Sep 282014

When I visited my local Jo-Ann Fabrics store yesterday, my intent was to locate DK-weight yarn for a shawl I’d like to crochet for myself. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a single skein, but fortunately, I passed the scrapbooking aisle where I couldn’t resist parting with some cash to purchase a Spellbinders flower-making die, specifically the Create a Sunflower Die D-Lite, released earlier this year. Jo-Ann’s just added these die templates that allow you to craft a paper flower, and they seem to be flying out of the store, based on all of the empty peg hooks I observed.


To use the die kit, you’ll need some kind of a die-cutting tool, whether that’s the Grand Calibur® by Spellbinders®, the Cuttlebug™ by Provo Craft®, the Big Shot™ by Sizzix®, or something else. Fortunately, Spellbinders provides a downloadable guide that tells you how to build a “sandwich” of parts and paper to run through your machine to cut or emboss the paper. If you click on the image below, you can download the guide.


My own machine is a Big Shot™, so I followed the diagrams located beneath the flap of the die envelope: cut and emboss 10 extra large petals, 10 large petals, 10 medium-sized petals, and 10 small petals. This produces four layers of petals.


However, I diverged from the pattern almost immediately because I wanted to make a white Gerber daisy with three layers of petals instead of a sunflower with four layers. I determined the largest (and bottom) layer of petals would contain a combination of extra-large and large petals, the middle layer would contain middle-sized petals, and the top layer would contain small petals.


I then cut out 4 bases to which the petals are glued, 1 floret disc for the center of the flower, and 4 leaves. I figured I’d use the extra base for the bottom of the flower to help hold everything together.


The diagrams provided with the flower-making kit don’t provide assembly instructions, but you can download step-by-step instructions from the Spellbinders site, and modify things as you wish. Click on the image below to download the Create-a-Sunflower instructions.


I noticed that the flower bases in the instructions were green, but I had cut mine out in white because I didn’t have the right shade of green paper. Easy to fix! I simply colored the paper.


Next, I “rounded” the orange center of the flower using a McGill® stylus. I pierced the slits with a paper piercer to give the center some texture.


I curled each of the petals with a McGill® paper rolling tool, then dipped the stem of each petal in craft glue, and adhered it to a base.



I made three layers of flowers in graduated sizes, added leaves to the bottom of the largest layer, and adhered a base to the bottom of the flower to add strength to the fragile construction.



Then I stacked the flower layers, one inside the other, and adhered them to each other. I added the orange flower center, and thought I was done.


I decided to flatten the bottom layer of petals instead of having them curve up. Then I sprayed the flower with Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist in Pearl to add a little pizzazz. An added benefit was that after I dried the Glimmer Mist with a heat gun, the flower seemed to be sturdier. I’m not a chemist, but I would guess that there is an adhesive product in the liquid spray that contributes to this outcome. It also causes the paper to curl somewhat, which in this case is exactly what I want the petals to do.


And there you have it. I think I spent more time cutting out the parts of the flower and embossing them than I actually did for assembly. How can you use the flower? Decorate a scrapbook page, a gift package, a basket, or a wreath. Add a flower to wedding place cards, to a napkin ring, or simply scatter handmade flowers on a table cloth for a casual-but-sweet look. You could even glue paper flowers to a headband to dress it up, embellish a greeting card, or create a flower garland.

I used my sunflower die kit to make a Gerber daisy, but did I mention that I saw an empty peg hook for Create a Gerber Daisy dies? I have a feeling I’ll be visiting a different Jo-Ann Fabrics store soon to pick that one up. I’m not sure what the difference will be, but it probably doesn’t matter because I mix and match the parts of my flower-making die sets . . . and in the end they probably don’t resemble real flowers. My philosophy is that “anything goes” if it’s visually appealing!

© 2014 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.


Mar 202011

Finishing a weekly project when you spend half the week out of town can be challenging, as this last week was when my husband and I traveled to Wisconsin to visit my father. Before we left, I was busily punching, snipping and gluing bits of paper destined to become butterfly-and-flower garlands for his bedroom window. My father, who is not well, is also not very mobile, so my plan was to bring a little bit of spring inside his room. I struggled, however, with finding a way to photograph the garlands well, so I hope you’ll pardon the quality of the composite photograph below, which shows the garlands hung in front of my china cabinet’s glass doors. This garland, by the way, represents my finished project for the 11th week of the 52 Weeks Challenge.

Paper Butterfly-and-Flower Garland

To make one of these garlands as a gift or for your own personal use, you’ll want to gather some some of your favorite flower and butterfly punches, or use a die cutting machine. I used a Martha Stewart Crafts™ Monarch Butterfly Large Double Punch, 3 Marvy® Uchida Clever Lever Extra-Giga scallop-edged circle punches in graduated sizes, and my Imaginisce® i-top punches that are normally used for cutting out shapes to cover brads. I also used a McGill® Ball Stylus to shape the paper. Other supplies you’ll need include scrapbook paper (either solid or double-sided), heavyweight thread, a flat see-through button to anchor your garland against a flat surface such as a window or mirror, a bead to provide vertical stability, glue, craft scissors, and embellishments for the flower centers. I found it helpful to use a non-stick craft mat, since this project involves a lot of gluing.

Paper Butterfly-and-Flower Garland Instructions:

1. Ahead of time, measure a length of heavyweight thread. (I prefer buttonhole thread, but other good choices might be upholstery thread or bedspread-weight crochet thread.) Allow about 8 inches extra for a flat button that is tied at the top, and a bead that is tied to the bottom of the thread.

Tie a button to one end of the thread, and a bead to the other end.

2. Determine how far apart you’d like your flowers and butterflies to be, and mark your thread with a fine-tipped felt marker to indicate placement. I spaced my shapes about 2-1/2 inches (6.35 cm) apart, beginning one inch (2.5 cm) above the bead.

3. Cut or punch three butterfly shapes for each butterfly. Layer two of the butterflies using a quick-drying craft glue down the center of the butterflies. (I use  Judi-Kins Diamond Glaze™ because it dries quickly, is clear when dry, and provides strong adhesion.) I find it helpful to pinch the wings of the butterfly sitting on top so that as the glue sets, it doesn’t spread into the wings. Set aside the third butterfly while the glue dries.

Layer 2 butterflies and glue them together. Set aside the 3rd butterfly.

4. Take the glued butterfly pair and dot-glue the center in a couple of spots. Then, set the thread down on top of this glue. Pinch the wings of the remaining butterfly, and set it down on top of the butterfly pair. When the glue is dry, use your fingers to spread apart the 3-D butterfly wings.

Glue the butterflies to the thread, including the 3rd butterfly. Spread apart the wings with your fingers.

5. Each flower is double-sided, so you will need to cut 2 small, 2 medium and 2 large shapes for each side. For the scalloped-edged circles, I snipped between the scallops to create petals. On all flower shapes, use either your fingers or a ball stylus to curve the petals as you like. (If you don’t have a ball stylus, a size J or K crochet hook works well.) Next, layer 3 shapes in graduated sizes together with craft glue for one side of the flower, then repeat for the opposite side of the flower. Add a center embellishment to each side if you desire. I sew a button to the center of each flower.

Make each half of the double-sided flower. Snip between scallops to create petals, then shape them.

You can use different punches to create a different look for your flowers.

6. For each double-sided flower, glue a line across the back side of one flower half, then lay the thread down on top of the glue line. Apply glue to the outside back edge of the same flower half, then match back sides of both flower halves together. Pinch around the edge of the flower to make sure the layers adhere well. Add glue where necessary. You will need to “fluff” the flower petals once the glue is dry.

Add glue to the back of one flower half, and lay the thread down into the glue before adding the 2nd flower half. Pinch the 2 halves together, and allow the glue to dry.

Before hanging your garland, "fluff" flower petals, and re-shape butterfly wings, as desired.

7. To hang your finished garland, I recommend Scotch® Removable Mounting Putty. Apply a dot of putty to the back of the button “hanger,” apply pressure, and your garland will hang securely to just about any porous or non-porous surface. I hung my father’s garlands from his aluminum window frame.

© 2011 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. No part of these instructions may be photocopied or reproduced without the written consent of Judy Nolan. The finished product is for personal use only.