Thursday, June 10, 2010

CSI project: Martha Stewart - Tessellationery

"Tesselationery" is a word I made up to describe my stationery with tessellations on it. My very first thought when I heard of CDI project's Martha Stewart challenge was faux bois. I toyed with doing faux bois on fabric using a bleach pen, but didn't just want to do a random craft — I'd rather do something that I really want to have in my house or to give to someone else.

That reminded me of my "tessellation phase" from back in college, when I took Math for Elementary School Teachers. The tessellations unit really resonated with me, so I did a bunch of them on note cards just for fun. also has a bunch of really easy DIY tutorials on creating your own tessellations, although they focus more on finding a picture within your random shape. I prefer creating a fun shape in its own right.

I made notecards and traditional page stationery (which could easily be turned into frame-able art). Both stationery and monograms are very "Martha," so hope you enjoy my Tessellationery!


Supplies: blank notecards or cardstock, Sharpie or gel pen, pencil, tiny scissors, index card

Note: choose your drawing implements carefully. Your fingers will be all over your stencil as you work, and any residue on your fingers may get on the rest of your work surface.

Step 1: Find inspiration somewhere, whether it's an existing stencil, a picture, or just your imagination.

Step 2: Cut the index card into the desired stencil size (I chose 2" squares) and draw your chosen design(s) onto adjacent sides of the stencil. Keep in mind that your cutouts will be taped onto the opposite sides of the square, thereby making it larger than the original square. Basically, don't make your starting stencil size very big in comparison to your notecard or the tessellation won't be able to repeat very many times. Also, thinner pieces tend to flop around as you trace, so start thick (until you're more confident).

Step 3: Put on an audio book or semi-boring movie (so you won't be tempted to look up) and carefully cut out your stencils. Shift the cutout straight up onto the opposite side and tape it to the stencil. Don't flip, rotate, or shift it over. Trim any excess tape.

Step 4: Decide how you want your pattern to repeat. In a grid? On a diagonal? At what angle? Trace your stencil carefully onto your notecard. Repeat until the entire surface is covered. (Yes, that's for "Martha Stewart" not "multiple sclerosis".)

One option is not to fill the space with the repeating design. Try filling just part of the space, then flipping the stencil and tiling down from an opposite corner for a more organic look.

Step 5: Embellish as desired. You can even fill in each "block" with stripes, dots, or solid colors. Try writing a name or a quote in the blank spaces, if you like!

Tip: If you're going to commit to a design, be sure you have a backup pen. Since the one you're using is from high school. Which was not even in the oughts.

I was going for a spreading vine/grass vibe. Can you see where I ran out of teal?

Tip #2: Gel pens that have run out of ink make for kick-butt embossing pens! LOL

You can go anywhere from fanciful to traditional, from recognizable shapes and letters to funky abstract curves.

The great thing about tessellations is that you can use them on anything, not just paper products. Paint them onto an artist's canvas, dress up a plain clipboard, or frost your bathroom window!

For traditional, full-page stationery, consider using a larger stencil and trace it onto 8.5"x11" card stock. You could just embellish it and frame it as art, or you could scan your completed page into the computer and embellish it on-screen.

Here's my filled card stock page.

I used good ol' black Sharpie.

Here is is scanned into the computer, without embellishment.

The design really pops when you fill every-other "stencil" with color!

You can even use a polka dot pattern — the sky's the limit!

Photoshop has some fun filters and options, like mosaic tile and stained glass.

Stick with bold colors and high-definition to use this as computer wallpaper or to print as scrapbook paper. Can you picture your own customized monogram paper in your next layout? Or, print it in a paler watermark style to use it as stationery!



Selina said...

so beautiful! what a great idea to scan it in then you can keep all that hard work!
i tried to fix that tutorial so it made more sense.. i hope it helps.. sis#2 is WAY better at taking step by step pics... whereas i am a bit lazy :)
~selina (sis#1)
ps totally love raw edges... :)

Jen @ said...

Wow - what a great tutorial. I love that design you made too and the way you showed the different way it looked depending on how it was shaded. Very cool!

So sorry about the link this week. I will set it up next week so it closes at 12:30. I don't know why it closed early. I know that must have been so frustrating!

I have emailed your link over to the judges so they will be sure to see your fantastic project. Thanks again for taking the time and effort to make such a great project and link it up to our challenge. We really appreciate it!