What to do with origami paper you no longer want, part 1

I used to be really into origami and have a pretty decent collection of origami paper.  Lately,  I’ve not really be into it, plus I have some paper I never liked for origami that had come as part of a set, so I’ve been looking for alternative uses.

One, which works really well for paper with a pattern you like but that doesn’t look good when folded, is re-covering small boxes.

First, you need to get a box:

10-30-14 Covered Box 1I got my hands on a couple of cute little boxes that were from small chocolate sets (bonus: they still smelled like chocolate while I was working on them!).

Next you need some origami paper or any other pretty and fairly thin paper:

10-30-14 Covered Box 2I used 4 sheets of double-sided paper for my box (I lined the inside of bottom and lid with one side and covered the outside of both with the other side).

You’ll also need some sort of glue.  I just used some thick white glue and was very careful how I smoothed things out, but anything that won’t wrinkle the paper too much as it dries should work.

Now, you don’t want to just glue the paper on, because that would make the box too thick and the top wouldn’t fit over the bottom anymore.  With my boxes, I could see that the outside was a piece of paper that had been glued down:

10-30-14 Covered Box 3Peel that sucker off:

10-30-14 Covered Box 4One of mine was significantly easier than the other, so I think it will depend on the brand.  You’ll notice a piece of paper tape holding the box together in the photo above.  If you can, try to preserve those (but don’t sweat it if they break).

Next, you’ll want to carefully peel the tape off the corners and unfold the top and bottom of the box.  Glue them, inside down, to a piece of paper and let them dry (do not glue down the ends of the paper tape):

10-30-14 Covered Box 5Once dry, cut around the cardboard, crease the paper where the box naturally creases, and fold the edges up.  If you managed to preserve the paper tape, you can re-glue it to attach the sides together.  Otherwise just tape it yourself.

10-30-14 Covered Box 6Next, glue the reassembled box in the center of a piece of paper, so that there’s plenty of room on all sides to cover the sides of the box:

10-30-14 Covered Box 7Then cut the paper down so that it’s big enough to cover the sides of the box and wrap over a quarter to half inch inside.  I opted to do my corners all fancy, by folding them upward point first, then tucking the edges underneath the paper that would cover the side and trimming the excess point off (hard to describe, sorry!):

10-30-14 Covered Box 8You can do yours however you want, though — like wrapping the ends of a present would probably look great.  Anyway, glue the paper up the sides of the boxes, dealing with the corners along the way, and let it dry.

Finally, fold the overlapping paper down into the box and glue it in place to create a lip inside:

10-30-14 Covered Box 9Let it dry and you’re done!  You have a cute box and, if you’re like me, found a use for extraneous paper that was never going to get used otherwise!


Cross stitching with a presentable back!

A while back I made a couple of cross stitch bookmarks and a rather awesome discovery.  If you’re familiar with cross stitching, you’re probably also familiar with the mess of crisscrossing threads you get on the back (or else it’s just me and everyone else already knows this….it could happen).  With my first bookmark, I had to sew a muslin backing on to cover it up:

Back of dragon bookmarkWith my second one, I learned to do perfect backs, meaning that I didn’t need to cover it at all (in fact, it’s almost reversible):

Back of rose bookmarkHere’s how:

Perfect back cross stitch basicsNow, that’s great if you want a solid block of color.  However, if you want to actually make a pattern, you need to do a little planning.  Exactly how you approach it will depend on your pattern, so I’m just going to show a sample shape so you can get an idea of the process:

Complex perfect back cross stitch patternsHopefully I’m not the only one with messy cross stitch backs!  Let me know if anything needs clarification or more elaboration.

Both bookmarksBoth of these bookmarks are available for sale on my Etsy shop, if you’re interested. The bookwyrm is here and the Assisi rose is here.

Paper Beads and Magazines

I’ve recently gotten interested in making rolled paper beads, and have (naturally) been watching lots of YouTube tutorials on the subject.  There are a lot of nice tutorials out there and some really good guides on decorating your beads before and after you roll them.  However, I am making my beads out of magazine pages, and I found that there weren’t really any good guides on what type of page makes pretty beads.  So I thought it might be nice to write up a mini tutorial on choosing paper for your paper beads.

I’m not planning on going over how to make paper beads, so if you’re not familiar with the process, you might want to look that up before continuing.  I’m fond of the tutorials by Beyond Bracelets and jennibellie.  Both videos cover how to make the beads in general and decorating them yourself.

Now, let’s say you’re not interested in decorating the beads yourself, but are making them from strips of magazine paper.  What should you look for?

Ideally, you’ll find a page that is entirely picture and get a strip looking something like this:

Paper strip colored the whole way

However, you’ll often find that magazines have a little white band at the top and bottom of the page, and between any photos on the page, resulting in a strip of paper more like this:

Paper strip with white bands(The circled areas are supposed to be white, I swear — my camera didn’t like the lighting I had.)  If you try to roll the bead with those white sections, they really aren’t long enough to make a white band on the bead, but are bright enough to make oddly white specks in the bead.  The solution is simple — color them in:

Colored in white sectionsI just use a marker.  All you really need to get is the edges, unless the white is at the very narrow tip of the paper, in which case you’d want to completely fill it in.  This was more fun back before I left my pack of 36 markers halfway across the country, but even without them I’ve had good luck with grey, brown, and black from an 8 marker set.  The main goal is to keep the bright white from being so noticible.

Now, some pages in a magazine will have text and a picture.  I find this works fine if the text is towards the wide end of your paper strip, as you get a colored bead with black and white speckled edges:

8-22-13 Paper Beads 4Text towards the narrow end of the strip, however, doesn’t come out looking nearly so good, as the bead appears predominantly white and there are often visible letters:

8-22-13 Paper Beads 5The final thing to consider is how many different colors there are on a page and how they’re distributed.  Initially, I was worried about pages that had only a few, large blocks of colorings, thinking they’d result in boring beads.  I found instead that they result in very interesting banded beads, which are usually quite consistent from bead to bead:

Bead from paper with just a few colorsPages with many different colors in narrower strips can also work well, producing a bead with many small stripes:

Bead from paper with many colorsHowever, if the paper’s colors are too close in tone, the bead usually comes out rather boring relative to other pages:

Bead from paper with similar colorsI hope this mini tutorial will help anyone else interested in making paper beads out of magazines — at the very least, I hope it saves you some time rolling beads and discovering what doesn’t work!