The Flexagon Card

I was asked, before life all went a bit mad, about a tutorial for the Flexagon card. I did want to do another step-by-step, given that I did learn a few things while making the last one. So I made one and tried to capture the steps. What the photos don’t show I hope I can explain verbally. I do have a bit of an idea, but we’ll see if it comes to fruition.

OK. What you need for this is thinner, single-sided paper. Not that you can’t use double-sided cardstock, but if that is what you have, I would go back and look at the previous posts here and here. Looking at trying to make the different areas of the card from different patterns, so the flips all worked how I wanted, the simple solution was to fold the circles in half!

Let’s look at the card:

This one begins with the split in the middle horizontally. The sample offers a variation, where the split in the top piece is Vertical. Either works. What you need:

  • single sided patterned paper
  • a big circle die

First, you will cut four circles. I used a 6.5 inch die, but smaller and you might be able to use a pre-made envelope. Something to consider.

I chose to do two the same and two different because this is a two-event card. The first thing you have to do is fold each circle in half and glue the wrong sides together. If your circles have real directional prints, try to get them in line. I find a lined mat, glass, self healing, whatever, helps. Just position the pattern (in this case, the line of dots) along the grid line.

Once you get that done, fold the sides in to not quite meet in the middle. Leave a hair’s breadth in the middle and do NOT overlap.

This part is really the only slightly tricky part! Stack the half-circles as full circles, one with the folds as Valley folds, split horizontal across the middle:

the other set on top, split vertical and the folds as Mountain folds.

You can maybe see that the bottom folds in that last photo look like Valleys. That is because the next step is to flip the four areas above or below those folds out of the way so you can glue the four pieces together.

It is only that tiny small area to the (in this position) RIGHT of the fold on the stripy paper and BELOW the fold on the dotty paper, that gets the glue. Use wet glue that grips fast. Art Glitter Glue has never let me down! I clamp the two bits together to keep them from sliding around, then remove the clamp, do each tiny area and replace the clamp, then rotate till I have all four done.

And that is it. You can now decorate your card.

I like to add text to the top layer. The first card had the recipients name, with the HAPPY’s on the next flip and the occasion the flip after that. This card I had the HAPPY x TWO on the front

then the occasions you are celebrating on the next, and the TO YOU on the one after.

That left the last flip with space to add a handwritten message. I hope this will show you that you have a lot of scope to arrange the card as you like. Also to get creative with the paper choices if you want, or go very simple if you prefer.

To be fair I am not super happy with the colours and fonts here, but I struggled to find thinner single sided paper and have only a few celebration dies. It works to demonstrate the double-event celebration in a single card idea, but better paper, better dies for the sentiment, and I think it would have been a better card! I much prefer the single-letter dies I used in the original than the full-words in this sample. Live and learn LOL!

But now you know the actually fairly simple method to make this sort of card, you can have a go yourself. And do share! I have always loved my version of the Endless Card, starting with a circle, so I hope you try it.


Ornaments from the Hungarian Map Fold

You may recall the little Hungarian Map Fold book I made many years ago.

I was playing with a similar book and realized the inserts would make a lovely ornament. The old step-by-step instructions were pretty good so I am bringing them to this post. Ignore the text and focus on the folds!

1. Cut your circles. Mine were about 3 1/2 inches across


Fold the circle in half bottom to top


2. Open and fold, in half side to side.  


Flip it over.  It should look like this:


3. Fold the diagonals by matching the fold lines.  This is the only tricky fold.


4. Fold the second diagonal by matching the top and bottom fold lines of the first diagonal


5. Collapse the piece.  It should want to collapse, if you’ve done the folds right.


Note the orientation of the text.  You want the flat area to be the text area. Once collapsed it will look like this:


6. Mark each unit at the same point – can you see the tiny dots? This is a really important step to get the tops the same size.


then fold in the side to meet the point.


7. This sounds tricky but it isn’t.  REVERSE the folds so those triangle on the top switch to being INSIDE the unit.  Open them


and push on that middle fold to push it inward


Re-crease the folds.  It will change from the left image to the right one.


From here you simply stick the units to each other then stick to close the circle!

I think they are quite cute and not hard. They work well with scrapbook paper and I managed to get 10 circles from a single double-sided sheet, so two identical ornaments or one with one side as the focal point, and the other, well, the other!

I have another ornament that I am loving, but I’ll save that for another day.

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More ATCs with the printed versions from the tutorial – just having a play…

This has been fun! I printed the sheets I made from the tutorial the other day and thought about all the different ways I could tart them up to make cards. A fair few! I showed this one, which had doodling, stamping and some extra gold bits added:

I decided to cut some of the faces out from the fairly busy backgrounds…

use another bit of stuff on my desk (one of the metal tape backgrounds) and add Frida on top. Easy and effective, I think.

Then I grabbed the gold-dotted tissue paper and cut a Frida in half and …

Really love that one. Then I got on a roll and totally forgot to take any step-by-step photos!! But even so you should easily be able to see what went in to each one.

One thing I will point out it the top right? I was able to stamp on that OVER the printed image, with black archival ink and it is really hard, even in real life, unless you look closely, to see that. At this point that is all I had done to that card. I’m not mad keen on the second doodles one, but only because the face image is quite dark, probably too dark.

All in all this experiment has been fun. Now I just need to see if anyone actually works thru it and makes their own versions, and if they share. I hope so….


Buckle up! Creating digital ATCs with free content and tools

Someone on one of the FB groups I am in for trading ATCs asked about my process for creating ones like the digital Frida ones that I then enhanced with stamping, doodling and embellishment. I tried to explain it but she doesn’t have the same tools I do and not the experience. I’m sure it all sounded a bit like gobbledegook to her. Which got me thinking – I have discovered a load of interesting free/public domain resources in my KDP journey and I have used a few online tools in my art in the past and I have recently played a bit with the free version of Canva, which is a design tool that has some nice features (better in the Pro version but the free one will do what we need, mostly) and is all online.

So the goal was to create some Frida Kahlo ATCs that were a bit like the ones I did last week. Could I do exactly them? No – I bought the lovely digital paper from a shop that is no longer in business and bought the full page digital stamp of images of Frida and spent a bit of time breaking it up into separate ATC sized .png blocks. But I could keep the flavour of my cards and show the process.

So we are going to break it down into steps, with options. First let’s look at the backgrounds. Like I said, I used digital paper. I had a look for similar digital paper and didn’t find anything free that I liked. If you know of Carolyn Dube, her Sparks of Artspiration would be great substitutes but I think that you had to have bought one of her classes to get them.

Here are a few other places that you could look at for free or public domain pieces

Unsplash is a free to use photo site that has some nice abstract images and I found two on the first page that I liked a lot. There are other similar sites, like Pexels, but also some fab museum sites that show public domain art that you can download. This link should take you to a Google search that lists a lot of them but honestly it can be a hard slog searching thru them. CC search is a great resource and by ticking CC0 as a filter you will get public domain works.

STEP 1: find an image that you like to use as your background. I picked a couple to play with from Unsplash.

The actual downloads are much, much bigger.

STEP 2: Find your focal point image. In this case, we are looking for a Frida Kahlo image that is B&W and a bit like a stamp or stencil. A quick google brings up LOTS, but narrowing that down to free-to-use images is harder. I found two that looked good. This one was the best one.

Ideally your image needs to be a .png and the background should be transparent. When You click on the image to download it, the image has the background still white. If you bought the Pro version of Canva they have a Remove Background tool but that is not available in the free version. So we have to jump thru another hoop first.

STEP 3: Go to a free online image convertor tool like this one. You want to select Convert to PNG in the sidebar, tick Remove background, then drag your image into the big green box and click Start conversion.

It will do it’s thing then your can click the option to DOWNLOAD your .png. When you do, you will have an image of Frida in black with a transparent background (basically all the white in the original will convert to transparent) although you may want to crop your image to remove the site promo.

So now you have your background and your focal image. It’s time to move over to Canva. You will need to sign up for the free version.

STEP 4: Build your sheet to print.

Canva is not hard to use, and there are many YouTube tutorials for it. I am going to give you really bare bones instructions so you can do this in the easiest way possible.

Click on the Create a Design button at the top of the page. I find this part super annoying cause I always forget it. You need to click Custom Size

and change the measurements to INCHES an click Create New Design

When the new window opens, click Uploads and simply drag your two images into the upload area. Then drag your background into the white design area and your Frida image over the top.

You will want to grab a corner and drag the background image to fill the 8.5 x 11 inch area. I did for my first one but forgot to show that here.

STEP 5: Size your Frida image to ATC size by grabbing a corner of the image and dragging it – measurements will show up to show you:

Now simply Right click on your Frida image and Copy/Paste her as many times as you like into the background. You can use the little rotation tool to move her around and perfectly place her over the background. The bordering lines will show you that you haven’t overlapped anything!

Once you are happy with the placement click the Download button. Click on The file type and select PDF – unless you want to buy the pro version, for me, PDF is the best format. Don’t select Cop lines or bleed or anything special. Just download!

Done. Now print them. I suggest using the coated cardstock that I have mentioned before for a really good, bright print. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you don’t let your printer scale your image.I have no idea how it looks on your machine and your printer but for me it is here:

Ignore the circle text, it’s the SCALE and 103% that you need to pay attention to. If it is not showing 100% you need to change it. Unless you have enough area around each “card” that you can trim them to the proper size of 2.5 x 3.5! My two look like this:

Cut them up into ATC sized cards

and tart them up as you like! This is just the basic process. Obviously if you buy nice digital paper – or even scan your own masterboard, for example, you can use that instead of a digital image.


Circle edge text – will it work? Try it and let me know!

So I have gotten a few queries about the way I put the text around the edges of my ATC coins. I use a function in my program called “Attach Baseline to Path” under Path Binding. It makes the text run along any shape. inside it or outside it, forward or reverse, hugging the baseline or a ways away, and showing the path or not. It is interesting to play with. I have been trying to work out a way to share something you can use and had no luck. If you don’t have (and know how to use) a program that does this then I suspect, well, you just can’t.

I think I finally worked out something useful, if not perfect. You will need:

  • the download below, printed at 100% exactly (more on that later)
  • a 2 inch punch
  • a 2.5 inch punch

(you can try to make circle dies work or cut by hand, but the punches are the best option.)

Here are a few of the coins where I have used this technique:

The first thing i did was create some text in a circle. Much like those booklets of useful arty words that you can peel off and stick, I made circles of text that can only be use in limited ways. I have tried to pick phrases I see a LOT, that could work for a few different situations, and where I have grouped them, I’ve tried to make the sort of GO together, so if you wanted to use the whole circle, you could. This is what it looks like – this image will not print the the exact right size for the instructions I will be giving you – download the PDF HERE

Firstly, print the PDF. Be sure that your printer is not trying to re-size the file! For some unknown reason mine always tries to print it at 103%. Change it – in my case I have to tick SCALE and then enter 100

The fine grey lines are to help you line up your punches. If you are hand cutting, or trying to line up circle dies, they will be helpful. The outside dimension is 2.5 inches, the inside circle is 2 inches. This is how I do it:

Don’t be alarmed by the mis-spellings in the PHOTO, they have been corrected in the PDF. When you have the phrases cut, you can edge them using a marker – and I love the Sharpie Chisel tip – for a fine line, or a dauber and ink for a more smudgy look.

Now, I think most of these could be made to work with any generic, pretty or arty ATC. It isn’t a crazy difficult process so I would be open to further suggestions if you care to eave them down in the comments – if I get enough that I feel are likely to be useful to many people I might do further sets. Hope this is useful!

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New coins and my collage process

I made a series of new coins for trading, using some of the collage images from Crowabout Studio B. I can’t tell you how much I am loving them. I thought I would share my process, which is more or less the same no matter what images I am using.

The first step is to decide on the background. This could be a masterboard I make, or it could be (as it was with these) a printed “paper” from the collections. Here is the Preview sheet form one of the kits I used, although I used bits and bobs from a few collections:

I take the images from the kit, using the individual .pngs and compile them into a single sheet to print, rather than printing the “collage sheets” you can see at the left, which would print all the images, many of which I might not need. I might create a grouping, rather than individual images as well. If I am using an image multiple times I might print it in a variety of sizes.I also research the quotes or words I might like to use and print those out – I often make a sheet with multiple font and/or size options.

If I am using a printed paper or a background I made, I will punch or cut the coin or card

Loving my new 2.5 inch punch!

and tart it up a little, maybe with some pen work, some stamping, and some spattering

then I cut out all the little elements. I usually ink the edges, but not always. It does help make bits from different kits work better together if they are all inked. Inking the edges of the coins or cards themselves also brings things into a more cohesive whole.

Once I get all the fronts composed, if I haven’t done that on heavy card, I will back them with my ATC backs that have been printed on heavy card or maybe sandwich a circle cut from cereal box card between – anything to give them some stability and some heft. I have recently been editing the sheet of backs I made to add those elements that don’t have to be handwritten (ie. my signature!)

Printing them and adding them to the backs, then a final ink around the entire coin and they are done!

Phew. Many steps but none of them too difficult. I am a little photo-heavy already so I will add the close up of the coins (and if I can get organized, another printable sheet of backs) tomorrow!


Interesting art journal techniques

I made a page where I tried out a couple of odd things.  The first was an I wonder…? thing.  I wondered if tinting water with acrylic ink might alter the effect of water-over-Distress ink.  Simple enough to test.

I smudged the ink over a bit of paper – not particularly carefully, or blended particularly smoothly.  Just decent coverage

I added a drop or two of acrylic ink in white to a small mister bottle.  I misted the left with plain water then the right with the white-tinted ink. Only managed to remember to take a photo of the white side.  Doh!

After letting it sit, and blotting off the excess you can see there is a slightly more…opaque look, I think, to the white mist side.

I agree, it is not a starling difference, but it seems like the stencil outlines are more defined and less, well, distressed I guess.  I also added a drop of a teal colour and also a bit of white to another mister and did a different area:

This resulted in more of a halo in the darker teal at the edges.  Again, subtle, not dramatic.  Interesting and well worth playing with to refine the concept.  I also saw a thumbnail on YouTube of a hedgehog painting using a snipped-in-strips loo roll tube as a paintbrush.  I thought it was a pretty neat idea, had a loo roll or two I could rescue from the recycling bin, and gave it a go. I tried it in dark Payne’s Grey, and used it in white on my page.

One is snipped quite closely in very fine shreds (dark) and the other is snipped a little wider.  I expected to like the thinner more, and I ended up liking the fatter more. Or maybe it is the light vs dark that pushed me that way,  time will tell. Here is the page:

Since he text is a stencil I cut, what I SHOULD have done was re-cut it laid out so I didn’t have to line up the words – something I am clearly not good at.  But otherwise I am pretty happy with the page. 

Overall I am happy with the way it is going in this experimental journal.  Finding my way again, trying new techniques as they occur to me, playing and having fun.  Frankly I need the distraction, and it is kinda working.

Lastly, I noticed that the image of the stencils that I have multiples of was missing from yesterday’s post. Happy to consider any trade of an item you have multiples of, not just stencils. I’ll probably re-post this for next week’s WOYWW – or maybe offer them as giveaways for the 600 week Zoom Crop. Now that’s an idea….

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Printables, and a near-fail book

I will begin by adding some printables that I made last week, before I got sidetracked by bookmaking.


I think looking at the PDF on my monitor, the text looks fuzzy. I’ve printed them to test for myself and they are actually fine.  There are strips for a 6×4 photo (along the 6″ or 4″ edge) and the 4″ inch ones also fit a 3×4 inch photo or filler card. There are some 3″ ones too.  Just little label-maker style text strips that you might find useful. Grab them here.

Now continuing the bookmaking adventure, I did try the rectangular labels.  Not a total fail but not a total success either.  First, an annoyance.  I was quite pleased with the paper booklet that came as a gift with Crafts Beautiful. Cute patterns, mostly, double-sided and a nice weight for the map folds, not too bulky.


Then I opened it.  WTF?


Printed right on the paper!  DOH. Careful placement of the dies just barely worked


Some of the edges look a little nibbled.  The real problem is that there is a formula for doing the map fold on a rectangle.  Width – Height / 2 (width of paper across minus the height of the paper divided by 2)  and that number is where you would mark for your diagonal score lines.  But because of  the shaped edges I was struggling to get it right.  Technically that is 9 1/2 wide minus 6 high = 3 1/2 divided by 2 = 1 3/4 inches.  But every time I did it, it seemed to fold just slightly differently.  And sometimes the folds had to be adjusted so the finished unit had neat edges.




I found doing one side perfectly then adjusting the other so the points matched, worked best.  And making a template for the point to fold the side in to helped as well.



The construction is pretty much the same, although I made the covers from the biggest size (same as the pages) then the inner cardstock dividers from the next size down.  It made for an interesting book.


Go back to the previous posts here and here for more detail on the map-fold books. This post talks about folding directional papers.

I am madly folding pop-up boxes, from my better designed .svg, to finish off the handful of ATCs before Wednesday.  Bank holiday tomorrow and we may actually get out for the day, so doing laundry too.  Blech. After spending the entire day disassembling DS’s Stompa bed OMG! what a job) and filing a mountain of paperwork, and prepping an enormous amount of  meat for the BBQ (enough to last the week for sure) and to populate the new freezer, I could use a day out….


Folding the inserts (map fold book)

I’ve already explained the map fold, so this is more to save yo ruining a piece of paper yo want to use by making a wrong fold. Firstly, look at how hugely different the labels die cut can be folded.



I suppose you could make a case for both versions being useful, but the one on the right (in the bottom photo, left in the top one) is the one that offers the most useable space, I think.  That is the one I will explain.  You can make the other version by just switching the bump and point folds. I trust you can identify a bump and a point….


1. Begin by folding the piece in half, two bumps together.


then fold the other two bumps together, keeping the mountain folds on the same side


2. With the mountain fold on the inside, fold in half, matching the points.


Matching the mountain folds of the point-to-point fold, collapse the unit. You will end up with this:



3.  Fold in the sides, keeping the top of the fold as level as you can, leaving just a smidge of a gap in the middle




and fold the reverse side to match.


4.  This is the tricky reverse-the-fold bit.  


Unfold each fold, and reverse the centre fold so the bump is inside.

5. Done.



The trick with paper that has an actual directions, that needs to be seen right side up, is to orient the paper correctly to begin with.




Make sure the single point to point fold goes top to bottom



It only looks wrong – the flat (unscored) areas are the “pages” where the unit is stuck inside the book base.




I am going to add the PDF of the shaped areas, without the poem, as it is more useful and no one really expressed any interest in having the with-text version.

boybookblanksYou can easily create the sized text blocks and print them then stick the cut out bits over the test and print again.

Have fun!  You know, I have a set of rectangular brackets as well –  I wonder….





Construction of the Map Fold Books

This post has the potential to be excessively long.  I am going to break it up into a couple of posts to keep that from happening.  Also, I am off out very soon.

So without further ado, here is the basic construction.

1. The book base is constructed of three folded sections.  The measurements for the one I will show are

two 4 x 8 inch pieces of cardstock, scored and folded in half

one 12 x 4 inch piece, scored at 4 inches, 8 inches, and 8 1/2 to 8 3/4 inches.  This will create a fold over flap so the thickness of the book  will determine the size.  This should help:



2. Stack the pieces and carefully punch five evenly spaced holes thru the centre folds



and sew together with a 5-hole pamphlet stitch.  This is the image I go back to over and over again when I forget!


That is the basis for all of the books.  The inserts for THIS one begin with not a square, like normal, not a circle, like my previous variation, but with a large bracket, cut with the Spellbinders Grand Nestabilities, Grand Labels One.


To add the pages, stick one side of the folded unit to the left (or right) page.


Add adhesive to the other side – I usually don’t cover the whole face bit focus on the centre line and the straight bits on the sides


Fold over the next page, making sure the corners are lined up, and press to stick.



Ta dah!

You can close the book with a simple ribbon or cord tie, like I did the previous sample


or add a two-button wrap, or any other closure you fancy.

In the next post I will talk about folding the pages from the label – there are a few tricks to it, especially with directional paper – and share show I added the text.  I should be able to share that as a PDF so you can print and cut, rather than taking the time it took ME to set it all up.  Here’s a sneaky peek:

The file looks like this:



I do also have a sheet with the shapes, but blank, so you can add your own text.  The print looks like this:


and the page looks like this!


I’ll interject here that I know not everyone is going to have these big labels.  So if you want to see the printable file for a circle page or a square page, comment and let me know.  It’s a bit of effort but I think I can do it when I return if there is interest.  I may even go ahead and do What is a Girl? (also by Alan Beck) as well as I do have one of each!