YOU Be the Client: An Open Call for Paper Projects

comments (28) October 6th, 2008     

Pin It

Jeff_Rudell Jeffery Rudell, contributor
Love it! 83 users recommend
Im always looking for new challenges, so when someone told me that paper flowers always look homemade, I made it a point of pride to try to persuade them otherwise.
Not everything has to be a brand-spanking-new idea. Here, traditional quilling gets a boost of very contemporary color.
Now its your turn to get in on the game. All you have to do is offer up a suggestion, an idea, or a challenge. Ill take the best idea and try my hand at it and post the results for you all to evaluate. Penny for your thoughts?
Im always looking for new challenges, so when someone told me that paper flowers always look homemade, I made it a point of pride to try to persuade them otherwise.

I'm always looking for new challenges, so when someone told me that "paper flowers" always look homemade, I made it a point of pride to try to persuade them otherwise.

Photo: Jeff Rudell

Let's think of it as an employer/employee relationship with you (the reader) assuming the role of boss and me (the paper blogger) assuming the role of unpaid intern.

As I have mentioned before in this post, some of my very best projects have come as a result of working together with great clients on great ideas. A quick look at some of my previous posts (French Paper Wigs, among others) will reveal what good results can come from working with a creative partner. I think of these relationships as collaborations, though I do seem to be the one who ends up doing all the laborious cutting and folding and gluing. All the same, being creative with someone creative is an activity I cannot praise too highly. A good client will push me to go further than I would ever push myself to go. In turn, I always strive to deliver projects that exceed not only their expectations but my own expectations as well.

So this week I am foregoing a how-to project in this space and, instead, am putting out a call to the CraftStylish readers asking them—YOU—what you'd like to see me fabricate in paper. I encourage you to think big. Big ideas can usually be scaled back to something "possible," while small ideas rarely scale up to anything "impressive."

Please leave your suggestions in the comment section at the bottom of this post. I promise to review all ideas submitted and choose the one I feel is most interesting, most challenging, or just most outlandish. Then I will (endeavor) create that project as a DIY tutorial for this site. I'd like to make this challenge interesting by offering a large cash reward or cruise tickets for two to some warm clime. However, my means being modest and our economy being on the verge of collapse, I can only offer something modest as a prize: a specially designed, hand-cut, paper keepsake box along with a note of appreciation from me (and, if you liked my thank-you note, you'll likely love my note of appreciation).

I know some of you out there are keen to offer up some impossibly complicated projects, but I would encourage everyone to think broadly about this. If you, yourself, are working on a project and you've reached an impasse, let me know what it is and I'll try to offer a reasonable solution. If you're trying to achieve a certain effect with paper and are having difficulty, let me turn my time to the task and perhaps I can offer a way for you to reach your objective.

I'm throwing down the gauntlet (well, gently placing it down, perhaps). I'm here at your service, scissors in hand, and ready to work. Start suggesting.

posted in:

Comments (28)

RozieMrsPozie writes: Hi there, I am in LOVE with this flower. I've looked at so many sites for flower ideaS for my wedding day which is next month. I was wondering if you could PLEASE tell me how you make this flower. Maybe email me ([email protected])? It's the best one I found so far. I would greatly appreciate it and I know it will look great at my DIY wedding. Thank you so much for your time.
Posted: 3:57 pm on May 31st
afreehand writes: i would like to see you try a simple 3-D constructed angel perhaps in heavy watercolor paper. something with 3 or 4 component parts. thanks!
Posted: 4:49 pm on December 10th
maxermoo writes: Okay...I admit it. You had me at "origami." Love, love, LOVE the interfacing idea, especially since I'm a seamstress who has had an origami addiction from the age of 7.

One of the coolest things I ever saw was in a Threads magazine over a decade ago showing how to make origami handbags. These were fabric that you stiffened with Mod Podge and then ironed. I made a very small pyramid shaped one but it didn't hold up to even a set of keys and a lipstick after carrying it a few times.

I'm wondering if there's a way to incorporate your interfacing idea with some heavy paper and maybe some sort of shellac or covering to produce less flimsy, more usable origami bags. There's some absolutely beautiful origami paper available (frankly much better than current fabric selections) that I'd love to be able to carry as a handbag. Thoughts?
Posted: 4:21 pm on December 10th
TILI writes: Hi Jeffery

This flower is very beautiful..Pls can you send me how to make this flower... i need to make this flower on top of my wedding cake box...

thank you
have a nice day
hoping to hear from you soon

Posted: 4:09 pm on October 15th
Luria writes: Hi there Jeff! I just recently (3 days ago) stumbled across this site looking for Chrysanthemums. It's almost Chinese New Year (in another 5 more days from this post) and I was kinda stuck in my flower making process.

I needed to well, make Chrysanthemums from paper since I couldn't make the ribbon ones. I just want to thank you for that lovely picture there of that paper Chrysanthemum. I managed to figure out how to make it from the picture ^^

Many thanks again!
Posted: 12:51 am on January 21st
dotted writes: I'm sure the deadline has passed but I thought I'd add my bit. I was wondering about a paper dish for nuts or candies, a candle holder and a small vase for plastic flowers. Although one I could put water in would be neat (like using freezer paper layered with another paper or something) I could use this as a small table display and change the paper with the seasons or holidays.
Posted: 10:21 am on December 22nd
msthimble writes: Dear Jeffrey,

After my boss gave me a beautiful orchid plant as a thank you for workign manyhours of overtime, I made him a thank you along the lines of your cut paper thank you design. My motif was an orchid, though! The first one I made had some proportion problems, but the second was much nicer. I felt shy about photographing it and postng it where it would be compared to yours, but now I regret that I didn't take a picture of it. My boss definately appreciated it, because he is a designer himself. Thank you os much for sharing yourcraft and enthusiam with us. Your diary about the frustrations you faced while creating the paper chandelier was so helpful- it taught us that even someone with a wonderful gift like yours must work hard an be persistent to create a beautiufl result.

Jeffrey, I would like to see you create some type of 3d snowflake, the Jeffrey Rudell version, which would be ornate and 3 dimensional, of course. If it could fold up to fit inside an enveloep and become a greeting card, that would be even better!

Thank you, Jeffrey!
XO Gail & Fog

Posted: 11:01 pm on December 6th
Paulabeth writes: Hello, again, Jeffery.

Perhaps you still haven't decided on a project idea submitted by your fans here...

I love thinking about what you might make out of paper & came up with a couple more ideas.

Paper clothing would be awesome - the outlandish kind you might find on a fashion runway where you wonder if anyone could ever sit down in what they are wearing! I've seen you do so much in white. Bold color would be wonderful.

Along the same theme, a wedding gown or prom dress would be fun.

Posted: 2:38 am on November 29th
daydawn writes: You've done so many beautiful things! How about creating a "circus" train, including a car with exotic animals visible through the cage bars, rail cars with side panels depicting various acts and sideshows, etc.
Posted: 11:49 pm on November 28th
dianagia writes: Hello Jeff! how about a dog shelter/adoption site would serve as a beautiful reminder to folks to adopt a pet that needs a loving home! I can see it already! Maybe you could auction it off through BARK magazine and send the money to a shelter that needs funding...Yeah!
A big paper Fan of yours,
Posted: 12:08 am on November 22nd
Ali25 writes: Hi Jeffery,
I think you are absolutely ingenious!!! Your paper models are incredible and never cease to amaze me, you have such a talent! :) I would love to see you try the Eiffel Tower in paper. All the latticework would be challenging and it would be difficult balancing the structure so it didnt topple over. Another would be the '7 wonders of the world' (ancient or new wonders). I think doing the wonders of the world would be very hard, especially the detail in the Colosseum or the Taj Mahal (beautiful though)... Another idea would be trying to create a bird like an eagle or macaw with convincing feather detail, facial detail, that would be amazing...Or an animal with fur? How would you do fur with paper? I dont even know if it can be done?
Thanks again for all your wonderful posts! :)
Posted: 8:22 am on November 12th
wildenfunky writes: What about a nativity scene? I made one years ago out of porcelin...sp? So it came out beautifully white. It was a bit abstract....small cones with balls on the point and then capes over the head down to the floor, they were the figures, it was lovely. Here in Zambia I can't find one. Over the years we've always made our own out of playdough and then painted them. Trouble is, here it is the rainy season and that doesn't help with drying the dough. I love the Opera House Idea, what about the one in Sydney Australia, those stunning shells!! Love your stuff Jeffery! Cheers, Adrien
Posted: 4:20 am on November 11th
AmericanCurl writes: How about a tree of life, like in the old crewel embroidery? With a variety of interesting leaves, and animals gathered under the branches, birds and bugs and butterflies hiding in the leaves? I think whatever you do needs some wonderful surprises tucked away to "discover" - it makes any project so much more appealing.

I love your work - what a talent God has given you!
Posted: 9:09 am on October 20th
daydawn writes: Since your work that I've seen is so delicate and beautiful, I envision an outdoor scene featuring a powerful waterfall cascading into a placid pool where a doe and her fawn are drinking. Other small animals such as a raccoon or fox would be watching. The background would be an assortment of magnificent trees which flank the waterfall. The pool would be surrounded by delicate ferns and small flowers.
Posted: 1:01 am on October 19th
ErinR writes: I know you said think big, but I have a project I've been trying to do that's smaller. I want a paper mobile for my daughter's crib that doesn't look like two crossed sticks with funny little cutouts hanging from it. I want something elegant and whimsical but which doesn't automatically scream "BABY!" either. I get irritated by cutsie, baby things, like little ducklings and teddy bears. I want something she can still have hanging in one corner of her dorm in another 18 years or so.
Posted: 8:28 pm on October 17th
Proverbs31_30 writes: Jeffery,
I've been thinking about this more..
What if you created a project geared toward environmental awareness? It could include anything from endangered animals to energy conservation, and incorporate renewable resources and/or recycled materials, and all parts of the world. Maybe you would use something whimsical (like a giraffe riding in a smart car)to convey this serious topic.
You said to think big, so think globally, yet include the difference one person doing one thing can make!
I hope this sparks some great ideas. Karen

Posted: 8:17 pm on October 17th
Paulabeth writes: Hello, Jeffery. I am awed by your work! I only have time to create 3D, pop-up, or origami Christmas cards for family and friends, but would love to do something BIGGER!

I imagine being lost in a world of paper fantasy! Something really fabulous would be a maze - like those in Victorian gardens - where we are surrounded by fantasy hedges - each with a different theme leading to the centre where we find a beautiful statue or fountain once we have discovered our path.

On a slightly smaller scale, we could create a "pod" space like a tent or dome (or even a closet!) that would invite one in to immerse oneself in paper whimsey - maybe just shapes - like a tunnel of pentagons, or a theme - flowers, paisley, filigree? Again, we walk down a path (or our eyes do) to a final sculpture.

OR let's walk through an arbor hung not only with grapes, but fairies or fantasy figures hiding behind or posing as leaves and tendrils. This would be nice in white, but some knockout color would be better.

To be surrounded with your intricate, flowing and cascading textures would be fabulous. A waterfall just popped into my mind! That would be cool, too!

Please keep surprising me!

Posted: 3:39 pm on October 13th
Proverbs31_30 writes: My ideal project challenge is to create a set of swans, in various positions (gracefully gliding along, spreading wings to take flight). I'm thinking of a display to tie in with the "Twelve Days of Christmas" theme, but elegant...maybe surroundings of ice and snow! I'd love to see your take on this. Karen
Posted: 8:03 pm on October 11th
evestar writes: I would love to see some quilling that is more contemporary, cool, pretty.... Just not what my grandma would make :-)

Thanks for the opportunity Jeffery I am a huge fan of your work.

Posted: 4:36 am on October 9th
Asia_Tatiana writes: How about a paper rock and scissors?
Posted: 6:45 pm on October 7th
LaValene writes: A Western saddle. Either a fancy parade saddle, or an even fancier, authentic Mexican saddle.
Posted: 3:26 pm on October 7th
kangsci writes: Ok so I'm new to trying to convey my appreciation through paper and my spouse is now serving in Iraq under a high ranking fellow. What I would like to do is create something that conveys how proud and Thankful I am of what they are doing, but impressive enough not to embarass and make him proud to display it around a bunch of Military personnel. I know not everyone may agree with the war I think everyone appreciates the fine work that these people do and that's what I want to convey. You just have such a flare for getting across the feelings in your work I thought you might be able to help. Thank you for your time and assistance.


Posted: 4:25 am on October 7th
MaryCorbet writes: Create, in paper, in miniature, the inside of the Metropolitan Opera House, complete with a Franco Zeffirelli set (say, the party scene of La Traviata or something similar...) (or you could use any intriguing set, I suppose) and retractable chandeliers.

If you wanted to scale the project down, you could go for just the stage set.

Or just the opera house.

Or a different opera house - for example, the Royal Opera House in London...

Whatever the case, my suggestion is a reproduction of an opera house, in miniature, in paper.
Posted: 6:21 pm on October 6th
AWilcox writes: Your paper flowers are gorgeous, I can't imagine how long it must take to cut each petal, stem, strand, stamen, & carpel; you capture each fold delicately, precise and beautifully. The photography is just as beautiful, it's creative and bold.

With the holidays quickly creeping upon us and the shopping madness at our footsteps, I would be interested in your thoughts and ideas on giving love ones interesting photographs as gifts. The subject of the photographs could be friends, family, or even photos of favorite things (e.g. places, sunrises, landscapes or really any subject someone holds dear to their heart). In other words, instead of wrapping a picture in a frame, how would you embellish the frame or even the photograph so that it carries the special "Jeffery" touch? Something unique and creative. Can you create and provide samples?


Posted: 11:29 am on October 6th
doradoe writes: How about something nonpartisan to encourage voting...the election is only 4 weeks away!
Posted: 11:24 am on October 6th
RedKitchenAid writes: I've been obsessed since your earlier post ( with the idea of a paper birdcage!

I'm planning a bird-themed baby shower/housewarming, and it struck me as the perfect accent idea for the shower. In my head, it looks like an asian-inspired birdcage, with a little paper bird dangling in the middle.

Seriously, I dream about this birdcage at night! I even tried my own hand at it (after desperately trying to find someone on etsy who would make it for me, to no avail). Mine was less-than-spectacular. Yours would be amazing. I'm sure of it.
Posted: 10:59 am on October 6th
Bonniedoo writes: Since October is breast cancer awareness month perhaps you could fashion the logo out of pink paper or give it your own wonderful twist
Posted: 9:39 am on October 6th
Char50 writes: Since it's Autumn, how about a Maple tree with colorful foliage? I made one out of wire and paper for a shadow box, using leaves punched out of paper, but was not totally satisfied with the look. Can you produce a more realistic looking one? Love the flowers posted with this article!

Posted: 9:05 am on October 6th
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.