Creative Paper Crafts: Tips for How to Stitch Unique Papers

Today’s blog post is written by Online Editorial Manager Cate Prato, and celebrates Jenny Cochran Lee’s cool techniques for a making textured papers. In Jenny’s “Vintage Fade-Out,” the Art Lesson for August, learn how to select a color palette and discover fun, easy methods for giving paper an aged, vintage look.

Creative Paper Art: Tips for How to Stitch Unique Papers by Cate Prato

Making stitched papers is easy. You just need found papers (not too stiff), tissue papers, sewing machine and thread, and gel medium.

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Paper art personality collage by Jenny Cochran Lee


1. Cut your papers into squares or rectangles approximately 3″-4″ wide by a similar length. Try to start with enough pieces to create a finished page that’s approximately 9″ x 12″.

2. Take your cut pieces of paper to the sewing machine and begin stitching one piece to another, both pieces face up, overlapping them slightly. Continue until you have a patchwork of papers that meets your desired dimensions.

3. Stitch over the paper to create a grid: Start at one end of the paper and stitch down the length of it. Turn the paper around 180 degrees and stitch the length again, approximately .5″-.75″ away from the first line of stitching. Continue until you come to the other edge of the paper. Then, start stitching the lines across the width of the paper (perpendicular to the first set of lines) until you have completed the grid.

4. Take your tissue papers and cut them into shapes, such as circles, thin rectangles, etc. Alternatively, you can tear the papers into small pieces.

5. Spread matte medium on the tissue pieces and place them here and there on your stitched paper, whatever looks best to you. Let dry.

Here are some tips for how to sew paper:
• Use a large needle (such as a jeans needle).
• Use a long stitch length. A very short stitch length places the holes in the paper closer together and could cause the paper to tear along the stitch line.
• Go fairly slowly. Fast stitching can also tear the paper.
• Be aware that, unlike with fabric, once you put a hole in paper it’s there for good. This is another reason to go slowly, so you can maintain control. ~Cate

Now that you have this helpful step-by-step technique, take your paper art to the next level with Jenny’s Art Lesson.

Sneak Preview of Art Lesson 8: Vintage Fade-Out by Jenny Cochran Lee

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Image from Art Lesson 8

The inspiration for this Art Lesson was a collection of vintage postcards from my grandfather’s trip out west in the 1950s. The cards are filled with scenic views, neon motel signs, and Hollywood homes. The colors in the cards are warm and dreamy, like the memories of summer I created with my own family.

1. Select a piece of paper with interesting text or a design. With a dry, flat paintbrush, loosely brush gesso in horizontal strokes across the paper. Allow to dry.

2. Paint another layer of gesso in light vertical strokes, allowing the horizontal strokes to show throw. The result will be a light woven effect, much like denim. Allow to dry.

3. In a small bowl, put a few drops of acrylic paint and a small amount of water, and roughly cover the paper with a wash of paint. The paint should be darker in some areas and lighter in others, like faded denim. Allow to dry.

4. Crinkle the paper into a ball again, and then spread it out, smoothing it with your hands.

5. Use a dry paintbrush to add random smudges of Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold paint in spots across the paper and along the edges to simulate rust. ~Jenny

Download “Vintage Fade-Out” here–you’ll learn even more techniques, including how to bind your pages together to make a mini-photo album.

Sew happy,
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Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques, Paper Art and Zen Doodle

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