Crafting with a designer’s restraint

[Shasta Garcia] If you talk to my friends, they’ll tell you I’m always making something. Over the years I’ve explored a lot of “somethings,” but I always find myself consistently working with paper. So I was very excited when Felt & Wire gave me the lovely opportunity to create something from supplies I picked out from the new Supply section at Felt & Wire Shop.


It was really fun to have the limitations of working with just a few of the materials available in the shop. As a graphic designer, I realize that I am often creating within limits and choosing to give myself restraints. Over the years I have explored letterpress a good deal, and that immediately makes me think of working with restraint.

Among the materials available in the shop are washi masking tapes. At about the same time I started blogging about my personal design and craft, I discovered washi tape. It has infused itself into many of my craft meditations. My first washi set purchase was beautifully patterned and inspiring. Next, I bought 24 solid base colors and have enjoyed letting the simpleness of the tape colors drive my exploration — as well as mixing in all the fun patterns. The supply in my home workspace has now grown to about 50 tapes. From easter eggs + tape to googly eyes + tape, all of my tape projects have developed from just playing around with the concept of restraint of materials.

For this project I chose three types of materials. Mohawk A2-size notecards and matching envelopes were my foundation. My ornamentations were a vintage wallpaper pack and 13 washi tapes. Additional tools I used to make these cards were a cutting mat, ruler, scissors, Positionable Mounting Adhesive (PMA by 3M) and my trusty X-acto knife. I use my X-acto for so many things, I’m actually surprised I don’t carry one in my purse.

For the most part I like to create things that can be re-created at least in a limited quantity. Sometimes the duplication of my projects is easier — as with letterpress — and sometimes the duplicating is a matter of simple construction, as with these cards. The materials are used systematically on all the cards, but I switched up colors and patterns so the possibilities could be endless.

The washi tape is a bit over a half inch wide and my cutting mat has a half inch grid, so all my measurements worked with this system. I cut the wallpaper into two-inch strips and applied the PMA to the back, creating a sticker. Alternatively, you can use a smooth-laying glue.

The thickness of the card is enough of an edge for the X-acto to bump up against when trimming excess tape and wallpaper.

After applying the wallpaper sticker, I chose complementary tapes.

For the envelopes, I use the grid on my cutting mat as a guide for positioning.

A guide piece of masking tape was also helpful. What’s nice about working with the masking tape is that when it’s adhered to fairly smooth surfaces, it can be peeled and reapplied if needed.

I applied a simple tape treatment to the envelope so there would be less chance of it being damaged in the mail … as well as avoiding any problems with addressing and mail regulation rules. For in-person gifting, you can tape away.

The paper colors complement and drive the color palette. I used colored notecards as an integral part of the design.

It was a nice exercise to combine colored paper, wallpaper patterns and the masking tape. I had never taken a close look at vintage wallpaper. It has a lot of texture from the printing process that produces the pattern. Alternatives to using wallpaper for this project could be wrapping paper, origami paper or scrapbooking paper. It pains me to throw away scraps if they have a nice graphic print — a little scrap of something could combine with the tape to make a gift tag. I can also see a lot of possibilities for working with the brightly colored notecards in Felt & Wire Shop’s Supply section. Having pre-cut cards on hand is a good idea for creating one-of-a-kind birthday notes, invitations or valentines.

This project has motivated me to open a Felt & Wire Shop of my own. First up are some of my tape creations — including sets of what I’ve shown here.

Shasta Garcia is a graphic designer at Weymouth Design in San Francisco, volunteers in the design community and is a lifelong explorer of craft. She writes and shares her creative endeavrs at shastablasta wraps presents well. The A2 cards and envelopes she chose include Mohawk Britehue Vellum Sea Blue, Mohawk Via Smooth Ivory, Mohawk Loop Antique Vellum Mango, Antique Vellum Cypress and Smooth Gray.

Photos: Working images by Dan Grindall, card images by Shasta Garcia

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Comments (3)

  1. Posted by Tiffany Coombs on 09.15.11 at 10:18 am

    Cool, I love washi tape. I only have 18 patterns/colours, in time I’ll get some more. I really like your colour combos and especially your simple but elegant taping on the envelopes. Love the look!

    I’ve made a few Halloween cards and others using washi tapes. If you want a look, their pic are on my website under Halloween Cards and Other Greeting Cards and Projects.

    http://www.tiffanyslove.com/Tiffanys_Portfolio/Cards_and_Invitations/Cards_and_Invitations.html

  2. Posted by sara c on 09.15.11 at 2:59 pm

    Cool. I love the layers, my fav in your shop: friendship notecards!

  3. Posted by dorte on 09.20.12 at 1:22 pm

    aww gorgeous, and using walpaper are fab idea thank for inspiration

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