Repeated Rewards: Make Paper Party Decorations

comments (8) July 25th, 2013     

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Jeff_Rudell Jeffery Rudell, contributor
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A water lily is a perfect way to greet your guest at your next picnic. What better use of papercraft than to dress up an ordinary plate (paper or otherwise).
 A colorful flock of birds adds an unexpected element to any table Eschew the bright colors for basic
black paper and white chalk lettering to add a dash of menace to a
Halloween celebration.
Dont be afraid to be bold in your color choices. Intense and varied hues will only make your flowers more alluring.
A water lily is a perfect way to greet your guest at your next picnic. What better use of papercraft than to dress up an ordinary plate (paper or otherwise).

A water lily is a perfect way to greet your guest at your next picnic. What better use of papercraft than to dress up an ordinary plate (paper or otherwise).

Photo: Jeffery Rudell

In my commercial work, I am frequently asked to make repeats or multiples. In such cases, I always try to find the simplest way of making something look complex. For this post, I thought I'd talk about some ways in which multiples and repeats can be deployed with a minimum amount of work. Keep in mind that sometimes there are no shortcuts (as when I made 250 blue, iridescent origami dolphins for a window display). When that's the case, setting up an assembly line is sometimes the best way to muddle through. But, whenever possible, high impact/low labor is the way to go.

Birds of a Feather

In my dining room sideboard, I always keep a small nest of birds. Not real birds, of course, but images I download from the Internet as I happen upon them. Birds on branches, birds on wires, birds in nests; if they have an interesting shape, I print a quick copy and put it in the drawer. When I have a few minutes (during conference calls and the like), I trace them onto brightly colored scraps of paper (Color Aid has a wonderfully bright and varied palette availabe at www.coloraid.com). Tracing is easily accomplished using Saral Wax Free Transfer Paper (www.saralpaper.com) or some similar carbon-paper-like solution.

Once traced, I grab my craft knife and quickly cut out a silhouette that then goes back in my drawer for later use. These make great gift tags on presents, lovely additions to birthday cards, a pretty bookmark to leave in a guest room, or, as below, festive ornamental additions to place cards. Because the paper is relatively thin, I can usually cut two or three birds at a time from a single pattern. With a little advance planning, you'll always have birds on hand to share with friends and guests.

  A flock of colorful birds adds a strong graphic and unexpected silhouette to any table. Eschew the bright colors for basic black paper and white chalk lettering to add a dash of menace to a Halloween celebration.

A Floating Garden

For a different take on the idea of repeats, here's a simple way to make a beautiful waterlily. Begin with a square of paper. I used a piece of watercolor paper, but any paper that will hold up to a little paint will do nicely. Fold the square in half and then again into quarters. Cut out the shape as indicated below. Unfold and watercolor as desired. Repeat with a second, slightly smaller square of paper.

  Cut and color one large and one slightly smaller. If crafting with children, consider skipping the watercolors (and the mess). Instead, cut these shapes from a brightly colored breakfast cereal box or other recycled packaging.

Once the pieces have been painted and have dried, recrease them and then glue them together, placing the smaller shape on top of and in the middle of the larger shape. Bend the petals so that they point upward and the lily looks full and in blossom.

  Don't be afraid to be bold in your color choices. Intense and varied hues will only make your flowers more alluring.

For even greater depth and variety, add a third layer, slightly smaller than the first two. (See the image above on the left.)

Once you have finished assembling your flowers use a bright green sheet of paper to make a lily pad for your flower to sit atop. Begin with a circle of paper and cut a notch as indicated in the photo, below. Then, add some pleats to give your pad some dimention. If you're using a nicely textured paper you may wish to forgo the pleating entirely.

  If pleating is too challenging for the hands of young crafters, try wadding the entire pad into a tight ball to create a crepelike texture before smoothing it back out flat.

Attach the waterlily to the lily pad with a small dot of glue. These make wonderful decorations for picnic plates-be they fine china, paper, or bamboo veneer (as pictured at the top of this page, available at www.bambuhome.com).

 

posted in: paper, flower, birds

Comments (8)

Criativa writes: very nice ideas..Thanks ;)
Posted: 10:46 am on May 17th
hamlyn writes: i think this project is so beautiful... my son enjoys doing craft with me he is just seven and i know he is going to be so excited to know about the birds of a feather craft.. thanks and god bless
Posted: 12:55 am on March 8th
brianslady17 writes: I find all the paper art project you make simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing your ideas. I was raised with the mantra, "handmade is best", so I appreciate the ideas you bring to the community.

Posted: 5:56 pm on August 10th
HydeElnora writes: Don't have enough cash to buy some real estate? You not have to worry, just because it is available to take the credit loans to resolve such kind of problems. Hence get a collateral loan to buy all you require.
Posted: 4:19 pm on September 15th
AdeleImelda writes: I don't often find such inspiration. Simple is beautiful.
Well done.

Posted: 7:36 pm on July 31st
brendamarks writes: Wonderful ideas. Thanks for sharing.
Posted: 2:07 pm on July 31st
Jeff_Rudell writes: Dear Javamaven: The birds I simply cut out myself. You can make your own by simply downloading some bird images from Internet and then tracing them onto ColorAid paper and cutting them out. All you need is a craft knife, a cutting surface, and some colorful paper and you can make your own in a matter of minutes. Good luck.
Posted: 1:27 pm on July 31st
javamaven writes: I love the birds, but why not provide a link to their source?
Posted: 1:11 pm on July 31st
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