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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Good Old Days......

When I was little, we used to make a lot of our own Christmas decorations. Lots of construction paper and even newspaper. I remember making paper chains and accordion pleated chains until they were running all over the house. When I first started doing minis, we made paper chains by cutting our own strips. Very slow work, because back then there were no rotary paper cutters and it was all done by scissors.

A few years later, someone introduced me to quilling paper. That made all the difference! Paper chains in mini are still slow work, but at least now we don't have to sit and cut paper strips before beginning.

There is a method of doing it that makes it not quite so hard to make the rings. That is doing it with a 1/8" bamboo skewer or a knitting needle.

Tessie is not a fan of this, so I will show you. She seems to think that they are pretty, but more trouble than they are worth.

Here's the skewer technique. First pull the quilling paper over the edge of your thumbnail or a pair of scissors to give it a bit of curl. Then wrap a strip around the rod and put a bit of glue on top of the tail. Pull the rest of the piece around to overlap over the cut and glued end. Push it in place and hold for a second. Then snip off the long end.

Slide the ring off of the rod. Repeat the curling with a second color and string the end through the first ring. In turn, make another ring, enclosing the first one as you glue it closed. Continue doing this ad infinitium. Or at least until you are satisfied that the chain is long enough.

Another one that I remember making in very long strands was the folded chain or accordion chain. It is really easy to do. We did it with large sheets of construction paper and simply glued another strip on when we ran out. I remember doing it with the colored Sunday comics too. Longer strips to work with. They still had to be patched, but not quite so often.

Using quilling paper makes this simple in mini too.

The piece that Tessie is holding has just a few folds in it. We used to cut these off and just hang them on the tree in short lengths. If you made them in red and white, they sort of looked like candy canes.

I took a two foot piece of red and one of green. The first step is to glue an end of each at right angles. Let it dry a bit and then just start folding. Red over green and then green over the red that you just folded. You can glue sections of this together if you want just one long strand for your tree.

They call this accordion folding because once it is done, you can stretch the length of it to show off the two tones of color.

The one that Tessie is holding is one of the two foot lengths.
You can bend and pinch these into garlands if that it what you want to do with them.

Experiment. Play. Have fun! I am thinking paper and lace angels now. I am going to go experiment some more.

See you tomorrow.


rosanna said...

You made me think of childhood days, I used to do them with my Mum, at Christmas and Carnival. How I miss those times. Hugs Rosanna

Christine said...

Gosh this brings back memories!
They are perfect as always and thank you for the tips for making paper chain making easier.

Lataina said...

Ah, memories! =) My aunt used to make these to decorate for birthday parties. =)

klara said...

Oh this brings back a lot of childhoodmemories, the acordion folded garland is called muizentrapjes (mouse stairs) in dutch. Never thought of using them for decorating miniature trees, but now I will give it a try

Rietje said...

We make these in Holland aswell. We call them mice-ladder.
So its probably a good idea to put a mouse trap under Tessie's Christmas tree.
Hugs Rianne

Caseymini said...

Klara and Rianne, thanks for the name. I have never heard the paper fold called a mouse ladder. From now on mine will be mice ladders.

As for traps, none will be used. Tessie would make pets of the mice that she caught. Then I would have to start making mouse houses!

Lucille said...

Thanks for the tutorial, Casey. I've never made those. I'll have to give them a try.

Kathi said...

I've never seen the mouse ladder chains. They look really pretty. I can't begin to tell you how many paper chains I've made in my lifetime! I'll have to try the ladders. Thanks for sharing your secrets! :D

Cheryl said...

What fun. We used to make these as kids. It looks great.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this. I tried to make the chains by cutting the paper and doing each link separatly. This looks so much easier.Now I just have to find out where to get red and green quilling paper.