I while back, I found instructions on how to make a herringbone design for your cards, and I’ve since come back to this technique several times. It’s fun, and a great way to use up scraps of patterned paper. I first saw this in a Cardmaker Magazine (Winter 2012 edition), but have since seen it described numerous places, some pre-dating this article, so it isn’t new. And it isn’t hard. But a little bit of instructions, and a few tips, can make it a lot easier, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned (most of it the hard way, of course :-)).
The above example is the one I’ll be using for the tutorial, but you can use any color scheme and any set of patterned papers for this technique, giving you some very different looks. (I’ll share a very different example in a future post.) First, I would suggest finding four or five different patterns that work well together, and one plain cardstock in a coordinating color. (All of my papers were from the Simon Says Stamp April 2013 card kit.) My example is a standard A2 size card (5-1/2″ x 4-1/2″), but you can make any size you like.
First, make your card base in your cardstock color of choice and set aside. I also like to add a couple of strips of the same cardstock to the design, but this isn’t necessary. Then, cut another piece of “scrap” paper to 5-1/2″ x 4-1/2″, or whatever size your card base is (cardstock weight is easiest to work with – in my case I used plain white – but you’ll be covering this piece completely, so color is irrelevant). Other instructions will tell you to cut this slightly smaller than your card front to create a mat, but my suggestion is to go with a piece the same size as your card, or even just slightly larger. You’ll see why, when we get farther along.
Then, take all your pretty pieces of patterned paper (and your extra matching cardstock , if you’re using), and cut out at least 3 or 4 strips of each piece – some 1/4″ thick, and some 1/2″ thick. (This is one of those times when you might want to “measure twice and cut once”. I found that planning out the design helped me decide which pieces to cut smaller and which to cut bigger, and which ones I might want more or less of.) It doesn’t matter how long your strips are – you’ll be cutting all of them down – just make sure that at least some of them will stretch completely across your scrap piece, diagonally. Here’s what you should have after all your paper is cut:
I just started with two strips of each, but I cut more as needed, as I went along. (Just make sure you have enough paper to finish your project.) Now, take that piece of 5-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ scrap paper, and cover it completely with tape adhesive:
In the photo, I’m showing a Tombow tape runner, but I actually used my ATG gun (*best* tool I ever bought – I use it for everything). Any tape adhesive will work, but not a liquid adhesive. You need it to stay sticky for a while, and not dry up. And be sure to cover the entire piece of paper, especially along the edges. (In fact, if you have a Xyron large enough, that would be even better.)
Now, in this example, I started my design with those strips of coordinating cardstock. I think this gives it a nice cohesive look, but you can start with any of your paper strips. Take your first piece, and run across your scrap piece, diagonally, at roughly the center of the card. (I also find I like the design better when I start with the “short” 4-1/2″ side.) Then, using two pieces of the same paper (or cut one in half), attach those the other direction, making sure they line up perfectly with your first strip – but not together, and not right at the center. See below:
As you add strips of paper, you will want to make sure that each new strip lines up cleaning with the strips above/below/beside it. I would make sure as you attach each strip, that you are using a perfectly squared piece (or flip it around, if one side is straighter than the other). As I continued to cut new pieces (or cut off excess from existing pieces), I would create a new “clean” edge (90 degree angle) by cutting off the end with my paper cutter. You can just use scissors or a craft knife, but try to get the cuts as straight as possible. This is one of those times when it helps to be a bit OCD.
Once those first three pieces are attached, pick a “corner”, and start adding your patterned paper strips. There are no rules, of course, but it seems to look best when you start with two matching strips, and always start in the same direction. Here, I’ve laid down the horizontal strip first:
Make sure you keep going until all of the background piece is completely covered. Don’t worry about how it’s all hanging off the edge – we’ll trim it later. Once one corner is done, flip it around and start on the next.
This is why I suggested making your piece as large as your card base, or a little larger. If you’ve done this, you’ll have a little extra wiggle room. Now, most tutorials will tell you to flip over your piece, and just cut off the excess strips by following along the edge of the scrap piece. Here’s what the back of your piece should look like:
However, I’m going to buck the trend, and tell you to work from the front of your project. You can use a craft knife and metal ruler, or better yet, if you have a reasonably heavy-duty paper cutter, you can use that. You want to cut a total of about 1/4″ off both sides – but check to see if you have any bad spots – any areas missing patterned paper, like my arrow’d example above, or any just “less than perfect” spots, and make sure that’s the side you cut from. When you’re done, you want a piece that’s just a bit smaller than your card base. The base will then provide a nice “mat”, for your finished patchwork piece:
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!
Supplies used for this card: Simon Says Stamp’s April 2013 Card Kit (teal cardstock, 6 x 6 patterned papers from Fancy Pants Park Bench) , sentiment from Simon Says Stamp’s Tilted Banner Sayings with matching die, Hero Arts Tide Pool Mid-tone Shadow Ink, flower cut with Sizzix Flower Layers #3, button and yellow Baker’s twin from my stash.