March 13, 2012

Making your own english paper piecing templates

Well this is what blogging will do to you. I would have been perfectly happy just ordering my paper pieces online and doing my little project. But with a blog I have this sense of responsibility. What if I get someone excited about the pattern and they can't buy the templates? So I've wrestled with my ruler and printer and found simple-enough solutions to share.

For the diamonds: You're going to want about 500 of these dudes unless you join your units as you go, and even then you'll need a few hundred. So let's rustle up some scrap paper. Using either 8.5'' x 11'' or A4 paper, you should get 15 diamonds on each page that you print. You can actually get 30-60 diamonds for every printed page though, if you use the little trick below. 

First, go here. Choose your paper size. Change "minimum border" to 0. Change "block size" to 2 inches. Download the pdf, then go to print the document. Make sure that the "page scaling" setting is set to "none". When it's printed, measure a side of one of the diamonds and make sure that they have in fact printed at the right size.

Now get another 1-3 pieces of scrap paper, and put them under your printed sheet. Staple the pages together. Cut out carefully along the lines with sharp scissors. You may decide to use thicker card stock paper, and if so you'll probably want to cut just two sheets at a time, but I was able to accurately cut four sheets of regular weight paper at once.

To draft the hexagon: you need a piece of paper, a pencil, scissors, and your ruler. You'll see that there is a piece of painter's tape just beneath the 60 degree line on my ruler. This made it easier to see and also provided a slight edge that made aligning with the edge of the paper easier. I recommend it.
So, make two marks, four inches apart, centered on the long edge of the paper. This will be one side of the hexagon.

Now line up the 60 degree line with the bottom of the edge of the paper, and use it to draw a right-leaning line through the right-hand mark (the 60 degree lines lean opposite ways on opposite ends of your ruler, so if the one end isn't angled the way you want, flip your ruler around).

On that line you just drew, make a mark exactly four inches from the mark at the corner.

Now repeat the last two steps, making new angled lines and marks four inches from the last. Repeat until you have six sides. If your last line goes through your first mark, you did it!

To cut out several at a time, lay a few pieces of paper underneath, and staple together in a few places before you start cutting. Mine matched up almost exactly with the ones I ordered online.

The test: do two of your diamond sides equal one of your hexagon sides? Perfect.
However you get your paper pieces, I'll be back to walk you through cutting the fabric soon!


Mama Pea said...

I ordered my templates the other day1

Aunt 'Reen said...

Great tutorial - looking forward to following this whole block process. Thank You!

Elizabeth said... is a great -free- source for printing all kinds of shapes on paper... diamonds, hexagons, triangles, circles.

Gray said...

I admire your patience! AH! I think I would go just crazy! Straight lines are not my strong point....

Sue said...

That is a great tutorial. Elizabeth's link is a good one. I've used it for different shapes.

Christina said...

Thanks everyone! Elizabeth that is the website I have linked to for printing the diamonds. Unfortunately it won't generate such a large hexagon so I had to create my own!

Anita said...

Christina, Thanks so much for this. Could you hear me rummaging through my boxes?? I have a whole load of pre-cut hexie papers I bought for another (unfinished!) project, diamonds and large hexagons. Damn, didn't have the right size, but then I used your terrific drawing to measure up the diamonds against a 2 and a half inch hexagon and they fit!! So now I can cut out some material and take a sprocket away with me on holiday to give it a try. Thanks again. Anita (Melbourne, Oz)

Anonymous said...

thanks so much...I've been wandering through the internet and paging through books to get the right size. The 2 1/2" pattern on page 84 of Block Party by Alissa Haight Carlton and Kristen Lejnieks is a little wonky and I didn't want to use it, but I do want to try the modern take on Grandmother's Flowergarden called Specks of Hex by Rashida. Away I go...wish me luck...I've got my colours all picked out...can't wait

Purl Buttons said...

<3 !

Trisha said...

Thank you for this! I appreciate it so much! I was looking for 2.5" diamonds for Star Ornaments and now I don't have to play with my protractor and stuff to get it right. Bless you!!!

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