Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A card & a Scor-Pal hack (5 minute DIY piercing mat for under $5.00)

No card since August? That has to be some kind of criminal offense.
 Methinks my mojo has been paralyzed by rampant self-criticism.
So, here's a new card to break that nasty dry spell (with a little luck!) ;-)

'Love Graphics' stitched Triangle paper card

The card is 7-3/4 inches wide x 3-3/4 inches tall, or about the size of a glass butter dish
as you can see in the picture (weird random coincidence). ;-)
The large sentiment is from this SRM Stickers 'Thanks' set. I sanded it to soften the look.

The card was made with these two papers...

    1 pattern-filled triangles - free printable digital patterned paper 8 Small Stars (griege solid) - free printable digital patterned paper

I've just added some stitches:
stitched triangles

(piercing for hand-stitching)

Sewing machines scare me, so I do all my stitching by hand (while watching TV).
This triangle paper was particularly easy to sew. I just
pierced it free-hand (without a piercing ruler) since the lines are easy to follow:

A) Pierce in the middle of where the triangles meet:

1 center of the asterix formed by the outline of the triangles

B) Pierce in the middle of the side of the triangle:

2 in the middle of the side of the triangle

C) Pierce in between those two holes:

3 midway between those two pierced holes

D) And pierce in between again:

4 again in the center of the two hols to the left and repeat for each side

E) Then simply repeat for each side of each triangle and sew.

I just use regular old sewing thread on a needle and simply affix the ends
 of the thread to the back of the paper with bits of tape as I stitch.

It actually goes quite quickly and it's very meditative, but if you're not a big chicken when it comes to a sewing machine then you may want to go for that instead. (One day I'll get brave enough... and get a sewing machine). :-)

(DIY large paper piercing mat)

This is something basic that I've been wanting to share with you for years:
 a Scor-Pal DIY piercing mat made by layering fun foam/craft foam sheets to be about 1/4" thick.
(It's kind of like an Ikea-hack for your scoring board tool...)
Of course, if you have thicker foam available to you, you could just skip all my chatter
 & cut a thick old piece of foam to size. I have never been able to find any. :-)

DIY fun foam piercing mat - nestled in a Scor-Pal

This particular piercing mat is made of 4 layers of fun foam sheets (cut to 12x12"), so it cost less than $5.00. If you don't have a Scor-Pal, you can use something else to support your mat, but I love how sturdy it is. It sits in the frame of the scoring board so it doesn't move around at all. And you can even pierce an entire scrapbook page because of the large 12x12 format.

I've used it for ages so it's a bit grubby now, but it's my very  fave. *By the by, no Scor-Pals were harmed in the making of this mat (the plastic of the Scor-Pal is ultra durable so despite thousands of pierced holes there's no damage to the board underneath at all). 

I pierce with this "MakingMemories deluxe paper piercer" tool:

 (I've tried quite a few other piercing tools, but they all seem to make
overly large holes, so this one is my precious.)

To make your own custom piercing mat
(it's as easy as 1, 2, 3)

You will need just 3 basic materials: 1) black and white fun foam sheets 2) scissors 3) double-sided tape.

Step 1) Cut the fun foam sheets to measure 12x12" or the opening size of a Scor-Pal board. You can use a piece of 12x12 paper as your template (or just measure if you like). Fun foam cuts like butter.

TIP: make one side with black fun foam and one side with white, so that you can easily see the edges of cards, whether you are using dark or light cardstock, by flipping the mat over.

Step 2) Apply strong double-sided tape all around the outside edges of 3 pieces and stick all 4 pieces together. (Try not to add any tape in the middle of the fun foam pieces, since you'll be piercing there and the tape would make your piercer gummy).

Step 3) Fit it into your Scor-Pal and you're good to go. (If the fit isn't perfect, it is quite easy to trim all 4 layers at once with strong scissors).

If you like you can add a thick piece of foam to serve as a pin cushion 
(use some strong double-sided tape or glue to stick it on the Scor-Pal):

Foam pin cushion attached to Scor-pal piercing mat

I stick a pencil in there too and sewing machine needles (for piercing square-shaped holes.)
As well as a little strawberry from an old fashioned pin cushion (it's a needle sharpener.)

I keep a bit of thread in each of my favourite needles so I can recognize
what each is for: embroidery floss, beading, regular sewing, etc.

Other modifications: a magnet to hold scissors for trimming & spools
of thread (stood up securely on hat pins).

(altering patterned papers):

When I was ready to add the SRM "Thanks" sticker (on the greige Star paper flag)
the grey triangle in the pattern was competing with it visually,
so I cut a lined-paper triangle from the rest of the paper & glued it over the grey one:

cut and adhere triangles if you want to change the pattern

Fun to be sneaky, hey? ;-)

This digital work is offered up for free, but mainly for personal use only.
Please be sure to read my terms of use here. Thanks!

Well thanks for having a look. 
Hope your mojo is alive & well!


Crafting Queen said...

thank you for sharing this. You come up with some wonderful things.

Mickymunchkin's little space said...

So it's not just me who's scared of sewing machines :) phew! ;)
Great post, thanks for the tipps and the card is smashing, I really like it :)
So I guess we'll be in for more soon? *hope*

Margie said...

Can't believe that's you and mickymunchkin that's scared of sewing machines as well as me! I have really tried (honest!) but I just can't handle the pressure it puts on me - much more therapeutic to sew by hand. Love your card and all the piercing advice. Thanks so much.

Tam said...

Your card is awesome and I admire your tenacity to stitch the whole thing by hand. Me I would just use my machine. But may I ask you what type of paper do you print your paper out on. I download some of these latest papers and want to use a few. I am using photo matte finish paper. It looks ok but just wondering what you use. Thanks and good to see u back n the grove.

Dawn said...

more tricks for this old dog! clever you....as usual!

good to see you creating!!!!

thanks for the tips, xoxo

Crafty-liz said...

AWESOME as usual!! I just love everything you make and just wanted to thank you for all the papers, ideas, patterns, that you share with all of us. You ROCK!

Noreen said...

I am constantly amazed at how much you do with so little! You make the most intricate things with the simplest of tools. And your cheap tricks have always been my favorite, because I use all kinds of unusual things when I craft, too. I'm glad you and your brother are both feeling better.

Tine said...

Love how you added the stitching. Fabulous effect which emphasises the pattern beautifully.

Unknown said...

Mel, I am so happy to see you creating again. I just love your cards...they ALWAYS blow me away. The papers you create are just magnificent and to see you put it all together is just such a treat! Hope you feel up to creating more soon. You are truly an inspiration! =)

Tiffany said...

Love the technique here! On your DIY piercing mat...how many sheets of foam did you use and what size where they to start with? Can't wait to make one! PS. I just finally posted my strawberry refillable notebook technique. Linked back to you for the tutorial on making it! No need to re-write something that is already perfect! Here's the link for quick reference!! http://tiffanydoodles.blogspot.com/2013/02/make-strawberry-gatefold-refillable.html LOVE that you are creating again!

Natalie said...

Darling card!! So glad you've shared those tips. My sewing machine is so out of the way and inconvenient that I just skip adding any stitching so this may be a good way to get some stitching in there after all! Thanks!

Miriam Prantner said...

What a pretty card! I love the stitching, and so glad to see you back in action!

Kim Etherington said...

Glad to see a card from you! Beautiful as always!

Unknown said...

Oh it is good to see you creating again, love the latest paper range, and am blown away with your talent (again!!!!) - hope everyone is feeling better and look forward to seeing more beautiful creations :)

Shawn said...

Diana Crick here. We need to get you the new Scor-Pal, pale blue and it has a magnet under my signature. Please e-mail me at ladydian@shaw.ca.

Shawn said...

BTW loved your post!!!
hugs, Diana

Cathy said...

Thanks for the tips and tricks Mel, fabulous card :)

mel m. m. mccarthy said...

Hi Margie & mickymunchkin, Thank you for being scared of sewing machines with me. SO nice to know I'm not alone! :-D ox

mel m. m. mccarthy said...

Hey sweet Tiffany, I used 4 sheets of fun foam. I believe they were about 12" x 18" ... but sometimes the foam comes in huge rolls. OX

mel m. m. mccarthy said...

Hello Lovely Lady Diana,

You are SUCH an Angel. You already sent me a new one & it is a treasure. (Thank You, again!) I just used my original Scor-Pal to hold the piercing mat, because I wouldn't dream of sticking things like the pin cushion onto my new dreamy blue one. :-)

oxo Mel

mel m. m. mccarthy said...

Hi Tammy J, I only wish I could sew by machine. I love the look of it. For printing I usually use this economical Recollections paper that I get at Michaels It's 65lb so it doesn't weigh too much when you stick it on a card-front, and it is thick enough not to buckle with adhesives. To line envelopes with pattern I print on regular copy paper since it fits and folds nicely. For a printer, I use an HP Officejet 7500A Wide Format, since it lets you print 12x12 papers or larger (GRIN!) Sometimes fiddling with settings can affect the print quality (like "let printer handle colors") Hope that helps? :o) xo

Unknown said...

Mel - what an ingenious idea - you should patent it. Love how you have all your tools at hand and even the magnet for the scissors! It's all in the details!

I am so (sew) into the colours of your card - so subtle and soft.

Hope you are OK and keeping those monsters at bay at the moment!

Thanks once again for sharing your ideas.

Paula x x x

Marianne said...

Thank for the great tips and for sharing your fab card. Happy to see you creating again. And now I'd better go and download those pretty papers. I believe there are also some older papers I never got round to downloading before...

sara said...

Great card, love the tips. you are a very talented lady. Thanks for sharing.

Holly Young said...

Beautiful card mel. I love the papers too and you have given such a great tip on the piercing!

Bev Kimber Colour and craft said...

Thank you for sharing this and giving me more inspiration

maria f. said...

Lovely project and amazing all that hand stitching. But those large sized stitches really work well with your PP.

alexandra s.m. said...

Fantastic project and tutorial my Friend!
You are so special ;-)
Thank you!

CaninesCouture said...

It's cute even on it's own without the extra embellishment (although I'm ALL about the bling).


Jules of Canines & Couture

Sue VanDeVusse said...

Love your card! Absolutely genius. Sewing machines scare me, too. Glad to see you back here.

Stamping With Bibiana said...

I love you project for today, specially…all the photos, and the piercing
Thanks for sharing.
Bibiana, DTM for Memory Box
Please visit My recently launched Personal Blog: http://stampingwithbibiana.blogspot.com/

Erum Tasneem said...

Thats an awesome card Mel! I can never get enough of your impeccable stitching! And wow! I use my MS board same way for piercing! you are so right, it does provide a better surface, much sturdier and fixes the mat in one place. Like you I have used around 10 sheets of foam to make my mat - yes i like them fat LOL

Leslie Hanna said...

MEEEEELLLLLL! I love your posts. I laughed when I saw the foam block that holds your needles. I've re-purposed an SU sanding block the same way. It's perfect.

I saw you in the Online Card Class gallery. So excited for class to start and happy to see you there. :)

Taheerah said...

This is absolute genius!! The stitching adds *so* much to this design, and I love that this card isn't a standard size! Awesome work!!

Pat (mspfd) said...

Love the papers and tutorial. Thanks so much!

Sian Ridley said...

Well, I think your mojo is well and truly back now! Yipee! I hope you're feeling it too :) this card is beautiful :)

I have a love/hate relationship with sewing machines - it'd be much quicker if I had one, but not nearly as rewarding :) I thought I was the only one left who hand stitched everything!

A Scor-board is on my wish list and it would be lovely to have such a large piercing mat too! I currently use an upturned mouse mat! The plastic on the top (or bottom now I suppose?!) stops the piercer going through which is handy :)