#handmade · #wearableart · art · artwork · crafts

Wearable Art

I have a thing for creating art that’s wearable. Don’t get me wrong–I have nothing against art that’s hung on walls or that’s set on a shelf. I do those too. But art doesn’t have to just be there.

Just look at those designer clothes that have prints taken from an artist’s watercolor piece. The patterns on fabric that are used for quilts and clothes are made by artists too. Take a look at all the beautiful work on Spoonflower or Patternbank! Just recently, I discovered VIDA and uploaded some of my artwork on scarves and tops.

But this is a website about paper and for quite some time now, I’ve been thinking about putting the odd bits of paper I’ve stashed to good use. I don’t know about you but I have a habit of thinking twice before throwing cuttings from a project into the recycling bin, particularly if the pieces are big.

The best way to find good ideas about projects is to do a search. Nowadays, I find that if I go to Pinterest, it’ll be rare for me not to find something. So that’s what I did. And, I found lots of pins about paper beads!

I remember making paper beads years and years ago. In fact, it was one of the projects I had my preschoolers do. Ours were big and clunky beads, perfect for little hands. But the pin that caught my eye today was this video tutorial.

The beads used here are fair trade beads. You can certainly make your own and then use them to make this Memory Bracelet:

If you’d like to give your support to the Kenyan women who made the beads, you can order them from The Bead Place where they sell the kit. Individual beads are also available, I think, and there are several Easy shops that offer them as well.

If you need tutorials and more ideas, there’s a wealth of them on this page on Pinterest.

For now, I think I’d like to try my hand at making less clunky beads from my paper scraps. It’ll be a good project to do while watching a video or two on Netflix, I think. More on that, by the way, in a future post.


The Spoonflower 30-Day Challenge

I just proved it to myself. I’m not great at keeping up with things like 30-day challenges. The whole idea of the Spoonflower challenge was to do a sketch or illustration a day for 30 days. My hesitation had me a day late the first week it began, but catching up seemed easy.

Then this week I realized there were a couple of deadlines to beat so while it’s now Thursday, I’ve only managed to do Monday’s prompt. Last night. While watching the last half of a Criminal Minds rerun and the first half of Extant.

Am I giving up? Probably not. I remember years and years ago when I spent most of my time in a dance studio, one of my friends asked how I managed to do a particularly excruciating ab workout without pausing or giving up as almost everyone did. My answer? Pride. And it’s the same reason I have for not giving up on the challenge no matter how far behind I am.

Besides, it always fun to be able to create something that’s different from whatever it is I happen to be “seriously” working on at the moment. So far, I’ve done some stamping, stenciling, cut paper and collage, and even digital illustrations for the challenges. At first I wanted to do everything with just paper but some, like the River prompt, didn’t manifest on paper. In my head it did. The hands refused. And last night, I used the Paper by 53 app on my tablet because I didn’t want to bring my pens and sketchpad along.

If all goes well today, I may be able to churn out the rest of week’s prompts that I’ve missed then get to work on the Make It In Design Summer School‘s second brief.

This was made with stencils cut out of freezer paper.
This was on the Spoonflower blog as one of their favorites though it was grouped with the Tree prompt. This was actually for the Mountain prompt!
This was my work for the Tree prompt. It got quite a bit of Likes on Instagram. The trunk is from a brown paper bag and the leaves are from a few of National Geographic Kids subscription insert in magazines. The tire is from the styrofoam sheet that covered a box of chalk pastels.
Couldn’t think of what to do for River until I remembered Wynken, Blynken, and Nod sailing off in a wooden shoe.
I know you’re supposed to make lemonade but I happen to love lemon bars! Created via Paper by 53.



I’ve had surface design occupying most of my attention these past weeks. Even while working on a few sewing projects (“summering up” my son’s bed as well as my wardrobe), I was rifling through design images in my head. Then there was a voice constantly nagging me about updating my website and portfolio as well as organizing the pattern collections I had already had for uploading to Spoonflower.

Well, out of the blue, a cousin popped me a message on Facebook. Would I be able to help her come up with a simple guestbook for her wedding? And just like that, my brain made space for a new project. 

Because I had been on that surface design binge, the first thing that came to mind was to do something with watercolor. Then I thought about doing something with lino prints. I think I may have gotten carried away because at some point, I had to remind myself that I was making a one-page book that guests could sign. That’s when it hit me. A book! A handmade book! A pop-up book!

This led to looking around the internet for inspiration and my go-to for pop-ups is Robert Sabuda. I first heard about Robert Sabuda from a friend who heads the Philippine chapter of the SCBWI, Beaulah Taguiwalo. She had met him on one of the conferences. I actually emailed him to let him know that I was a fan of his work and that it was Beau who led me to his website. To my surprise, he emailed back! So now I’m a Robert Sabuda fan for life.

The picture below shows a page from his Alice in Wonderland pop-up book. He has about 25 of these pop-ups, some of which are out of print. He also shares templates and instructions on his website which can be found here



During my search, I came across Shawn Sheehy. He also has engaging pop-up books and is a paper engineer. The commercial work he’s done had more to do with “engineering” the pop-ups rather than doing the illustrations. I once saw a video of how paper engineers come up with complicated pop-ups and decided that it was too much for my brain to handle. This is why I appreciate templates that incredibly gifted artists like Robert and Shawn share. I don’t use the design but I follow the folds.

There are hundreds of pop-up cards and books posted on Pinterest so rather than populate this post with more images, it might be more fun if you grab some iced-tea (bubble tea if you can manage it!) and spend some quality time with pop-up eye candy. I, on the other hand, will begin figuring out my guestbook project which will be the topic of my future posts.

Got your drink ready? Then head on to Pinterest and enjoy your Friday afternoon!