Tutorial: Polka Dot Circle Altered Book Backgrounds
"You should never wear a red shirt with black polka dots because your friends will call you a lady bug."
--Stefanie, age 8
You know how it is...
You have sworn you wouldn't commit to anything for awhile..
You wouldn't dare take on anymore swaps...
But inevitably, that one project... THE one you simply can't resist.. is dangled in front of you...
beckoning... begging... pleading with your inner artist...
justifying the time any which way you can...
and before you know it...
You have done the very thing you promised yourself you wouldn't...
you made that commitment!
When Heather Bluhm announced on Chubbyville a polka dot themed fat book, that would be circular in shape.. and utilize the 7 Gypsies Circle Book (Shosh, over at Hannah Grey was kind enough to offer us the book kits at and incredible price -- Thanks Shosh!) ... Despite a very quick due date, I didn't just jump, I asked how high!
What did i find just sooo tempting? It is not only an original concept; but a shape that I have yet to really tackle... quality materials will be used as the base.. and really, the little girl in me was uber thrilled at the chance to play with polka dots!
“From now on, I'll connect the dots my own way.”
-- Bill Watterson
Since this is due at the end of May, and I will be traveling for almost the next 2 weeks, I needed backgrounds that weren't quite as time consuming as my hand painted ones are. I haven't played with paper collage alot recently, in fact I've gotten so far away from it.. this was just the project I needed to delve back in.
Arming myself with a new Xyron Adhesive Runner and plenty of the permanent refills (I never use these kind of adhesives, can ya believe that?)and an array of awesome, polka dot decorative papers that I had stashed in my not-so-little paper collection... I began the process of coordinating the papers, and quickly fell back into the familiar lull of paper collage. I didn't realize how much i missed working with and matching up pretty papers!
The 20 backgrounds were the slightest bit tedious to do, but well worth it. For those that will inevitably ask how I did it.. here's a quickie tutorial...
Polka Dot Circle Book Background Tutorial
1) Apply your permanent adhesive along the edges of the blank circle (in the 7 Gypsies Kit), then a few strips crossing in the middle.
2) Press paper to the circle, and using a bone folder or other burnishing tool.. burnish it well, paying close attention to the edges.
3) Using sharp scissors, trim the paper as close to the circle edge as possible.
4) Sand the edges, so that the circle edge remains smooth.
5) Use an eyelet setter, or hole punch to reveal the smaller, binding circle in the template.
6) Roll a small piece of sandpaper up and sand those edges.
7) Repeat this process with the other side.
8) Ink those edges! Use a brush tipped marker to ink up the binding hole.
“If you love someone, put their name in a circle; because hearts can be broken, but circles never end.”
While I still prefer my painted backgrounds -- this has been a much needed, refreshing break from my norm. It's definitely more expensive, but I could have cut costs if I had more free time available.
I haven't a clue as to what I will do for the composition yet --I rarely plan out my work... it always takes on a life of it's own, which frankly.. is part of the charm to me. All I know, is I am not quite ready to cover up the yummy papers!