Friday, 12 November 2010

Painting Techniques DVD Review

Painting techniques DVD
By Christine Coleman

This is volume 2 in Christine's series of parchmentcraft dvd's and a great starter for beginners. Christine explains and demonstrates seven painting techniques within seven different projects. As a real beginner to painting I was pleased with the small details like how much water to put on the brush and how to load the brush with paint, also how to position the brush.
Tinta inks are used, also pintura acrylics and perla paint.
There is a lot of work to practise on this DVD almost 2 hours of tuition!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Embossing parchment is definitely a skill that needs a lot of practise, I have found a tutorial on Robyn Cockburns site that gives a helpful step by step guide to start with. Click on the heading to link to it.
The flower pattern she uses is at Mettemusen,

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Amazing Brushstrokes

Review of Amazing Brushstrokes by Kannikar Sukseree

This is a beautifully presented book with many pages of explanations of techniques and step by step photography taking you through each project. I think there is plenty of work suitable for beginners and more experienced crafters. The designs are exquisite. The grids and tools used are Pergamano as you would expect from a Pergamano book! However if you try to use a PCA grid you will not get the same look as the illustrations.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Guide to Alternative Tools

As a beginner I have found that I have bought equipment required for a particular project only to find when I received the tools I already have a similar item by a different manufacturer. This is a guide to the tools that I have found to be similar but named differently.

PCA Pergamano
Sun tool = Star tool
Stamp edge = Split tool
Micro ball = Fine stylus
Micro shader = Shader 0.8mm
Mini shader = Shader 1.0mm
Fine scallop edge = Semi circle

Thursday, 16 September 2010

A Parchment Envelope

Designed by Christine Coleman
I made this to give as a present with a token or money inside.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Perforating grids

There are quite a few grids available and I do not claim to be an expert. This is a beginners guide to grids, feel free to comment or correct me if I have got any information wrong.

There are three main manufacturers of grids : PCA, Pergamano and Siesta.

Traditional grids are mesh in a plastic frame, they come in regular and fine grade with a special perforating mat which fits in the frame. The grid enables you to produce accurate perforations. These are made by Pergamano and Siesta.

Steel flexi-duo grids seem to have advantages over the older mesh grids. You can emboss dots for example and the the holes are easy to see and line up. I prefer the A4 size and I love the way the perforations fix the parchment in place whilst you are working.

Pergamano also make steel grids, straight and diagonal, however they are not interchangeable with PCA grids. For example if a design specifies using a Pergamano diagonal grid a PCA diagonal grid will not work in the same way.

Siesta have a wide range of grids for specific borders and patterns and motifs.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Carla Larter Design

I made this card from the Carla Larter book, the oval borders are from a Siesta parchment pattern grid.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Parchment Craft by Carla Larter

This is an excellent book for a beginner, the instructions are very detailed and there are many step by step illustrations. The equipment required is described in a way that does not promote a particular manufacturer, however this can make it more difficult when you are searching for an item without a product number. She covers all aspects of parchmentcraft, detailed instructions on how to emboss, cutting crosses etc. Many painting and colouring techniques are covered making this a good reference book to keep on the shelf. I think that this is definitely a beginners book though, a parcher with some experience would find the instructions too detailed.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Parchment Tools

This is a beginners guide to parchment craft tools, there are vast array of tools and it is not necessary to buy them until you need them. The association of parchment craft has some advice on the basic equipment you need.
The tools separate into roughly three areas: embossing, perforating and edging.


Embossing tools whiten the parchment. They are usually either a ball shape or a shader which has a loop shaped like a spoon. They come in various sizes from a large size (mega ball or mega shader ) to a small size (micro ball or micro shader) embossing tools are also used for stencilling. A scriber has a sharpish point and is used for lines and stippling. Sun tools emboss a circle shape like a small flower.


Perforating tools pierce the parchment in various patterns. PCA make two types: fine tools and bold tools. A single needle tool, however, will create all the patterns but it may take more time.


Edging tools pierce the parchment in a scallop pattern or v pattern. The stamp edge creates a perforation that will tear easily. A neater finish can be obtained by using parchment scissors.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Kannikar Sukseree flower

I made this Kannikar Sukseree design from the June issue of Parchment Craft.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Using coloured pencils

I made this card from Christine Coleman's beginners DVD. The parchment background is coloured with oil pastels (dorsing) but also the flowers, leaves and butterfly are coloured from the back with coloured pencils.

Coloured Pencils

There are quite a few different makes of pencil crayons or coloured pencils available. The blendable pencils are preferable and ideally the pencil lead should be soft enough to be easily blended and yet hard enough to be able to sharpen without breaking. You will need to invest in a really good pencil sharpener as the pencils need a sharp point!

After a quick Internet search I have found that the main brands available in the UK pages are Derwent, Faber Castell and Caran D'Ache. Artists seem to prefer Faber Castell as the poll on the following web page shows.

Faber Castell polychromos have a large range of colours and they last quite well however they are expensive. FC also make a pencil called art grip which is cheaper blends really well and the leads do not break so easily.

Please comment if you have found another pencil superior as these are only the opinions and short experience of a beginner.

Friday, 20 August 2010


This is a technique for colouring the back of the parchment using Dorso oil pastels (or other makes such as Faber Castell) to create soft backgrounds for your designs. The crayons are applied and then rubbed out with a folded piece of kitchen paper to give a really muted background.

Click here to link to a video from ceparching showing how to use dorsing to colour backgrounds.

Monday, 16 August 2010


I thought I would give a beginners guide to the brand names of inks and paints, pens etc and give a brief description of what they are because it is not obvious. What are Tinta inks, Pintura paints, Pinta Perla paints, Perga colours, Perga liners and Dorso crayons?

Tinta inks

There are three types, white, metallic and transparent. They all mix with water but when dry are resistant to water.
White is used for tracing. You have to shake the pot before using it.
Metallic , silver and gold, can also be shaken but the bits quickly fall to the bottom so it is best to give it a stir with a small cocktail stick or similar. Two coats are advised.
Transparent inks are available in about 10 colours and you can mix them to create the shade you want.

Pintura paints are quick drying acrylics so use a damp brush, a little goes a long way.

Pinta Perla is a water based acrylic paint which gives a pearly sheen.

Perga Color are water based felt tip pens, you can mix colours together on a palette

Perga Liners are pencil crayons, they come in oil based and water colour or aquarelle.

Dorso crayons are oil pastels and can be used to colour the back of parchment. They can be applied with zest it or turpentine.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Parchment Competition

Wightcat Crafts have a competition to win a beautiful parchment book. It's definitely worth having a look and entering this competition. All cards entered are going to charity.

Click on the heading above to link to Wightcat Crafts competiton.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Perforating mats and Embossing mats

I found mats quite a confusing subject until I realised that they come in various thicknesses and materials. The thinner rubber mats 1.5mm are the best for embossing and the thicker around 10mm made of dense foam are to be used with perforating tools. You can buy all the mats in A4,A5 and A3 sizes. Neither of these should be used however if you are using colouring pencils, they require a hard surface! I have also seen felt mats advertised for both embossing and perforating I have no experience of these but if they were good it could save money. Anyone used one?

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Back to basics- Tracing


Starting a parchment project involves transferring an image from a line drawing or picture on to parchment. This can be done with white pencil, or an ordinary pencil, a mapping pen and white or coloured inks, or a micron pen.

White pencil - this seems to be the most used method. The benefits are that you can emboss the picture on the back and then turn over and rub out the pencil easily.

Ordinary pencil can be used if there is, for example, perforations to be made within a certain area and white pencil would be difficult to see. It is of course rubbed out afterwards.

White Tinta ink- this gives a different look to the parchment. It is quite an important skill to learn how to use the mapping pen correctly.

Coloured Tinta ink- black for example can give a picture , impact.

So, to get started tracing you need parchment paper of 150 / 160 gsm and a white pencil or mapping pen and ink and a pattern or picture.

Click on the Heading above to link to a Pergamano video on tracing.

Parchment techniques: Sunday, August 01


I have just finished a rather a rather large area of grid work. A few weeks ago I was cutting quite tatty x cuts even though I had tried changing from snips to gold scissors and back again, after a lot of advice I think I have improved dramatically. I think the trick is confidence, and you only get that with practise, so if anyone is struggling with a technique, just keep trying.

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, 25 July 2010


I am going to create a library of edgings that can be used in a mix'n match style with pictures of embossed and coloured birds, flowers etc.


Shaders come in various sizes. They don't replace ball embossers as they give a different effect. They are quite versatile as you can use them to shade in a 'spoon' position and then turn them over and emboss a line.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Quick Parchment Greetings Cards by Janet Wilson

This is not a traditional parchment craft book although some of the techniques and equipment used are the same. Janet Wilson explains in the introduction that all the cards are made using Fiskars 'Mini Shapeboss'. This is a stencilling system which she uses to show how to emboss and perforate within.

Unfortunately if you haven't got the Mini Shapeboss you would have to buy it to proceed with the projects in this book. The Mini Shapeboss although good in itself is not used in parchment craft but would be useful in stencilling projects.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Christine Coleman's DVD An Introduction to Parchmentcraft

This is a great introduction to get you started! Even for someone with some experience it is a good revision. I think it is very good value as you are getting four designs for cards as well as step by step instruction on how to complete them, including how to sew the inserts and make the envelope.

Christine starts with very basic techniques such as how to attach the parchment to the pattern and how to trace with a mapping pen. She covers basic embossing with ball tools and colouring the parchment with oil pastels.

In later cards she builds on what you have learned and adds new techniqes such as embossing letters and stippling, edging with a scallop tool and colouring with pencils.

The last card is quite complex and introduces a small amount of perforation and shows how to cut with snips and parchment scissors. Embossing is extended in this card, she shows how to use a shader to emboss flowers and leaves to show light and shade. £14.95

Sunday, 4 July 2010

White Pencils

White pencils are used to trace pictures and designs on to parchment. It is important that the the point is very sharp so that the line is fine for detailed work. A lot of people prefer mechanical pencils and you can buy white leads for this purpose from various web sites selling parchment equipment. I have found that the only mechanical pencil that is offered on parchment sites is SumoGrip, I found that the lead was really difficult to replace and there were no instructions however the grip is quite comfortable.
When I was looking for an alternative mechanical pencil I came across
After checking the reviews and finding out a lot more about mechanical pencils! I settled for a Pentel Sharp Kerry it is quite expensive but easy to load and it has a pen top for travelling. About £12.00 from Amazon.
White pencils by Pergamano are about £1.35
SumoGrip pencils are £6.89
White leads are £3.95 (why so expensive?)

A Beginners Book

Parchment Craft by Janet Wilson

As a beginner I worked through this book and found it a good starting point. The projects are graded and bring in new techniques throughout the book. If you work from the front to the back each project builds on the last and takes you further. The tools you need are explained and how to use them, colouring parchment with oil pastels and embossing, perforating and cutting techniques are explained clearly.

Parchment craft (beginners)

This is just a diary of everything parchment that I (or others ) can find. Useful information, book reviews, equipment and parchment sites. Please feel free to contribute anything you think would be useful to parchment beginners.