Paper crafting can be a fantastic way to exercise your creative skills, make gifts for friends and family, and decorate your home. Before you rush out to assemble your first paper craft kit, it’s worth making sure you know exactly what the possibilities are. The name covers a lot of different skills, techniques and potential projects so let’s ask the question: what exactly is papercraft?
A Variety of Crafts
Paper crafting is any form of craft that primarily uses paper (or card) to create its effects. This means that origami is a paper craft, as is quilling, and making a scrapbook, decoupage and cardmaking.
It’s impossible to give an exhaustive list of all the different kinds of paper crafts, but there are two main ways to categorise them: folded paper crafts and cut paper crafts.
When you think of folded paper crafts you likely imagine origami, but this is a specific form of Japanese paper folding. Folded paper crafts also include quilling, an ancient Egyptian art that creates beautiful paper loops, and flower making. In folded paper crafts, you might cut a sheet of paper to size first, but creating a structure is accomplished by folding complete sheets or strips of paper.
Cut paper crafts involve…cutting paper! In cut paper crafts like scrapbooking, paper weaving, and cardmaking, you build up designs by cutting and sticking specific paper shapes. Chinese paper cutting involves folding paper sheets and cutting small patterns in it that produce beautiful, lace-like effects when you unfold the sheet.
The Tools You Need
If you’re interested in pursuing paper crafts, then you can quickly build up a collection of tools and materials that let you pursue lots of different techniques – though they might be diverse in the skills you use and the projects you create, paper crafts do at least have lots of raw materials in common.
This might seem obvious, but you’re going to need to put a lot of thought into the kind of paper you buy. Basic printer paper might be the easiest to source and keep around in large quantities, but it’s rarely the best choice for the job.
If you’re interested in origami, then you’ll need to buy specific origami paper: it can come in different colours, backed by foil or plain, but it’s all created to be easy to fold multiple times. Quilling, meanwhile, requires strips of paper of uniform size, which can cut yourself – or buy precut and ready to use. Paper is one area where you need to think ahead and make sure you have the right material.
- Cutting tools
Even folded paper crafts might require you to cut sheets to size, and cut paper crafts rely on it. Sharpness is the most important thing about your cutting tools: a sharp blade ensures a clean cut and minimise the risk of tears. If you’re cutting paper to a uniform size, a craft knife or even guillotine might be the best option, but a simple pair of scissors will be enough for most situations you encounter.
Lots of cut paper crafts involve gluing paper cut outs together – whether it’s to make a scrapbook, a greetings card or even a decoupage effect. For most circumstances, simple PVA will work – used sparingly it dries clear, creates a strong, thin bond between card and paper surfaces, and is easy to wash off skin in the event of spillages!
This simple toolkit is all you need for long afternoons of paper crafting experiments and fun!