The craft for the February MakeBox is paper cutting and the theme is love (well, it is nearly Valentine’s Day!). The lady who creates the boxes each month is Hannah Read-Baldrey and paper-cutting is her signature craft. She has four books illustrated in this style and was originally inspired by the artists Rob Ryan and Helen Musselwhite. You can really tell that she poured a lot of love, passion and enthusiasm into this box.
Included in the box was:
- Cutting mat
- Scalpel handle and blades
- Selection of card
- Two blank notecards
- Two envelopes
- Glue stick
- Sticky foam pads
- Box frame
- Practice sheet
- Paper templates
I started off by reading through the instruction book cover to cover. I haven’t done any intricate paper cutting with a scalpel before, only large basic shapes, so I wanted to make sure I was doing it correctly. The nice thing about this box is that there’s not really a set project. Hannah encourages you to just get stuck in using the templates provided and there are plenty of suggestions for arranging your cut outs, but you by no means have to stick to what is pictured and there are some handy tips for sketching your own designs.
I didn’t do all of the designs, although there was enough card included, mainly because my finger and thumb started to hurt! I might do some more though if I need a card for someone or want to create a nice handmade gift. I would be up for trying out my own designs too.
Once I had read all the tips I began by completing the practice sheet. It was good to get a feel for how the scalpel cut and especially practicing curves. Hannah suggested breaking them down to a section at a time, which definitely gets a much cleaner result than trying to do the whole curve in one motion.
I decided to use the pencil rub method to transfer the designs on to my card. I used the pencil to draw around the template and then placed this face side down on my card. I then drew around the design again on the back to transfer the pencil marks onto the card, finally filling in any gaps directly on the card once I had removed the paper template. Once the design is cutout the reverse side of the card which does not have the pencil marks on becomes the front. It’s important to ensure that your design is the correct way round when using this method. It slightly backfired on me when I was cutting out the final and most intricate design. I used the pencil rub method as I had done with the rest of my cuts without realising that the template provided was already in reverse which meant that when I transferred it onto the card it became the right way round, meaning the side I was cutting from was the front. This meant that my final piece ended up looking a little messier than I’d have liked and I had to go over it really carefully with an eraser to get rid of the pencil marks! I didn’t realise this until I was halfway through cutting it out though so I just decided to stick with it, rather than start again.
The first design I did was the love birds in blue, which I layered over a pink heart. I used the glue to stick the heart and one of the birds to the notecard and then I used some of the sticky foam pads for the other bird to create a 3D effect.
I’m a bit of a sucker for the sticky foam pads and making things 3D! I always used to love it when they came out for crafts at school or youth club (what a geek!), so I decided to make all of my pieces 3D! The second design I did was two roses, one in red and the other in pink. I stuck the pink rose down to the notecard and then made the red rose 3D over the top.
Lastly I did the love heart hands (which was the design that ended up being the wrong way round). I cut out a piece of card to fit inside the box frame and attached the cut out to it with the sticky foam pads before mounting it in the frame. I have to say it does look pretty good!
This was a really relaxed box and you could tell that Hannah is passionate about this craft. The instruction book was so detailed and it was obvious that a lot of love had gone in to this kit. It is a nice, peaceful craft to do whilst listening to some music or your favourite podcast.