Welcome to my Tutorials.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Broken Bridges in Parchment Craft




HOW TO PREVENT PARCHMENT BRIDGES
FROM BREAKING WHEN CUTTING



A lot of parchment crafters seem to shy away from cut work, and grid work,  for many reasons and one of them is the fear of ending up with a project full of broken bridges!!  Several weeks ago I promised a dear friend that I would share "my secret" for perforating, and cutting, in parchment work without breaking bridges.  Problem is/was....I became ill and I forgot I had committed to do that and the question came up again very recently...and I was reminded I had done a boo-boo in not keeping my promise to her :((  Sooooooo, here I am and I'm ready (I think!!) to attempt to put my tried and true 'secret' to paper, and photo, without totally confusing all of you :))

First, here is a photo of an unfinished parchment piece that I have had for ages and ages....don't really know why I ever even kept it, but sure glad I did because it's coming in quite handy for this post.....lol

Left click to enlarge the image for better viewing.

The way I have managed to make my bridges VERY thin, and still not have them break when cutting, is really a matter of 'focus' when you do any cutting on parchment.  Slow down and take your time when cutting AND you must learn to 'look around' the area you want to cut next!!  Let's follow the areas I have marked on the photo above.

#1:  Take your time and look very closely at the UNCUT area that is perforated.  Look at the GREEN arrow in the CUT area.  To avoid breaking parchment bridges (bridges are the thin, perforated strips of parchment that are left after the cutting is done) it is very important that you BEGIN cutting a new area (#1 uncut area) on the opposite side of the already cut side of the bridge.  **Stop reading now and take a serious look at the #1 area on the photo again**  The first cut you will make on the uncut side of that bridge will be in the top corner....cut to the bottom and you will now have a bridge that is totally cut away from the parchment paper....now, it is safe to finish cutting the remaining perforations, in that area, away.

#2:  Let's have a look at area #2.  I have marked it with GREEN, once again, but look at the whole area and you would then make your decision as to where to begin cutting that area.  This whole process is basically simply changing your cutting habits to looking around the whole area close to where you will cut and identify where the bridges are that are already cut on one side.  Now, be very careful with area #2 because there are two separate areas that need to be cut here!!

#3:  Take your time and look around area #3.  Following my 'secret rules', decide where you will begin cutting the parchment paper out of that area....without breaking the bridge.

#4:  Repeat the first three steps throughout your parchment project and it will be a very, very rare occasion that you will ever have a broken bridge again.
Now, you ask.....how and why does this keep the bridges from breaking??  All those little pieces of solid parchment paper that we cut away from the bridges are the foundation to that particular space.  They are the strength in that little space, soooo, if we leave the strength there, and cut the weak parts first (the bridge itself), as we are cutting the bridge, the strong part of the area is holding the bridge from moving or flipping up/down while we cut.  The bridge remains safe and sound and you can now proceed with cutting the remainder of the parchment paper away from all the other sides in that particular space.

If my tutorial is still confusing to you, just grab some scrap parchment and make a practice lattice area (a tick-tack-toe area without the x's and o's!!) and emboss the straight lines of the lattice in any thickness you wish.  Now, begin cutting following the instructions!!!!  No, no, no....don't start screaming.....it'll be just fine.....you'll see :))

**Enlarge the photo above and print it out. Place it close by, for easy reference,  while doing your scrap 'practice' work!!**  Thanks, Judith Maslen, for the suggestion.

Oh....and try not to get frustrated because, after all, the Golden Rule in parchment craft is what??  PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!!!!

Anyone with questions...please ask in the comment box and I'll answer there, as well.  That way everyone will benefit from all the questions and answers :))

 
Happy Parching,
     Vickie

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Making a Grid Border Template - Updated Tutorial


I have been promising an updated, easier to follow, tutorial on making a grid border template and I hope this will provide a better step by step, visual learning experience for everyone who has tried to, or wanted to but just couldn't, make grid border templates to work from.

The very first thing that will make life much easier is this:  I do all my work on my Steadtler 11X17" Cutting Mat which is permanently mounted on my parching table work area.  However, any cutting mat you prefer is quite suitable.  Now, because I make all my parchment greeting cards the same size, which is 5 inch X 7 inch (US Standard Measurements), I have marked off, with permanent felt tip markers, an area on my cutting mat to represent those measurements.
The next step is to also mark off the actual size I want all of my parchment border templates to be....and that is 4.5 inch X 6.5 inch to accommodate the 5 inch X 7 inch completed card.  
I realize the images may be a bit difficult to see, but I have measured IN 1/4 inch from the outside dimensions on all four sides and put new marks on my cutting board which now equal the 4.5 inches X 6.5 inches.

You now have all the measurements you need to work with, when making your grid templates, permanently established right there on your cutting mat.  Now, we are ready to move on to the next step.

When making grid templates, it is my very strong recommendation you not use parchment paper.  It's not cost effective.....templates are not going to be kept as keepsakes....and you do not need to use quality paper for your templates.  After many, many uses from each template, they then are remade onto a new piece of 40# HEAVY WEIGHT VELLUM from the old template, which is then disposed of.  These sheets of VELLUM are 8.5 inches X 11 inches and are sold in lots of 10 sheets for a very reasonable price.....and International shipping fees are very reasonable as well.
Next, cut a sheet of VELLUM in half.  This will give you two equal sheets of 5.5 inches X 8.5 inches VELLUM.  Gently rub BOTH sides of the sheet with a strip of tumble dryer sheet.  (I always cut my dryer sheets in several strips....again, very cost effective!!)  I fold the dryer sheet in half......cut it.  Fold in half again....cut it.  I then have four strips from one dryer sheet which can be used many times over for wiping down my parchment paper prior to beginning any work.  Okay, now it's time to mount your piece of VELLUM to your cutting mat OVER the marks you have made and evenly situate the VELLUM over those marks and secure to the mat with low tack tape.
Using a 12 inch ruler, you will now make your border lines (with pencil, to be erased later) following the INSIDE marks you have made on the mat as shown above.  When this is completed, remove the VELLUM from the mat and set aside.

Next is picking out a grid border pattern you like and will be using in your work more than once.  I have chosen Arie v.d. Linden's pattern #15  (which I have permission to use) and I will have to alter it to suit the measurements I require for my work.  On regular printer paper, print out the grid pattern in a size that is easily read and also print the sample card of the pattern for your own visual reference as you work.  Set the pattern and the sample aside.
We are now ready to begin making a grid TEMPLATE!!  For this tutorial we will be using a Pergamano Bold Diagonal grid.  The very first thing you MUST do is read, on the pattern, which way your VELLUM is to be placed ON the proper grid!!!  In this case we are to place the bottom edge of the VELLUM on the LONG side of the grid.  Making sure your paper is aligned straight on the grid, secure it to the grid with short shank mapping pins.  You may also use low tack tape, however it does not adhere well to the Perga grids, thus I recommend the mapping pins.  When making any grid template ALWAYS begin with the embossing and ALWAYS begin in the top LEFT corner.  Following the printed pattern begin your embossing INSIDE (as shown below) the pencil border lines.  Continue working across the TOP to a short distance from the right corner and stop.  Now return to the LEFT corner and work down that side to a short distance from the bottom left corner.  You want to leave enough room at the top right and bottom left corners to make any adjustments required in the pattern for the SIZE you need your template to be.
**VERY IMPORTANT**  Please have a colored fine tip felt tip marker at hand and a white gel pen.  As you are embossing your template, following the printed pattern, you WILL make errors.....we all do.....even ME!!  Your template IS where you WANT to make your errors so you do not make them on your actual parchment paper projects.  As you make an error, take your colored fine tip marker and GENTLY mark that embossed dot.  Then proceed on with your embossing.  Now, most times the error mark you just made will become a 'correct' emboss for another row of the pattern so you now have to 'undo' the error you marked earlier.  Take your white gel pen and GENTLY dab the embossed error with that (to make it as close to white as possible) and your ready to proceed again.  It sounds like a lot of work, I know, but in the end you'll see how it all works out :))


As you can see, I have now worked my way across the top and down the left side of my template with the embossing of the pattern I chose.  Now you can easily simply repeat the right side and bottom of your template directly following what you have already done on the opposite sides......or you can continue to work from the printed pattern.
This particular grid border pattern also has grid work inside the border, however, because I have re-sized the original pattern to a size I need for my own work I have made ONLY the outside part of the pattern FIRST.  Now, I will return to the printed pattern and continue on with the design inside the border and then finish up the remaining embossing for the border edges.
I know I'm repeating myself, however, my template is a different size than the original pattern, sooooooo the designs inside the border are NOT going to work out as they are on the printed pattern!!  I have had to make the top and bottom embossed designs exactly as the printed pattern instructs.  The center design now has to be centered (as closely as possible) between the two designs already embossed.  There are other options you could use, however, we'll concentrate on following the original printed pattern as much as we can.   Counting the border designs on the left side, find the center design and make a a line with a pencil (to be erased later) in to where it will be centered between the two existing designs.  Next, beginning in the CENTER of the third embossed design (and aligning it so it coincides with the other two embossed designs) continue to make the third design (from the center out as shown below).
Remember at the beginning of this tutorial I mentioned the importance of marking errors as we work?  As you can now see in the image above, "I" make boo-boos too!!!  Mine are always marked in RED.....a clear warning sign when I use my templates that there is something I've done there that is very wrong.
Okay, now we have the three embossed designs placed inside the border and you can either leave them 'unattached' to each other or attach them as the printed pattern shows.  Don't be alarmed if when you attach them, as I chose to do, they may be one, or two, grid holes difference.  If you look VERY close to my template, you will see my diamond shape between the middle and bottom embossed design is a four dot diamond and the one between the top and middle embossed design is only a three dot diamond.  It's okay folks....nothing HAS to be absolutely perfect!!!
Now, finish up the remainder of the border embossing.
Double check all of your embossing.  Make sure you haven't missed any spots!!


Now, remove the template from the grid.  ERASE ALL THE PENCIL MARKS.  Flip the template over so that it's right side is facing you.  Place the template back on the grid being VERY careful to align all your embossing with corresponding grid holes....while at the same time make sure the template is aligned straight on the grid.....with the BOTTOM edge of the template placed on the LONG side of the grid.  Secure the template to the grid as before.


Now, you are ready to make all the perforations as the printed pattern indicates.
It is not mandatory, but I always perforate around the outside of the border while it is on the grid.  You will find this will help tremendously later on when you actually use your template to make a parchment project.  **Explanation to follow later**
So, here we are at the last step in the process.....and it is the most important step.  Refer to the image above and write (in ink or marker) the name of the pattern/the grid it's made on and VERY IMPORTANT.....the direction the template goes back on the grid when you want to use it for a project.
 

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Finally, the explanation on why you should also perforate around the outside edge of the border on the template.  When you are ready to use your grid border TEMPLATE on a parchment craft project you will place the template FACE UP on the grid, in the direction your notes on the template state, and you will ALWAYS begin with PERFORATING.  Place your parchment paper OVER the template and arrange it according to how you want it to surround your image on the parchment paper.  Secure BOTH the template and parchment paper with short shank mapping pins and proceed with SHALLOW perforating according to the template beneath the parchment paper.  When all perforating is complete......remove the parchment paper AND the template from the grid.  Set the TEMPLATE aside, but close by.  Flip the parchment paper over (wrong side facing down) and place it back on the grid in the same direction is states on the pattern.  Begin aligning the perforated holes accordingly on the grid and make sure everything is also aligned straight.  Now, move the TEMPLATE close by, visually, as this now becomes your working pattern for all the embossing on your parchment craft project.  Remember, any embossing you have marked as errors are not to be embossed on the real project and those you have corrected with your white gel pen, are!!   When the embossing is completed, remove the parchment paper from the grid, flip it over to the right side, place it back on the grid (in the proper direction) and perforated DEEP, in ALL perforations, to complete your grid border.   Remove the parchment craft project from the grid and finish the project in your preferred manner.  Don't get discouraged.....all this takes practice, just like all other parchment craft techniques :)) 

I recommend you store your grid border TEMPLATES in the appropriate size zip bags OR greeting card sleeves.  You can store many templates in one zip bag/sleeve and I recommend you mark them as "Perga Templates" and "PCA Templates".  As you gather a good sized collection of templates, it much faster and easier to find what you're looking for if they are relatively organized and storing them in zip bags or sleeves also protects them and they will last a very long time and withstand lots of use.

Best wishes on your journey through this updated tutorial.  Take it step by step.....and slowly.....and you will make it to the end!!!  Maybe not the first time around, but with a wee bit of determination, you'll accomplish it :))

Thursday, April 15, 2010

PRINTING ON PARCHMENT

Printing on Parchment


 Click on image to enlarge for saving or printing

**NOTE**:  I use Paint Shop Pro 8 to make all my 'printed' parchment pieces, however, they could also be made by using MS Word.  My instructions are for PSP8 and all versions thereafter.

Step 1:  Find an image you want to use.
Step 2:  Download and save your image to a new folder on your hard drive (or external drive) titled "PSP Images".  Open PSP and locate the image you have chosen.  Drag it to your workspace.  Now you can manipulate the image to your liking with the many different options PSP offers for photo/image editing.
Step 3:  Click the "printer" icon in the PSP toolbar.  This will open the print setup menu.  Set the size you want the image to be using the options circled in the screen shot below.  **Example:  I make all my cards the same size.....5"X7" finished size so I set my images to print out at a number that will be much smaller than the 'finished' size of the card yet allowing enough space around the image for any kind of border I want to add to the project.  This will be a 'trial and error' process until you become very familiar with how PSP works and your printer works!!!

Custom offset:  Always make sure you have this option ticked for printing on parchment.
Orientation:  When making fold over cards....set the orientation to "portrait".  When making side opening cards...set the orientation to "landscape".
Size and position:  set these numbers to the actual size you want your image to be and don't forget to leave enough room around the image for the grid border, or whatever border technique you plan to use for your project.
Left and top offset:  these numbers will determine exactly WHERE on your paper the image will print.  Watch the 'preview' window to see where the image moves to with each adjustment you make using these two buttons.  When you are satisfied with the location of the image, load ONE sheet of parchment paper into an INKJET ONLY printer and click the 'print' button.
**NOTE**  I always print out a 'test' page on regular printer paper before I do a final print to the parchment paper.  I can then make any further adjustments before wasting parchment paper!!  Once the image has been printed to the parchment, it is mandatory that it DRY on a flat surface until thoroughly dry.
Step 4:  Take your parchment paper, with the image, and gently rub 'both' sides with a tumble dryer sheet.
Step 5:  Now, you are ready to add a border or frame to the image area.  Choose a border that is appropriate to the image and print the pattern out on regular printer paper the size you want your finished 'topper' to be.  My cards are always 5"X7" so my printed border patterns are always as close to 4.5"X6.5" (from outside edge to outside edge) as possible.  Place the border pattern beneath your image parchment (right side up) and decide where you want your image to be inside the border pattern.  Using low tack tape, secure the border pattern to the back side of the parchment and trace the pattern using a white pencil or any colored method you choose such as inks, felt tips or Microns. 
Step 6:  With a parchment shader tool, or embossing tools of your choice, begin embossing on the back side of the image all areas you would like more light/highlight to appear on the front side.  You will need to constantly flip your work from back to front throughout the embossing/shading process to make sure you are highlighting in the correct places.  This process will also give the image area the traditional parchment 'texture' so it will easily blend into any other traditional techniques you add with the border work.
Step 7:  Finish your project using any parchment craft technique you prefer.

Making 'printed' parchment projects is a lot of fun.  The process is NOT any faster than making something using totally traditional methods but it does offer much relief for those who suffer from age related issues such as arthritis....or polio, like myself.  We 'used' to be able to do all the traditional techniques this art form requires and now we simply cannot, so printing on parchment and using whatever parchment techniques we can 'still' manage will allow anyone who loves this craft to continue on without the accompanying pain some of the techniques bring with them :))  

The ONLY process that is different from making a totally traditional parchment craft project is the printing process.  It's a great way to combine a bit of modern technology with an ancient art form....plus, for those of us who aren't exactly gifted in the art of painting on parchment it's a nice way to be able to produce an elegant parchment piece and still have our own unique parchment crafting elements on the piece.
So, give it a try.  It'll take a bit of patience to sort it all out but we parchers are accustomed to having lots of patience....and practice, practice, practice will do the trick every time!!!
ENJOY!!!