SHOW+TELL: A Rainbow of Faux Embroidery

IMG_4535_fauxembroidery
I have spent quite bit of time working on my studio lately, and in the process have embraced a few truths about my personality. 1-I like to turn chaos into order 2-I love clean visually simple spaces with little subtle details 3-Rainbows are the best.

With that in mind, I set out to turn this basic curtain (that hides the closet that houses the clutter) into something a tiny bit more special.

IMG_4444_fauxembroidery
I have an absolute wealth of Sharpies, and I decided to use them to doodle a faux-embroidered rainbow trim across the curtains.

IMG_3988_fauxembroidery
First I cut strips the length of the curtains and about 8″ wide to doodle on.

IMG_3991_fauxembroidery
I ironed under the raw edged, and put a seam down the middle as a reference point for the decoration.

IMG_4003_fauxembroidery
I then gleefully sorted my Sharpies by color (to understand my glee, see points 1 and 2 above) and chose the best colors for my rainbow.

IMG_4013_fauxembroidery
I divided the length into a small portion for each color, and made a light mark where each color began and ended.

IMG_4024_fauxembroidery
Overlapping those marks a bit, I began to draw shapes with small dots and dashes– mimicking the stitches on decorative embroidery pieces. I used a lot of botanical shapes (cause I love ’em) and tried to break up the space with a lot of variety.

IMG_4466_fauxembroidery
When I had the strips all filled up with decoration, I pinned them to my curtains, and used a simple zig-zag stitch on my machine to attach them for good.

IMG_4527
I really like the little touch of color this added, and it was tons of fun to doodle inch-after-inch of floral rainbow.IMG_4545_fauxembroidery
One day I’ll show you some of the other rainbows I’ve captured in here…

Cause they’re the best.

DIY: February (Peace Sign) Badge Kit

February Badge Kit Tutorial #diycraftchallenge

We are so excited to be back and have our DIY Craft Challenge up and running again. This year we are changing things up and have created a little DIY Badge Kit available for purchase in our Etsy shop! Each month we’ll have a different DIY kit to go along with our DIY Craft Challenge theme. Since this month’s theme is Stitches & Threads, I’ve created a fun embroidery inspired badge using basic embroidery stitches. We invite you to visit our new Etsy shop to purchase a kit OR if you already have the supplies on hand, feel free to use this tutorial to make your own!

The monthly badge kit is designed to be a mini (warmup) project to get your creative juices flowing for the DIY Craft Challenge. We’d love to see your finished badges so be sure to snap a photo and use #diycraftchallenge on Instagram! And don’t forget to submit a ‘Stitches & Threads’ inspired project of your own this month. For more details on how to submit, CLICK HERE.

february-badge-1

February Badge Kit Includes:

• Two 2″ felt circles
• Embroidery floss
• Embroidery needle
• One 1.5″ paper circle (for template guide)
• Pinback

Additional tools needed:

• Sewing scissors
• Felt tip pen

CLICK HERE to purchase a kit!

Step One: Create A Template

february-badge-2

First you want to sketch a peace sign onto one of the felt circles to be your guide for your embroidery stitches. Use the paper circle provided to draw a circle. Then sketch a vertical line down the middle. Complete the peace sign by sketching two more lines starting at the middle of the vertical line and moving diagonally to form two pie shapes (see photo below).

february-badge-3

Step Two: Stitch the Design

I’ve chosen four different embroidery stitches for this project. Feel free to change it up and use different stitches than the ones I’ve chosen!

Reference THIS POST full instructions on how to:
– Thread your needle & tie a knot
– Tie off your thread (once you’ve finished your stitches)
– Chain Stitch
– Fern Stitch

First, stitch the outline circle using a chain stitch.
february-badge-4

Next stitch the inside lines to complete the peace sign using a Fern Stitch.
february-badge-5

Lazy Daisy Stitch: Embellish your peace sign with one or two Lazy Daisy flowers. Bring the threaded needle to the front at A. Insert the needle back into the fabric at A and then just poke the needle back up to the front at B. Loop the thread under the needle point then pull the thread through to create a loop (with your thread coming up inside the loop). Then anchor the top of the loop to the felt with a small stitch, from B (inside the loop) to C (outside the loop). Repeat this lazy daisy stitch for each petal (always starting at the center) to create a flower.

Lazy Daisy Stitch #tutorial #embroidery

Note: You’ll notice the Lazy Daisy stitch is quite similar to the Chain Stitch.

Video Link: Lazy Daisy Stitch

Step Three: Finishing Your Badge

Finish your badge by stitching the front and back felt circles together using a Blanket Stitch. Blanket Stitch is a decorative stitch primarily used for edging. Start by holding the two felt circles together (right sides facing out). Insert the threaded needle through just the top layer (front) only and pull the thread through (this way your knot will be hidden between the two circles). Next, starting at the same place as your first stitch, insert your needle into the back circle, pulling your needle through both layers. Pull your thread through leaving a small loop. Insert the needle back through the loop and pull tight to create your first stitch. Begin your next stitch approx. 1/8″ away from the first. Bring your needle through both layers of felt. Pull the thread through, leaving a small loop. Insert your needle through the loop and pull tight. Repeat this process until you’ve stitched all the way around the edge of the circle. Insert the needle back through the loop of your first stitch to connect the circle.

Blanket Stitch Tutorial #embroidery

Video Link: Blanket Stitch

Tying Off

When tying off, you want the end the thread to be hidden in between the two layers of felt. To achieve this, you can tie a knot (optional) and then insert the needle in between the two felt layers coming out at a different spot. Pull the thread through and trim thread close to the felt with scissors. The end of your thread should now be hidden in between the felt layers.

Optional: Add a pinback

For easy pinning you can add a pinback to your badge. Simply stitch it into place making sure to insert your needle through the back layer of felt only.

february-badge-9

And that’s it! Show off your Peace Sign badge by pinning it to your bag/purse or stitching it onto your favorite denim vest or jacket!

february-badge-8

CLICK HERE to purchase a February Badge Kit from our Etsy shop!


February-badge-kit-1

SHARE YOUR PROJECT ON INSTAGRAM USING #DIYCRAFTCHALLENGE

 

The DIY Craft Challenge is back!

It’s a little late, but we want to wish you all a bright and happy 2016! 2015 was a big year for us, full of laughs and tears both personally and professionally.

After taking a bit of a hiatus, we’re excited to get back to Adventures-In-Making and are making a few changes to push the focus to what we’re really passionate about… getting YOU involved! Tutorials are great, but our goal has always been to make Adventures-in-Making about a community of people embracing opportunities for creativity in their own lives. We want to inspire you, and to have you inspire us!

New Year, New Adventures…

Today we are reintroducing our Monthly DIY Craft Challenge! For those of you who have participated in the past, we welcome you back for more fun! And for anyone new to our website, we invite you to look through our archives, check out past DIY Challenges and stay tuned for the new projects we have in store this week. Each month we choose a new theme to explore from the many shapes, mediums, and subjects that surround us. We invite you to join in the fun and share your own creations with us.

So, What’s New?

Like I said we are changing things up this year! So for the first week of each month we will share projects and posts to inspire you to a new creation, or to share an old one. After week 1, you can find us on social media where we’ll be sharing some of our favorite theme-related projects from both our archives and from around the web. Anyone can submit a project thru the last week of the month (we’ll give you a deadline reminder). Then we’ll do a final round-up post of everyone’s submissions on the last day of the month!

We’re really excited to relaunch our DIY Craft Challenges (especially after all the requests from you guys!) and to let the themes inspire us all to learn and try new things. We hope you’ll join us and help make the A-I-M community a positive force for creativity.

Now without further ado…

diychallenge_logo_page2
DIY Craft Challenge: Stitches & Threads

Inspiration Sources:

1. Scrappy Applique Embroidery by Jessica Sower
2. Pea Pod Pin Cushion (Source Unknown)
3. Succulent Embroidery by MoonriseWhims
4. Empire Yarn by Jill Draper
5. Embroidered Constellations by Jessica Marquez of Miniature Rhino
6. Embroidery Alphabet by Jessica Marquez of Miniature Rhino
7. Embroidered Gift Tag by About The Nice Things
8. Clothespin Wrap Dolls by This Heart of Mine
9. Cat Embroidery by Bugambilö
10. Many Ways To Sew A Button by The Button Blog
11. I Heart Portland by JessB
12. Crochet Granny Squares by The Writing Tree

FEBRUARY DIY CRAFT CHALLENGE: STITCHES & THREADS

We’re kicking things off with our first theme of 2016 – Stitches & Threads! So get our your favorite sewing supplies and make something new. Don’t know how to sew? Not to worry. Challenge yourself this month and see what you can make with your favorite color yarn or embroidery floss. Experiment with making stitches on paper, learn a few simple embroidery stitches or draw something that is ‘stitch’ inspired. There are no limits to this theme! See where it takes you and most of all, have fun!

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, February 1st and ends on February 27th, 2016. We will post a roundup of everyone’s projects on February 29th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more stitch inspired project ideas.

May DIY Challenge Results!

This month’s DIY Challenge theme has reached full bloom, and we’re very excited to share a roundup of submissions we received from our readers. With a theme like ‘flowers’ you know you’re gonna have some fun. Without further ado, here are the May DIY Challenge Award Winners along with the gallery of everyone’s lovely submissions…

DIY Challenge Award: Brightest Idea

The award for “Brightest Idea” goes to Lori Miller of Eldridge, Iowa. Lori is a fine art fiber artist and loves transforming cast-off sewing materials into something new. You can see more of Lori’s work on her website.

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

As I am always seeking ways to turn the cast-offs into some type of treasure, I came up with a variation of the zipper pin. The idea is not my own originally but I modified it to make a more fresh, funky flower design. Combinations of colors was fun as well as the different type of zippers. – Lori Miller

DIY Challenge Award: Most Inspired

We were “Most Inspired” by Gail Griffin’s handmade foam lilies. Gail is from Millersville, Maryland where she teaches crafty classes and creates various projects for her blog, Plum Perfect and Me. Check out Gail’s step-by-step tutorial and have fun making your own foam flowers!

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

DIY Challenge Award: Most Treasured

This beautiful handmade journal deserves the “Most Treasured” award because it is almost too gorgeous to write in! Made by Nikki, the creator of Venus Envy Paper. Nikki used K & Company scrapbook paper to create this book and used the coptic binding technique. As a lifelong journal writer, she loves that her handmade journals have the ability to lie completely flat, for easy writing. Be sure to check out Nikki’s Etsy shop where she sells handmade wax seals, custom journals, paper flowers and more!

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

I specialize in making custom art journals, paper flowers and wax seals. I live in a smallish (read growing way too fast) town in Northern California. I am a proud sci/fi nerd and have adopted six homeless cats. Or I should say, they decided I was going to be their human servant for the rest of their natural multiple lives. I am most passionate about creating journals that will last not for the moment, but for generations. – Nikki

Flowers Gallery

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

Credits (left to right):

1. Homegrown Lollipop Flowers by Stephanie Rose from Vancouver BC, Canada
2. Field of Flowers Tote by Donna Heron
3. Mixed Media Collages by Becky Brooks from Issaquah, Washington
4. DIY Flowers On A Stick by Despina from Greece
5. Painted Sunflowers by Madison Lee from Southern California

Thank you for participating in the May DIY Challenge! We will be taking a break for the month of June but we’ll be back with our next DIY Challenge theme in July!

DIY: The Simplest Paper Flowers

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8752
A while back my friend Susan made a bunch of simple paper flowers that found a home on a shelf in my store.

Every few weeks a kid would ask me about the flowers, and I would give them one and tell them to take it home and try to figure out how to make their own. Without fail the kid would stare at the flower until it was time to leave, and I could see the parents trying to work out what materials they needed to make it happen.

Sometimes they asked me to demonstrate, but mostly I just loved the idea that I had inspired a kiddo to use their imagination and ingenuity to make something fun.

I think this is a great project to do with kids of all ages, and you just need a few simple supplies to make it happen.

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8766

Supplies

• Scrap Paper – Anything from text weight paper, to light weight card stock will work. Big pieces will make big flowers, small pieces will make small flowers. Susan used some old book pages for her flowers, you could use wrapping paper, catalog pages, or anything really!
• Scissors
• Your favorite glue – I used Aleene’s Tacky Glue but Elmer’s would also work.

Step 1

Cut an oval out of your piece of paper. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but try to keep the corners rounded.

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8773

Step 2

Starting from one side, cut the oval into a spiral. You should have a pointed end on the outside, and a rounded end on the other.

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8774

Step 3

Take the pointed end, and fold it down toward the center of the spiral.

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8775

Step 4

Starting at that fold, begin rolling the paper into a flower shape.

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8776

Step 5

When you get to the center portion of the spiral, tighten the bloom up by twisting the paper around the folded piece.

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8780

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8785

Step 6

Hold the bloom in your hand, and apply a drop of glue to the folded portion you started the flower with, then

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8788
fold it over and hold it for a few seconds until the glue holds.
simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8793

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8797
The whole process takes a couple of minutes, and gives you a lovely simple flower to brighten up your day. You can put them in a basket, like I did, hang them like a mobile, or decorate a table with them. They don’t fade, and the possibilities are endless!

simplest_paper_flowers_IMG_8761

So make a bunch and send us a picture of your creation for the DIY Craft Challenge this month! Or share your favorite flower craft.

DIY: Simple Flowers from Old T-Shirts + Free Templates


I’ve been in a major cleaning and organization mood, so most of my projects have been focused on “using up” materials I have around. One giant project used a bin full of old printed t-shirts (I’ll show you when I’m done!) and I ended up with so many colorful t-shirt scraps that I over-ran my rag box. I decided it was a perfect time to combine those scraps, and the May DIY Challenge theme to make some simple jersey flowers.

After playing with the fabric for a day or two, I came up with two basic flower-making methods that you can use to make a whole army of blossoms.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8398

Supplies

• T-Shirt or jersey scraps
• Fabric scissors and paper scissors
• Needle and thread
• These printed template files : Stitch & Draw-up Petal Template, Pinch & Piece Petal Template

Optional Extras

• Shredding scissors, or other decorative edging scissors
• Straight pins
• Buttons
• Felt for leaves and backing. I used wide grosgrain ribbon.
• Pin-backs, bobby pins, or other clips to attach to the back
• Fabric Paints, or floss, or other decorating tools.

The Stitch & Draw-up Method

stitch&drawpetals_template
This is by far the quickest way I made flowers, and was also especially useful for adding details to the center of other flowers, or for making the smallest simplest bonus blooms to add to a flower bunch. The template includes two example petal shapes to play with, and a feathered shape that I used for a center detail. It works with basically any shape you want to use, though, so be sure to try your own ideas for rows of petals.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8421

Step One

Cut the template shape out of a piece of jersey. (This is from the arm of a t-shirt.)

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8441
Then stitch a loose line starting close to one edge and ending close to the other.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8454

Step Two

Put a stitch through the end you started on, to pull it into a ring.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8455

Step Three

Pull both ends of the thread to gather the fabric into a round shape. Make sure the extra puckered fabric from below your stitch line if on one side of the flower.

Step Four

Take a couple more stitches through the puckered side of the flower (which will be the back side, tie your favorite knot, and cut the thread.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8464

Step Five

Flip the flower over and add a button or other decoration. You can also stitch a clip or pin to the back side.  I put a button in the center of this one by stitching through the middle of the bloom,

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8479
and added a couple of leaf-shaped pieces and a piece of ribbon to the back, by stitching them through the back of the petal.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8481
Voila, a quick simple flower that I can use on a package, as a pin, or in my hair. (Or all of the above.)

The Pinch & Piece Method

pinch&piecepetals_template
This method takes a little more work, but I loved the way it makes a fuller and more complicated flower shape. I’ve given you four petal shapes to try on the template– each with a different number of petals per flower– but you can try all sorts of shapes for different results.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8494

Step One

Cut the indicated number of petal pieces out of jersey material. For this flower, I also used the “Center Detail” piece from the other template page to create a fuzzy center for my flower (shown above in dark purple.)

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8497

Step Two

Stitch a loose line across the middle of each the petal (shown as a dotted line on the template) starting close to one edge and ending close to the other.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8508
Put a stitch through the end you started on, and pull to gather the fabric.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8521

Step Three

Bend the petal piece in half, and put a stitch in the fold. Then do the same to each petal to connect them all together. Tighten them together, and tie a knot at the first petal.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8522

Step Four

Wrap your thread between each petal  section to draw the center together and fluff the petals out. Then stitch through the back of the flower, & tie off the thread using your favorite knot. For the center on this flower, I used the “Stitch and Draw-up” method on my dark purple center detail piece, and then sewed through it and the center of my bloom. I attached a leaf shape and a piece of ribbon to the back like my first flower, and used that to bobby pin it in my hair.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8548
I’ve started flipping through my flower books for inspiration, and I love the flexibility and the whimsy of using old t-shirts like this.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8546
Soft, sweet, flowers.

simple_jersey_flowers_IMG_8572

Remember that if you do this or any other flower project, send us a picture to enter the May DIY Craft Challenge.

DIY: Free Mother’s Day Printable Card and Poster, Thanks for Teaching Me.

IMG_8108
Showing appreciation isn’t always about buying something sparkly, or something chocolate. Sometimes it’s finding the right words to tell someone what they mean to you.

When I think about my mom, I think about all the little things she taught me to do. She taught me to look at things in a different way, to experiment. She taught me how to make teddy bear ornaments out of wallpaper samples, to sew tiny dresses for spool dolls, and to use my imagination. Add my grandmother into the equation and you’ve got all the creative forces that drive me today.

IMG_8155
I decided that it would be fun to build a card that I could use to thank her for all the things she’s taught me. Since she also taught me to share, I thought I’d let you use it yourself.

IMG_8174
I’ve attached two different ways that you can thank your mom for everything she taught you.

Free Downloads

Greeting Card
Poster

momtaughtmehow_poster2
Customize your thank you by adding your face. Take a photo of yourself holding this 8×10 poster. (Your mom loves to see your smile.) Fill in the empty space with your special skill, snap a photo, and email it to your mom. Download the poster here.
momtaughtmehow_card2
Or cut out this mailable card-and-envelope-in-one and to send or hand deliver with a handful of wildflowers. You can download the free printable card here.

IMG_8099
You’ll get extra credit for making something just for her, and you get to remember all the reason’s she’s the one you’re happy to call Mom.

IMG_8163

So, what did your Mother teach you?

May DIY Challenge: Flowers

May DIY Challenge: Flowers! #craft #diycraftchallenge #spring
Sources left to right: Fabric Covered Flower Pots by Ashley Ann, Pom Pom Bouquet by Camille Styles, Pressed Flowers by Sweet Paul, Paper Ranunculi by Brit+Co, Seed Starts in Cupcake Tins by Tuinieren, Spring Paper Flower Garland by Lia Griffith, Edible Flower Cookies by Pretty Prudent, Felt Roses by Pretty Petals, Book Paper Flowers by 100 Layer Cake, Spring Flower Bowls by Martha Stewart, Spring Kitten Flower Cookies by Lookie Boo, Pretty Lace Flower Pots by A Beautiful Mess.

May DIY Challenge: Flowers

This month we are officially celebrating the spring season with Flowers! Flowers are such a beautiful, versatile subject so we are excited to see what YOU make this month. Whether you are planting seeds in your garden, baking flower cookies for a party or making a flower inspired art or craft project, we invite you to share it with us!

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, May 1, 2015 and ends on May 29th, 2015. We will post our favorite projects + announce the award winners on May 31st. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more flower inspired project ideas.

April DIY Challenge Results!

We had a lot of fun experimenting with watercolor this month. We shared basic supplies, beginner techniques, and experimented in new ways. Of course, our favorite part of the Monthly DIY Challenge is to see what YOU come up with. We were so impressed with everyone’s projects that we’ve decided to award all the submissions!

DIY Challenge Award: Most Inspiring

These whimsical florals painted on old book pages by Aline of Paris, France are just beautiful! We just love her playful style.

April DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #diycraftchallenge

I love art and craft activities and I have a blog where I post some of my work. I decided to work on this project thanks to one of the inspiration images you posted on your blog!

I like using old paper to paint on and since I had a very old book, I decided to use it and paint some floral and natural ornaments because i love drawing nature. – Aline Savan

DIY Challenge Award: Most Useful

Donna’s watercolor bookmarks are so cute and functional. We love how she experimented with the wax resist technique! Check out a full tutorial of her process on her blog.

April DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #diycraftchallenge

Though I’ve tinkered with watercolors over the years, I wasn’t inspired for this challenge until I learned that April is also National Public Library Month in the US. I had the idea to combine the two and use some simple, yet creative watercolor techniques to make some colorful bookmarks. These watercolor bookmarks are easy to make and a great project for everyone in the family to enhance their enjoyment of reading! – Donna Heron

DIY Challenge Award: Best Practice

This floral bunny silhouette created by Zakkiya of Doha, Qatar is absolutely stunning! Zakkiya is an illustrator and founder of design and illustration company, Inkstruck Studio. You can follow more of her work on Instagram and twitter.

zakkiya-floral-watercolor-silhouette-tutorial

Watercolor is one of my favorite mediums to work with so I got all excited when I saw the theme for this month’s DIY challenge. One of the reasons I created this was to help beginner artists learn an easy way to paint. Generally, it’s all the tiny details that intimidate beginners (I was when I started off). So I decided on creating a silhouette of an animal. In this case a bunny. But instead of leaving it plain and boring, I added floral elements inside thus forming the shape of a bunny but with all floral goodness. The flowers are far from realistic, so even a watercolor novice can attempt and create this. – Zakkiya Hamza

DIY Challenge Award: Most Thoughtful

We were oohing and ahhing over Angela’s twisted vines and handwritten words. Angela wanted to create a piece of art that expressed what her family stands for. What a creative way to display family values!

April DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #diycraftchallenge

I live in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. I have been making things for as long as I can remember. I have dabbled in carving, sketching, painting, fibre arts and many other mediums. Lately I am in love with yarn, craft and have renewed my passion for painting. It is my dream to start a business that provides retail for local makers and have space for fellow makers to take workshops, as well as have studio space for makers to use our equipment or try out new stuff. – Angela Reddekopp

Thank you for participating in the April DIY Challenge! For those of you who wished they could have joined in the fun, never fear! Our May DIY Challenge begins tomorrow!

DIY: Simple Handmade Paper Heart Cards with Flower Seeds Inside

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7950
The sun has made a couple of appearances, and when the sun comes out all I want to do is make paper. Why fight it?

I decided to take the opportunity to make a bunch of plantable heart cards, using flower seeds and a simple pour-over paper making method (instead of my usual dip method featured here and here.) The pour-over method uses paper scraps and things that you probably have around the house; making this an awesome, kid-friendly, activity for a sunny afternoon.
plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7759

Pour-over Paper Making Supplies

• Shredded scrap paper Mix your favorite color and white paper for the best results. You can use a shredder, scissors, or your hands to tear the paper into manageable bits.
• Smallish flower seeds I felt several packets of seeds before settling on a combination of chamomile, viola, and alyssum seeds. You can also give it a cooking theme by using tiny herb seeds.
• A “Deckle”- This will be the template for your sheet of paper. I used an inexpensive, wood, heart-shaped picture frame that I picked up at the craft store.
• 2 screens, slightly larger than your deckle- I used small pieces of window screen material from the hardware store. I have also had some luck with sheer curtain material and other porous fabrics.
• A blender
• A large bowl (or two)
• A wire cooling rack for support
• A rectangular cake pan to catch the runoff.
• A sponge or absorbent rag
• A couple of flat absorbent rags larger than your intended paper size.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7797

Step 1: Making Paper Pulp

To make the pulp for your paper, first soak the shredded paper in water for a little bit. Typically I will dunk them all in water while I’m getting all my supplies together. Once they are saturated put a handful into your blender, with about twice that amount of water.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7808
Then pulse your blender to pulverize the paper pulp. (If you feel like your blender is having trouble, add more water to your mix. The paper pulp quickly becomes thick sludge that’s harder to cut through. It’s better to err on the side of too much water.) When your mix is starting to look like a disgusting smoothie, open it up and take a look at the mix. I like to stop when the mix is a little bit chunky, but mostly liquified.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7809

Step 2: Preparing your Mould

Stack the cooling rack, screen, and deckle on top of your cake pan. This is where you’ll be pouring your pulp in a minute.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7816

Step 3: Mixing in the wildflower seeds.

Transfer your pulp from the blender to a pouring bowl. You will be using several batches of pulp, so pour just a little bit of your flower seed into the bowl and stir gently with your fingers.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7819

Step 4: Pouring the Pulp

Slowly pour your pulp mixture into the deckle. The water from the pulp will run through the screen and leave you with saturated paper fibers in the shape of your deckle.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7822
Fill the space completely by pouring, and (if needed) gently pushing the pulp into the corners of the frame with your finger.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7824
Very gently, lift the deckle directly up towards the ceiling. (A note: One of the best parts about paper-making is that almost any mess up can be fixed by dumping the sheet back into the pulpy water, breaking it up with your hand, and starting over again. So if your shape doesn’t look right, or your get a tear or a bubble, just dump it back in and try again!) You will have a nice pile of wet paper mess.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7825

Step 5: Drying the Paper

The final bits are all about drying the paper. Although much of the water falls through while you’re pouring, the fibers hold on to a lot of moisture. First, place your second piece of screen on top of the pulp and absorb as much of the water as you can by pressing gently with a sponge. This will flatten the pulp into something that looks more like a sheet of paper. (You can wring the sponge out into your pulp bowl, and dump the excess water in there that runs into your cake pan.)

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7836
The sheet is still delicate at this point.
plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7841
Transfer it to a flat absorbent rag by flipping the whole screen onto the rag, and gently peeling back just the screen.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7848
Next, place another rag on top, and press the paper gently with your fingers or a rolling-pin. You should start to see water in the shape of your card.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7850
Use the same flipping method to transfer your sheet onto a surface that it can remain on to air dry. (I like to cover my dining table with bath towels.) Once you’re done making paper, you can dump the remaining pulp and water outside.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7854

See! Paper!

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7881

An army of plantable paper hearts!

Usually the paper will dry overnight, but may take a little more time in a damp or cold room. Once they are completely dry, you can decorate them however you please.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7890
Since Mother’s Day is coming up, I decided to use one of my sheets as a card. I used the seed packets as inspiration and wrote a little message on the back, including directions for planting the card.

When you’re ready to toss out this card, plant it instead! It has a mix of viola, alyssum, and chamomile seeds– just cover with a little soil, water, and you might find yourself  with a few new blooms.

Since every card needs an envelope, I decided to make a simple one from a paper grocery bag.

Simple Envelope Supplies

• A paper bag
• Your handmade paper deckle
• A Pencil
• A Ruler
• Scissors or craft knife
• Glue

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7905

Step 1

Open up the paper bag by cutting until you have a flat sheet. Place the deckle in the center and trace the inside with your pencil.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7908

Step 2

To make your envelope guide, draw a box around your deckle shape, leaving about a quarter of an inch of space on each side. Extend the lines out from the box (as shown above).

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7911

Step 3

Cut the corner portions out of the form you drew, leaving a plus sign shape with your heart-shape in the center. Fold along each of the straight lines, and trim the flaps so that they overlap about a half an inch.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7915

Step 4

Fold in one of the side flaps, then apply glue to the other side flap, fold it over, and do the same with the bottom flap.

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7928
You should have the perfect envelope for your card! Just slip it in, seal the last flap and send it to somebody special. (Remember that oddly shaped envelopes require more postage. Check with your post office for more details.)

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7964

plantable_handmade_paper_hearts_IMG_7967

I’m really happy with the way my card turned out, and glad that I was able to come up with another way to recycle materials I had already.

Now I have a nice stack of paper hearts packed full of flower seeds- what should I do with the rest of them?