Questions - Making a Paper Quilt


Most answers can be found in " Paper Quilts" - a handbook by Michaela Laurie.

Please send me an email if there is a question you has which is not answered here. I'm always and only too happy to help

Please note: Paper Quilt Creations Patterns are for personal use only.

What is included in a Paper Quilt Pattern Pack?
My Paper Quilt patterns for creating Greeting Cards, Pictures for framing and scrapbook pages include colour photographs of the finished project/s, full instructions, cutting template pattern pieces and the special working templates for the designs. My easy to use "Easy Square Creator" is now included with each pattern to get you creating a Paper Quilt.

I advise customers to use the working templates as a master. Copy these masters onto 180/200gsm or 110lb paper stock so that you can use the copies as working templates. Please don't be tempted to use your everyday printer paper as a working template. It will not work!!!
Please be aware that these designs are for personal use only.

What is 'The Easy Square Creator'?
This is a tool to help you create ¾ and 1 inch squares of paper or fabric. There are full instructions on how to use it on the creator itself. I advise you, if possible, to laminate your Easy Square Creator so that it will last longer. Every pattern I design now comes with this very handy tool. The Easy Square Creator will get you started on your Paper Quilting journey -  even if you do not have a square paper punch. It is a great way to try this wonderful craft before investing in (what I think) is the best shaped punch on the market – the square.

How do you use the working template?
Each special working template has the outline of an image either filled with squares and letters or blank with a white space all around the template. PLEASE DO NOT cut out the image on the line before attaching the decorative papers or sewing. If by mistake you do this, just use a little glue stick to stick the working template onto another sheet of 180-200 gsm paper. Presto - you are ready to go.

Do you require a special needle to sew with paper and does it get blunt really quickly?
I use an 80/12 needle. I find the needle lasts for a very long time. You can use needles that are too blunt to sew fabric with.
If you are having trouble sewing with metallic thread (even the pure polyester types) try using a metalfil needle which has a longer eye and is therefore less likely to snag. Loosen the top tension of your machine and sew slowly.

What thread do you use?
You can use any thread that you would normally use in a sewing machine. Pure cotton, polyester, a blend. Match the colour of your thread to your papers or use the thread as a contrasting element.

I use pure cotton in white or cream in the bobbin.

If you use a metallic thread, look for one which is pure polyester and is made up of one thread - not a cotton centre with metallic thread wrapped around it. Loosen your top tension and sew more slowly. Some sewing machines just don't like sewing with metallic thread and so you are better off to use one of the many other beautiful machine threads on the market rather than pulling your hair out in frustration.

Sometimes when you are using metallic threads, polysheen or a larger spool of thread, the thread comes off the spool too quickly and wraps itself around the spool pole causing you all sorts of grief and frustration. I have found that using a tension net makes a huge difference. These little nets are available at sewing and quilting stores.

What sewing machine do you use?
Any domestic sewing machine with a zigzag stitch can sew a Paper Quilt. I use a Bernina. Use the other decorative stitches on your machine - ones like feather stitch etc - to add interest to your Paper Quilt. If your machine has been sitting in the cupboard for a few years it may require a service - or at the least a dust out of the bobbin case and a drop of fresh oil. Your machine will thank you.

What weight of paper do I use to copy the templates onto?
This paper weight is important. Photocopy/everyday printer paper is NOT suitable and will give you problems. Glue will make it too fragile. The working template paper is about the weight used as a divider in a folder.

In Australasia, Europe, Uk and South Africa - the base paper weight which is used in the working templates needs to be between 180 - 200gsm. It is usually sold in reams of 250 A4 sheets. (around AUS $20 - $24.00).
For USA - Staples Card Stock which is 110lbs in white or ivory is sold in reams of 250 and retails for $14.79. There will be equivilants which I will research.

What sort of glue do I use?
GLUE STICK: An everyday glue stick - I use Bostick or Elmers brand. 
 I glue on crystals, bows etc with Gem Bond.
TAPE: I use a wide double sided tape -2.4cm - but you can cut this into thin strips. It is really sticky so you know that the finished quilt panel will not be falling off any time soon. NEVER EVER sew through this tape or Jack paper as it will gum up your sewing machine needle and may even throw your sewing machine tension crazy.
REPOSITIONING TAPE: used in padded top stitch and to hold templates in place or for use with your "Easy Square Creator" - I use Scotch brand Removable Tape.

What does 180-200gsm mean?
The weight of metric paper is described in gsm (grams per square meter). An A0 sized sheet is defined as exactly one square meter. There are sixteen A4 sized sheets in a square meter. For example, the pages in the white-pages telephone directory are typically about 60 gsm, normal typing paper is around 80 gsm, ink jet paper ranges from 120-310 gsm, and photographic prints are the equivalent of about 250 gsm.
US paper grade to grammage conversion
GrammagePaper Grade (LBS.)
44 gsm30 lb. text
59 gsm16 lb. bond, 40 lb. text
67 gsm45 lb. text
89 gsm24 lb. bond, 60 lb. text
104 gsm70 lb. text
118 gsm80 lb. text
148 gsm67 lb. bristol, 100 lb. text
162 gsm60 lb. cover
163 gsm90 lb. index
176 gsm65 lb. cover
178 gsm80 lb. bristol
199 gsm110 lb. index
216 gsm80 lb. cover
219 gsm100 lb. bristol
253 gsm140 lb. index
263 gsm120 lb. bristol
270 gsm100 lb. cover
307 gsm140 lb. bristol
308 gsm170 lb. index
325 gsm120 lb. cover

What papers can I use to create a Paper Quilt?
You can use any paper to create a Paper Quilt. Scrapbook papers, gift wrap, Japanese, wallpaper, old greeting cards, magazines, catalogues, newspaper, damaged music scores and books. Paper Quilting takes recycling to another level. Please remember that a Paper Quilt will fad if placed in bright light or direct sunlight. Also some papers are not acid free. This is not such a problem when creating greeting cards but you may find a slight yellowing of papers over time if you use non acid free in pictures or scrapbooking. I actually find this quite attractive.

I am currently working on listing which paper brands I used for particular patterns. You will find this on my website soon.

*** A quick note on using Japanese papers which are quite fibrous. If you are using a paper punch to punch squares or other shapes, hold a piece of 80 - 200gsm paper behind the Japanese paper to give it stability. It will be much easier to punch through. Don't punch too close to the edge either. Japanese paper also seem to have a grain so that you may find that punching in one direction is easier than the other. Some people (and I am becoming one of them) just find it easier to use The Easy Square Creator to draw up a grid and then cut out the squares with scissors.

What paper should I NOT use?
There are some beautiful “fabric papers” which are available in pads. Unfortunately, the ones with the self- adhesive backing are NOT suitable for sewing through. The adhesive which backs the fabric will attach itself to your sewing machine needle and cause the sewing thread to break. The adhesive is like the double sided tape adhesive which is also unsuitable for sewing through. By all means, use these lovely fabric papers in your other craft projects or as an embellishment which does not require sewing with a sewing machine.

Can I create a Paper Quilt using material/fabric?
Yes. The paper punches will not punch fabric squares but rotary cutters, die cut machines or electronic cutters will cut squares and shapes. And the "Easy Square Creator" is your perfect tool. I have found that ironing 'Press n Bond' (an iron on stabilizer which has a paper backing) to the back of fabric, drawing up your grid of squares using the "Easy Square Creator" and then cutting out how many squares you need, works very well. Follow the instructions as for Paper Quilts - using glue stick etc. Bare in mind that both the ironed on paper and the paper template backing becomes part of the quilt itself - it is not torn away or washed away. At this stage, a Paper Quilt made from material is purely decorative and not meant to be washed. I am experimenting with fabric templates and will update this information when I have a good answer. - I'm now getting VERY close.

My Paper Punch is jamming, what should I do?
There are a number of cures. Firstly punch through several layers of aluminium foil or very fine sandpaper to sharpen. Then punch through some wax lunch wrap to lubricate your punch. This will sound very strange but, pop your punch in the freezer for an hour or two. This sometimes helps. Punches do not like being dropped or used to punch through very thick card stock. Once a paper punch is out of alignment there is little that can be done except dispose of it gracefully and thank it for its hard work. A paper punch will not last for ever.

What frames do you use?
All the designs I create will fit into standard photograph frames which have a window mat board in them - or a frame created for holding a scrapbook page. Look for double matted frames if you have included embellishments on your Paper Quilt which are raised off the surface. The rectangular cards will fit a 5 x 7 inch frame. These frames are avaialble at large retails stores and photographic stores.

I am experimenting with painting the surface of of a Paper Quilt with a water based satin varnish so that you can diplay your Paper Quilt without glass. The varnish will protect the work. Buttons and charms would be attached to the quilt after the varnish step. I will let you know how I get on.

What is a Sparklet?
Sparklets are large self adhesive crystals which are multi faceted. Kaiser Craft is one company who make this product. On each sheet of Sparklets are 2 sizes - medium and large. They come in quite a wide range of colours.

1 comment:

  1. Michaela,

    I just ordered several of your patterns from McCall's because I am thinking about carrying them in my online quilt shop. I was able to order a 3/4 inch Paper Shapers square punch from, but I have yet to find a 1-inch square paper punch--either locally (in the Dallas-Fort Worth Texas area) or online. Do you know what company might have such an animal?

    Thank you in advance,

    Lisa Peden