Paper sculpture at Anthropologie’s downtown Seattle store

I wasn’t shopping, but as I walked by the Anthropologie store in downtown Seattle, I was drawn in by the amazing paper sculptures decorating its sales floor.  I wondered whether it was another installation by artist Celeste Cooning (see more about her at this post), but it was not.  This feat of decorating with paper was executed by one of the store’s employees.  I thought it was incredibly creative.

A chandelier of paper feathers

Wall coverings of paper

Looking down onto the Anthropologie sales floor

Ideas for decorating with paper

My brother found this paper wasp nest in the woods.

Wasp nest displayed among the birdhouses

A look inside another wasp nest

The Paper Nautilus
by Marianne Moore

For authorities whose hopes
are shaped by mercenaries?
Writers entrapped by
teatime fame and by
commuters’ comforts? Not for these
the paper nautilus
constructs her thin glass shell.

Giving her perishable
souvenir of hope, a dull
white outside and smooth-
edged inner surface
glossy as the sea, the watchful
maker of it guards it
day and night; she scarcely

eats until the eggs are hatched.
Buried eight-fold in her eight
arms, for she is in
a sense a devil-
fish, her glass ram’shorn-cradled freight
is hid but is not crushed;
as Hercules, bitten

by a crab loyal to the hydra,
was hindered to succeed,
the intensively
watched eggs coming from
the shell free it when they are freed,–
leaving its wasp-nest flaw
of white on white, and close-

laid Ionic chiton-fold
like the lines in the mane of
a Parthenon horse,
round which the arms had
wound themselves as if they new love
is the only fortress
strong enough to trust to.



Woven paper heart

I remember making these woven paper hearts years ago, and I found the instructions here:  I made half a dozen hearts so that I could string them together and hang them in my kitchen window.  They are constructed in such a way that each heart forms a pocket, so instead of stringing them, you could use them as little heart baskets.

Paper pieces for six woven hearts

Weaving the first row

Four rows woven, one to go

Strings of hearts and snowflakes in my kitchen window

I made another hanging heart ornament by adapting the instructions for my star ornament (see and cutting heart-shaped pieces instead.  This was a project originally inspired by a tutorial on the Craftynest blog (

Hanging heart ornament

Paper snowball

I remember making these paper snowballs when I was a kid.  They would make a nice ornament for the Christmas tree. 

One of the secrets to successful papercrafts that even an adult can find pleasing is to make multiples of an item.  Whether the same size or graduated sizes, multiples can be strung into garlands or displayed in other ways.  Repeated patterns make their own visual beauty, I think.

Here are instructions for making paper snowballs:

You will need 20 circles for each snowball.

Trace twenty circles on pretty paper.  I used a page from an old art book.

Cut out the circles

Cut out the circles as carefully as you can.


Fold flaps on each circle so that the remaining flat surface is an equilateral triangle.  (I trace a triangle on each circle so that I can use the pencil markings as a folding guide.)

Glue together

Glue five triangular pieces together into a circle.  Repeat.  These will become the top and bottom of the finished ball.  Now fill in a band around the middle, always creating circles of five pieces, to shape into a sphere.

Finished snowball

Make several more snowballs in varying sizes to make an interesting winter display.

Three snowballs on display in my kitchen window

Another way to use paper snowflakes

It’s been a few years since I’ve taken scissors to white paper to cut out snowflakes.  I love how each snowflake is unique, just like real ones!  This year I went an extra step and sewed the paper snowflakes into garlands.  I made short garlands, each string with three or four snowflakes.  But you could easily sew them into one long garland for a Christmas tree decoration.

Sewing the snowflakes into garlands

I simply sewed each snowflake down an imaginary center line and left about two inches of thread between snowflakes.

Snowflakes sewn together with thread

I tied a bead to the bottom of each of my garlands so that they would hang down nicely.

Five snowflake garlands hanging in my kitchen window

I used the finished garland to make a snowflake “valance” in my kitchen window.

Dreaming of a white Christmas. . .

I'm not the only one thinking of a white Christmas. Here's the Starbucks sign for this holiday season.

Folded paper star ornament

I found the instructions for making these folded paper star ornaments on the December 8th post of the Craftynest blog (  I love how they look and plan to make many more.  Here’s how I made mine:

Cutting out stars from paper

Using the pattern I downloaded from the Craftynest blog, I cut out 10 stars from some pretty red speckled paper I had on hand.

Folding the stars

Then I folded each paper star in half.  (After I folded them, I realized that the Craftynest instructions said to fold in half on the points.  Ooops.  It turned out that my mistake didn’t really matter.)

Sewing the paper stars together

Next I stacked all 10 paper stars together and sewed down the center fold line.

Attaching ribbon

Because my folds were in the gutter rather than point-to-point, I was able to just tie ribbon around my stars, covering the sewing.  (At Craftynest, they sewed the ribbon on.)

Finished star ornament

When you open up the leaves of the star, it makes a beautiful symmetrical ornament.

Detail of finished star

Folded star book (approximately 2 x 2 inches)

Star book folded open and hung as a Christmas tree ornament

Many years ago I ordered one of these tiny star books from Chinaberry Books (, and after looking closely at its construction, I decided I could figure out how to make them myself.  These tiny treasures (about 2 inches square) are made out of folded paper, origami-style, and when opened with their covers back-to-back, look like a five-pointed star.  They make delightful stocking stuffers or Christmas ornaments.  Or you can use them as miniature blank books.

Here is how you make a folded star book:

Folding the inside pages

First, cut five paper squares, 4 x 4 inches.  Then fold each one in half lengthwise and again in half crosswise.  Now each square has four quadrants.  Next fold each square diagonally corner to corner.  (You’ll have just one diagonal fold line on each square of paper.)

Each 4 x 4-inch square now needs to be folded in on itself by reverse-folding along the diagonals to the center.  You’ll end up with a 2 x 2-inch folded square. (Look at the photo and try to replicate the pictures.)

Glue the outside of each 2 x 2-inch square

Joining the five star pages together with glue

The five folded squares will be joined by gluing together, outside square matching outside square.  You’ll want the center points to match up so that you can see that unfolding will make a star.  Don’t glue together into a circle!  Keep the last two outside squares unglued.

This is what the inner pages should look like after gluing

Preparing the covers

Next you make two covers.  Cut heavy paper or cardboard into two 2-1/4 x 2-1/4-inch squares.  Then find some pretty paper for your covers, and glue them to the cardboard.

Attaching ribbon

Brush the inside of each cover with glue.  Then lay a ribbon across the two covers diagonally as pictured.

Gluing the covers to the star pages

Now you are ready to glue the covers to the assembled pages.  The center folded points should line up where the two covers meet so that the finished book can open like a star.

Finished folded star book, closed

You can now tie the finished book closed with the ribbon.

Finished star book opened

Or, you can tie the little book open and hang it up as an ornament.


Cutouts and Silhouettes

June 19, 2010

Cutouts and silhouettes

I thought I’d share my latest art project — a couple of paper cutouts.  I’m still slowly trying to incorporate making art into my days.

Cutout of lupine