In my previous post, Love Notes and Thank You Cards, I wrote about making "Thank you" cards for a young friend as a wedding shower present, and mentioned that one of my favorites was a card on which I used mulberry paper. If you're not already familiar with this unique specialty paper, you're missing out on a gorgeous papercrafting option.
Mulberry paper is made by hand, out of the bark of the mulberry shrubs. The process of harvesting, stripping, soaking and pounding the bark into submission is fascinating, and worth a quick read on Wikipedia. The resulting product is an extremely strong and versatile paper, which is available in several weights and a multitude of styles and colors, all with distinctive textures.
These are a few examples of Mulberry paper from my stash. As you can see in the top sheet of pale pink paper, lovely dried leaves and flowers are randomly embedded in the thick, heavily textured pulp, making each sheet totally one-of-a-kind. The center white paper is made from the revered white bark layer, which grows closest to the center pith of the branches, and illustrates one of mulberry paper's most unique qualities on the upper right-hand corner. When torn, the fibers of the paper create soft, feathered edges (which can be controlled to a degree by wetting the area before tearing). Below the feathered corner, you can see how clean a decorative edge can look when cut with sharp decorative scissors, instead. The third sheet of (orange) paper is the thin, translucent variety, in which natural and colored fibers can be clearly visible.
In the two thank you cards above, I used white mulberry paper that was embedded with flower petals and leaves, and I also used self-adhesive Washi tape, which is a thin, tissue-weight, variety of Japanese paper tape, often also made from mulberry bark. Washi tape is 'all-the-rage' at the moment, and with good reason. It is available in a wide variety of interesting styles and designs, rips easily, and adds a carefree accent to mixed media artwork and papercrafting projects. By design, I wasn't going after the extreme feathered edges here...you can see that most of the edges are clean, sharp cuts, with only two of the edges on the left card slightly feathered.
I also added an inked manila tag to the card on the right. When it comes to inking edges, especially when a natural, aged look is desired, it's hard to beat Tim Holtz's Distress Inks by Ranger. Apply the ink by dabbing the blending tool (also designed by Tim Holtz) into the ink pad, then rub onto the edges of the tag in a circular motion, starting at the outer edge and moving toward the center of the tag. The message was stamped with Staz-0n ink.
The natural rafia ribbon and bows were the perfect accent to these cards...fitting in with the organic quality of the mulberry paper and Washi tape. So let's peak into the inside of the cards...
Simple, lovely touches...just enough to add a little something. The card without the tag got a little stamped strip of the mulberry paper adhered with Washi tape, and inside of the tagged card, I just placed a strip of that lovely tape.
Spreading the love -Enikö