Making & Creating, Day 2

Today is a Japanese Stab Binding day so I can get some sewing pattern practice in.  I’m not going whole hog with hard bindings but am doing soft covers, working with a relatively heavy cover stock and Astro-Parch for the text block.

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Samples of Simple Japanese Stab Bindings

Today’s stitch is a simple yet beautiful traditional Japanese stitch which takes no time to execute.  The stitches were started and ended inside the books so no “tails” are showing.

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Interior view of Japanese Stab Bound Book

If you are interested in trying your hand at this tye of binding there are plenty of tutorials online or check out Cover to Cover by Shereen LaPlantz.  A more in depth look into a variety of Japanese bindings can be found in the book, Japanese Bookbinding: Instructions From a Master Craftsman, by Kojiro Ikegami.

I decided to work on a couple more bindings while I’m on a roll!

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Hemp Leaf Stitch

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Tortoise Shell Stitch


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Making and Creating, Day 1

One of my goals this year is to make or create something outside of my regular work each day.  Now, I am three days behind schedule because I didn’t want to take time away from our Christmas celebration with my daughter, Leslie and her partner, Greg.  So, earlier today I stashed most of the holiday hoopla, did a small bit of cleaning and then got to work on the Diagonal Pocket Folder designed by Hedi Kyle.

I used a lovely paper by Shizen Design, Brushed Gold.  It has a really luscious cloth-like feel and folds beautifully.

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Structure folded & unbound

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Folder with sulphite drawing paper signature bound with waxed black hemp.

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Folder closed and secured by flap tucked into outer fold.

Instructions/tutorials for this structure can be found online or in Helen Hiebert’s book, Playing With Paper.

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The Making of a Simple Christmas

A couple of days after Thanksgiving I bought a very small, fresh Christmas tree.  Within two weeks it was dry and brown, shedding needles all over the place so to the compost heap it went. What we have now are a couple small cast iron trees, that I’m decorating with mini window stars and other handmade paper decorations, bit by bit, day by day.

What’s nice about this piecemeal, handmade approach to a Christmas tree?  It gives me an opportunity to stop for a few minutes, think about something pleasant and create small pieces to add to the little iron trees. And not being a big fan of artificial trees, these little iron trees may solve the Christmas tree dilemma once and for all.

Window stars can be extremely simple or amazingly complex, but all are a lovely way to celebrate light throughout the year and are a perfect addition to any family’s Christmas tree.  The mini window stars I’m making for our trees are simple and can be made by young and old alike. Below is a step by step photo tutorial for the mini window stars.

 8 Point Mini Window Star (4″)

Note:  Small stars are difficult for tiny hands to make.  Use 3″x 3″  or 4″ x 4″ squares and make large stars when doing this craft with small children.  The large stars will look super on a large tree or on a window.

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Mini Window Star

What you will need:

  • Kite Paper
    • Kite paper is a transparent, colored waxed paper made in Germany. You can substitute tissue paper but it is not as sturdy or as vibrant as kite paper.  You can purchase kite paper online through Amazon, Waldorf education supply sources and some local art/craft stores.  Kite Paper comes in sizes from 6″x6″ squares to large sheets, 19.75″x25″.  Google “Kite Paper” for sources.
  • Scissors & ruler
  • OR xacto knife, ruler & cutting mat
  • OR a paper trimmer
  • OR you can fold and tear the paper
  • Glue…a small glue stick or PVA and a toothpick or glue injector
    • I use a small glue injector with a luer lock blunt needle.  I was introduced to these little gems by paper artist, Helen Hiebert, a couple of years ago and now, when appropriate, I introduce my students to them as well.  I buy these from Woodcraft 6 for 9.99 plus 3.00 or 4.00 for a package of needles.  The glue injectors are refillable.

Step 1:  Cut or tear your kite paper into eight 1.5″x 1.5″ squares.  Make sure you cut or tear your paper as accurately as possible.  Each square is one module.  (To tear, make a fold, reinforce the crease, open and tear along the crease.)


Step 1

Step 2: Place one of the squares face down in front of you and turn it so that it has oblique angles, (looks like a diamond).

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Step 2

Step 3:  Fold the paper corner to corner.

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Step 3

Step 4:  Open the square.

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Step 4


Step 5:  Fold the 2 corners on either side of the center fold line to the center line.

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Step 5

Steps 6 & 6a: Place a tiny bit of glue on each of the flaps and gently press to adhere the flap to the module.  If you are using a glue stick, just a little “smear” of glue will do.

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Step 6

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Step 6a


Step 7, 7a & 7b:  From the top, fold each side toward the center to create a second set of flaps.  Place a tiny bit of glue on each of the flaps and gently press to adhere the flap to the module.

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Step 7

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Step 7a

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Step 7b

Repeat the above steps with the remaining 7 pieces until you have a total of 8 modules folded.

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8 folded modules

Step 9:  Place one module folded side up on the table in front of you with the narrow end at the top and the wide and at the bottom.  Put 3 tiny dabs of glue on the bottom right hand quadrant of the module.

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Step 9

Step 10:  folded side up, align the bottom point and the the lower left edge along the center line.

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Step 10

Step 11: Add the remaining 7 modules in the same way until all of the modules have been attached.  For the last module:  after you glue the right side to the back you will slip the right side of the last module to the front, turn the star over and glue the last edge. Voila!  You have a beautiful Mini Window Star!  If you want to hang you star on your Christmas tree affix a piece of mono-filament line, thread or very thin ribbon to the back of the star.  If you would like to hand it on a window use a small piece of double sided tape or a glue dot.

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Additional Ideas:

For a totally different look try beautiful decorative papers such as patterned origami papers, wrapping paper, or kraft paper for a rustic look.

Consider using kite paper when folding origami forms such as flowers and modular forms.

Additional Resources:

Window Stars, Making folded stars from colored paper, Thomas Berger, HearthSong, 2005.  From the simplest star to relatively complex ones. A great book for beginners.

Magical Window Stars, Frederique Gueret, Floris Books, 2012.  Beautiful, complex stars.

Playing with Paper, Helen Hiebert, Quarry Books, 2013.  A  window star is included in this book chock full of paper crafts for the entire family.

Pinterest…Just search for “Window Stars” or “Waldorf Stars”.





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The Making of Peace Pop-Up Card

In November, I designed a kirigami card I call Peace-Pop up.  Well, I decided I wanted to make more than just a few of these cards but knew that hand cutting “more than a few” cards would be insanely time consuming and, if I wanted to sell the cards, I wouldn’t be able to unless I charged an arm and a leg.  I was unsure what path to take until I spoke with my friend and mentor, Helen Hiebert.

Helen and I talk regularly and bounce ideas off one another.  I told Helen my concerns and she had a couple ideas, one of which was have them laser cut.  Well, I checked that out, but being a total novice to the world of laser cutting, I was unsure about the process.  The local folks who do laser cutting told me there would be discoloration around the cut edges.  Hmmmm.  Not good.  So I investigated another option; having a traditional steel rule die made.  And that’s the avenue I chose.

I decided to go with Custom Shape Pros of Omaha, NE.  I sent them a jpeg of my hand drawn design, they vectored it and sent me the design proof within hours. I approved their proof and voila!  A custom die for Peace Pop-Up was born!

The die is 9.5 x 11.75 so I cut Peace Pop-Up on a Big Shot Pro with a 13 x 27 bed.  Each pop-up is individually cut, folded and adhered to a card.  I love the simplicity of the process, it’s low tech and hands on and I am 100% a part of the each card, from start to finish.

If you’re interested in purchasing the Peace Pop-Up check out my etsy site, Peace Pop-Up 2015 on etsy



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Blütenfülle means a wealth of flowers

Earlier this year I created an artist’s book, blütenfülle, for the Ideation Experience exhibit at Denver’s Abecedarian Gallery, using the Artist’s Book Ideation Cards as my launch pad. Interior1For a glimpse of blütenfülle click on the link: Blütenfülle

blütenfülle is a hand-bound accordion book, with 16 hand cut illustrations and letterpress text. It is an addition of 12. I am delighted to announce that I’ve sold 5 of blütenfülle, the latest acquisition was made by the Herron Arts Library, at IU Perdue, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

If you are interested in acquiring one of the seven remaining books please e mail or private message me or visit Abecedarian Gallery page for more information.

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The Making of Winter Series 2015

The entire time I was working on this papercut I had Isao Tomita's arrangement of "Snowflakes are Dancing", (Debussy), running through my head.  Listen to Tomita's arrangement here:

The entire time I was working on this papercut I had Isao Tomita’s arrangement of “Snowflakes are Dancing”, (Debussy), running through my head. Listen to Tomita’s arrangement here:

There are so many inspirational things about winter, not the least of which is snow; snow falling soft and gentle or swirling madly with great intent.  These are the images I had in mind when I started working on my Winter Series 2015, a series of four hand drawn, hand cut designs.

Winter #4, a tranquil glimpse of gently falling snow.

Winter #4, a tranquil glimpse of gently falling snow.

Each papercut begins with a vague sketch, which I then cut to see if I can find some inspiration in the bare-bones design, then I sketch on what I’ve already cut and cut some more.  I do this until I find what I’m searching for, sometimes I don’t find anything.  Needless to say my recycle bin is loaded with false starts and my sharps box filled with barely dull, but dead blades.

Top: Winter #2, Bottom: Holiday Cactus.

This year’s series is composed of four papercuts, each on a 6″x 6″ field of Canford Imperial paper and backed with my handmade papers then floated in an 8″ x 8″ frame enhancing the illusion of the papercut being suspended in air.  In addition to the series, I’ve designed a papercut titled Holiday Cactus which was inspired by the Schlumbergera and Hatiora cultivars linked to the holidays, Thanksgiving, (US), Christmas and Easter, (world-wide).  Holiday Cactus is also cut on a 6 x 6 field of Canford Imperial and is float framed in the same manner as Winter Series 2015.  

Framed papercuts are available for $75.00 each.  Purchases can be made via my Etsy shop, Daria Wilber Studio.  If black or white is not your cup of tea the papercuts can be executed in a wide variety of colors.  View the Canford Color Chart for your options.

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