paper suitcases from t-shirt boxes

June 27, 2012 § 19 Comments

Hours and hours flew by as I made our wedding favor boxes: paper luggage.

At first I thought: it’s just a t-shirt box and I only need to repeat the process a dozen times, it’ll be a cinch.   I didn’t consider the hours alone on painting each side of the t-shirt box into our wedding colors.  Nor the time to contemplate and execute the paper details like the corners, straps, handles, and Velcro enclosures.

What was most important is these need to be compact.  These suitcases will be traveling from Toronto to New York to Las Vegas afterall and, well, they have to fit in our big suitcase before they are given away to our guests and vendors the morning of the wedding.  So I made sure to maintain the ability to fold and unfold these in the same way they came when they were t-shirt boxes, but also have the ability to attach and detach items that easily convert them into luggage.

We’ve called them our “Keep Cool” kits, as they will contain relief from the Vegas and Grand Canyon heat.

Tutorial to follow after the wedding!  Keep posted!

suede-boxed invites with hand-marbled papers and terracotta succulents

June 4, 2012 § 5 Comments

I didn’t think this would be so hard!  Especially after designing handmade stationery for over 150 weddings in my designer days.  I discovered, amidst the arduous task of making my own invitations, that it is a million times easier to design for someone else!

The problem was I wanted to design in every style possible.  In one brainstorm, I’d want classic and sophisticated.  The next, I’d want graphic and whimsical.  Then after more thought, I’d want minimal.  It was a harrowing process to narrow down to one decision only.  I’m not used to this!  Clients did all this decision-making for me!  But for our own invitations, I felt like I could’ve made a hundred different versions to satisfy my fickle fancies.

It was a challenge to clear my mind of all the invitations I’ve made in the past.  One thing is for sure: wedding invitations are about tactility.  The product is entirely about texture and touch.  So how could I make something classic, sophisticated, graphic, whimsical, and minimalist at the same time?  Well, I tried.  Really tried.  And it hit me: all of my fickle fancies could be relevant and cohesive.

For a classic style: a square shape with concave corners.  The invites are printed on my favorite stock of all time — leather-textured paper, which reminds me of old books.

For an air of sophistication, the inserts are carried in a handmade micro-suede box (color blocked in apricot and camel), with personalized dust sleeve made of the same leather-textured paper used for the inserts.

For something bold and graphic, I knew ebru, the Turkish art of paper marbling, would be relevant by today’s trends and significant by O.T.’s culture (apart from conveniently resembling the Grand Canyon walls).  He was really impressed that I went so far as to learn how to make my own marbled papers.  He would like to take credit as supervisor of this process.

For a bit of whimsy, I sculpted succulents out of terracotta clay to complement our earthy desert venue.  I mentioned in a previous post that terracotta will have a significant part at our wedding and the invites provide this sneak peek.

For the minimalist architect grad in me: a monogram of our future family initial with a simplified and very architectural hatched illustration of the Grand Canyon.  O.T. and I heavily considered helicopter silhouettes, but later decided the oversize “T” emulated helicopter rotors reaching to the bottom of the canyon, in a very implicit way.

This whole project was an ordeal, more time consuming than I expected.

The boxes took the longest time to make.  I cut and glued millboard before covering the surface with the micro-suede material I showed in my previous post, and affixed a monogrammed transparency as a window.

The terracotta succulents took a long time to dry (3 weeks) and they still don’t look entirely dry, but I am quite liking the darkened tips.  I will post a tutorial on how I made the terracotta succulents next.

The ebru marbled papers were the quickest to make (without considering the hours upon hours of researching how ebru is done).  I was at odds about the marbled papers for two reasons.  They can be bought online, but it was really important for me to make our own in the colors and patterns that unify the project.  The materials to make ebru are pricey, so there was a point where making ebru was difficult to justify.

I found sites recommending shaving cream.  I tried.  What an awfully imprecise way to make marbled paper!  Then there are sites which recommend methyl cellulose (very pricey considering I could only find it online and shipping fees to Canada are enormous).  But I wasn’t going to give up.

I happened upon this amazing blog, Knit One Quilt Too, on easy paper marbling using liquid starch.  It was decided.  I will embark on the adventures of my own hand-marbled papers.  And for super cheap!  Sta Flo Liquid Starch sells for $2.97 at Walmart!

It was a painless process.  I placed half a jug of liquid starch in a shallow tray.  Then I gently drizzled watered-down acrylics on the surface of the starch.  And marbled away using a bamboo skewer.  I carefully dipped my paper on the surface of the marbled starch and immersed it in a water bath for a few seconds to rinse the starch, then laid the paper flat to dry.  I was impressed with the level of control the liquid starch provided and couldn’t be happier with my first paper marbling experience.

Insane, these invitations made me.  And I only had to make four!  I have never put so much thought and time into invitations for anyone else, nor will I ever.  I am pretty happy with the results!

easter egg pockets for canadian living april 2012 issue

April 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Happy belated Easter!  Nope, I didn’t let this Easter pass without a craft from me.  But I have been so far behind, I didn’t tell you sooner!  Or can I just say I am a year early?

I made paper Easter egg pockets for Canadian Living‘s April issue this year.  Hope you can make it next year!  There’s definitely a lot of time to make these by then…

The direct link to the craft is here.

So sorry I am late!

paper sleeves and monograms for plastic containers

December 19, 2011 § 4 Comments

Despite all the fancy packaging choices at stores, giving away your holiday home-baked goods in plastic containers isn’t necessarily such a tacky thing (given the right accessory!).

With your favorite heavy stock cut and folded into a sleeve, your ordinary disposable plastic container is easily dressed as a pretty little package for giving away anytime, not just Christmas.  Punch out a monogram and make it more personal!

I first designed sleeves like these for Christmas favors way back in 2003.  That was the time I realized store-bought holiday tins and boxes (though printed and pretty) are three things: 1) lacking in personal touch; 2) pricey (if considering volume gift-giving); and 3) not exactly what I want.   Since then, and every year, I looked forward to making treats packaged in my own custom (most importantly: cost-effective!) designs which I gave away to family and friends in lieu of a Christmas card.  This style is most personal to me, out of all annual packages I’ve designed in the last 8 years because this is the project that inspired my need for custom Christmas packaging going forward.  It also happens to be the simplest.  Overtime on this blog, I would love to share with you each and every one of my past annual custom packages given to my family and friends and co-workers, however, I will start from the very beginning with this simple piece from 2003.

From the original batch in 2003.

My “Kuya” (“Big Brother” in Filipino) thoughtfully kept and preserved the original package I gave him (down to the bits of brownie stuck on the inside lid of the container — eeew!).  Seeing it after eight years is what inspired me to post this project on this blog.  But for the blog, I wanted to change it up to show some patterns I currently love: plaid, cane, and herringbone.

Of course, it would be a long search to find the exact blue shades of plaid, cane, and herringbone cardstock to match the containers, so I opted out of that challenge.  Instead, I quickly designed my own plaid, cane, and herringbone paper using none other than Microsoft Word (a hack job I often do…which leads me to the thought that perhaps one day in the coming year, I will have a little blog instruction on how to easily utilize MS Word as a design tool, if you do not want to spend the big bucks on Adobe’s sophisticated offerings).

You will need to measure your plastic container and cut and fold your stock accordingly.  I suggest a container no larger than 4″ in diameter, such as the ones I used, otherwise you will encounter the impossibility of fitting 12″ cardstock around it.

To remedy any gaps (due to lack of length of paper), overlap a tiny strip with a greeting for an added touch.

eyeball paper packages

October 30, 2011 § 8 Comments

Ahh, I can’t believe Halloween is a couple of short hours away.  I haven’t been holding out on you, I promise!  I had some more ideas I wanted to test out and make and share here this month, but there simply weren’t enough hours in the day!

As mentioned in my last post, I spent the previous weekend brainstorming and carving pumpkins for the show on Tuesday morning which turned out to be such an amazing experience.  I have plenty to say about what happened on Tuesday and I also have the video clips to post, but will do so in a separate post.  After that, I caught my breath on Wednesday night.  Come Thursday, O.T. was speaking at a conference in the east coast in Albany, NY, called me after work, and surprised me with “I’m taking the Greyhound from Albany, meet me at the station at 6:30 am”.  Immediately after hanging up the phone, I attempted to embark on a cleaning frenzy, with no success (again, not enough hours in the day).  In any case, my spectacular week couldn’t’ve gotten better!  So he’s been here for several days and will be here until Wednesday.

As for the past couple of days, being Halloween weekend, the days are prime calendar real estate (after Christmas and Thanksgiving, of course).  We had a couple of parties to attend this weekend and everything went by in a blink!

As for things that blink — I did have time to make these eyeball paper packages for the office tomorrow.  420 mini chocolates in 60 eyeballs in 2 hours.  I wish I had shared this sooner, but I actually JUST came up with the idea today.  One of the rare occasions when I’m glad I waited til the last minute.  Otherwise, I would’ve simply reused my old ideas and would’ve felt a bit of self-reproach for not coming up with anything else different.  I’m quite happy with the efficiency of these packages, considering how laborious most of my previous treat packages have been.

I have a 13″ x 19″ format color printer, and have stacks of 11″ x 17″ paper which I used.  My very hastily made design (which you may download here for blue, here for brown, here for green) is intended to be 11″ x 11″.  One eyeball paper package fits 7 pieces of mini chocolates.  Simply fill with treats, gather, and twist.   Yes, how handy that the excess twists into the optic nerve!

I’m sure you haven’t left your Halloween treats for last minute as I have, so perhaps this is an idea to consider for next year!

Happy Halloween!

fall and halloween d-i-y ideas

September 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

I cannot wait to work on fall and Halloween crafts for October, but before I do, here’s a recap of the fall and Halloween ideas I designed last year.  If you didn’t get a chance to make any of these creations last year, I hope you try them out this season!

My most favorite post was the one with the Halloween balloon body parts.  Doodle on balloons to create creepy eyes, bloody brains, and witch’s fingers:

halloween balloon eyes, brain, and fingers

Make cute little phantom place cards by drawing faces on pumpkin seeds:

ghost-faced pumpkin seeds

Cut out and fold an itsy bitsy spider treat box with the very first printable I designed and shared on this blog (and it was my very first tutorial ever):

spider favor box

Grab a tupperware bowl, four corks, scraps of paper, a pen, and some raffia and create this witch’s candy-filled cauldron with broomstick:

candy-filled witch's cauldron

You know I love me my packaging, so here’s another printable!  Fill this harvest corn treat box with…you guessed it…candy corn!  (I think this is still my favorite treat box out of all treat boxes I’ve designed for this blog to date):

candy corn favor box

Your little ones can make art of autumn grains with this wheat and corn décor made of exactly that: wheat (pasta) and corn:

And the most popular fall tutorial I made last year was the carved butternut squash centerpieces:

Oh, and I almost forgot: I did a whole week of pumpkin experimental recipes last year:

         

My favorite from pumpkin week was the pumpkin panna cotta:

And, I almost forgot, I designed and baked a ginormous woven cornucopia cracker for Thanksgiving:

Enjoy!  More fall and Halloween ideas from me coming up in October!  And I have a birthday GIVEAWAY coming to you this weekend!  paper, plate, and plane is very soon turning 1.  And I am very soon turning 1 year older.  I am excited to host a special giveaway to celebrate the occasion(s).  Stay tuned!!!  😀

recycled packaging for cupcakes, cookies, and macarons

September 25, 2011 § 57 Comments

It’s bake sale season!  And soon enough, our kitchens will be converted to cookie factories come December.  So here is an almost-free approach to creatively packaging all of your yummy treats!

This is a fantastic way to repurpose all of those plastic water bottles, as well as to use up scraps of cardboard.  And it’s an opportunity to consume your collection of washi tape or pretty ribbon that have been patiently waiting at the bottom of your craft drawers for the day they are given purpose.

I picked up my 3-pack of washi tape at Daiso for $1.50 back in August when I was in California.  A combined 48 yards!  What.  A.  Steal.  Hundreds of these little packages can be made with a $1.50 inventory of washi tape.  What’s sad is that our households may actually go through that many plastic bottles in a year.  At least this project grants the plastic bottles another calling in their lifetime before they hit the landfill.

For use of two water bottles (ideal for a row of homemade cookies and macarons):

1. Cut off the bottom of two plastic bottles to preferred length.  Fill with treats.

2. Attach the plastic bottles together with tape.

For use of one water bottle (ideal for one mini cupcake, but also great for a smaller serving of cookies and macarons):

1. Cut the bottom of one plastic bottle to preferred height.  Trace on cardboard.  Cut cardboard circle.

2. Place cupcake on cardboard circle.  Cover with bottom of plastic bottle.  Make sure the plastic bottle sits on top of the cardboard circle.  Affix tape around the plastic bottle and cardboard circle.

If you do not have washi tape, you may use double-sided tape covered with decorative ribbon.

Make sure to bake your cookies, macarons, and mini cupcake to fit the diameter of the water bottles.  I haven’t endeavored in baking macarons, so I splurged on half a dozen for the sake of this post.  Really.  Sweets for blogging’s sake!

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