Saturday, 15 November 2014

Paper Umbrellas Designed in Silhouette Studio- Free file

Sometimes my husband talks to me and I don't even hear him. It isn't that I have bad hearing, it's just that I can be so lost in thought that I block everything else out. I do it when reading a good book too, but I digress.
The reason for this is usually that I am deep in thought and often my thoughts are about how to do things a different way. How to do it better, more easily, more quickly. Yes, sometimes I want to do something just for the challenge but often I want to do something because I want the result and the method is not so important.

Take paper umbrellas for example.  Of course, you could just go out and buy some but that is not the way of crafters. We don't make stuff because we can't buy it, we make stuff because we like creating, it gives immense satisfaction.

So I  could make them the traditional way, in Origami/Kirigami, with nothing much more than a piece of paper and pair of scissors, after all, I learned Origami when I was about 8 years old - but, even I would say that it is a long process and not for the faint hearted.

Moreover, if you don't have proper Origami paper (which is very thin but quite strong) there is a chance that you will tear it by the time you have finished and that would be soul destroying!

No, there had to be another way, one that even people who have not been paper folders in the past, would be able to understand, that would yield decent results. I put my thinking cap on and came up with a process that uses our beloved cutting machines to do much of the hard work for us and makes it neater and easier for us to get a good result.

You can get the file here and see the Video here

I have designed these so that the paper is placed patterned side down on the cutting mat.  It  enables us to use the sketch pen setting to draw the spokes in, while cutting only the outer edge. It is therefore very important that your mat is not too sticky to release it when you finish cutting! The action of drawing the lines with a biro actually slightly scores the lines, making folding a breeze but not risking any kind of cut. For my paper, I used copy paper setting and a blade at 2.

To make the canopy, all you do is fold the canopy in half along one line, firstly folding wrong sides together and for the next, folding right sides together. Alternate so that it forms a circular accordion fold.

Do the same with the smaller one, if using. Line them up and lightly glue the small one on top, like this.

There are several variations, plain edges, scalloped and spoked. I have given you another copy of the 'spokes' too, so you can design  your own canopy if you want.  Some people like to tie the umbrellas closed, others like to leave them half open.  If you are a glutton for punishment, you could add more spokes, just line up the extra ones and rotate till the spaces are even but it will be quite fiddly to fold, so you have been warned!

If you wanted to use one on a card, you could just make half of one and stick the edges down, like this. Here I have used one small canopy, cut in half and layered. The handle is a cocktail stick with a home made paper bead on the end. I added a tiny bead at the tip of the brolly to finish it off. I mounted it on card to use as a design feature in the future. No doubt I shall put it on a card base and add a frame and some more 3D bits!

You can use two colours of paper or one, the handle can be made of paper, wire, wooden skewer or a mix of any of those. You can leave them plain or decorate with beads, glitter glue, ribbons or gems.

If you make the handle curved, they can be hung on the Christmas tree or you could use temporary adhesive and put them on the walls.

Here you can see some twisted aluminium I found. It makes a great handle!

You will notice that I have not made an interior mechanism for these brollies. The reason?  Most people would end up ruining what they have already done by trying to fit one in. I have however, put one (it's the brown bit)  in the file, in case anyone wishes to try it.
For my part, I see little point in doing it, it's a step too far and life is too short. There are videos out there that show how to fit them, if you are determined!

 If making a handle from paper, it is only a rectangle rolled up - with wire inside if you want to curl the end to hang it.
There are basically two ways to attach the handle. The most obvious is just to glue it into the inside at the top.  For the metal one, I put a big glob of hot glue inside the umbrella and held the handle in place till it cooled. The other is to make the tiniest hole at the top and pop the handle through. It will still need  glue but looks a bit more authentic. You can also add cocktail sticks as spokes if you wish - but be aware it makes things bulky, like this..

The one below (left) has an open scalloped edge, a paper handle and a tiny ribbon bow. The tip is dipped into glitter glue!  The one on the right is tied closed with a paper ribbon bow and has a bead at the tip and a skewer for a handle. I used purple sticky tape to neaten the end. The paper on that one is chequerboard purple and pink, which is how it has the two tone effect. It was the only one made the traditional Kirigami way.

So cut a few out and have some fun! It would be a great thing to do with the kids on a rainy afternoon or once the schools have closed for the holidays. It's also a great use for left over scraps of pretty papers!

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