Thursday, September 13, 2012

Die Cutting Paper: Pen Holder

Hi everyone! I (Anna-Karin) needed another pen holder for my desk, because my old one was full, so I decided to make my own using Eileen Hull's Candy Jars ScoreBoards die and some die cutting supplies. I store some of my pens in a glass jar, and thought that a mat board jar would work great.

You could also use the jar to store, for example, buttons, mini-misters, or other items you want to have within reach. This would make a great gift too. I used photos of my grandparents to make it more personal and meaningful. I think my grandmother would have loved to know that her photo is in front of me on my desk all the time, holding some of my most important art tools. The stamped word translates 'grandmother' (literally 'father's mother').

die cutting
Die cut three side panels and two inside holder units from white mat board. My pen holder has two compartments, you could easily add more if you want to by die cutting more sections.

Stamp the side panels with stamps of your choice, using Ranger Archival Ink Coffee (which is waterproof and won't smear when inking on top). I stamped the frame corner stamp twice on the first panel, turning it around to form a complete frame, masking off the first impression to avoid overlapping.

I forgot to include the third panel in the photo above, it was stamped repeatedly on both sides with a small background stamp.

I stamped the inside holders with this Stamper's Anonymous Tim Holtz sentiment stamp, which fits perfectly in the narrow space. Different sections of the stamp were stamped on the four sides. Remember to stamp in the right direction, so that your text is not upside down.

Ink the side panels with Distress Inks. The Candy Jar is rounded at the bottom and to make my pen holder sturdy, I cut off a small strip at the base of all three panels. You can see the parts I cut off on this photo. It is easy to cut through mat board with a craft knife and a metal edged ruler.

Ink the edges of the inside holders with Antique Linen and Vintage Photo, and ink the inside of the side panels and the inside of the holders with Stormy Sky.
For the jar lids, I used a technique that Tim Holtz shared in his 12 tags of Christmas last year (you can find his tutorial here). Adhere a piece of aluminium tape to glossy cardstock (or to any smooth cardstock). Die cut the top of the Candy Jars from this and round the base.

Dry emboss these two pieces. I used the Clocks and the Postcard folders since they worked with the theme for my pen holder, symbolising the passage of time and that my grandparents ran a post office.

Paint with cream paint and leave to dry.

Carefully sand or wipe the paint off from the embossed parts. If you do this step before the paint is completely dry, I find that it is easier to carefully rub the paint off with a cloth.

Ink the jar lids with Distress Ink and cover with clear embossing powder. Pour off the excess and melt with a heat gun. This step both seals the Distress Ink and creates a very cool effect.  

Here's a close-up of the finished lid on the front of the pen holder. I added a piece of lace along the edge of the lid.

Die cut flowers from canvas using the Fringed 3D Flower die, and three buttons from mat board with the Labels & Buttons die. I ended up not using the bigger canvas flowers on this photo.

Smear some Distress Stain on your craft sheet, mist the flowers with water and dip them into the ink. Fray the edges a bit and dry with a heat gun.

Ink the buttons with Antique Linen and Vintage Photo, stamp with a text stamp and coat with a layer of Glossy Accents. It's fun to make your own buttons.

Layer the flowers together and stitch a button to the centre.

Die cut four hearts from mat board using the small heart in the Hearts Set Movers & Shapers. Ink with Stormy Sky. I stamped the first letters in my grandparents' names on two of the hearts. Coat with Glossy Accents.

To assemble, place adhesive along the flaps on the inside units. You need to use pretty strong adhesive, I used Wonder Tape. Fold into a 'U'-shape.

Cut a 2.6 x 2.5 in (6.7 x 6.3 cm) piece of acetate, and cut the photo and an inside panel in the same size (mine was a bit too high, since I forgot to trim the tops, for a neater result, try to keep them the same size as the inside units). I used a copy of a family photo. If you don't want to use a photo, you could use patterned paper instead, or a stamped image, or you could put only acetate in the window and let the contents of the jars show through (would look great if there was vintage buttons inside, for example). Ink the inside panel with Stormy Sky.

Adhere the acetate to the window first to protect the photo, then the photo and last the inside panel. Place these where you want the inside pen holder units to be. Do the same on the second panel. On the panel in the middle (which doesn't hold a photo), just add an inked paper on each side of the window. 

Adhere the inside units to the side panels, one at a time. As you can see here the papers I used to cover the windows were a little bit too tall, but once I realised that, it was too late to fix.
Glue the remaining buttons and hearts to the pen holder. I also added a wooden camera since my grandfather was interested in photography.

Here you can see the pen holder from the side.

This is the other side of the holder, with a photo of my grandfather, who passed away long before I was born. The word under the photo was stamped with alphabet stamps and means 'father's father'. I decorated the holder with a pen nib and some more stamped images, of pencils and postage stamps. The oval stamp is probably about 100 years old and comes from the time when my greatgrandfather started a general dealer.

Thank you so much for looking at this tutorial!

Happy Crafting!


die cutting equipment

Surfaces: Ranger Ink Glossy Cardstock; cream cardstock; aluminium tape; canvas; acetate or clear packaging
Stamps: Stamper's Anonymous Classics #7, Newspaper Scraps Background, Stamper's Anonymous Tim Holtz Stuff To Say; Artistic Outpost Secretary Pool; EKSuccess Antique Typewriter alphabet stamps; InkyWings postage stamps; vintage stamp
Ink: Tim Holtz Distress Ink- Antique Linen, Stormy Sky, Vintage Photo; Ranger Archival Ink- Coffee
Stain: Tim Holtz Distress Stain- Antique Linen, Stormy Sky
Paint: Ranger Jenni Bowlin Malted Milk dabber
Embossing powder: American Crafts Zing! clear embossing powder
Embellishments: Tim Holtz Idea-ology pen nibs; Studio Calico Wood Veneer Cameras; lace trim
Adhesive: Ranger Wonder Tape; Ranger Glossy Accents
Tools: Ranger Ink Applicator
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  1. What a fabulous project and the personal touches make extra special. Tx

  2. Just beautiful- what a great piece to remember your grandparents with! I love the way you built up the pen holder with a extra compartments- and the flower, buttons and lids are so cool. I love seeing your work- plus you do great tutorials- thanks for another great project Anna-Karen! :-)

  3. Thank you for tutorial! Like your Pen Holder

  4. That is one of the most beautiful and creative projects I have ever seen!

  5. Stunning! Thank you for the great tutorial.

  6. That's great, great, great!!! Really marvellous!

  7. BRILLIANT!!! You're a creative genius....and the step-out photos are fantastic :)

  8. This is a beautiful project! Love it!

  9. Love those buttons! Wonderful project.

  10. Susan's with me - she said, "WHOA! Did she MAKE that??" Great job!

  11. This is just stunning! I just got this die 2 days ago and am so glad to have seen this project. I have been trying to figure out alternative uses for the die and this is perfect. did awesome!


  12. Wow! That is so cool! I never would have thought to do that. I am really intrigued with all your ingenuity. Wow

  13. Oh this is just the bestest pencil holder! Love that die and the way you've used a vintage touch to give it such personality!

  14. Wow, I love this tutorial. I dont have the jar die, but I do have the teacup XL die, which gives me a bright idea on how to use it on one more project. I also love the DIY embellishments. Thanks for this tutorial. I featured this post in my blog

  15. This is SO cool!! I swear, every time you do a project I find so many dies I didn't know I needed! ;-)

  16. Ooh these techniques I must try out! Gorgeous!

  17. Härligt att se mormor & morfar på ett pennställ :)
    Du är otroooligt kreativ kära kusin!


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