Thursday, 16 February 2012

Fun with Paper: Secret Hollow Books

I made this secret book as an inexpensive alternative for a gift box for my friend's birthday. I also made her a brooch, so this was a good way to present it and also to give a little something extra.

How to make:

Things you'll need: PVA glue mixed with a bit of water (to about a ratio of 70% glue to 30% water) in a plastic pot or container, paintbrush, pencil, ruler, and a craft knife.

Step 1: First off, find a book from a charity shop, on Freecycle, or rummage around in your loft or garage for unwanted literature. Choose a hard back for a sturdy base. I chose a book that also had some illustrations, this can work quite nicely.

Step 2: Select how many pages from the front of the book you want to keep in tact. Select the page you want to be the first one cut in the secret hollow stack and save that page for later. I chose to save a page with an illustration to make it pretty.

Step 3: Hold firm the pages that will be cut (apart from the page saved in step 2) and coat the outside edges of the stack with the glue mix using the paintbrush. Coat with enough glue so that it really soaks into the edges of the page. TIP - When I was first making this book I thought it was best to coat each page individually to make sure it was bloody well stuck, but this wastes time and make the pages warp slightly with too much glue. The pages stick solid enough by just doing the outside edges.

Step 4: Allow the glue to dry. Put pressure on the pages by popping something heavy on top so the pages bind flat. Make sure you use a spacer so that what you're using as a weight, or the other pages, do not get stuck too! (a few pencils laid flat on top will do)

Step 5: Once the glue is dry it's time to mark out the border you want to cut out. Use a ruler and mark with a pencil. I used a 2.5 cm border, but you can chose any width or fancy shaped border.

Step 6: Using a craft knife, cut around your drawn border. BE CAREFUL OF SHARP THINGS!!!! This might take a while and you'll have to remove a small stack of cut out paper at a time. To get straight smooth edges you might have to take a little time to get rid of some little clumps of paper that just don't want to come out! Cut down to what ever depth you like. You can go right to the end and get to the back hard cover, I decided to stop at an illustration page.

Step 7: Coat the inside edges of the hollowed out area with the glue mix, again making sure the glue soaks into the page edges and again put pressure onto the stack while it's drying. (Don't forget to use your spacers again to avoid unwanted stickiness!)

Step 8: Now is time for the final page! Paint glue onto the borders of your cut out stack and stick the page you have set aside to be the first of the cut pages down. TIP - Don't put glue down on the border edge nearest the spine as this doesn't allow the paper to stretch slightly when the book is opening and closing and so can make the page crease up.

Step 9: Once the glue is dry, cut down through the first page to complete the hollowed out area.

And that's it! Start hiding your special secret things!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Love in Pixel Form

This is an amazing idea from Kate Petty for a slightly more man-friendly valentine's card or if you need to give a card to the graphics geek in your life. The tutorial is outlined on Kate's awesome website called

Follow this link for the full tutorial.


I wish I could try this one out for myself but I've misplaced my craft knife! (crying)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Cute Vintage Valentine's Cards

OOOOH look what I just found on! A lovely lovely lady called Barbara Crews has posted her collection of 46 vintage valentines cards dating from about 1900 to 1950 so anyone can have a look and download the images to use them in their own valentine's card or gift design! Here are a few of my favourites below, others can be viewed here: Lush Vintage Cards!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Hearts Hearts Hearts!

I made some cute felt hanging hearts with instruction from Kirstie Allsopp's "Craft" book that I got for christmas off my boyfriend. I made these as something to either hang on a door handle or to hang a line of them in a line on the wall. Here's a picture of how mine turned out...

They took me about an hour each to make (but that was me half distracted by the telly!) If you wanted them done in a hurry I reckon you can pretty comfortably whip out one in 30 minutes.

Here's a tutorial for something very similar and also lovely and amazing on the channel 4 website. Its a String of Hearts Garland!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Valentine's Heart Brooch

Valentine's Day is fast approaching! So from now till good old V Day I'm going to post all lovey dovey related makes! This is a heart brooch I made for my friend Pheebs.

How To Make:

What you will need - Felt (I've used traditional red but any colour is super, choose a main colour and a contrasting colour),
Thread of contrasting and matching colours,
Pretty button,
Two types of pretty ribbon,
Brooch pin (available from haberdasheries),

Step 1: Cut out a heart shape from your chosen coloured felt. The best way to get this symmetrical is to fold the felt over and pin it together. Using the fold as the centre line draw half the heart with chalk. Cut this out making sure you cut through both layers of felt and you will have a perfect shaped heart.

Step 2: Using thread of a contrasting colour, sew detail on to the heart shape. I used running stitch tracing the outline of the heart shape in a pattern of interchanging colours.

Step 3: Cut a length from each of your chosen ribbon. Make one ribbon slightly shorter than the other. To stop fraying cut the tips of the ribbon at an angle. I folded the end of the ribbon and then cut diagonally to get an inverted "V".

Step 4: Sew the layered and looped ribbons to the back of the heart. Take care to only sew through the very centre of the heart shape, as later these stitches will be obscured by the button.

Step 5: Cut a small circle out of your contrasting colour felt. Sew this through the middle of the heart, this will be a little seat for the button.

Step 6: Using a contrasting thread, sew the button onto the small circle of felt through the heart.

Step 7: Sew the brooch pin on the back of the heart shape, again being as accurately close to sewing through the centre of the heart as possible, hiding the exit stitches under the button. This might be faffy and you may need to sew by putting the needle through at an angle. It is best to use the same colour thread as your felt for this bit just in case any thread is visible from the front.

And there you go! A nice prezzy to show your friend or mama you love them. It looks really sweet on a bag or coat!