Repeated Rewards: Make Paper Party Decorationscomments (9) July 25th, 2013
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 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.
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.
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.
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).