Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Paper Piecing Tips

Paper piecing is fun and easy. Over the years, I've gotten better at it. Here are some of my best tips--and I invite you to share yours as well!

1. Make two copies of your pattern--always. That way, when you cut the pieces apart, you can tell what goes where.

2. Find patterns by going to "google," clicking on images, and putting in "line drawing + WHATEVER." Of course, you'll change the word "WHATEVER" to rabbit, deer, or whatever you want. Also try "cartoon" instead of "line drawing." Now, you don't have to limit yourself to simple drawings, but it does make it easier.

3. Use Herma's Dotto repositional glue dots on the back of your pattern to adhere it to the paper you want to use as a base. I always cut out the biggest part of the pattern first. You don't want to be piecing together small bits to make the overall shape of your image. For example, with the deer above, I cut out the whole body from brown paper. Then I peeled off what was left of my pattern, stuck it on the lighter paper, and cut those pieces out next.

4. Remember that your paper piecing won't really look great until you add pen or pencil and chalk. For my deer, I filled in the inside of the ears and his mouth with white pen. Then, I put a thin layer of pink ink over the white pen. I also used the white pen on the black of the eye, around the iris of the eye, and on the nose.

5. Use chalk as your best friend! It adds tons of definition and totally melds your pieces together. Remember that dark colors are the shadows or the receding portion of an image. Light colors are for the highlights, for areas that are nearest you.

6. Touch areas you wish to lighten with a rolled up eraser, the gummy kind, to lift away chalk. Since chalk can be hard to control, the type of gummy art eraser you can manipulate is perfect for getting into small areas. You don't have to scrub your paper. Just touch down the eraser.

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