Before the advent of modern technologies and materials like plastic, acrylic and easily moulded metals, a lot of arts and crafts were made from paper and then used to decorate the home. Items made from papers are not necessarily the flimsy things we tend to think of: disposable napkins, face masks, and even single-use underwear are not designed to last a long time, so they are made to disintegrate fairly easily. Papercrafts are quite different, designed – almost engineered – to last a long time, and offering a surprising range of items that are all, in their own way, beautiful.
If you are not artistic yourself and want to learn more about papercraft from experts, or if you just want to purchase completed items, pop on over to Etsy, the buying and selling website to see samples of the various types of papercraft (for more on this, see below) and perhaps find a tutor who can teach you the methods of paper crafting. You might be surprised to find that often, creating a work of art from the paper is time-consuming, exacting and not something that everyone can easily master! In which case, buying the finished products might be more to your tastes! Let us take a quick look at five different types of papercraft, examples of all of which can be found on Etsy.
Making your own cards can get to be quite addictive, but some artists create absolutely beautiful, handmade cards for every occasion, and who will often take personalised commissions for a unique and memorable celebration – one that the recipient can keep as a treasured memento of the day. Modern cards can be embossed, embellished with sparkles, sequins and glitter, befeathered, bejewelled and generally made beguiling to suit the taste of the customer. Or you can choose a carefully crafted box of cards to see you through the year’s special events.
This intricate and highly specialized art involves carefully cutting out a design from the sheet to leave the image intact. The paper-form is then mounted against a strongly contrasting background sheet to both protect the fragile lacework page and show up the design to its best effect. Some paper-cutters build up layers of their cut-outs to create a wonderful 3D effect with minute attention to detail. These images are astonishingly clever and beautiful and look superb when framed and hung on the wall for all to admire.
From the French word ‘decouper’ meaning ‘to cut’, the art of decoupage actually found its way from nomadic Siberian tribes to China, and from there to Italy and the rest of Europe. At its most basic, decoupage involves cutting out attractive pictures and glueing or otherwise sticking them onto the object to be decorated, which could be anything from a box to a table to a book. Once the images are stuck on, in a suitably attractive arrangement, the item is heavily varnished until the slight bump made by the cut-out piece is completely smoothed over, so the images seem to be inlaid into the wood or cardboard surface on which they are placed. Decoupage is beautiful, and if done with photographs can be a unique and durable gift for a much-loved relative or friend.
Also called paper filigree art, quilling involves using narrow strips, rolled or curled tightly and then shaped into the desired form and glued in place to create images or scenarios. Traditionally, quilling was a pastime that used the plentiful thin strips that book-binders were left with after trimming the pages of a new book to create a uniform and neat edge, and as such the depth of the decoration was enforced by the width of the strips. Today, with strips created for quilling, artists are now producing 3D images that beautifully decorate any home, being sure to charm any visitors who see them.
The traditional craft of origami has long since left its native shores, and practitioners of the art can be found in almost every country. You are no longer limited to the basic designs: cranes, frogs, swans, etc, you can now find origami figures of everything from a sweet Lamborghini to the Empire State Building to any kind of animal you can think of. While these items are fairly fragile (they do not stand up well to being crushed, for example) they are folded and tucked firmly, so they will keep their shape, looking particularly mounted on a mobile, to move and dance in the breeze.