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Category Archives: 3. Tutorials

Tutorial: Mini magnetic boards

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Limitations force us to think. For some time, I’ve been deciding between having a magnetic board in front of my desk, which would be great to stick up goals and weekly planners, as well as inspirational pictures, or…

a shelf, which would clear the clutter from my desk and allow me to put more things within reach.

The reason I had to decide…my wall space was too small.

I asked the dad for help. He sauntered into the room, tried to fit the big magnetic board here and there, and then suggested I do away with it because I had not space and well,  “all you need is a piece of metal.”

Despite my university education, it hadn’t occurred to me. With the light of this ‘revelation’ shining in the dark crevices of the brain, or so I imagine, I went around the house with a piece of magnet, putting it against any surface I thought would attract. It worked with spoons, forks, jam jar covers, milo tin covers…

My final choice, as you can tell, were the metal covers.

Here’s what I did:

1) Paint the 3 tin covers sky blue with clouds. I used 3 layers of acrylic paint, and left enough time to dry between each layer. Coat with 2 layers of varnish, leaving enough time to dry between the layers.

2) Paint the magnets sky blue. Leave aside to dry.

3) Find silhouettes of birds, adjust to size of magnet using the ruler in Microsoft word.

4) Handcut them out on a piece of paper painted with a darker shade of blue.

5) Apply a thin layer PVC glue onto the back of the bird silhouettes with a toothpick and adhere to magnet.

6) Coat magnet with varnish and leave to dry.

7) Stick a big blob of blue tack at the back of each tin cover and adhere to shelf.

Let me know if you try it 😉


Grandma’s birds (part 2)

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First things first! Making this paper sculpture requires patience on your part. The comforting thing is that it does get easier as you go along 🙂 Next, there is no hard and fast rule as to the shape that the sculpture can take. As such, I don’t think it’s useful or practical to give tedious instructions as to how you should be piling the shapes on other shapes and how many shapes to pile on each side for the tail and the head.

*Did you catch Part 1 of this? If not, here’s the link. You need it to make the basic shape.

What you need

  • around 300 pieces of the basic shape (less if you want to make it smaller), at least 4 in a different colour to highlight the tail and the head
  • 2 googly eyes or two that you fashion out of black and white paper yourself
  • small orange paper for the beak
  • cardboard base cut into a circle/oval shape (mine is ~9cm x 7cm)
  • a reasonable amount of patience 😉
Before you begin, take note of the right angle of your basic triangle shape. You will need to take note of whether the right angle is facing inwards or outwards.
OK, you’re ready to learn the basic steps!
1st layer (main body)
Stick 8-9 basic shapes near the edges cardboard base, with the right angle facing outwards.
(If you did the basic shape right, there should be 2 flaps for each basic shape.)
2nd layer (main body)
For the next layer and all subsequent layers, insert the basic shapes such that the right angle of the triangle is facing inwards. 

You will want to insert the basic shape (2nd layer) such that each basic shape in the 1st layer can fit 2 basic shapes.

Subsequent layers (main body)

This should be easier. Look at your basic shape and notice that there are 2 little compartments in each basic shape. Insert the basic shape of the subsequent layer such that each compartment fits into a separate basic shape in the previous layer.

After you have completed piling around 9 layers of these shapes (again, no hard and fast rule) , you have something like this:

Choose 2 adjacent parts for the head and tail of the bird and start piling on more layers in these 2 parts. For the one I did, the tail is around 4 shapes wide.


Fashion a head separately from at least 6 basic shapes

Now we return to the main body. I piled on more basic shapes at the side for the head. BUT do you see something different? I’m piling the basic shapes directly on top of the one below now.

Which will be joined together with one basic shapeFinally insert the head, and you’re done! 😀

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Grandma’s birds (part 1)

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I like to think that whatever creativity I have in me can be attributed to the grandparents. My grandpa fashions little tools for making Peranakan desserts out of wood. And my grandma has been making beautiful bird paper sculptures lately from used paper one may otherwise throw away. I’m loving the colours of this particular bird. 

If you would like to make good use of all that paper around your house, you could try making one yourself.  Here’s how to make the basic building shape:

1) Take a square piece of paper and cut it into half.

2) Fold into a quarter. The purpose of this is to create crease lines.

3) Unfold the quarter. The shape you see is the one you start with.

4) Fold the 2 ends towards you aligning them with the half crease line.

5) Turn over. Fold up the 2 ends so you have a square shape.

6) Fold up the bottom triangle half.

7) Fold your triangle into half again.

8) You should see 2 triangular compartments.

9) These will be used to for the insertion of another similar basic shape.

What my grandma did was to glue 8 of these basic shapes on an oval cardboard paper (cut from 7cm x 9cm cardstock) and add around 9 layers to form the body of the bird. She added more building shapes at 2 sides for the neck and the tail. I don’t think there is a strict rule, the shape of every bird can be different. The end product serves pretty well as a pencil holder for me and a beads container for her.

There’ll be another post next week with pictures which show how to make this 😀 For now, you can start folding as many of these basic building shapes if you are keen.

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Tutorial: Pencil Holder

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You suddenly have a bright idea. You whip out your handy dandy notebook and…oh, where’s my pen?!

If that happens to you, please head on over to my facebook page to learn how to make an attachable pencil holder. It takes less than 5 minutes and all you need is masking tape, a scissors, and your favourite pen.

tutorial: Repurpose your clock

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While staring at my rather boring clock, I considered that since I look at my clock so much, I might as well make it pleasant to look at. Then I thought of another idea– the clock should not only be pleasant to look at, but contain some important message which I needed constant reminder of.
I need to learn how to love better, and felt that the verses from 1 Corinthians 13 were particularly apt.
Here’s how I did it: 
1. Pry open the clock with some jeweler’s tools (tiny screwdrivers etc)
2. Remove the clock hands, then the clock face paper
3. Scan/photocopy the original clock face
4. There may be some parts you don’t want. Cover them up and photocopy again onto kraft paper this time.
5. Add whatever embellishments you want. For mine, I printed some verses from Corinthians 13 on love.
6. Cut out the clock face shape and the hole in the middle.
7. Finish off with a UV-resistant protective spray to prevent the colours from fading.
8. Replace the clock face and the clock hands.
I am pretty pleased with it 🙂
Have one more clock to re-face. Will probably do so this weekend. Meanwhile, any ideas? And if you do work on your own clock, I’ll love to hear about it.

a banner tutorial from Cathe

Hey folks, sorry for the 4-day absence! I’ve been trying to catch up with some work and had to put this aside for a while. But in the midst of my work, I’ve been dreaming of die-cut machines and banners and metal stamping tools 😀

Back to the subject of this post now…what image does your mind conjure when you see the word ‘banner’?

Personally, I’m not much into the one-piece banner. When I say I’m dreaming of banners, I’m referring to the one with many pieces of cloth/paper hanging on a string, with photos or letters on them. It’s big, and it’s tedious to make each one (I’m afraid my threshold for tedious is pretty low). The image I see? A colourful banner across the green field, flapping in the wind.

Here is the one inspiring banner Ez of Creature Comforts has in her home.

But banners need not be big, or be hung with strings.

Ez has a projects/freebies page (which you really should check out), and she linked to this really cool tutorial which defies my imagination.

Read the rest of this entry

Paper punch card

Have a puncher and penknife and paper (in 2 colours) and glue? And pencil? You can get started on this simple project that makes good use of those punched shapes you might otherwise empty into the bin.


1. Cut out the heart shape on black paper

2. Cut out the inside of the heart shape

3. Trace the outside of the heart shape on a piece of paper

4. Cover the inside of the traced heart shape in PVA glue

5. Empty your punched shapes onto the traced heart shape

6. The outline is a bit messy right now. So what you do is you just stick your black outline of a heart shape right there.