When Jamie Ridler mentioned her Holiday Hands-up How-to Project on a recent Creative Living interview, I knew right away that I wanted to participate. My mind swirled with ideas, and of course, with doubts about whether any of my ideas were worth sharing.
Since I knew the idea of this project was not to question myself and if my ideas were enough, I decided to share a simple structure that I just love to make and send to friends for special occasions. At the time I was in the process of finishing one for Jamie for her birthday! I took that as a sign that this was what I am meant to share!
It looks beautiful, and really it is simple – an accordion fold with a second accordion woven through it. I like to use arches text wove because it is a nice weight text paper that takes all kinds of water media – it’s hardy stock, but also easy to fold and manipulate.
For the sake of this tutorial I cut up some Mohawk smooth text to create a prototype to show you. I find creating a prototype with not so special paper is always helpful when making a new structure. And really most any medium weight paper works – the structure allows the piece to stand up beautifully. Just know the limitations of your paper as far as what media you can use to embellish it.
What you’ll need:
Paper that is at least 20″ long – two 20″ pieces: one 5 1/2″h, and and the other 2 1/2″h (you can make this other sizes, this just happens to be the size I generally create)
Art supplies to embellish with – whatever paints, pencils, markers, stamps, collage materials (notice the stars on Jamie’s card – they were collaged on) you want and work with the paper you’ve chosen! Have fun!
Step 1: Cut your paper strips. I like the size indicated below, but you can experiment with sizes that work for you:
The next step is to decorate your pages. Here is where you really get to have fun! I like to use some contrasting colors for each sheet – so they pop out from one another. If you have text that you want to be absolutely readable you’ll want to make sure it is on the top or bottom 1 1/4″ of the taller sheet (20″l x 5 1/2″h).
Once you’ve painted/decorated your pages as you want it is time to start folding. Work as precisely as you can:
Fold the bigger sheet in half, then open it back up. Fold one side into the center, and open it back up. Then fold that end into the new fold. If you use the 20″ long sheet you’ll end up with 7 folds and each panel will be about 2 1/2″w. See images below to give you an idea of what you need to do.
Make sure that the two pages are folding in opposite directions. I like my larger sheet to have a ‘valley’ fold on either end – so the end of the paper is facing toward me when I look at it.
Once you have both pages folded you will need your exacto knife. Fold the larger sheet so all of the folds are closed and it is 2 1/2″w x 5 1/2″ h. I make a small tick mark in the center, and then a mark about 1 1/2″ from the top and the bottom. You need to be able to cut a slit through all the layers to weave the smaller sheet through the larger sheet.
Use your exacto knife and a metal ruler to cut your slit – you need it to be a hair (or two) longer than the 2 1/2″ so the smaller sheet will weave through without getting mangled. I usually bring that extra length towards the bottom of the card.
You can click on each image in the post to make them bigger. Notice the cut outs on the main card on this one. These are hearts that I cut out before weaving the second accordion through.
This is the first tutorial I’ve written as a blog post, so I hope my directions are clear and helpful. If you have any questions on my ‘how-to’, feel free to comment with your questions and I will get back to you. Have fun, and I’d love to see what you create!