Friday, October 27, 2017

Sculpting Dyed and Painted Papers

I have been eco-dyeing paper for a few weeks. I also played around with another Leslie Marsh technique which uses paint to print leaves onto black paper. With lots of paper piling up on my work table I decided to turn some of them into a paper sculpture. Here are the results.


Some of the painted leaf papers. Mom and I used Ranger Dylusions paints and a gel press plate to make these. Roll paint on the leaves, brayer a contrasting color on the gel plate, apply the leaves, place black paper on top and press. This technique is so fun and fast that I made about 20 pages in one sitting. 

I used the painted leaf papers to make the book spine. In my other blog post about this structure I used a single sheet of paper cut and folded to make the spine. Here I used a different sheet for each section then used leftover painted paper as hinges to hold them together.

I used the pale Texoprint paper from week 2 ago for the folded inserts. 
I like the contrast of the dark and light papers.

This is the finished sculpture. I love the shapes and colors and subtle leaf patterns everywhere.

Still Eco-Dyeing: Week 3

I am still playing around with eco-dyeing a month after taking Leslie Marsh's workshop. I usually get distracted by a shiny new technique, but I think this one appeals to my science brain. I am experimenting with different papers, plant materials and water baths. I just want to keep trying out new combinations. Here are the results from this week's batch.


I used Arches Textwove and Somerset Book paper for this week's project. I cut the large sheets (20 x 26) into 3 long strips, sprinkled leaves on top and rolled them onto my copper tubes. They were tied with twine and boiled for 1.5 hours in water, vinegar and Ranger Distress dye (Vintage Photo). 

1. Spanish moss, onion skin and eucalyptus leaves sprinkled on Arches Textwove.

2. Liquid amber, spanish moss and eucalyptus leaves on Somerset Book paper.

3. Onion skin and liquid amber on Arches Textwove.

The papers still wet from dyeing are number 3, 2, and 1 from left to right. The Arches came out the best again with the Somerset looking pretty, but pale in comparison. The onion skin surprised me with its orange-brown color. I was hoping for purple. The edges of the papers did come out purple so that may be where the color went. The liquid amber seems to be very yellow in the recent batches I have made. I continue to enjoy the process and the results.

Here are the finished papers, cut down and folded to fit in my journal.

 Please check out my next blog to see what I made with some of last week's papers.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Adventures in Eco-Dyeing: Week 2

I am still fascinated with eco-dyeing and spent time making two different batches of paper. I am playing with paper types and ways of dyeing. Here are the results so far.

Method 1
This dyeing process involved placing leaves and flowers between folded sheets of watercolor paper. They were sandwiched between two ceramic tiles and boiled in water and vinegar for 1.5 hours. RIT dye (Jeans color) was added 10 minutes into the steep time. 

Issues with this method: 1. The color faded quite a bit after the sheets dried so I used Distress Micro Glaze to bring up the color and seal the pages. 2. The center folds on the pages were weakened by the boiling process. Several pages tore either while wet or after drying. 

Conclusions: I like this method of dyeing, both with the addition of the blue dye and sandwiching the paper flat instead of rolling it. There are no string marks and both sides of each page have good coverage with leaf shapes. Also the open pages are mirror images which makes interesting patterns.

The journal I made from the blue and eco-dyed papers.

Method 2

This trial was more like the way we dyed our papers in Leslie Marsh's class. I made cooper tubes from some cooper sheeting I had lying around and stacked paper with leaves then rolled them up around the cooper. I placed a large leaf on the outside of each bundle before rolling so that there would be vegetation on the outside instead of just string. I used 3 kinds of paper in this experiment to see how each would take the tannin and color from the vat. I used Liquitex Muted Pink dye to color this pot as well as eucalyptus bark.

Issues with this method: 1. Rolling the thicker, cover weight paper caused it to wrinkle and tear. 
2. Some of the paper took the dye and tannin well and some didn't. 

Conclusions: I like this method for the thinner paper and I can use a smaller pot and still dye large sheets of paper without creasing them before boiling. 

Dyed paper while still wet. 
These strong colors are on Arches Textwove and cover weight Neenah paper.

These very pale papers were dyed at the same time as those above, but this is Texoprint paper and it didn't take the colors as well. I kind of like the ghost-like prints though.

Cover weight paper dry.

Arches Textwove paper dry.

Texoprint paper dry.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Dyeing Paper and Workshop Pictures

I took a workshop last weekend with Leslie Marsh and she taught us how to eco-dye paper using leaves, onion skin and water dyed with walnut shells. I have wanted to try this for some time and it was so easy and thrilling to see the results that I wanted to try it at home. I looked up ways to make dye from natural materials and found this site. I made 3 dyes: avocado skin, avocado pit, and pomegranate skin. My favorite is the avocado pit as it makes a delicate pink dye. The pomegranate skin was supposed to be maroon, but came out yellow instead. Here are some of the dyeing effects I got from the three dyes.


Avocado pit dyed papers. The small one was stamped and clear embossed before dyeing.

Avocado skin dyed papers.

Pomegranate skin dyed papers.

Some of the ephemera I dyed using the three dyes.

Trying out different techniques. This one was dipped in a puddle of dye, dried and dipped again. I repeated this 3 times, drying between each application of dye. I like the details and pooling this produces.

This paper was dyed with avocado pit dye then dried. Then I used a spray bottle with the same dye to get droplets on the paper. I dried the paper immediately with a heat gun so the drops wouldn't spread out and disappear.

This paper was dyed with avocado pit dye, dried, stamped and embossed then dyed again with avocado skin dye. I think this one is my favorite. I like the way the embossed part resists the second layer of dye and shines while the non-embossed paper is dull. It's a nice contrast.

Eco-dyed papers from Leslie Marsh's workshop: Stamped Nature Bound.

My workshop book in pieces before I coptic stitched it together.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Origami Flapping Butterfly

When I started attending San Diego's Origami Society two years ago, I met a man named John. He was welcoming and kind and taught me several interesting structures. He invented the modification to this butterfly that makes it flap when you squeeze the last fold between your finger and thumb. Sadly, John is no longer with us, but I enjoy making his forms and am happy to be able to share this one with you.


Fold a crisp new dollar (or a piece of paper that measures 6 1/8 x 2 5/8) in half lengthwise. Turn and fold in half the other way as shown. These are mountain folds.

Fold down each top corner from the centerfold until the corner touches the bottom of the dollar. Do not crease the corners flat. Stop when you meet the center crease.

Fold back the long center mountain fold. Allow the points of the bill to stand and curve as shown.

Flatten the previous curved paper by folding in the bottom of each side until it meets the long mountain fold. This fold should result in the top points being divided in half.

Fold back the bottom points until they open out as shown.

Valley fold each side of the dollar along the middle fold. This picture shows the left side folded down.

This is how the dollar looks after you fold down both sides along the center. Turn over the model and fold back each side to the center fold. 

The butterfly looks like this after the last fold. Turn the model over again.

There is a center kite shaped that needs to be folded to make the flapping mechanism. 

Fold up the bottom of each side of the center kite. Invert these folds as in the bird base (see the picture below).

The point you just created can be grasped and pinched and the wings will flap.

Enjoy John's flapping butterfly!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Making Leather Journals and Handmade Inserts

I have been beguiled by the journal keeping craze that is everywhere currently. Why not? I love making books and I have all kinds of papers appropriate for journal pages. Now I just need to put something in them...

Here are picture of my process for making a leather bound journal (8.5 x 5 inches) and inserts using things I have in my studio. Enjoy!

Supplies to make a leather journal. (Leather, elastic, inserts, washi tape on acetate sheet)

Some notebooks I already made with different kinds of paper inserts.

Notebook cover with pockets made from Graphic 45 cardstock

Cut the paper to 8.75" x 12". Fold up the bottom part at 8.25 inches. This creates a pocket that is 3.75 inches deep. Cut a V notch in the middle as shown.

I got this piece of 8.5 x 11 inch leather at Michaels. It is the perfect size for this journal.

Cut paper inserts (I used 12 sheets as this Tomoe River Paper is very thin) to 8.25 x 8.25 inches and fold in half with the grain. If you are using thicker paper like watercolor paper you may want to limit it to 8 sheets, which folded in half gives you 32 pages.

Make a template to create sewing holes in the inserts and cover paper. For this project, I measured in 1.25 inches from the top and bottom and made a center hole at 4 1/8 inches. Then I used an awl to poke the holes.

Place the template in the center fold of the pages and poke holes.

Use double stick tape to tape up the sides of the folders in the insert cover. 

Pockets are complete.

Put holes in the cover the same way you made them for the pages and cut a piece of waxed linen twice the length of the pages (16.5 inches)

Sew the pages and cover together using the Pamphlet stitch.

The insert is complete.

To finish the cover you need to make holes in the leather spine using a screw punch. I used a 2.5mm bit and placed three holes at the top and bottom and one hole in the center. The Center hole is located 5.5 inches in from the left and  4 1/8 inches down from the top.  The top and bottom holes are 1/4 inch up or down from the edge of the leather and placed at 5, 5.5, and 6 inches from the left edge. This creates a 1 inch spine with plenty of room for 4 inserts.

Screw punch and leather.

I used elastic from the craft store to bind my inserts. Start at the top left hole and come in from the outside of the cover. Leave a tale and run the long end through the adjacent center hole to the right. Then go down to the bottom of the cover and go out through the center hole and into the hole on the right. Go to the top and out the right hole and back through the center hole. Then go down to the bottom of the cover and out the center hole and in the left side hole. Tie the two ends of the elastic together in a square knot. Trim the excess elastic. You will need about 36 inches of elastic for this and you want to pull it taut. It should buckle the leather slightly so that there is some tension when you place the inserts inside.

Use ~14 inches of elastic for the center hole loop that will keep your journal closed. Tie a knot in the ends and insert the loop from the inside to the outside so that the knot is inside the cover.

The finished journal with inserts.

My three handmade journals!