Thursday, September 4, 2008

Paper Engineered Butterfly Wings

Wednesdays may be the best day of the week on Not only do they post a new tutorial of a project or a technique, but Wednesday is sketch challenge day. And here is my card based on this week's Sketch Challenge.

First of all, let's talk about the faux stitching. For those of you not acquainted with this technique, the artist pokes a line of holes in the paper with a paper piercer (or a pin or a needle or beading awl or whatever sharp implement you may have in your stamping space) and then draws between the holes with a pen. Here I used a Signo white gel pen, which is ideal, but if you want your "thread" to be another color, use that instead. Now some stampers use a piercing template or a ruler to be sure that their "stitching line" is absolutely straight. Me, I just punch the holes in a relatively straight line. I mean, if I were to either hand sew or machine stitch on a card, I'm not kidding myself that my stitches would be any straighter than this. I'm just not that good of a seamstress.

Please note that the above card shows examples of "faux machine stitching," both in the straight stitching around my focal image and the zigzag stitch on the red stripe at the bottom. Why is faux machine stitching any different than regular faux stitching? you may ask. It's because I intentionally added an additional layer of faux stitching (bottom left-hand corner) to resemble what happens when you run the machine forward and backward at the end (or the beginning) of a line of stitching to lock the stitch. Just another whimsical detail I thought would be funny.

But I digress. This card was actually pretty easy to make. The main image and the butterflies stared out as Barely Banana paper, and I sponged them with Summer Sun and Ruby Red inks. I used the Upsy Daisy stamp set from Stampin' Up! for the flowers and the salutation. The butterflies are punched with a Martha Stewart punch (the only Martha Stewart item in my entire house--it's actually a great punch, very easy to use).

Now for the paper engineering. I am often frustrated when I punch or cut out a butterfly, carefully glue just the body of the creature to my card so that the wings can flap freely, and then put in in an envelope where the Postal Service runs it through their machines and the card gets to the recipient with the wings crushed flat against the card. Now, I could either write something inside the card such as, "I hope you have the Happiest Birthday ever. Please pop up the wings of the butterfly so that they are as pretty as before they were mailed," or I could try something else. This time I tried something else.

Under each butterfly wing there is a strip of paper that measures approximately 3/8" x 1/16". Not only is it an extremely tiny piece of paper, but it is folded in half (making it even tinier) so that it can act as a springy hinge between the wing and the card base. Just a drop of glue on each side of the tiny hinge works like a charm.

How many times did I drop those stupid scraps of hinged paper? I lost count. Then I remembered that I had a pair of tweezers from Making Memories that I probably had never used. It came in a kit with the paper piercer from the second paragraph. WOW! That is a truly indispensable tool when it comes to working with paper that measures 3/8" x 1/16". It gripped the tiny paper effortlessly. I will have to remember that tool is in my arsenal.

On a final note, I wanted my butterfly wings to have just a touch of sparkle, so I painted them with SoSoft Fabric Paint by DecoArt.

It sounds like it was a very involved card, but it actually came together pretty quickly. I still had time to finish de-cluttering, and we now have room to squeeze my sister Shelby into the house when I bring her back from Virginia on the 14th. Although I was kind of dreading adding a person (and a fairly . . . uh . . . dramatic one) to our quiet home, I am really looking forward to spending time with Shelby. I think it's going to be a lot of fun.

Until next post,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fabulous card! Thank you for sharing your butterfly wing technique! Suzanne