PCA have an very large range of Parchment Craft Templates – this is just a quick guide to what they are and how to use them, a beginners guide to PCA Templates. They are perfect for beginners to parchment craft and will make your projects look clean and professional, they are also brilliant for experienced parchment crafters to provide quick borders and frames and accurate spacings when using the parchment craft tools. Part 1 of this series is concentrating on the Frames, Borders, Corners and Backgrounds and a special instructional guide by Sharon Mills (Designer and Parchment Craft Tutor) how to prepare and emboss on the parchment using a PCA Template.
Using an embossed circle or oval is a great way to frame a central motif. You can choose a single frame or two together is stylish.
Here are some of the scalloped versions available. The small scallop shapes in the centre can be used for cameo frames or labels to add 3D interest to your designs
These borders can be used for the outside edges of a card, I have used the rectangle in the card below – it is fairly easy to extend the frames a little bit if required. Once the scallop is embossed it can be perforated on the outside using a twin needle and then cut with parchment scissors in the usual way. The centres of the scallops can be further decorated with a sun tool.
There are a large number of backgrounds: from the finest embossed mesh looking like fine lace to bold weave designs. Use them along with parchment craft techniques such as perforating cutting and colouring and you will create some stunning designs:
Backgrounds can be used to surround your central motif. The card above uses the oval template to frame the central design and then a background template embossed up to the oval which has been perforated and cut out.
How to use PCA Templates by Sharon Mills
- Take the template of your choice, place it with the tracks facing up.
- Attach the parchment to the template with low tack tape or blu tack.
- Wipe over the parchment with a tumble drier sheet or natural polish, this helps the embossing tools to glide over the parchment with ease.
- Place some tissue (or use a parchment protector) under your hands as protection from finger prints on your parchment.
- Using a micro ball tool or small ball depending on the template, start working from the centre towards the outside edge. Place the ball tool in the tracks and just follow the tracks this then forms the embossed line.
The following background template is a Bold Easy Cross Background, there is another for the Fine Easy Cross. Use this template to create a pattern of crosses by using the template and a Micro Ball tool. Leave the pattern as it is or enhance it by perforating the cross with a Quad tool or a Bold Easy Cross tool. If using the Quad tool you can then cut the perforations in the usual way with parchment craft scissors or snips.
PCA Templates enable you to use your own imagination to create beautiful, original designs. The next issue (Part 2) of this series will concentrate on the pictures and motif templates and how to use them.
Here is a closer look at the beautiful new book from Amanda Yeh called Freehand Embossing. There are ‘step by step’ fully illustrated guides to the projects and very detailed illustrated guidance to embossing.
The book starts from basics “how to emboss a single line” and then works through a further 12 lessons to improve your embossing. These skills can then be used when constructing the beautiful 3D projects patterns in the back of the book.
There are beautiful boxes, pretty cards, exquisite bookmarks and a dress and jacket model plus mini bags.
Amanda Yeh is an incredibly talented designer and this beautiful book is a great addition to her series of books on 3D parchment craft.
Wonderful lace is a fabulous book from Miki Green packed full of brand new designs for cards, ornamental mats or doily and a beautiful fan. I will add a few photographs of the projects to give you and idea of the gorgeous projects Miki has designed for us to make.
There are 22 projects and they are all illustrated with clear instructions, Miki encourages everyone to have a go at her patterns from beginners to the more experienced. This is definitely a book for parchment crafters who like grid-work but there are also plenty of designs that require embossing.
Prismacolor colour pencils are the major brand in the US but are difficult to find in the UK, Faber Castell Polychromos pencils are most popular in the UK but there are quite a lot of differences between the two sets of pencils and many parchment crafters end up with both sets.
Prismacolor is a set of 132 colours the pencils have a soft wax core making them easy to blend but they can be difficult to sharpen. Polychromos pencils are a set of 120 pencils they are slightly harder than Prismacolor and therefore are easier to sharpen to a fine point.
The range of colours are very different: Prismacolor have 12 more pencils than the Polychromos selection. Prismacolor has a large selection of neutral colours, Polychromos has a good range of greys and a large range of reds and yellows.
Both makes of pencil blend and layer well.
Ten Tips for using coloured pencils
- When buying get the biggest selection you can afford, you always need the colour you haven’t got
- Use a big make up brush to clear away the bits – do this frequently when you are colouring
- Hold the pencil as near vertical as you can to prevent breaking the point
- Always lay colour down with a sharp pencil , sharpen your pencils frequently while colouring
- Brush the point of the pencil with a brush after sharpening
- Layer the colours – place one colour on top of another blending as you go
- Always colour towards the centre of a flower
- Make a note of the colours you are using, so that you don’t forget
- Use a pencil extender – or glue two ends together, when your pencils get a little small
- You can use polychromos pencils instead of dorso crayons, just apply the colour using the side of the pencil to apply a broad stroke then use a medium to smooth it out as usual
Coloured pencils – other items you will need
You will need to invest in a really good pencil sharpener as the pencils need a sharp point!
This Trio sharpener collects the bits until you are ready to dispose of them.
Also an eraser, a pencil eraser can neaten up the edges if necessary, if you are colouring on parchment and get a light transfer of colour from your hand you can use a kneadable putty eraser – which is like blu-tack – to remove the colour. Just press it onto the area and it will pick up the unwanted colour.
Lastly, if you want to burnish the colours use a Lyra Splender Blender, which is a colourless wax blending pencil. Just apply over your colouring for a burnished finish.
Tattered Lace dies are hugely popular and mix in very well with parchment craft projects because they are intricate and lacy. Here is a short guide to the range of dies available, how to use them and where to find help and inspiration.
The Range of dies available is huge, they have all the essential shapes in basic nesting dies, borders and matching corners and sentiments.
Sentiments, Border and matching Corner and Basic Frame Nesting Dies
If you are looking for central or smaller motifs; there are loads of themed collections, everything for: baby and toddler occasions, weddings, men, hobbys, travel, landscapes, holidays and many more.
Here are some of the recommended “sandwiches” of plates to be used on three of the major makes of Die Cutting Machines to get a good cut. The plates do bend an get scuffed after a while, they can be replaced or used the other way up. If you find your die isn’t cutting after a few passes through the machine it is probably because you need more pressure in that spot, this can be gained by adding a thin metal shim to the sandwich.
Die (cutting side up)
Paper / Card
Multi Purpose Platform (all tabs)
Die (cutting side up)
Paper / Card
Die (cutting side up)
Paper / Card
Inspiration for your projects
There is a lot of information available on the internet, for photos of completed projects look at Pinterest and Facebook. There are also many Designers Blogs devoted to Tattered Lace Dies. Also check out YouTube for some hints and tips from Tattered Lace if you are a beginner.
Here is a the second in a series of commonly asked questions about parchment craft. If you missed the first one here is a link.
I am an absolute beginner – should I start with Bold tools and Grid and progress onto the Fine?
Yes, in general start with bold and progress to fine – this is because the holes are larger on the bold grids and therefore easier to work with. You can easily practise the perforating and cutting of crosses using bold tools. However, I would also suggest that you start with a pattern that you like, whether it is from a book, magazine or a pattern pack, and get the tools and equipment you need for that pattern. That way you won’t need to spend a huge amount to equip yourself with tools you might not use.
Parchment Craft is a very wide ranging hobby and you can find plenty of patterns with no gridwork at all just embossing and/or colouring. Beginners equipment recommendations.
Why not start with Tina Cox’s Didi Cards pattern pack?
There are some grids with assorted patterns already on them do you use a Fine or Bold tools with these, or are you supposed to use a fine embossing tool?
The Multi Grids made by Pergamano have patterns, motifs, borders, backgrounds, words etc on them. These grids are very useful and can be used for both perforating and embossing. They are all designed to work directly with perforating 1 Needle tool 10241 and you can also emboss using the Extra Small Ball or the Fine Stylus (stainless steel). Remember the general rule, Emboss on the back of the parchment and Perforate on the front.
Should I use an edging tool to cut the edges or do you use a semi circle and then snip with scissors?
The Pergamano perforating tool called a ‘2 Split’ is an edging tool that cuts as it perforates. Just perforate the edge with a 2split then it should separate along the perforations- an easy and quick edging. PCA have a range of edging tools, any PCA tool with ‘Edge’ in the name will perforate and cut (stamp edge, medium scallop edge etc). But it is true that you will get a neater finish if you use an ordinary tool along the edge like a semi circle or a semi square or 2 Needle and cut with parchment scissors or snips.
Pergamano 2 Needle Pergamano 2 Split
Pergamano have introduced a new collection of paper for parchment craft, there are 23 colours all A4 size and 150g. The colour range is interesting there are more neutral shades and less pinks and reds, however there are also colours like dark orange and anthracite which are very appealing. The regular 150g plain parchment paper remains the same.
Embossing on Pergamano Translucent Paper
The side on which the colour has been laid down is much rougher than the older ‘Fantasy’ (Parchment Paper) sheets. There is definitely a ‘right’ side to emboss with this paper.
Above are a sample of embossing on different sides of the paper. I have embossed lines,circles, dots, writing and used the extra large ball tool just underneath the writing. It is clear that only one side (the right hand side) works. The embossing results are very similar to the current 150g coloured parchment paper.
Which side to emboss? I suggest you test a corner with a simple dot before you start and you will soon discover the right side.
Bright and Pastel shades
Don’t forget that you can use the Dorsing technique to colour regular parchment to a shade of your choice with Dorso Crayons or Oil Pastels.
I would like to thank Mary Price for testing the new translucent paper and providing her review of the product which has greatly helped me compile this blog.