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How to Make Paper

Lesson 5 of 5

Signage & Streamers Garland

Robert Mahar

How to Make Paper

Robert Mahar

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Lesson Info

5. Signage & Streamers Garland

Lesson Info

Signage & Streamers Garland

With the larger sheets, you obviously can do larger scale projects, and one of the things that I always think that is a nice at a party is to have a little bit of sign ege, whether it's a welcome home, sign it a happy birthday signing, a surprise sign ege what we're going to be doing here today is sinus that says cheers, which would be perfect for hanging above a drink station or perhaps a dessert buffet, and just to kind of give you an idea of the direction we're going short of going to end up like this. Now, this is something I'm going toe start assembling up here on my own, and then I'm gonna have you help me pull together those of you in the studio audience with the event sign ege, you need to pick a font, and I think a lot of our tendencies are to go for beautiful, frilly fonts with lots of lovely flourishes, and I love those too. But in the case of sign ege, you really want a font that's, big and chunky and bold because the point of it really is to be able to see it across the ro...

om you walk in the front door of your party. You see the big surprise sign you might not necessarily see that if it's done and really fine detail so the funk that I'm using today is just a standard fun I think this's rockwell extra bold and in a standard word processing program I just blew up the letters is larges I could on an eight and a half by eleven sheet of paper and printed them all out to spell my word, so we've got cheers in total and a little exclamation point there at the end. Um so I'm going to tackle putting one of these together and they're a couple of different ways that you could trains for your letters on two your handmade paper um one would be very old school method using carbon paper they do still sell carbon paper at many office supply stores. For those of you that are not familiar, this was in the ancient days of office supplies it was a piece of paper with literally carbon on one side flat on the other side and you could do markings on it lift up your piece of paper and you could see that the carbon had transferred where you had put pressure on the back of the paper it's inexpensive it goes a long way and it's reusable especially in projects like this however, in the absence of carbon paper, one of the next best things to do is cut out your letters not hard to do it all in this way you can simply trace around them onto your piece of paper now when you're creating event, sign it along these lines you might want to be mindful of your placement, and in a case like this, I want them all to be more or less an equal dis equal distant space from the bottom of my lovely deck allege, so I'm going to take a ruler and I'm just going to measure I'm going to do these about an inch and a quarter up from the bottom, and so I'm going to make too light marks along the bottom of my page here, just draw a white line no, obviously measuring from the bottom because it becomes an inexact science when you're dealing with the deck allege, because it is irregular, and so you're just going to have to eyeball this a little bit, so if you didn't want to do the measuring, you could simply just place your ruler where you'd like it and go ahead and draw your line. I'm then going to take the letter that we've gone ahead and cut out and position it on my piece of paper, and when you're cutting out your letters, you really want to get as close to the printed portion of the letters you can you can see in some of these that there is a tiny bit of a white edge that's really not going to affect the ledge ability of the letter in the end and then I'm going to take my pencil and simply start to trace around it and this will take just a seconds get through all right so you can see that I've gone ahead and traced out my letter h onto this piece of paper and next we're going to employ our handy dandy craft knife now, obviously with the letters that are all straight edges the's air easy peasy because you can really just follow along your straight edge and cut them all out where you really need to start paying a little bit more attention is when you get into your letters with curvilinear line so you're ours your s is your desire abuse your peas all of those they're going to take a little bit of a steadier hand but just go slow it's honestly and you could even feel free with some of this thicker paper just to do a light past. First you're going to create almost like a little indentation into the paper and then once you feel confident with that line, you go back over it again and you add a little bit more pressure and that will help you create a clean line, so with the h I'm just going to be using lining up my straight edge with the handmade paper that's a little bit thicker and a little bit more fibrous, sometimes you want to extend beyond your drawn line by, you know, maybe an eighth of an inch that way you're going to get a clean line when you do lines in the opposing direction. So in this instance, my line to stop was right here just a little bit beyond that and that way when I go in to cut my second line it's going to release easily, you can see just by doing that little overlap in the corner that it popped right out occasionally you'll get ones that do stick a little bit and so you'll be gentle is you start to sort of press it out and you may need to go back in with your craft knife and just make some adjustments on that, so just bear with me for a minute while I kind of tackle cutting through this here, ladies, have you actually done any project similar to this have actually made any pastor party banners or part or a garland et cetera madeleine, you have before? Yeah, it did because I've done some weddings before, so it was I kind of out of cardboard there's a little bit harder to do because I need something that was more stable yeah makes sense you find because more difficult yeah, you know it's definitely harder this is where a really sharp life really does yeah, yeah, it's really important to have a sharp edge, I think, because it helps making it makes the cut cutting a lot easier absolutely well, in the genius thing about these craft knifes, not unlike shaving razor is that the blades are removable, so there is the little collar at the top that you can simply loosen and lift out the blade. So if you get to the point where you're realizing, you know, the knife is getting dull, it's not cutting as sharply as I needed to be that's the time when you get into your craft drawer and you pull out that replacement blade, they'll often with light usage last for quite a long time. Um, but if you are dealing, especially with a heavier card stock, you'll notice that it wears down quicker. Now this is a little bit that the process we're going through to cut these out is a little bit like a reverse application, which, if you are a so are a quilter that's, something you might have employed in a past project. It allows us to cut up the silhouette of a letter and then back it with a contrast ing in this case paper if you were doing with a quilt, it would be fabric, obviously to create a really nice silhouetted design or element because he was saying earlier on quite rightly I think that you shouldn't really try putting handmade paper suit printers etcetera but some of our chat room are saying they have tried it and it does work for them but I really wouldn't really recommend it but I guess it works for your printer I am happy to hear that and again that's all part of the experimentation process I tend to experiment a little less when elektronik sar involved because I've had someone to time maybe yes true if you were defeated by hand through the manual feed there is a possibility and it could just depend on how fine and smooth of a finish you have on the surface of your painting would be more worried about destroying my really nice paper I created rather than actual printer test so easily is quite delicate some of this paper it can be again like I had mentioned in the last segment those first couple of polls out of the poll bath tend to create sheets that are a little bit sturdier and a little bit thicker those I definitely would be a little bit more concerned about with the printer we're almost there it was mine does not like any special paper in it well tracy tt has had experience using an epson printer and absent photo printer and she says it works but you again feeding one wants you to decide I'm an anthem that I think it feeds it like it rolls it, so I think it doesn't like anything that has any thickness now that very well could be, yeah, so one of the added benefits of doing the project in this manner is that you not only end up with your silhouette cut out of the paper, as I've just done, you end up with a lovely set of solid letters, and these could be a nice thing to just use as part of your table decor. Um, you can send these down the center of your table, you can send them across the header of your drink station. Oh, I always like a gift with purchase, and this is like a nice little added bonus to a project like this. You feel like you're getting your money's worth out of it. So now that we have cut that out, you can see that eye position to the letter a little bit closer to the bottom of my sheet and that's, because we're going to create a channel along the top from which to hang it, you'll also notice is a little flimsy, and if I would hang it up, just as it is, it's a little hard to read, so again, with a reference back to the application process, we're going to take a contrast ng show of solid color text wait paper and in this plate case, I'm going to use p you can see just immediately by holding it up behind it, how much easier it is to read. So the first thing I want to do is full down this top portion, and just to make sure that all of my headers air more or less the same heights, I'm going to take my ruler again, and I know again it's a little bit difficult with this uneven deck allege, but I'm going to measure it along the sides about two inches down, and I'm going to do that on either side. I'm gonna take my ruler, and in this case I'm going to orient my ruler in the direction of the age. This is going to be a better indicator of whether or not it's even across the page versus this edge, which is obviously just all over the place, and I'm going to draw a light line there. That line is going to become the edge, which I fold down, so I'm going to take my deck allege than and fold it down roughly to that line again with the dekel if you're dealing with areas that are missing chunks of paper not to worry there's going to be enough coverage to hold your ribbon or your twine in place now there are a couple of ways that you could seal up this channel. You could simply place your twine in the fold, apply a line of glue and press it down into place. Easy peasy, something you know everyone's got glue on hand. It's a really pretty easy process. Another method you might want to consider is taking a standard hole punch office supply hole punches. The ones that you'll find an office supply. Stores usually are a quarter inch hole, which is perfect size for feeding twine through. You could punch a series of holes along the top and kind of weaving in and out, almost as if it would look like stitches, which I think could be a really nice decorative touch, especially if you're dealing with a really pretty twine. If you're dealing with the twine or ribbon that you'd really not want to see, as much of you may want to just consider gluing it right into the channel. But before you glue or staple or thread any of that, you want to feed in your sheet of paper backing now with this. Each piece is going to be a little bit different because we are dealing with a handmade paper that's somewhat irregular and size and you can see when I hold it up like this I can see a little bit too much of that along the bottom so I just want to be able to trim that off on the back um so I'm going to make a little bit of the mark here so I know roughly how much to cut it in on the sides and again this is going to change according to your sheet on I'm just going toe I that then along the bottom cut off that extra strip and then I'm gonna go back along the side and shorten the width of that just a tiny bit gonna try this again see how that fits in there and it's a much better fit this time around that when we do hold it up obviously you've got that lovely silhouette now when you are it hearing it in general it's a good idea to use some double sided adhesive you've got some of these portions that are flapping around and even if you were just teo and hear this along the top it's a little loosey goosey and you know if you're hanging this up outside with the breeze it's just going to be all over the place so what we're going to do again is take our lovely tape dispensers and we're just going to run some lines along the edges of our letters that little gear noise it's very satisfying from I don't know why the other nice thing about these particular types of dispenses is once you come to the end of the thief tape that is inside, most of them have cartridges that can be replaced and so you're able just to simply refill it unlike a standard cellophane tape all right, so let's see, I'm just going to now feed my piece of solid paper in their press down gently burnish that a little bit to make sure all the edges they're stuck down nice and tight and then tio apply thie twine I'm gonna cut a little length of this just by way of illustration and can do a couple of things here with this I'm simply going to apply a light blue line um more or less right? Oh just below that fold take your twine, tuck it right into that channel and press it down now one thing that you could do is use binder clips toe hold it in place while it dries but again the tacky dude the tacky glue does tend to dry relatively quickly and that's typically not an issue now an alternative way yet another alternative there's always alternatives and crafting that you can create that upper channel is by breaking out your sewing machine and I know not everyone has a sewing machine but if you do, I can assure you that this does not take craftsman level sewing skills to do if you can sew a straight line, you can definitely so the top channel of your sign ege, and the thing that I really like about this is that it just gives another added level of detail. I was able to use a light pink thread to coordinate with the backing, and then the channel that we've got along the top is more or less like a, uh, like a curtain pocket that you would feed your curtain rod through now. Understandably, if we were to go and try and feed this through, as is, we would have a really difficult time. So again, we're going to be a little innovative in a little crafty, and we're going to implement the ever useful bamboo skewer. I love these things, I don't know, I can use them for just about any craft application you can think of, and I tend to have a stack of them in my kitchen drawer, although they probably should just be in the craft room. Um, and what I'm going to do with this point is just measure out a nice length of this twine to put together all of our letters and obviously the length of twine the cut is going to depend on where you want to place the garland or sign is within your home so you just want to make sure you've got enough length going on that it will reach from one side of the doorway to the other or um the railing to the tree if you're hanging it up outside that sort of idea tio apply the twine to the end of this guy we are just going to use a little bit of standard cellophane tape and instead of um sending it through like the eye of a needle we're going to tape it to the end of our needle and it typically will be pretty secure you don't have to worry too much about that so I am going to start feeding this through and you want to make sure you are feeding the letters through obviously in the correct order to spell out your word or you're going to end up spending a little bit of time re stringing them let's make sure we got this guy all together here excellent so I am going to start at the exclamation point ends and rachel could I actually call upon you to help me hold some of this up is we're going through? I will have you come back here and as I feed them through we're just going to send them your direction and in that way you can help me sort of display it so thank you let's start on the sea end if we can feel that thrill there were way success all right, so I am just going to start sending them down to you thank you so much these letters will tend to hang pretty straight for you just because you are feeding the twine along the entire upper channel along the top of the shoot of paper which is a nice we'll just leave like you know, a few inches between each of the letters it allows them to have a little bit of movement in the room I really like this. So the only detail yes, I really cool zigzag pattern on if you can really see it but it is a little zigzag stitch I have to tell you I use my stone machine more for paper than I do for fabric and the handmade paper in particular just takes to it beautifully and I think because it is more fibrous and it almost feels a little bit more like fabric um I don't know I have an affinity for it it is well it adds that extra little bit of detail and again I am not a master um taylor over eso were by any stretch of the imagination but um straight line I can do that god bless suggesting alternative things as well they've said they've town breaded with rhythm yes matching like pink or a well they've actually stitched the ribbon across this well I love that idea so you almost use it as if you would say quilt binding or something along those lines you can get bias tape at your craft supply store, which is uh, strips of fabric that have been folded over and it would actually fit really lovely over the top channel of, um of your paper and you could so that directly across I love that idea you know, robert, people have, um elektronik cutting machines and they can cut these big letters out, but I've used an exacto for twenty some years a lot probably like you, yes, and I think if you I don't want to know while start cutting like what you're doing, you're really missing a great pleasurable opportunity. I said that word, right? But it was treason exact on even if you're not very good at it at first it just takes a little bit of practice and it really does and I like elektronik cutters for a lot of things, especially for these type of things, but I would really miss wasn't happy with some of it's a great point and I have one of those electronic cutters as well and with some of the thicker, more fibers paper, I've had a little bit of difficulty with them because you're sticking them on sort of like a tacky sheet and feeding them through and I just sometimes manual is a little bit more full proof let's and then used exactly for living that that is a really good point because I know a lot of those electronic cutters will work well with the card stock and so if you just program in your letters that a certain size and most of those will cut up to a twelve by twelve size so you can get a much larger letter than you might otherwise be able to print out on an eight and a half by eleven sheet of paper so that's an excellent idea because what you would end up with and from your electronic cutter is a letter that looks like this and have your card stock which would be really easy to trace on two your handmade paper so that's an excellent excellent point so we go cheers kids so you know you've got this up above your bar say you've got your bar all lit up with your lovely luminaries your guests have always got already gotten a preview of what's going to be happening in your party from your lovely invitation sweets and I think for the time being rachel let's we're just going to kind of full this up and set it back on the paper the nice thing about this too is they're reusable there's no reason not to they simply khun full back up as such he put it in a shell a box thank you so much for helping me and saving for the next event now, robert, you can also, I assume, use the letters absolutely didn't almost doing in reverse because then you can you have a different color and have two dollars, and I love the idea too. If you want to play around with the sewing machine, the possibility of just sewing across this line of letters and that kind of is a similar technique, too, our garland that we put in the front here, this is sown paper, garland, and what I've done is I've taken some of the pieces of handmade paper that we produced in our last segment, and I've combined it with coordinating pieces of machine ready made paper that we've used in some of our other projects and just cut them out in a siri's of irregular rectangles there, not all uniform in size there's no, no need for that for them to be, and this is actually one of our bonus projects. I don't have a son machine here with me in studio, but it is one of the bonus materials so that you have full written instructions if you want to tackle this, but essentially what we're doing is we're taking a little loop of ribbon, folding it in half, sandwiching it between two of your sheets of paper here. And you're feeding that into your sewing machine, do a little back stitch to secure it in place, and then when I'm doing this, I've got all of my stacks of different colors beside me on my work surface, and you just start slowly feeding them through. And the one thing you want to be mindful of is between each piece of paper allow your sewing machine to do a couple of stitches. I never knew this initially, but it'll just wrap the threat around one another, creating almost like a cord. In this way, when you hold up your garland, it allows them some movement. So instead of creating a solid band of paper, you've got all of these pieces that are going to really flutter beautifully once they're hung up in the room. Now with some of these, and you can see them hanging in front of my work station here, you can hang them bunting style. I've also seen them, and they look really lovely if they're just hung vertically. In a case like that, you want to add something to the bottom edge to give it a little weight, so it's not. Whipping around the room kind of idea something simple along those lines would baby maybe just to use a heavy binder clip and stick it on the bottom and it's going to hold it down? I've also seen some people that have taken felted wool balls, which you confined in your craft supply store. Now they're a little bit more attractive and that's something that you could even just hand stitched to the bottom portion and it adds just enough weight those balls or just dense enough that it will keep that from whipping all over the room. So if this is something that you want to tackle, the really would encourage you to get those bonus materials and it'll give you complete instructions although it's very simple and straightforward. So I think if you were to walk into a room with these hanging up your sign in there, you're luminaries and your paper goods at your table I think you're in for a good time and I really I love that great question we having from oh baby online is saying that they really love the paper garland on the strips of paper center, but they're wondering is there a way to make it last longer for an outside event? Any suggestions for making it perhaps not using the paper or something else or or creating the paper right? I think for an outdoor event like that I don't know about treating the paper, I think that if you were to put a ceiling on it, it would probably permeate the paper changed the color, the texture a little bit, but if you are in a recycling mood, but you certainly can take some tyvek, which is a really sturdy indoor outdoor paper it's used a lot for shipping purposes you could use that you could certainly use mile are, which you often see with balloons, and they sell it in the sheets and the craft store, and that actually could be really fun because that comes in some great metallic shades on, and we'll just add a little like papa glitter tio your decor so yeah, that's really good. Now, ladies in the studio, if you actually try to any of this, any of the paper cutting or the officer you have madeleine before sanders like for a couple of anniversary parties and birthday parties and actually a wedding just recently, but we made it. We didn't do the reverse applicator like you're talking about. We did it the easier way we did it with a cut out with the electronic chatter and cut him out and stacked them and made flowers and put on to him. So, but I like the idea of the sewing it because it would have looked a lot nater than what the way we did with the holes. I think it would look needed for the party that we did. It does add a nice sort of finishing touch. And you also like the idea, though to, as I had mentioned before. If you were to punch a siri's of holes along the top and kind of weave the twine or the ribbon in and out, it almost would give it an exaggerated, even cartoonish, stitched look, which I think could be really pretty for a tea party or little girl's birthday party. Or, if you dress it up in the right color palette for any sort of occasion.

Class Description

Paper making gives you the freedom to personalize everything from note cards to wrapping paper. In How to Make Paper, Robert Mahar will teach basic papermaking techniques you can use for a whole range of creative projects.

Robert is an arts and crafts professional and seasoned do-it-yourself project instructor. In this class you’ll learn every step in the process of making beautiful handcrafted paper. You’ll learn how to:

  • Make a paper-making frame from items in your house.
  • Blend a mix of paper pulp from new and recycled scrap paper
  • Experiment with different additives and colorants
  • Turn your handmade paper into invitations and garlands

Whether you’re looking to create handmade gifts to share with friends or simply want to dress up your next party, you’ll leave this class equipped to create lots of new paper projects.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Robert Mahar - Paper Garland Directions.pdf

Robert Mahar - Paper Making Supply List.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I really enjoyed this class. I always wanted to learn how to make paper by hand and watching this class on Creative Live just got me so excited about paper making. My mind is brimming with ideas that I want to go out and try. Robert is a lovely instructor and I loved learning from him. I also like his pace and that he didn't rush through it all, he gave me time to think and absorb. It was a very calming and really pleasant experience. I can't wait to see what other classes he's going to be teaching.

Holly Morris

Loved this class and the instructor. Robert makes is so easy to understand and offers a lot of useful information, tips, suggestions along the way. Can't wait to give it a try. Loved the ideas for using handmade paper, but not crazy about the lettering in the last segment. Doesn't really show off the handmade paper that well.


Nice class. I got some inspiration on how to try out some new things with my paper making tools. Very nice tutor.