Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How to mass produce paper leaves when you long for a silhouette or cricut and have no possible way of getting one. AKA how to lose your mind. Slowly, very slowly.

Have you ever had an idea that slowly became an obsession?  That epiphany you swore would be the coolest creation you'd ever produced?  The project to end all craft projects?  So cool that you lose your head completely and forget how horrid the process itself will be?

You'd think that a simple paper project would be no big deal.  And for the most part, this project is just that - no big deal.  It's easy.  It requires no great skill.  But, man oh, man.  If you haven't got a die cutter of any sort - and let's be clear here, I DON'T - you may just drive yourself insane.

I had this brilliant scheme for my Thanksgiving decor.  You see, my decor as of late needs to meet a few criteria.  1 - it needs to be really cheap.  Like free.  2 - it needs to be either a) quick or b) something easily set aside.  I can't be wallowing in food coloring and mod podge, paint and pins and needles and muck all the time.  I've got a house to clean.  (no, I'm really not kidding.  I actually do have to clean my house this time.  I've got people coming over on Thursday.)  So.  What to do, what to do... BOOK PAGES!

I love a good book craft.  I really do.  Need proof?  There's this beauty (though the pictures are pretty horrible).  And this guy, which started my whole wreath obsession.  And of course, my crowning glory of my 2 seconds of fame on So You Think You're Crafty.  So I have a lot of old books stashed in the dungeon my craft room.  And that's where this whole idea began.

First, find some leaf pictures online to use as templates if you aren't confident in your leaf drawing ability.  And I'm not.  Print them on card stock and cut them out.

Next, rip out some book pages and use a regular old glue stick to adhere them to regular old computer paper.  

Here's where it gets all "technical".  Make some regular word processing type documents.  I wanted my leaves to be printed with the word "thanks" in different languages in different fonts and different colors.  All different-y.  And thankful.  And cool.  So I went to google translator and had it translate "thanks" into every language imaginable - then just copied and pasted into the word document.  I changed the fonts, colors and sizes after I'd copied all the words over.  Now, load your printer with your book page covered computer paper and print your "thanks" document.  Make sure to leave lots of space around each word, because you're going to be turning each word into its own leaf.

Lay a leaf on top of a word and trace around it.  It's as easy as that.  Use all your leaves and turn them to fit the words - the words don't need to be straight up and down on your leaf, it can be topsy turvy.  We're going for random and slightly haphazard here.

Now, the REALLY FUN PART.  (seriously, people, where is that sarcasm font??)  Cut out each and every leaf.  Each and every one.  It's a good idea to get yourself pepsi, some m&m's and past episodes of Psych on Netflix.

When you're done with that, you've got thanks on all different leaves with all different languages in all different colors and different sizes and different fonts.  Very different.  Just what we wanted.

You'll get out your ink.  Whatever you've got lying around, which happens to be red, yellow and black for me.  Run the edges of your leaves along the ink pad, all the way around.

You'll also need to crumple your pretty leaves up.  I know, it's hard to do, but you have to admit that this looks more leafy than that.  So roll them, bend them and squish them.

Split your leaves up.  In some of your leaves you'll punch one hole.

In others you'll punch two holes right next to each other.  The holes do not need to be right on the top of the leaf.  In fact, it's best if you mix it up.  Angles, sides, slants, top, bottom, etc.  We're going for different here, remember?  

Oh, ps.  You'll also want to cut out, ink and crumple a few blank leaves, as well.  For filler, you know.

And now, you're done with your leaves.

BUT.  You'll need some other book page decorations.  Leaves just aren't enough.  You'll need some flowers.  Maybe some fan type circle things.  What the heck are those called, anyway?  So, let's get cracking.

I remember making these flowers with my mom when I was young.  I do believe I've gotten better, mom.

Take your book pages and rip them into strips.  I ripped instead of cut because I'm going for distressed, obviously.  You can rip them different widths, but make sure that there's at least four the same width for each flower.

Now, use double sided tape to tape two of the strips end to end, twice.  So your four strips become two strips that are both two strips long.

Tape these two double long strips together by adhering the top end of one to the top end of the other PERPENDICULARLY.  So it looks like an upside down L.  Well, upside down and backwards.

Now, take the strip that is on in the back (or the one running on the y axis), and fold the long part up and over the other strip.

Then take the other strip, which is now in the back (or the one running on the x axis) and fold it over the other strip.

Do this again, folding the first strip down now.

And again, folding the second strip over.  And you've returned to the same upside down, backwards L you started with.  

Keep doing this all down the strips, folding them up together, smaller and smaller.  When you get to the end, use your double sided tape to tape the ends together.

You've got this funky spring thing.

Now, take the two ends and pull them around, facing each other - so you're joining the ends and making the spring into a circle - or flower type shape.  

Tuck one end into the other end, and hold securely with tape.

Done!  You can use more or less than two strips taped together for length and it will change the look.  Here's the difference between one strip length and two strip length.

On a related note, when you use contrasting colors of papers, it looks even cooler.  Like so:  

You'll probably see a lot more of those later...

Now, for the accordian-fold circle flower things, I will refer you to this post on The Country Chic Cottage.  Since I didn't know how to do it right until I read that.  

And now you've got some book page stuff.

And tomorrow?  Well, I'll show you what to do with them all.

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!


Anonymous said...

They turned out cute! I love the idea. I've been through my share of Netflix craft project too...that never...seem...to end... :)
Great decorations!

kellystar said...

next time you need leaves...send me an email. I have a Sizzix leaf die. I will save you hours and mail them to your door! Happy Thanksgiving!

KendasCrafts said...

Can't wait to see what you do with everything!! I get caught up in craft projects all the time. I have some brilliant idea that takes me about 10 times longer than anticipated to complete and I end up doing some mind-numbing task until 2 in the morning when I really should be cooking or cleaning for guests. Glad to know I'm not the only weird person that gets a little OCD with crafts. :-)

Michelle L. said...

Hilarious post title...please find your mind so I can see what you did with it all! Looks exciting...

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