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Easy Block Printed Easter Cards

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Easter is very early this year and if you are looking for Easter cards that also happen to look really good look no further than these easy block printed Easter cards.  They also have the added bonus of being fun to make for pretty much any age group!

Block printing is a quick and easy way to get a stunning result. There are a lot of different ways to make a block and the method used in this project can be done by young and old alike. A really good excuse to get your fingers messy!

There are two versions of these cards, one is more traditional, the other a bit funky.


Family Friendly: Yes, with small adaptations can be done by all ages.

Skill Level: Easy. (Some accuracy with scissors needed).

Time Needed: One and a half hours (one hour to make the stamps, half an hour to print)

Approximate Cost: Around £5.00, including the card blanks.


Materials Needed:

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

  • 2 A4 Craft Foam Sheets (if working with young children pre cut foam stickers may be better)
  • Ink Pads (Stamp Pads) in colours of your choice
  • Washi Tapes (optional)
  • Blank Cards and Envelopes (I used these, but many places sell similar).
  • Paper to practice on.
  • Double Sided Tape

Kit Needed:

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

  • Flat Bottomed drinking glasses
  • Ball point pens (one each)
  • Scissors
  • A Hole Punch (optional)

How To Make Easy Block Printed Easter Cards

Step One:

Using double sided tape stick your two pieces of craft foam together to make a double layer. Don’t use glue as it takes DAYS to dry due to the non-porous nature of the foam!

(If you have young children and are using pre-cut foam stickers pick two the same shape as each other and stick one on top the other)

This helps you to have a clearer outline and results in a better print.

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Two:

Print out the Easter designs I have drawn up on a piece of paper and cut them out. Draw around them onto the craft foam with a ball point pen. Click here to download.  Block Printed Easter Card Templates

When adding detail you can do it in two ways:

  1. Use the ball point pen to draw the detail (like the zig zag lines) onto the foam shape. Press hard and go over it several times this indent will give you the pattern when you print.
  2. Use scissors and a hole punch to cut the detail out of the two layers. This shows up more clearly when printed with but is more tricky.

Step Three:

Use double sided tape to stick the cut images to the bottom of the drinking glasses. They will come off again with soap and water but you could also use any flat, hard surface that will take a bit of pressure while you print (bits of scrap wood or empty jam jars would also work well). The advantage of using glass is that you can see exactly where you are positioning the stamp!

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Four:

Choose what colour stamp pad you want to use. It works best if you press the pad onto the foam, moving it around as necessary to make sure the whole design is covered in a good layer.

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Five:

Print onto your practice paper. Play with different layouts and find some you like. If you want to overlap two stamps in different colours it is best to wait until the paint from the first one is dry.  Always start with paler colours and stamp darker ones over those if you want overlapping designs.

Step Five A (Optional):

If you want to make the funkier version of these cards. Choose five or six designs of washi tape (or alternatively alternate two or three) and stick lengths  from the outer edge of the card. Don’t be afraid to tear the ends at an angle. That slightly ragged finish looks really good. Use scissors at the edge of the card to cut the tape to fit. Then proceed to step six.

Step Six:

Stamp your cards. You will have a good  instinct now for how often to add more ink to the stamp and how to position it. Feel free to use mine as inspiration or a starting point. At this point you will really understand how easy block printed Easter cards are to make. Using glasses as your blocks should make it easier to line up your stamps as you want them.

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Seven:

Once your cards are dry, add personalised messages (I often cheat and print out my greeting in a handwritten style font I like, copy it in pencil and then go over it in pen!) You could even add a personalised stamp to the envelopes as well.

Make these easy block printed Easter cards - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

 

Final Thoughts…

I hope that you enjoy making these easy block printed Easter cards. I had fun coming up with them. I would really love it if you would share pictures of your block printing adventures on the Il Magpie Facebook Page.

All things print and printmaking have been on my mind recently. I have been on a fantastic Letterpress printing workshop with Inky and the Beast (more to follow about that!) and I am leading a workshop on the 25th where attendees design, make and print cushion covers with their own blocks. I particularly love this workshop as the students always come up with new and exciting ways to use blocks that I would never have thought of! If you are in the Hampshire area and want to build on your knowledge of block printing from these easy block printed Easter cards you can find more information here.

 

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY (Using Your OWN Images)

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

I splurged a bit on my planner this year and treated myself to the Blogtacular/Lollipop Life Planner which has huge flexibility in it’s layout to plan how I wanted to. One of the best things about it was that it comes with a plain grey board cover. The possibilities were endless. I always like to customise my planners. and this year I came up with  this Geometric Notebook Cover DIY that I wanted to share with you.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

After a great deal of mulling things over I decided that I wanted something bright, colourful, inspiring and personal. Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows that my insta feed is pretty colourful and I decided I want to use my photos from the last year to inspire the next. I also needed the cover to last the whole year without looking tatty. I’m thrilled with the Geometric Notebook Cover DIY that I ended up with and think it will do the trick beautifully.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY:

What You Will Need:

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step One:

Choose your photos. Instagram pictures work well because they are square to start with. Print them out onto thin cardboard. I found that two per A4 sheet worked out with about the correct proportions. I needed 21 images per cover. So to do the front and the back I needed 42 images.

I had an Inkjet Printer so I used that. If you have a colour laser printer you can skip Step Two.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Two:

Spray ALL of your images with 3-4 coats of transparent spray sealant. It is best to do this in the open air. I used my washing line and some pegs but make sure to check the wind direction first as you don’t want a face full!

You are doing this so that the ink doesn’t run when you coat it with Mod Podge.  Doing this meant I got away with using the Inkjet printer instead of paying for colour laser print offs. Plus I get to keep the rest of the spray for other projects.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Three:

Measure your notebook. Mine was A5 size. I wanted a minimum of four complete triangles across the width of mine (I thought it needed at least this many to get the tessellated look I wanted but still be big enough to show the pictures off). A few sums gave me an isoceles triangle with a base of 4.5cm and a vertical height of 6.4cm (Allowing for a 2mm gap in between shapes). I also wanted the header “Life Planner” to show so I made a note of it’s size and location.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Using these measurements I made a template from a spare piece of card.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Four:

I placed the template over my images, moving it around to get the best “view” of the image before drawing around the shape with a pencil where I wanted to cut.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Then I set to and cut out all my little triangles!

Step Five:

I arranged the triangles as I wanted them and used my trusty double sided tape mouse (those things are seriously life changing!) to stick all of them into position (front and back). I didn’t use glue because I didn’t want to make the cardboard damp and risk it wrinkling.

 

I added some washi tape around the header text to make it stand out a bit more and another area on the back for continuity.

Step Six:

Break out the Mod Podge. I used it neat (un-diluted) and used an old paintbrush to paint a coat of it all over the front cover.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

Step Seven:

After the cover is thoroughly dry coat it with Mod Podge again (ordinary PVA glue will also work for this but I like Mod Podge because it isn’t quite so runny and I can get it in a matte finish).  Keep the coats as smooth as you can for the best finish (if I did this again I would actually use one of those foam brushes to help with this). Keep doing this until you have 3 or 4 coats of Mod Podge on both the front and back covers. As the Mod Podge dries you will see that it really brings the colours of the images out on this Geometric Notebook Cover DIY.

Geometric Notebook Cover DIY using your own Instagram images - Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

I really love this Geometric Notebook Cover DIY, it was really good fun to make and now it cheers my days up. Helping motivate me through the rest of the winter towards sunnier spring days. I am also really loving the Life Planner itself. It is really flexible and actually allows me to bullet journal (which might be my new obsession).

What about you? How do you plan? Do you bullet journal? Any tips for a newbie journaller?

Bedside Organiser (Including Free Pattern)

To solve the mess of my beside table (picture in last week’s post) I ended up designing an organiser pouch to hang to the side of the table.

My criteria were simple;

  • It had to hold a book, my phone (whilst charging), a handkerchief and my hand cream.
  • I wanted something discreet that would fit in attractively to the piece of furniture.

The tutorial below is for what I came up with.

A Disclaimer from me;

This is the first pattern I have drafted that is not just for my own personal use.  I have done the bes I can to make sure that people can follow it but I would welcome and pointers and feed back if anyone would be kind enough to try it out!

Materials:

  1. Fabric. 2 pieces 40 cm x 28 cm for the back, 1 piece 20 cm x 70 cm for the pockets (you can split this into individual sized pieces to have different colour pockets like I did).
  2. Iron on Interfacing. 2 pieces 38 cm x 26 cm and one 5 cm x 7 cm (I used Vilene H250).
  3. Thread in coordinating or contrasting colour (depending on your preference).
  4. Eyelets (I used 11mm diameter ones).
  5. Hammer and surface to hammer onto.
  6. Velcro (Approx 10cm worth.)

Equipment:

  1. Sewing Machine
  2. Iron and Board
  3. Scissors and a cutting out surface (Rotary Cutter is optional)

Step One:

Print out the pattern pieces and join the two halves of the back piece together using glue or tape.  If you are using the same fabric for all the pockets joint the pocket pieces together using the glue area overlaps provided.

Step Two:

Fold the backing fabric into two layers (right sides facing each other) and pin pattern piece 1 to the fabric.

Organiser-7

Cut out the fabric.  I used a rotary cutter and quilting ruler but scissors would work just as well.

Step Three:

Tack markers into the centre of the three eyelet “crosses” making sure that you go through both layers of fabric. If you don’t know how to do this Miss P has a really good tutorial.

Tailor Tacks

Step Four:

Pin the pocket pattern pieces to the fabric(s) that you wish to use and cut them out.  Don’t forget the slot for the phone cord and the cut away on each side of the phone pocket.

Phone Pocket

Step Five:

If necessary sew all the pocket pieces together into a long strip (make sure you get them in the right order!).

Organiser-10

And press open the seams.

Organiser-11

Step Six:

Cut a piece of interfacing 13cm x 4cm and iron in onto the inside of the phone pocket, trim it to size and put in the cuts for the slots.

Pin and stitch hems on the edge of the slot for the phone charger wire and the cut away sections of the phone pocket.

Phone Pocket Sewn

Step Seven:

Press and stitch across top hem of all the pockets

Top Hem

Step Eight:

Cut a 5cm strip of Velcro, pin it across the bottom of the phone pocket, trim to size and stitch into place.

Velcro

Step Nine:

Press the 1cm hem along the bottom of the other pockets up using an iron.  DO NOT SEW into place.

Step Ten:

Press in the folds for the pockets.  I started at the Hand Cream pocket end and worked along to the phone pocket as this was the trickiest and I wanted the practice before I got there. (the weird blue finger things are made by Prym and save me a LOT of blisters!)

Organiser-20

Step Eleven:

Separate the two back pieces from each other by snipping the Tailor’s tacks apart, leaving some on each side. I cut two pieces of interfacing by cutting the seam allowance off of my back pattern piece and using the smaller piece to cut the interfacing.

Iron a piece of interfacing onto the wrong side of each back piece.

Organiser-22

Step Twelve:

Putting the two back pieces right side together and stitch around them leaving a gap of around 5-8 cm open at the bottom where the pockets will cover it.

Organiser-21

Step Thirteen:

Clip the corners so that fabric doesn’t bunch up in the corners when you turn it right way in.  Then turn the sewed piece right side in.

Organiser-23

Step Fourteen:

Press the back piece, making sure that the corners and hems are turned out completely.

Step Fifteen:

Using the Tailor tack marks and your scissors CAREFULLY snip a cross shape with it’s centre on the marker.  Remember you can always make things bigger!  Each slit needs to be around 1 cm long.

Step Sixteen:

Follow the instructions on the eyelet packet and put in the three eyelets.  They are in pictures, easy to follow and put it a lot better than I could!

Organiser-24

Step Seventeen:

Position the pocket strip onto the backing centrally and pin into position along the joins.  Make sure that the pockets are straight and stitch along the joins to join them to the back.  Don’t attach either end of the pockets yet.

Organiser-25

Organiser-26

Step Eighteen:

Use the phone pocket Velcro to locate and pin into place the other half of the Velcro onto the back piece.  Then pin the pocket back out of the way whilst you sew the Velcro into position.

Organiser-27

Step Nineteen:

Press the Velcro together so that the pockets are now held in the correct position.

Pin the pocket sides (at both ends) into position with the upper folds of the pocket caught back out of the way.

Organiser-28

Top stitch along each edge and across the top (under the eyelets). Don’t sew the bottom yet!

Organiser-29

Step Twenty:

Top stitch along the bottom of all the pockets except the phone pocket to hold them in position.

Organiser-30

Trim ends and press the final thing for presentation!

Organiser-31

Organiser-33

Organiser-34

The Pattern downloads are below.  I hope that you will find them useful, I know I am!

Back Piece A Pattern Back Piece B Pattern Book Pocket Pattern Hand Cream Pocket Pattern Phone Pocket Pattern Tissue Pocket Pattern

Papercutting – 10 Design Tips For Stunning Results

Papercutting is not an expensive craft to embark on but there is definitely a learning curve. That is why I have written this post “Papercutting – 10 Design Tips For Stunning Results”. These tips are things I learned the hard way and will help prevent you from falling into the same traps!

Papercutting- 10 Design Tips For Stunning Results

I have long admired the simplicity, intricacy (yes I know that’s a contradiction!) and beauty of paper cutting whether by Rob Ryan. Paper Panda or any other artist. So why not have a go I thought, I am able to draw a picture that resembles the thing that I set out to draw and I spent a lot of time through my degree cutting stuff out with a craft knife. Well these are the things I learnt that really helped to produce a fantastic papercut.

This blog is named for Magpies, I have an affection for the pesky creatures, I am superstitious enough to greet them and thrilled whenever I see “two for joy”. That was the key to my design, “two for joy” that’s what I want this blogging/crafting experience to represent to all those involved.

 

Tip #1:

 

Use Google image search, it is your friend.

Papercutting- 10 Design Tips For Stunning Results

 

Tip #2:

If you think you can’t draw, enlarge a picture and trace the basic outlines of it.

If you think you can't draw, enlarge a picture and trace the basic outlines of it.

Tip #3:

If you are just starting out use a border to your image.  A lot of paper cuts seem to have border to sort of define their edges, although the trend amongst those that are really good is moving away from this (try a Google image search under “Papercut” to see what I mean!)

If you are just starting out use a border to your image.

Tip #4:

Even if you don’t trace a whole image, used parts of it.

When I began sketching the birds getting the beaks right was really tricky. They always seemed to look like pigeons, NOT the look I was going for. I even outlined the bit I needed on the photo to make it easier to trace.

Even if you don't trace a whole image, used parts of it.

Tip #5:

Treat your image like stained glass. Every different colour needs a border to hold it to its correct place in the whole. If it doesn’t it will fall apart.

Every different colour needs a border to hold it to its correct place in the whole.

 

Tip #6:

Once you have a design that you are happy with make sure you can tell the cut lines from your sketching lines. I outline mine with Sharpie pen and where I think I might get confused I mark the waste with diagonal lines. This is particularly important if you have to go away and leave your design whilst you deal with dinner or squabbling kids.

Make sure you can tell the cut lines from your sketching lines

 

 

Tip #7:

Use paper or card that is at least 80gsm in weight. This is heavy enough to stop it tearing easily and gives a nice, crisp cut.

Tip #8:

If you have an A4 or A3 cutting mat use washi or masking tape to tape your design over the piece of paper that will be your final cut. This saves getting pencil marks on the final cut that wont rub out properly. To get at different parts I simply turn the whole mat. The paper that I was using was black.

If  you put the pieces of tape on diagonally they are easier to peel away without causing any damage to either piece of paper.

If you are working on a bigger cutting mat simply tape the two layers of paper together for easy turning.

Use washi or masking tape to tape your design over the piece of paper that will be your final cut

Tip #9:

 

Make sure you have a new blade in your scalpel.  Use the whole flat of the blade to cut with, rather than just the tip. You will get better results and it is easier to cut this way. Don’t hold the knife too tight and don’t press too hard. You will just tire your hand out. I have had my scalpel handle for years but if I had my time again I would buy a rounded handle instead of a flat one as they are much more comfortable to work with.

Number 11 blades are the most effective for papercutting.

Make sure that you use a new blade for each papercut

Tip #10:

If I am struggling with a curve I often divide it up by cutting it out in segments (marked by the green lines in the picture), this often makes for a smoother cut in my experience.

Divide up tight curves into segments to make them easier to cut

BONUS Tip #11:

 

 

When cutting into a point DON’T try to turn the corner with the knife blade. Instead make two separate cuts that meet at the tip of the point. Then use your knife tip to lift the piece out.

Don't try to cut around sharp points. Instead make two cuts that meet at the tip

Of course you could always come along to my Beginners Papercutting Workshop and learn the basics in confidence. As a special bonus anyone who books into the July 17th workshop will not only take home a framed version of their papercut, their cutting mat and craft knife but they will  have their name put into a hat to take home a copy of  “Twenty To Make: Papercuts” written by Paper Panda founder Louise Firchau.

As a special bonus anyone who books into the July 17th workshop will not only take home a framed version of their papercut, their cutting mat and craft knife but they will  have their name put into a hat to take home a copy of  "Twenty To Make: Papercuts" written by Paper Panda founder Louise Firchau.

Christmas Card Hanger – Tutorial

(This is my first attempt at a “proper” tutorial so bear with me if I muck it up!)

We seemed to have LOADS more Christmas cards this year than in previous years (my brain boggles at the weird reason for this when everyone seems to be sending less due to Eco issues, recession, etc.)  To cut a long story short we ran out of the ribbon hangers that I had hand sewn very quickly in previous years and this year I decided that I wanted to do something a bit…nicer, I suppose.  I had seen some lovely Scandi style felt ornaments around and decided to combine that look with my tried and true ribbon hanger method.  I’m pretty pleased with the results.

WARNING!: Some of my photos feature Christmas tree tops and some feature Hearts because I made four hangers, two of each type.

Step 1:
Choose, buy and cut your ribbon to length.  I used pieces around 1.5m long (when finished) because it suits my room.  Add 15cm to the final length that you want to have when they are finished to sew into the top of the hanger and to allow you to put weights in at the bottom. I found this really cute ribbon in 10 yard reels on sale at my local Garden Centre!

Step 2:
Find or draw the shapes that you want for the tops of the hangers and cut them out of paper to make templates.  I drew the heart and cut it out myself but the Christmas tree is a piece of clip art that I pasted into MS Publisher, sized and printed out. Mine were approx 15 cm in diameter.

Step 3:
Fold your square of felt in half and pin the template to it.  Make sure that you pin through both layers.  Cut around the template using sharp fabric scissors.  When you unpin afterwards you should have two identical pieces, a front and a back.

Step 4:
Using one of your felt pieces cut a length of ribbon or rat tail that is 20cm long.  Sew the ends onto the inside of your shape using hand stitching.  Make sure they are well secured because this is what the whole thing hangs from!

Step 5:
Pin the top end of your piece of ribbon to the back felt shape that you have just sewn the hanger to. and sew a square using the sewing machine.  Be careful not to trap the hanging loop you have just made ( I learnt this the hard way).  I used a square to give it some strength.

Step 6:
Next switch to the other piece of felt that will make the front of your shape.  Inspired by Scandi style I embroidered patterns onto mine by hand using Anchor Cotton Perle and Fly Stitch.  I learnt to do Fly stitch by Googling it and following instructions (never tried it before!).  I chose to use Perle instead of Stranded Cotton because it was bolder and stood out from the background more in my view. 

For the first hanger I made I drew the line that I wanted to follow on the felt using an air fading fabric marker but after I got the hang of it I didn’t need to for the others.

Step 7:
Back to the ribbon.  I wanted to weight the bottom of the ribbon so that it hung nicely and didn’t move in the draughts very much.  To do this I decided to use two pence pieces but washers or similar would do just as well.

 I folded the end of the ribbon over and then over again to enclose the end, removed the coins and then pinned it in position.  When sewing the pocket closed I sewed up one side, across the end and then raised the presser foot with the needle in situ to put the coins back in and sew the whole thing closed. (It took the tip of a pair of small scissors to push the coins into the pocket).

Step 8:
Pin the embroidered front of the felt onto the back and pin into position.  Using Cotton Perle again and blanket stitch stitch around the edge until around half of it is enclosed.  Using small pieces of stuffing and a knitting needle stuff the shape until it is plump, using the knitting needle to gently push the stuffing into corners etc.

Step 9:
You will need to change technique for the blanket stitch where it crosses the ribbon so that it continues to appear the same from the front.  Finish blanket stitching around the edge, closing it completely and tie off securely.

You now have a finished card hanger, all you need are some miniature clothes pegs to suspend your cards with!  Thank you for sticking with the tutorial.  Constructive comments are always welcome.

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