Origami octagonal pouch

I had fun folding these octagonal paper pouches. They can be used as coasters or opened up to hold tiny, flat things. Um, like what... Paper clips. Guitar picks. A necklace. Tea leaves. Lint. Fingernail clippings. At any rate, they're cute. I used instructions from the book Practical Origami, but I bet you could find directions online somewhere.

Have a good holiday weekend, everyone!

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Tutorials for small things to sew

For some handy coasters, cases, and bags, check out the following DIY sewing tutorials. Thanks for sharing these, kind citizens of the internet!

Felt laptop sleeve at Just Crafty Enough
Block coasters by Abernathy Crafts
Pieced hexagon coasters from Canoe Ridge Creations
Grocery bag that folds into a strawberry at Craft Passion
Gift card pocket from Making the World Cuter
Zipper pencil case by Craft Passion
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Orange highlighter pencils

Some fun goodies from Stubby Pencil Studio arrived in the mail. They sent over samples of their eco highlighter pencils, along with other orange items including this sharpener and a round eraser that lives inside a shell so it won't get dirty. It reminds me of Babybel cheese.

The highlighters are essentially fat, neon colored pencils, so they don't soak through your page. Nifty! My photo doesn't do justice to the neon. I wish the pencils were just a wee bit less hard and more oily so they'd glide along the page more easily, if that makes sense. But they're fun and useful. Find them right here.

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Free mathematician wallpapers

Michael Campbell has created a series of posters featuring Euclid, Fibonacci, Newton, and other geniuses of math and science. The poster backgrounds with their subtle gradations are available as computer wallpapers here. I just added the blue-green design to my desktop to change things up. (Briefly.) My desktop usually likes to be orange, of course.

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Fabric origami business card holder

I thought it would be fun to try making the origami card case in the last post using fabric. I starched a piece of quilt-weight fabric and folded it into a case, then added some decorative stitching. For how to make your own, read on!

To make fabric stiff and crisp like paper, I used Stiffen Stuff purchased at Michael's.

After saturating fabric with the liquid, microwave it for 30 - 45 seconds to dry and stiffen it. If it's a bit wrinkled in the microwave, no problem. Just iron it flat, and you end up with a crisp sheet of fabric that stands up by itself. (Also see this post about using Stiffen Stuff.)

To fold the business card case or gift card holder, follow the steps here. Use an iron to press each crease into the fabric. When the fabric cools, the folds will be fixed in place.

Leave the finished case as is, or add some decorative top-stitching. To do that, unfold the case to the octagon stage and stitch along the diagonal corners on the right side of the fabric.

Stiffened fabric will now behave more like paper, so I found it's better to pull the loose threads to the back side and tie them off, rather than backstitching which makes extra puncture holes.

Flip the octagon over and fold the left and right flaps inward, exposing the square that forms the front and back outer panels of the case. Stitch around both panels. If it's hard to see where the folds are, lightly stick on some masking tape to make a guide for sewing.

Remove the tape and fold the case back up, giving it a final press with the iron again if needed.

The finished case has some exposed raw edges of fabric, but the starch glues the woven threads together and keeps them from fraying.

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How to make an origami business card holder

Here's a quick and easy origami project: a business card case or gift card holder. Use patterned gift wrap (I like heavier-weight wrapping paper for a sturdier case), graph paper, a paper bag, magazine pages, or origami paper. Decorate the case with washi tape or stamps for a cute way to present gift cards. It will look like you put a lot of thought and effort into a gift that was probably the easiest thing you could buy. Slacker.

Just kidding. Sometimes gift cards are the very best present.

To make a holder for a standard 3.5 x 2" business card, start with an 8.5" square of paper. For a standard gift card, use a 9" square.

Place the paper pretty side down. Fold the sheet in half vertically and open it back up.

Fold the left and right edges inward to meet the center fold.

Open the paper again. Fold each corner inward so that the corner points meet the nearest crease.

Close the left and right flaps.

Turn the paper over and fold the top down so that the exposed diagonal edges meet precisely at the fold.

Fold the bottom up in the same way, tucking the bottom edge into the diagonal flaps. They should overlap slightly.

Insert a card to make sure it fits, then fold the case in half. All done!

To make a fabric version of this case, see this post.

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DIY iron-on typographic tote bag

I enjoy an attractive script typeface now and then, so I've made a little printable featuring Wisdom Script. You can download the "Look on the Bright Side" graphic below and iron it onto T-shirts, pillows, or totes.

To make this tote bag, download the mirror-image design here. It's flipped so that the design will read correctly on the finished fabric.

Print the backwards PDF onto iron-on transfer paper. (I used HP Iron-on Transfers for light-colored fabrics.) Trim around the graphic leaving about 3/8" border around the lettering.

Place the design face down onto fabric and iron over it slowly using the cotton setting, no steam, for a minute or two. Let the design cool, peel off the backing, and you're all done.

Designs will be machine washable after 24 hours. When laundering, turn the fabric inside out and use cold water.

I know, I know! This type absolutely ought to be orange, but from experience I've learned that my inkjet printer has a grudge against orange. Very sad. Prints turn out muddy instead of vibrant, so I settled for red. To change the color, open the PDF in Adobe Illustrator, select the shapes, and choose a new color.

If you'd like to download the normal, un-flipped design, click here.

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Free thin fonts

Hi, all! I'm up to my eyeballs in design work, but pausing to fix some coffee and share some recent typographic finds. If you need a cool, skinny font for your next project, try these freebies: Hagin Caps, Florence, and Mountain Retreat. Happy designing!

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Who doesn't love globes?

Alex and I found this Replogle globe in a secondhand shop. When I discovered it had a cord and switch, I turned it on and apparently let out some sort of delighted squeak, which Alex teased me about later. We reluctantly turned it off and left the shop. Got in the car and put on our seatbelts. Took off our seatbelts and got out of the car. Marched back in and bought the thing, since as the clerk said, "Everyone loves globes."

Have you seen the excellent decoupaged versions from ImagineNations? I spotted "Adventure Awaits" in a Jonathan Adler store and fell in love. These are made by Wendy Gold; each is a vintage globe with hand-painted or decoupaged embellishments. See more on her blog.
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Printable freebies from Minimega

While traveling around the internet I stumbled upon Minimega, the design and illustration studio of Sara Andersen. Sara is based in Denmark and generously posts lots of free downloads on her blog: wine bottle tags, cootie catchers, favor boxes, fruit jar labels, and more. If you haven't yet run out printer ink, visit her DIY section here. (English instructions can be found at the bottom of each post.)

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Make some paper gnomes

This crowd of paper gnomes (or "Snorfs") posted at 3EyedBear made me smile. Get free, printable templates for every one of these bearded friends right here.
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Customizable notecards to print

Have you seen the free, printable notecards recently offered by Benign Objects? The file is an editable PDF. You can open it up in Adobe Reader and type in your own name or company for a personalized greeting. Get the cards here.
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Make easy DIY wall art from folded paper

Hello, all! I'm back from my week off. It was a lovely break during which Alex and I did pretty much nothing except read mystery novels, eat delicious food, enjoy the outdoors, and wander around. (That was me with the mystery novels. Alex appeared to be reading books containing charts and graphs. To each his own.)

I folded some paper, too. For an easy wall art project, try folding squares of colored paper and arranging them in a grid. I used part of a pack of multi-colored origami paper for this, but you could use any colored papers that match your room or your shop. It's cheap, simple, and the 3D sculptural look is fun.

Find the center point on a square of paper by bending it in half and pressing a crease at the midpoint. (Don't make a sharp fold along the entire length.) Open the square, rotate 90 degrees, and repeat.

The center of the square is where the two creases meet.

Fold each corner of the square to the center point.

When you've got a collection of squares folded, arrange them on a piece of foam board or cardboard and secure them in rows with double-stick tape. Done!

I would love it if someone would cover an entire wall with white squares. The light and shadows would be beautiful. Though that wall would be easily smooshed when a person leaned against it, alas.

To make the paper ball in the photo, click here.

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It's vacation time

Folks, I'm going on vacation! I'll resume regular posting on August 13th. Until then, have a super week and enjoy some nostalgic summery paintings by Leah Giberson. (I own one of her camper prints.) See lots more work in Leah's Etsy shop.

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Chevron DIY project roundup

The chevron craze is still going strong, so if you want to get in on the zigzag action while it's still hot, try these tutorials:
Chevron tote bag tutorial from Fabric Paper Glue
Black and white picture frame by Lolly Jane
Painted chevron dresser how-to at HGTV
Hand-carved chevron stamps from Balzer Designs
Chevron rolling cart makeover at The Swede Records
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