Piecing It Together - Paper Piecing
When sitting down to create this article, one of the facts I realized was that talent is not something that can be taught. Creativity comes from within a person, shaped by many things in their environment with a little help from God and inspiration. Therefore, in this article I will do my best to outline a ‘typical’ case of paper piecing from idea to completed product.
What is paper piecing?
Paper piecing is simply putting together different pieces of paper to form a unique design. Paper piecing, in regards to scrapbooking, entails using different color solid and patterned papers to form eye-catching objects, borders, or designs. It is a fun and creative technique that can be used not only to enhance scrapbook layouts but also cards and gift bags. While paper piecing isn’t a new trend, it is one that seems to be quite appealing to many scrappers and allows them to add a special touch to their layouts.
Paper Piecing involves quite a bit of cutting so there only is one essential tool needed, a comfortable and sharp pair of scissors. I like to use Fiskars Soft Grip Scissors; they have a micro-tip point for precise cutting which is great for getting in those tight corners. Best of all a great pair of scissors saves time!
Other tools which are helpful -
Adhesive (archival safe of course)
Black Pen (I prefer to use Zig Micro .005)
Come up with an idea! This isn’t as tough as it seems. I find that some of my best ideas come when I am not trying to think of them. Instead, I may be sitting reading, playing with the kids, or even driving in the car. In those cases I may write out the idea, and sometimes even free hand a quick sketch. Also, more often than not I get an idea and just freehand cut it out of various papers and then assemble to create the paper piecing. No idea is a bad idea any idea can easily become inspiration in an instant.
If you’re a beginner you might consider starting with a pre-made pattern. Start simple and with a fairly easy pattern. Before you know it you will master the skills and gain the experience needed to start creating your own patterns/designs. Most important have fun! Once the idea has taken shape it’s time to get down to the act of either creating a pattern and/or putting it all together.
Bringing it all together
There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing paper. I would suggest using color and patterns that coordinate well together.
Trace or Draw The Pattern
If not already done in the design phase, transfer your design to the paper you’ve chosen. This may require cutting up the pattern to trace the shapes. Before doing this please read the next section “Cutting it out”.
Cutting It Out
Never cut out your original pattern. Instead make a copy or scan of your pattern and cut that out. Be sure as you cut out each piece that you label it so you can re-assemble it without any confusion.
Assemble the pieces
Take your pieces and assemble them without adhesive. Once you are satisfied with the placement of the pieces and have achieved the desired look, then use adhesive to complete.
There are a variety of ways and materials to embellish your paper piecing. Some of my favorites are chalk, a .005 black Zig pen, colored pencils, ribbon, buttons, and eyelets. I love using the Zig pen to enhance the edges and add minor details to my piecings. Chalk is a great tool for shading and softening. Ribbon, buttons and eyelets are wonderful extras that add dimension, depth, and personality. Use your imagination; add that special detail to make the paper piecing uniquely yours.
A common question that comes up when paper piecing, is how to resize a pattern. One way to use a pattern is first to scan and print out or photocopy the pattern you like. Whichever method you choose, you can always adjust the size to your specific needs. Photocopiers almost always have a zoom feature to either enlarge or shrink an image. Scanned images can be scanned at whatever percentage of the original that you chose. Also, many imagining programs allow you to resize the image before or after the original scan.
Where to Find Patterns
With such a wide variety of patterns, websites and other resources for paper piecing I am not able to list everything in this article. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
*Remember to please be respectful of the hard work and creativity that someone has put into designing a paper piecing. If the pattern is not specifically offered for free seek permission from the designer before reproducing it.
Patterns For Purchase
Various Patterns for Purchase
Children's coloring books and story books
Tole and decorative painting books
Quilt appliqué and traditional paper piecing patterns
Clipart and computer programs
Magazines, Books, TV