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Crafting With a Vintage Look #053 - Toilet paper crafting and Card of the Moment #7
February 04, 2010

Issue #053 - Toilet paper. The crafter's dirty little secret. We're going to come clean today, and tell you how this ubiquitous, versatile tissue paper can be used to make wonderful molded embellishments and cards.

So grab a roll of TP, a rubber stamp, a stencil brush and some water for this Special Edition of Crafting With a Vintage Look:

  • Our Valentine Card of the Moment #7, Face to Face.
  • "Please don't squeeze the craft" when making molded toilet tissue embellishments!
  • CARDiology: Cards From the Heart by Justine.

Let's get crafting...

Valentine Card of the Moment #7
Face to Face

Victorians loved their 'scraps." These were small, die-cut, embossed paper figures that could be glued to cards, ornaments, and, of course, in "scrapbooks." Most often, they were printed in full color, but occasionally you see them unprinted, or gilded with silver or gold foil (Get a gander at the authentic scraps collection of PaperDreamsFactory).

For Face to Face, we wanted create our own "scrap" heart as the focal point. The molding technique we used dates back centuries, but with a couple of modern twists. First, we used layers of single-ply toilet paper, pounced onto a rubber stamp as the mold. Second, instead of plain water as the paper solvent, we used pure liquid food coloring. When dried and unmolded, the toilet paper was deep red and embossed with the floral heart design of the rubber stamp (The full technique is described below).

To frame this stunning heart, we chose a vintage image of two lovers, gazing ardently from two sides of a heart. We cut out the heart, and folded the card so it opens from the center like a gate. The elegant "scrap" object of their affection is mounted on the inside panel, backed with gold foil.

This Card of the Moment is the seventh in our new e-book, Ten Vintage Valentine Greetings to Make. It is published in a convenient, high-quality PDF file format. You download it to your computer for reading or printing. There are complete instructions for making ten cards, and the vintage images and templates included are high-resolution, in pre-sized format, ready to print at a copy center or on your home ink-jet printer!

As a subscriber to Crafting with a Vintage Look, if you purchase now you can get

$2.00 off the regular price.

The catch? You have to promise to tell us what you think of the book, so we can make a really fantastic edition for our Birthday Book. And if you are not satisfied - we have a Money Back Guarantee!

Just go to:


Click on the "Add to Cart" button, and in the shopping cart window, type in the secret subscriber discount code:


That's all there is to it -- 1-2-3 -- click on the e-book link above, scroll down and click on "Add to Cart," and then enter the $2.00 discount code of "subscriber."

You'll quickly receive an email with the download link, and you are one click away from creating some of the most unique vintage-look Valentine cards!

If the e-book link above doesn't work for you, type into your browser:

On a Roll with Toilet Paper

We've openly admitted in the past that many of our basic paper craft ideas can be found in Carol Duvall's great book, Paper Crafting with Carol Duvall. The molded paper heart on our card above, Face to Face, is one of them. Yes, the heart is made of toilet paper, which Carol tactfully titles "Molded Tissue."

One of her designs is the snowflake card pictured here. After creating the molded snowflake, she cut it into a square and added glitter highlights with a glitter pen. She then created a layered window effect with scrapbook paper to frame the snowflake.

Step-by-step photos can be found in Carol's book and in our e-book, as well. The process is so simple, though, a description should be sufficient for you to try it out.

Making Molded Tissue

  • Choose a rubber stamp or other detailed, flat mold. Lay it face up. (We used an unmounted clear stamp laid in the center of a plate).
  • Cover it with a 1-ply square of toilet paper.
  • Dip a stencil brush in water and pounce the paper gently onto the mold. (The paper may tear a bit, but just be sure it is all pounced into the grooves of the mold).
  • Lay another piece of 1-ply tissue on the mold and pounce again with the wet stencil brush. After 4-5 layers you can pounce a little more firmly without worrying about shredding the paper. Continue until you have ten layers of compacted tissue. Allow it to dry overnight.
  • When the tissue is completely dry, remove it from the mold and trim the edges with scissors. Now you can highlight the embossed design with paints, chalks, inks, glitter, or metallic leaf.

We took the technique in a slightly different direction by using pure food coloring instead of water, to get a very deep coloration in the paper. You can get a lighter effect by just dying the water with food color or water colors.

As Carol wrote in her book, "'s not what you craft with, it's how you craft with it that makes the difference."

Inspiring Books 'n Blogs

Last month, Justine shared a rich, layered Valentine card featuring one of our vintage Cupid images. Of course, we started poking around her blog, CARDiology: Cards From the Heart, to see her other creations. The first thing we noticed is how stylishly eclectic Justine can be. From frilly vintage to sleek and elegant. Best of all, she takes the time to name her sources and describe her techniques. She should be teaching classes! Small wonder that she is so well-connected, too. Be sure to visit her "about me" profile, where she lists her favorite blogs. Give yourself a little "inspiration" time and visit Justine at CARDiology: Cards From the Heart.

Next issue:

Coming up in our ten-issue Valentine Card of the Moment series is Card #8, Victorian Peep Show. This beautiful fold-out card is modeled on the elaborate "tunnel books" that first made their appearance in the mid-19th century. Sounds difficult and looks difficult, but it is surprisingly easy!

We have been sending our Valentine card books all around the world, which is such a strange sensation. Uruguay, New Zealand, China, Provo, Atlanta - all those exotic places! Remember to write to us with your comments and suggestions, because we thrive on your collective imaginations!

Countdown to Valentine's Day!

Scott & Martin

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