to go!  Here is a little FREE GIFT from me to you, to help you along with your crafty projects.  Maybe you don't have time to fluff around with all the messy stuff like stamps, ink, and paint.  There are so many lovely digital papers available these days, you can print them out, maybe start a collection, and have them ready to use at a moment's notice.  Just remember that if you are using a bubble-jet printer, the ink is water based.  Therefore if they get wet or come into contact with any moisture, the colours will mix with each other.  However, this can also be a plus!  One day I had some digital paper printed out and accidentally spilt some water on it.  The colours all ran into each other and spread out in intricate patterns, so it looked as though someone had painted a beautiful subtle watercolour background.  I let it dry, and kept it in my 'Journal Box' where I keep all my bits and pieces saved ready for glueing into just the right art journal page.  Another way to achieve this effect is to spray the printed paper lightly with a spray bottle of water, preferably one that sprays a fine mist.  If you don't want it to run, though, I would suggest using a fairly dry glue to attach it to any projects, as a wet glue will also seep through the paper from the back and mess with the printed colours.  I usually use a good old glue stick, which does the job just fine. To access the free gift, click on the picture with the snail, and he will take you there!


Let me leave you with one of my favourite photos that I took in a 'secret' park hidden in the mountain behind the apartment where we used to live in Korea.  The sun was just starting to set, reflecting its gold off these hand made paving stones.  Look at that great pattern!  It inspires me to carve a set of hand made stamps or paint the shapes in my art journal.  I love how the path winds its way around the corner and the stones get smaller in the distance...magical!  You don't have to look very far to find great inspiration, sometimes it is where you least expect it.  The trick is to have your mind and imagination open, ready to catch the ideas! Patterns are everywhere.  If you see one you like, take a photo or sketch it before you forget it.  It could be the best idea you have ever had for a decorative paper or background.

I hope this has inspired you with some ideas for decorative paper.  Which is your favourite technique? These are a few of my favourites, but I know there are many others out there, do you have some others you can suggest? Maybe you would like to share a link to a project you made which featured some decorative paper.  How do you use paper and patterns in your projects? I can't wait to hear your ideas!

Happy creating!





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