Parchment Craft Grids – A Guide


Grids can be used to make beautiful Lacework on Parchment paper.  There are different sorts of grids available, some are just a plain series of holes in either a straight or diagonal pattern. These can be used  with a pattern to create borders and lace. Other grids such as Multi Grids or Siesta Grids have motifs and designs cut into the metal and can provide inspiration for your cards and projects.

If you are a beginner -building a collection parchment craft tools and equipment you may be looking at grids, wondering whether you need them or even how to use them. I hope this blog will help.

Traditional grids

The modern grids  are steel whereas the original grids were ‘wire mesh’ enclosed within a plastic frame. The tools designed for the mesh grids are the ‘Diamond’ perforating tool and ‘Triangle’ perforating tool and also the ‘Arrow’ perforating tool. The mesh grids sometimes called ‘Easy Grids’ are no longer sold by Pergamano and are not easy to find, but sometimes you can buy these second hand or on sale. They will of course be mentioned in the older patterns but you should be able to replace them with a steel grid.

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Pergamano Easy Grid

Pergamano Multi-Grids

Pergamano – Multi Grids  are a series of stainless steel designer grids. They are A5 in size with one exception, grid no 28 is A4 size.

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The Multi Grids are numbered 1-39 and most of them are themed for special events such as Christmas or Baby, Gift Tags, Butterflies, Borders etc.  new ones are introduced frequently. They can be used for perforating and embossing.

New to grids?

A Bold grid is easier to use if you are a beginner (you will need a bold perforating needle as well), or you could try a  Pergamano Mini Set, which is a mini grid and set of clear stamps.

Types of  Pergamano Multi-Grids

For easy reference all Pergamano Multi Grids are numbered – below is a quick guide to the main themes and their numbers:
Christmas Grids: Nos. 9, 10, 21, 23, 30, 34, 35, 38, 39
Borders: Nos 5,11, 29,
Circular Frames: Nos 6, 11, 13,  Ovals: no 20, 33
Rectangle and Square Frames: Nos 8,11,12, 25,
Letters:  No. 16 , Numbers No 18
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These cards were made using Pergamano Multi Grid no 33 Butterfly Kisses and  no 36 Summer Garden

Pergamano  plain, non-themed Multi Grids

Fine Grids
Straight Grid:   No 04      sized  A5
Diagonal  No 24    sized A5
Bold Grids
Straight Grid: No 28 sized A4
Diagonal: No 19 sized A5

A Pergamano Diagonal Grid has holes offset at 60degrees, the equivalent PCA grid would be the Honeycomb grid.

How to use Pergamano Multi -Grids

  1. Attach parchment paper to the grid with removable magic tape or masking tape.
  2. Place the grid on an embossing mat and emboss where required. Pergamano recommend that the Stainless Steel ball tools are used on the Multi Grids:  Fine Stylus 10032 and Extra Small Ball Tool 10072. If no embossing is required go to step 3.
  3. Turn the Multi-Grid over, with parchment still attached, change the mat to a deeper perforating mat and perforate the pattern using a single needle tool 10241.
  4. Remove the the parchment paper from the grid and using parchment scissors or Perga Cutters cut out the perforations where necessary.

If this method does not work for you take the parchment off the grid after embossing, turn it over so that the right side is facing you and carefully match the embossing pattern up so that your perforations will be in the right place. Fix the parchment down on the grid with tape, make sure you have changed to a perforating pad and perforate where required.

PCA – Parchcraft Australia – FlexiDuo Grids

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PCA grids are all A4 size and made of a flexible steel. A really useful feature is,  once you start perforating the parchment is fixed to the grid and won’t move.
They come in BOLD and FINE size or gauge  and they each have their own set of tools  Bold tools have a  red band on the handle and Fine tools have a blue band on the handle.
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PCA BOLD                                                                   PCA FINE
The Bold Grid is easier to perforate and cut because the holes are easier to see! The Fine gauge takes longer to use – a magnifying glass and light can help, but it can be used to make delicate, fabulous lace.
As well as the Straight grid, PCA make a Diagonal Grid and a Honeycomb Grid. The difference is the that the holes on the Diagonal Grid are arranged with  a 45 degree offset. Essentially they are the same as the straight grids but turned diagonally. If you look at a diagonal grid and tilt your head to the left you will see that it looks the same as the straight grid. Pergamano do not have an equivalent grid to this one.
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PCA DIAGONAL GRID

PCA HONEYCOMB GRIDS

The Honeycomb Grid has a 60 degree offset holes and this make it easy to produce patterns such as diamonds rather than squares. There are two ways of using this grid, either on the vertical plane or the horizontal plane. Experiment, using it different orientations. The Pergamano Diagonal Grid is similar to the PCA Honeycomb Grid.  Having said that the grids are not always interchangeable, if your pattern was designed on a PCA grid it is best to use that grid, the same rule applies to a pattern designed for a Pergamano grid, you will only get accurate results if you use the equipment the designer recommends.
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PCA HONECOMB GRID
The Honeycomb grids also have a range of specially designed tools in both Bold and Fine gauge.

How to use PCA grids

  • Place an A4 perforating mat on the table.
  • Place a tumble drier cloth on the perforating mat (optional) Tip – the tumble drier cloth lubricates the perforating tools so they don’t ‘stick’
  • Place the FlexiDuo Grid on the top
  • Place the parchment paper on the grid ‘right side up’
  • Perforate with either a Unibold or a Unifine according to your grid and pattern.

Tip – make a little sample (one pattern repeat) of your design on scrap parchment, then you can use this to mark, perforate or check the holes are in the right places as you move through the pattern.

Embossing Dots on a PCA grid

  • If your pattern requires embossing and perforating it is usually best to emboss before you do perforations, but follow your pattern instructions for best results. The parchment paper should be ‘front side down’ if you are embossing dots.
  • Use an embossing ball tool  slightly larger than the holes in the grid. (small ball for bold, micro ball for fine)
  • You can emboss dots with the grid on a hard surface (no mat)

Siesta – Designer Grids

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Siesta Designer Grids, Medium Grids and Small and Large Grids  and Ruler Grids are also made from steel. The small and large grids come with a free perforating mat. The Ruler Grids come in a range of designs for making easy borders. The designer grids enable you to decorate parchment paper with motifs, borders, frames, corner embellishments and more. The Medium Grids have a range of flower motifs and patterns for a fan.

Most Popular Grids

From the sales at our online store the most popular Pergamano MultiGrid is no 4, the plain straight grid, also no 34Reindeer and 35 Ice crystals.

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This beautiful card was made using Multi Grid 34 Reindeer

The most popular PCA grid is the Bold Straight.

The most popular Siesta Grid is the Christmas grid featured above and also Medium Grid no 10 below:

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Tools required for Grids

Single needle tools can be used on all grids. It is best to stick to PCA tools on PCA grids and Pergamano tools on Pergamano grids.  2 Needle tools and  4 Needle tools can be used on some Multi Grids.

Parchcraft Australia (PCA) recommend a list of multi needle tools that can be used on PCA Honeycomb Grid and a list of tools that can be used with the PCA straight and diagonal grids

List of Books and a DVD that help

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Grid and Lace Work DVD is an excellent instructional DVD by Christine Coleman -learn how to use PCA grids while completing several projects.

Best of the Best 2 GridWork  by Kannikar Sukseree – a collection of gridwork designs to use in your projects

Handbook of Parchment Craft Basics by Tina Cox and Linda Williams – How to use the Pergamano Multi Grids

Parchment Craft the Techniques Volume 6 – using the mesh grids and Pergamano Multi Grids

Many people say that gridwork is their favourite part of parchment craft – please leave a comment and tell me what you think.

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