Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Paper Doodles 3

Today, I wanted to make a flower. I don't know why.  It was supposed to be a daisy but could be a black eye Susan. Then, I wanted to practice on thin cuts so I made some roots. Roots have to go beneath the Earth so I made some zigzag dirt. And flowers need rain to grow--so I made some rain.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Paper Doodles 2

Today's exercise was a lesson in consistency. I wanted to practice two ideas--could I train my eye to consistently gauge a straight and equally dense line and thin connectors.  The top triangle was designed to see how thin I could get a line without breaking it while constructing free hand. The two side panels were designed to practice straight lines and gauge (or consistency in thickness of line). In the left panel, you can see that I got a little wonky--while the lines were consistently the same thickness, the positive space got a little crooked. In the right panel, the lines were the same thickness but the starting and ending points were consistently the correct angle.

The bottom panel was supposed to be a harlequin pattern of diamonds but I got tired of cutting them out and ran out of time.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Paper Doodles

This week I thought that I would share one of my paper doodles with you. While working at the theater, I often have a lot of free time. Since I removed the cable TV from my station, I have even more time on my hands. Lately, I have been playing with paper and cutting utensils--either scissors, a scalpel or an Exacto knife.

I have been  known for my intricate paper cuts but I wanted to see what would happened if I just allowed myself to play. Of course, there have to be rules when playing (that is the OCD in me):
  • Only the minimum of tools--a ruler,a cutting mat, a cutting utensil, one sheet of black paper, a white china marker (the paper is black on black), and a line marking the center of the page (horizontally and vertically)
  • Spend no more than 15 minutes cutting the project
Here is the first example. I don't know what it is but it seems to be staring at me. Or maybe an ode to global warming. Who know what the subconscious is about?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Origami Cubes--Part 2

Boxes with the room lights on
People have asked me to show them how the origami cubes can be used as ornament/light covers. I decided to recycle some old sheet music from the office to illustrate. The sheet of paper is about 7 inches square which produces an ornament that is approximately 2 inches on all sides.

Some of the music is printed on one side of the page and others are printed on both sides. For the sheets that are printed only on one side, I used the printed side on the inside of the ornament and for some, I used the printed side on the outside of the ornament.

I used a typical strand of holiday lights and for illustration purposes made 30 ornaments.

Here are the results:

Boxes with the room lights out

Friday, September 7, 2012

Paper Ornaments 4--Origami Cube

This is the second paper ornament of this week for our Advent Calendar Project. When Kathy asked me to design some paper ornaments, I knew that I wanted to do at least two different types--an origami ornament and a paper cutout ornament.  The paper cutout ornament will be my last contribution to the series.

This ornament has a special history for me. When I first moved to NYC, I was short on funds for my first Christmas in the city. I move to NYC in September and I was working three jobs to make ends meet--so, I didn't have a lot of money for decorations that year.  That year, I decided to buy a couple of strands of holiday lights and hang them throughout the apartment. Rather than have bare bulbs blinking through the night, I decided to make these "Christmas presents" paper ornaments and placed the open end over the bulb unit so I would have blinking, origami presents.

If you choose to put these on your tree as light covers, please be sure not to leave the tree unattended and be sure to use good quality thick paper and low voltage stringed lights.


  • A six inch square piece of paper. (this will produce a flattened ornament that is 3 inches in length). The final blown up ornament will be 1.5 inches on all sides.
  • A piece of thread or embroidery thread for the loop.
  • A long needle to thread the folded/flat ornament. You can improvise here and use anything over three inches in length that can punch a hole and carry thread.

There are several locations to find the instructions on folding this ornament.  Search for a water bomb origami or water balloon.  The base instructions can be found here (water bomb base) which includes the instructions for the balloon as well. If you prefer to watch your instructions, you can watch a YouTube video here (water balloon).

  • Fold your water balloon but do not blow air into it.
  • While flat, thread your needle and place the needle in the opening of the balloon where you will eventually blow air.
  • Send the needle to the opposite end of the unit (the other pointed end with no opening).
  • Pull the thread through.
  • Tie a loop with the knot on the outside of the unit.
  • Pull the thread so that the knot disappears into the body of the unit (pull the knot through the open end of the unit).
  • Place in Advent Calendar Project Bag.
  • When the recipient opens the bag, teach them how to blow into the ornament and shape it into a cube.
Note: Several of these should fit into one of the advent bags. Once you show the recipient how to open the first ornament, let them open and shape the remaining ornaments.

The photo above shows the threaded ornament before it gets placed into the bag.

There are several varieties of this ornament you can use. You can use the balloon as a light cover for twinkling lights (no need to thread them). You can also use some beads and knot the ornament in place, place beads on either end of the ornament and make a garland.

Paper Ornaments3--Circle Ornament

This week, I was asked to design another paper ornament for our Advent Calendar Project. This is probably the simplest of the ornaments that I will design for this project.

Supplies Needed:
  • Circle Punch (I used a 3.5 inch circle punch)--you can simply just cut the circles with scissors as well).
  • Card stock (you can use single sided, or double sided card stock; you can even use old holiday cards)
  • Glue Stick or Hot Glue Gun
  • Double sided tape with liner tape--one piece
  • Thread or embroidery thread for the loop
  • Transparent Tape--one piece

  • Punch out 7 to 10 circles out the card stock of your choice.
  • Fold each circle in half.
  • Glue each of the halves to each other until all circles are glued together. You should have two half circles without glue when you have completed (one in the beginning and one at the end).
  • Take the double side tape and remove one of the liners. Place the glue side down on one of the unattached halves.
  • Turn the ornament over to the other unglued side. Make a loop with the thread and tape it down to unglued side of the ornament.

The photo (left above) shows the double sided tape with liner (the binder clip is only to keep it shut for photographing). The photo (right above) shows the loop as attached with transparent tape. You can choose to glue this if you want. Theoretically, you can use one piece of double sided tape for the loop and to close the ornament.

You will place the ornament as shown above in the Advent Calendar Bag. The recipient will open the bag, take off the liner of the tape and will then "close" the ornament by bring the two unglued sides together--yet another interactive surprise ornament for the recipient.