paper automata 2

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In my first post on the paper models you can make from the paper automata book we saw a bowing jester and some jumping sheep. Here are the other two models – a pecking chicken and a flying fish. I think the chicken is the simplest model of the four – it had the fewest pieces and has the simplest mechanism – as you can see in the video below though it is very nicely implemented – the chicken springs back up with a nice pop when you let go of the lever. The flying fish was, I think, the most complicated model of the four – quite fiddly to put together in places. The wheel only turns in one direction – I’m not sure if this is intentional or if I slightly misaligned something. All four models are really nice and for ~£5 I think this book is a good buy. It would make a nice present for someone interested in paper craft and/or automata. I think they are too complicated for children but it could be a nice thing to do together with kids.

paper automata 1

These models are from the templates in a book called Paper Automata by Rob Ives. I was impressed at the sturdiness of the finished models – everything is made in multiple layers and reinforced with 3d bars. The moving parts are all done in such a way that the movement is controlled at all times and joints won’t wear with use.

The book has four models to make all with different mechanisms. The first two here are the motley man who takes a bow with a flourish and three little jumping sheep. See below for some videos of each.

Party dress cards


This is a really cute and versatile card design. I’ve mainly used fabric scraps but if you only have paper/card then that would work fine too. Below I show you the steps to create these cards and they’re pretty straightforward and quick. The time consuming (and fun!) part is picking the combination of fabrics for each card.

1. you will need card blanks for the backgrounds, scraps of fabric or patterned paper and whatever bits you have lying around for embellishment (beads, sequins, bits of card, ribbon, whatever) – for these I used washi glitter tape (3 x 5m rolls for £1 from the pound shop), polka-dot fabric tape, tiny fabric scraps, round plastic ‘gems’ and little paper punched butterflies. You’ll also need scissors and double sided tape (or glue if you don’t have tape but it’s a bit more fiddly and takes time to dry.)2018_05_07_partydress_card (3)2. choose a colour combo you like of a card blank, two scraps of fabric and one or two embellishments.2018_05_07_partydress_card (4)

3. cut a strip from one of the fabrics (thin fabric, netting, lace, etc. works best for the under part of the dress), and a vague dress shape from the other fabric. I thought about giving you a template to use for this but part of the charm of this design is the unevenness and variability of the shapes – it gives them life! Cut a long triangle then cut off the pointy end (the top) and cut two notches either side about a third of the way down from the top (forms the waist). stick a piece of double sided tape about the same length as the bottom of the dress piece a couple of cm from the bottom of the card.

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4. beginning at one end stick the long fabric strip to the tape, folding it as you go to form ruffles.

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5. add another strip of tape over the top edge of the ruffle and a few pieces on the back of the main dress piece and stick the dress down.

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6. cut a few small strips of washi or fabric tape (or ribbon or fabric or paper/card) and add as a belt and straps.

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7. optionally add any further embellishments you want – here I add some little paper butterflies in gold to match the bottom of the dress.

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If you have any scraps of lace then this works really well and if you stick to white/cream/pastel colours then it could easily be a wedding dress instead of a party dress.

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In this card the main body is made of washi tape instead of fabric and little plastic beads are used as buttons for embellishment.

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you can also try some crazy colour and pattern combos – it’s only a greetings card – have some fun!

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My best tip would be to keep in mind that there are no rules, do whatever you like and go with the flow – embrace any fraying or asymmetry that happens.

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Snowman army

Getting a head start on Christmas I spent a fun few hours creating a little army of snowmen. Very easy to do in front of the tv – a circle of white acrylic and while it’s still wet stick on a little heart and carrot nose, no glue needed. Once dry then add a face and arms with permanent ink. I’m not usually this organised but saw a similar card on Pinterest and was inspired. I like the thickness of the paint and that you can see the brushstrokes.


The cards are all slightly different sizes but I’ll be making my own envelopes so that doesn’t really matter.



balloons 1balloons 2Balloons from a ball of blu-tak. I wanted lots of balloons and thought about carving myself a stamp from an eraser or something but then they would all be identical. A ball of blu-tak provided slightly different sizes, shapes and textures, which was perfect. and quite messy :)

quick and easy DIY envelopes

Here is a really easy way of quickly folding your own envelope from a A4 sheet of paper. This is to fit an A6 size greetings card. No template or cutting required. The key part is positioning the card as shown in the first step below. It doesn’t need to be exact but you want it to one side, on an angle and with a small margin around all corners. Once folded then just secure the last flap with either a square of double sided tape, a sticker or, as I’ve done here, a wax seal (flamingo!). Practice a couple of times with printer paper first if you’re not sure.

diy envelope from A4 paper

bath time

bath time

Lidl were selling cheap craft supplies so I bought a punch set and a new glue gun. There was a little rubber duck punch which gave me the idea of doing a card featuring a bath. Here I also used their flower punch for the bath feet and taps and a different flower punch for the hair (flowers cut off!). For the bubbles I just used a normal stationery hole punch.

peacock from hearts

peacock card

still experimenting with my new heart punch; the tail of this peacock is made entirely from hearts. ~five flat to give a background and then seven folded in half to create feathers. I didn’t have double sided paper so I first glued gold and patterned hearts together back to back.