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make a paper swan treat box : free tutorial

paper swan ornament treat box diy

For little treats and treasures. This swan favor box is super easy to make.  And I’ve made the template in two sizes for you (I demonstrate below using the larger size).

paper treat box tutorial

paper swan ornament diy

*This tutorial contains affiliate links – meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the link.

download the template

You will need:

  • the large or small swan box template
  • heavy paper – mixed media paper, card stock or watercolor paper all work
  • exacto knife
  • masking tape
  • glue
  • paint (I used water color)
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • paper clips
  • clothespins
  • optional – hanging string or ribbon

Notes before you begin:

The boxes are easy to make but tracing and cutting accuracy are very important. Also, please read through the steps before beginning.

 paper swan favor box diy

1. Cut out a swan template (I’m using the large) and use the pencil to poke holes through the three dots on the pattern. Use the exacto knife to cut the tab slot lines on the pattern. Place the template on your heavy paper and use a few little pieces of masking tape to keep it in place.  Trace around the edge.

* click the images for a larger view

2.  Mark the 3 dots with your pencil.

3. Lift up the tab slot and trace that edge.

4. Using the tail dot as a guide draw the straight score lines.

5. To draw the 2 curved score lines cut the line and trace them. You can tape the template back together after.

6. Use the back of the exacto knife to lightly score  all the lines you drew.

7. If you would like to add a hanging string use a large embroidery needle to poke holes through the two dots on the tab. Gently erase all the pencil lines.

paper swan ornament box diy

8. Turn your swan over and paint. I also made the smaller size and painted that one black (for that one I painted both sides.

I like simple, quick gestural painting for the swans. Make a few quick strokes in shades of gray water color and used just a little orange for the beak. I’m using a koi water color box and mudder water brushes. I love both of these items deeply.  *FYI – I get a small commission if you purchase through the links. Add some lines on the feathers in pencil or pen. I used pencil and sprayed them with a fixative so they won’t smudge. I made a curvy line for the eye with a black pen.

9.  Beginning with the tail gently fold along the score lines.

10. Next fold up the sides.

11. Gently shape the curved score lines too.

12. Apply glue to the front as shown and press the sides together.

13. Use paperclips or a weight to hold the sides together while tit dries.

14. When the front is dry apply glue to the tail and bend one side of the bottom tail feathers over the back.

15. Clamp with a clothespin and gently curl up the end with you finger. Let the tail dry.

16. Repeat for the other tail feather.

 treat box diy

17. Curl the ends of the middle feathers over a pen.

18. Add a string or ribbon if you like.

19. Tuck the tab into the slot by pressing down to close the box.

treat box diy

20.  Finally curl the feather under the top feather up a little.

make a paper swan treat boxI hope you make lots of swan boxes!

 

 

the magical possibilities of cardboard and behind the scenes in the mouse diorama

paper mache ships hanging in my window

Cardboard is all over the place, for free! It has lots of interesting qualities and I’m always curious about the possibilities of things. I’m very interested in transformation, particularly of modest things, discarded things. The thin stuff, like a cereal box, is wonderfully flexible and you can create remarkably graceful curves with a little ingenuity. It is the secret ingredient in my paper mache ships. I think that is quite a transformation, from family size Cheerios box to floating ship, it is a kind of magic.

paper mache ships hanging in my window

It is also what I use for my teacup armature.

cardboard teacup armature

Or even more intriguing, let it be the star of the show, glorified in all its cardboardness. The shapes and tones and textures all observable and celebrated.  And I can’t resist an interesting die cut, they set my imagination on fire. Die cuts figure heavily into this spooky cardboard castle.

yummy fun playhouse

I made this playhouse from cardboard and popsicle sticks ages ago for Clare Crespo’s Yummyfun Cooking.  So many hot glue burns but so much fun.

And speaking of fun checkout this super simple diorama for photographing your continental mice in a make believe French countryside. It is sand and pebbles, a little fake moss (all found at Joann’s) and a sweet print I got in the actual South of France last summer. It’s in a giant plastic container to diffuse the light.

felt mouse in a countryside diorama

This guy seems pretty excited about it. He was made by a student in the French General Mouse workshop last week. Find the pattern to make your own here.

P S – Do you get my weekly -ish newsletter? (there are two great cardboard halloween costume ideas in this week’s issue.

And you can signup for it right here.

handmade christmas 2017

handmade christmas 2017

Unwrapping ornaments in soft, crumpled paper that my mother wrapped and unwrapped one million times, treasures that never lose their magic, the ceremony of their yearly appearance, that is most of the reason to Christmas the tree.

And I love it, my dear norfolk pine, all festooned and twinkling.

handmade christmas

moon tree topper

I skipped the tree last year. Got too busy, got the flu, and it didn’t happen. It almost didn’t happen this year. The big crash in October left a wake of disruption and chaos that is still not over. But as soon as I got the boxes down and saw familiar things peeking from that tissue (Christmas tissue is not like other tissue, something special happens to it) I felt inspired to do it.

handmade wrapping paper

Wrapping paper was next on my Christmas list. I decided to make my own and be super simple about it. I’m splattering plain newsprint paper (I always have a huge roll around for packing and shipping) with red paint. I’m also using plain brown paper and twine, red hemp and baker’s twine and a little green tissue left over from last year.

handmade wrapping

I like it. It’s simple and sweet and I spent zero dollars. I love an elegant economy and there will be more on that in the new year.

Merry and Happy to you,
ann

please meet vivienne and work on a new rag doll experiment

Entirely nude, but for a threadbare whisper of a nightgown.

vivienne : naked ragdoll

The gown is made from the sleeve of an Edwardian lawn gown – so simple to make. I just hemmed the top edge – gathered across the front side and added ribbon ties that go around her neck – halter style.

vivienne : an immodest doll

She sits serenely,  in her nightgown,  silently judging that little ant who admires himself so constantly.

ant and ragdoll

Update 1/6/2019 : There is a nude rag doll pattern and kit in the works – you can sign up here if you’d like an email when it is available.

And something new on my worktable – an evolving rag doll creature. The texture thing is pretty ambitious and I’m not sure I’ll ever do it again,  it’s labor intensive even by my standards.  But I do like the effect on him.

ragdoll experiment

a diorama workshop at squam – and a scholarship opportunity

ann wood : diorama workshop

Before I tell you about the workshop I have to tell you that the squam art retreat, where I’ll be teaching it,  already sold out in pre- registration – both spring and fall sessions (there is a waiting list and  stuff happens in a year so …. contact squam to get on the list).  That’s the bad news. The good news is – just today I learned of a scholarship opportunity being offered by Honey & Oak:

We are offering one spot to attend the Squam Workshops either for their Spring session (June 7th – June 11th 2017) OR their Fall session (September 13th – September 17th 2017). You get to choose what works best for you! In addition, we will provide a $500.00 stipend to be used towards Travel Expenses and Extras.

It’s a pretty sweet deal – find all the  details on how to enter right here. You must enter by January 3rd.

And also – just so you know – September will be the 10th and last retreat – I’m sad to see it go – it has been a truly marvelous experience.

ann wood : diorama workshop

In my diorama workshop (fall 2017) we will explore the poetry and spirit of things. I’m bringing all sorts of things to play with and we’ll forage the magnificent fall Squam forest for natural elements too. The compositions that emerge might be entirely abstract or tell a story, they might reflect an inner landscape, an outer landscape or an intersection of ideas – intersections are always interesting places.

There is more info on the class and retreat here.

I hope your holidays are lovely,

ann

my big creative year : mind maps

chillingworth

Mind mapping and I go way back….. I first used it during the couple of years or so I spent trying to figure out what I wanted to do next, pre – this blog, pre – ann wood handmade. It helped me feel my way through, sort and evaluate ideas and then figure out steps to begin, to make stuff happen.

My brain is not a good place to keep things – ideas chase and distract me, things get lost, when my head feels cluttered I get overwhelmed and unhappy.

chillingworth

Getting stuff out helps me keep moving forward. My notebooks remain my most important tool for capturing ideas but for looking at the whole picture, making complex plans or experimenting with possibilities I find mind mapping incredibly useful. And I enjoy it – which matters – it’s fun, fun is good, fun gets me to do stuff. I use software or sometimes just pencil and paper – each have their advantages, the premise is the same for both:

Organize thoughts around a central idea.

Topics, sub topics and related ideas radiate out from the central idea and then branch off into increasing detail. That’s one of the big benefits for me – details go where they belong and I’m less inclined to become mired in, or overly focused on them. I use shapes and colors and lines and size to define or highlight ideas. I see connections and intersections, relationships and priorities that I might not otherwise have seen if I was working something out in my head or making a strictly linear list.

I started a new mind map this weekend. I’ve got a wicked summer cold, laryngitis, zero energy and large sections of me are covered in calamine lotion (unprotected walk in a swampy forest) – I’m wretched and itchy and generally poorly so I took to my bed on Sunday and played with Xmind all day – it’s free unless you want to get super fancy and I love it. It looks snazzy and you can add hyper links, images, reminders – all sorts of useful stuff. The image below is the beginning of my map (it has gotten much bigger) and I blurred some stuff out so as not to spoil any surprises.

mind map
My central topic is broad – my plans for the second half of 2015 – products, artwork, marketing, workshops, blog stuff – all of it. I’m just getting started and it’s already helping me generate new ideas and have a sense of direction and priorities for the rest of the year. I start messy and inclusive, brain dump style – and then refine – wether I’m working on paper or a program. As my focus gets clearer I start to add action steps. I love the structure around my ongoing projects and it makes space for new ideas. It’s not a to do list but it helps me build meaningful to do lists. Excellent and entertaining use I think, of an entire Sunday in bed.

P.S. When I mention or link to or recommend something here – books, websites, products etc. it’s because I think they’re interesting or awesome or I’m curious what you think about them – I don’t get paid for it, there are no affiliate links here. Just so you know.

my blog is moving

ann wood -site  makeover

Ann Wood Handmade ( my shop website)  is getting a make over.  And part of that makeover is  to consolidate my blog and shop into one place. In a couple weeks the new site will be complete and everything will live at annwoodhandmade.com ( for now I’ll still be posting here).  I’m making lots of improvements to the shopping experience and I like the idea of having it all in one place – just seems simpler. While the shop site  is down I’ll be using my etsy shop  for sales.

sweet things

I designed a new cake topper over the summer: Flamingos in Love.

I painted miles of crepe paper in very particular shades of pink and coral.

They are available in my shop now as well as at BHLDN.  I’m also thinking of putting a “make it your self” kit together for these – what do you think?

I loved working with crepe paper and I’ve got something else for the cute department in the works – here are a couple sneak peeks:

road’s end

I spent last week in  the Adirondack forest, by a lake.  The house is called Road’s End and it is among other things, a former turn of the century  cure cottage.

road's end

There are lots of sleeping porches ( to facilitate the cure) and I used this one for my work room.

adirondack sleeping porch

It was glorious and I sewed a ton. And when I wasn’t sewing or sleeping or swimming or reading I hiked up things. The views were spectacular.

the view  from whiteface mt

The view from Whiteface Mountain – a frightening 3,676 ft.

whittleling beaks

And I collected twigs and whittled some beaks.

The beaks were for two songbirds I finished  and photographed there – here’s a peek at those:

teal songbird

black songbird

It turns out vacations really are good for people. I don’t take vacations. I barely take breaks or days off- partly because it needs to be that way (so far anyway)  and partly because I like to work and partly because I’m pretty compulsive.  I did make things and sew my ass off but there were breaks and activities outside that and there was almost no internet – that may have been what was really vacationy. What a relief. A discomfort too – but less so after a couple days.

I came home with an  organized and clear head;  motivated and with something that was puzzling me figured out – I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.