Sunday, November 27, 2011

If You're Anything Like I Am...

you probably have a lot of specialty papers lying around unused, unloved, uncut. "Oh, that's too pretty to cut!"


Specialty papers are most often found in the art section of big box craft stores or in fine art supply stores. They generally come in very large sheets on tilted paper racks, although some scrapbook paper companies produce them in 12" x 12" sizes or smaller.

One thing I've learned since I started papercrafting is that specialty papers stick around a LOT longer than the latest Basic Gray collection. Art paper suppliers are less given to trends. You can buy the same velvet paper I bought ten years ago today at Hobby Lobby. Rice papers are always around, too.

So instead of hoarding specialty papers, use them to make pleated ornaments for the holidays!

It's hard to tell from my stellar photograph (not), but this is red velvet paper. In real life, it looks fabulous and feels even better. I scored it on the back to pleat so I didn't damage the pile of the velvet.

Green ornaments on trees don't show up well unless they are light green or very glittery/shiny. This is what I call rice paper (not sure it that's the real name, though). It has interesting, slightly shimmery fibers in it.

Finally, we have some silver faux-leather paper, which adds texture and shimmer to the ornament.

There are plenty of online tutorials on making these beauties, but here are a few additional tips to help you out.

1. Use a glue gun. It holds the best of any glue I tried.

2. Score the folds, then punch the edges (I used Fiskar's Threading Water edge punch), THEN fold the paper.

3. I used strips that were roughly 21"-22" long and 2" wide, which gave me lots of pleats. But this isn't a souffle recipe. Vary as needed for your own purposes.

4. The snowflake is a Martha Stewart punch, and the scalloped circle is from Marvy.

5. You could use these as gift tags, too, but definitely tell people they are ornaments. You don't want these beauties ending up in the trash. Instead, make a whole set for someone as a gift. That was my plan before the Great House Sale of 2011. Now, I'll cut myself some slack and just wait until next year.

That must be the sanest decision I've made in the past two months.


  1. Oh, Susan, these are so pretty! I was just thinking this morning that I hadn't made my sister any ornaments this year, and I always do...and I *know* I have a pile of gold leather-texture paper :)

  2. I JUST moved two rolls of specialty paper before coming to your website. They sit on the shelf with the scanner and were in the way. I don't tend to use them because they are over here but the computer desk, not anywhere near where I craft and with me--out of sight, out of mind. I did learn a valuable specialty paper lesson one year--hoarded a big stash of velvet paper, faux leather, mulberry paper, rice paper, just a whole bunch of exotic stuff and didn't use it. Then a malfunction in our evaporative cooler caused a whole bunch of desert dirt, grit, and actual bits of rock to come into our house and RUINED the stash. All I could do is throw it away. Now I realize it is better to use it on any old thing than to never use it at all. Now I just gotta remember it exists! I do use patterned paper ALL the time though.

  3. Susan, these are beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Love them! May have to case them too :)

  5. These are wonderful. Thanks for sharing and giving instructions, too. I always see those giant sheets at Paper Source and Blick, and never even think of buying them, because I would think they were too precious to use! But, just think how many ornaments you'd get out of one sheet.

  6. Ooooo, that gray ornament was very pretty. It was my favorite, though the light green was gorgeous, too.

  7. These are really pretty. I may make some smaller ones for my little tree (1 1/2 feet tall). Wouldn't that be cute if the whole tree was covered with these? PS: thanks for the instructions.

  8. I get to cheat and I have a die that will do the scoring (thanks Tim) -- however -- do I struggle getting these little puppies to lay down! Yeah, don't ask -- a set for someone??? I'll stick with your decision... maybe next year! Bawahaha :)

  9. All three rosettes/pleated ornaments are very nice! Love the colors and the added centers w/image. Punching on outer edges is a nice touch, as well. :)

  10. Really beautiful!!! Makes me want to go MAKE SOME!!!

    your comment about the "sanest decision you have made in the past 2 months" made me laugh!!!

    TFS in the midst of the GHSof2011!!!


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