Inspired by the patterns that traditionally adorned kimonos, Japanese chiyogami paper is exquisitely beautiful, featuring intricate classic scenes and often adorned with gold embellishments. The quality of the paper and its gorgeous designs often make it a popular choice for card-makers, scrap-bookers and other crafters. The following project shows you how to create a beautiful handmade card and matching bookmark. While many card-making techniques require specialised skills and equipment, this project is very simple and suitable for total beginners. The finished products are somewhat reminiscent of traditional Japanese screens and are sure to make a much-appreciated gift for someone special. To give you a few ideas, I've made three cards, using different patterned paper and colour schemes.
As with every kind of craft project, there's no right or wrong way to make these cards. If you're inspired to, experiment with placing the paper in different positions, and perhaps embellish your product with other decorations such as glitter glue, adhesive rhinestones or a border design in a gold gel pen. Fancy craft scissors can also add an attractive border to the paper that you use.
At about $3.00 for an A4 sheet chiyogami paper can be rather pricey. However, only a small amount is used for a project like this and you'll be able to use what is left over for many other creations in the future. It can be purchased at specialised art shops, craft suppliers or online, as can the blank cards and / card stock.
Art and Craft Supplies
Blank cards or card stock (to make your own)
One or more sheets of chiyagami (yuzen) paper
Blank envelopes in a matching or contrasting colour to your cards
Plain paper in a contrasting colour
Several butterfly die cuts
Optional: Fancy scissors (pinking shears), gold or other coloured gel pens (to add extra embellishments), glitter glue in gold or other colours
Before you begin, look at the craft materials arranged before you and plan what colours and designs you want to use. This will obviously have a lot to do with the colour of your cards and the design of the chiyogami paper you bought. Plan what will go where at this point as it's much easier to do so now than later, when you're gluing everything together.
If you're using card stock (as opposed to shop-bought blank cards) fold your cards, according to the style and size you desire.
At this point you can also choose a piece of cardboard in a matching colour for the bookmark, which will be placed in the card when they're both completed.
Using a ruler and pencil, measure a piece of contrasting coloured paper that's slightly smaller than the card. Using the paper scissors, cut this out and glue it onto the card. This step isn't totally necessary, but it creates a very attractive impression.
A piece of chiyogami paper can then be measured and cut out. This should be smaller than the plain piece of contrasting-coloured paper (described in the previous step). This can then be glued onto the card.
At this point the card is basically finished. However, if you desire you can (as I did) glue on a few die cut butterflies to add an extra dimension, or anything else that inspires you.
Now that the card is complete, turn your attention to decorating a matching bookmark. Using the same chiyogami paper that was utilised for your card, neatly cut a piece that's a suitable size for your bookmark, and glue it on. As with the card, you could alternatively place a slightly bigger piece of plain paper in a contrasting colour underneath to add extra texture. If you desire you could also glue on a die cut butterfly or two.
Finally, taking a very small piece of the chiyogami paper, stick it onto the envelop in an interesting and creative way. Your matching card, bookmark and envelope are now completed.