Wreath made from the pages from a discarded book

I no longer do a lot of decorating for the holidays.  I try to keep things simple and choose just a few ways to make the holiday season special and memorable.  This year I’m making some decorations from deconstructed books.

Wreath made from paper cones

My first project was this wreath made from the pages of a discarded book.  First I rolled several pages into cones, and then I stapled them onto a wire wreath form.  I started with three cones in a row, and then overlapped the next three cones, and so on, around the form.

Standing trees made from discarded paperback books.

Detail of folded trees

Each of these standing trees was formerly a paperback book.  I didn’t use a pattern, just began cutting with a scissors — starting with the horizontal cuts — and then trimmed and folded each page to get the desired shapes.  I hope to end up with a small forest on our fireplace mantle.

I’ve written about other holiday papercraft projects over the years.  If you’d like to see more, check out these links to past posts:


One of my favorite photos from my first year blogging (Nov 2009)

This is Thanksgiving week, and my thoughts naturally turn toward prayers of gratitude.  I’d like to devote my blog posts this week to the theme of gratitude.

I did a similar series of gratitude posts in my first year of blogging, culminating with our Thanksgiving feast.  If you are interested, you can re-visit them here:

The older I get, the more aware I am that each day is a gift.  My gift of days is finite.  It is up to me to use this gift well.

by G. K. Chesterton

Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?


Clouds of Cut-Paper

April 25, 2012

"Honeycomb Clouds" by Celeste Cooning

The University of Washington is 150 years old and it celebrated last weekend with Husky Fest.  I stopped by the big tent on Red Square, a temporary pavilion and Husky Fest central, to see the cut-paper installations by Seattle artist Celeste Cooning.  I like paper crafts of all kinds, but Cooning’s “Honeycomb Clouds” took this type of art to a new level.  I’ll be keeping my eyes out for new works by this local artist.

"Honeycomb Clouds" hung from the ceiling

Patterns of shadow and light

Photo with zoom focus effect

Intricately cut paper

You can see more of Celeste Cooning’s work on her website.


Woven paper heart

I remember making these woven paper hearts years ago, and I found the instructions here: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/Heartbasket.shtml.  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 https://rosemarywashington.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/christmas-papercraft-3-diy-paper-star-ornament/) and cutting heart-shaped pieces instead.  This was a project originally inspired by a tutorial on the Craftynest blog (http://www.craftynest.com/).

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

January display at the Greenwood Branch of the Seattle Public Library

I volunteered to do the January display at the Greenwood Branch Library, so I chose to feature books about papercraft.  There are so many good books on the subject.  I didn’t have room to feature even a fraction.  Here are some close-up shots of parts of the display:

Papercraft display

Papercraft book covers and sample projects

Papercraft projects on display

More papercraft projects

Display at the Greenwood Branch Library

Re-Purposed Christmas Cards

January 2, 2011

Salvaging useful bits from this year's holiday cards

It’s time to clean up after the holidays and put away the Christmas decorations.  Rather than toss my Christmas cards into the recycling bin, I take a moment to cut out the parts that will make gift tags or postcards for next year’s holidays.  Do you have any other ideas for re-purposing cards or gift wrap?

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 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 (www.chinaberry.com), 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