Posted in Hobbies, How-to, Ideas and inspiration

Cool Things to Make with One Piece of Paper

Maybe you’ve got bored kids on your hands and plenty of paper to put to use. Maybe you’re just an adult who wants to make stuff with paper, because who says only kids can?

No one, that’s who. Or at least, no one you need in your life. 🙂

Either way, I’ve got some fun ideas for cool stuff to make with just one sheet of paper!

Everything I list here has written instructions, but there’s no reason why you absolutely have to use these exact links. I just personally hate watching videos. Diagrams are the best for origami-type crafts, amirite?

One-page minizines

One of my favorite things to make with one sheet of paper is the legendary one-page minizine. With one simple cut along the middle fold of regular printer paper, you can turn it into a little booklet to fill with any kind of art or writing you want.

The best part? Zines are specifically made to be really easily scanned and copied. So even though there’s a part where some folding magic happens, all of your work is still on the same side of your original sheet of paper. Sound confusing? No worries. Ya need a visual, I think.

Check out this blog post to see how it’s done. Pay special attention to this infographic:

Diagrammed instructions for making a one-page minizine

I hope that helps. There are tons of other resources that lay out how to make minizines, but this infographic was the one that really sunk in for me.

As a bonus, let me offer you an extra-easy way to start making minizines: a Canva template!

This template is what I made for my own use as I make zines–it’s nothing fancy, but gives you guidelines for each page so that it’s a little easier to keep everything visible and know where to fold.

You can use this to design zines digitally OR simply print it out, write/draw as desired, and scan it into your computer afterwards. Don’t forget that some pages will appear upside down from the original orientation, though!

Let me give you a simple example so you can see what I mean:

An example minizine by the author

There are multiple ways of doing this, but in this case (my first zine ever, before I made my template) the page that says “Things that make my life bright” is the front cover; the one right before it is the back cover, and the numbering should make the rest clear.

Zines are really fun little projects that can really be about anything. I especially enjoy swapping zines with people via Swap-bot, but you can just make them for fun or for sharing with family and friends.

A close cousin: a one-sheet pocketbook

Okay, so I’ll admit–this one is a little more involved than the minizine. You might need binder rings to make it look nice in the end. But you still make it from just one piece of paper! Find the instructions here:

Cute, right? I’ve never really made a pocket book before, but I think I’ll give this one a shot when I get around to it.

Envelopes galore!

If you have any interest in mail art, fun envelopes are a must! They make snail mail that much more fun to receive. And you don’t really need that much paper to make them.

First on my list are a couple of kid- or beginner-friendly ones that you can find here:

These instructions are written really well, I think, with super clear pictures.

If you’re up for something a little harder, try this more complicated envelope.

Unless you happen to be fluent in Italian, you’ll need to translate the page to English. Chrome does this automatically, I think, though? So maybe try it on Chrome if it’s all “Greek” to you.

There are way, way more ways to make envelopes from one sheet of paper. I also tend to enjoy the template method. I find that most of those are behind a paywall, but you can find some really nice template files on Etsy. I can vouch for this one, for example. And it’s only $2, so that’s not too bad, right?

Single-sheet origami animals

Origami is such a huge craft in and of itself, but I think it belongs here as a reminder that you can make cool little animals with just one piece of paper. 🙂


Origami crane model found at the linked resource

I can’t start talking about origami without including a crane model. Like, c’mon. This was my go-to model (or approximately this) when I was a kid. It’s a classic origami model for a reason! Find some instructions here.


Origami dragon model found at the linked resource

If you’re following along in order here, you might notice that this dragon model shares a lot in common with the crane. That might make it easier, if you’re new to origami! I just really like this take on an origami dragon–look at those cute little feet! Lol. Find the instructions here.


Origami dog model found at the linked resource

I’m extra excited about this one because, well, it’s a dog and dogs are the best. But I also noticed, like the author did, that there aren’t all that many origami dog models out there? I don’t know why not, but it makes me extra grateful for this one! Here is your link.

Well folks, that’s what I have for you today! There’s a lot you can do with just one piece of paper, huh? Please let me know if you end up trying any of these and how they went!

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you soon! 🙂

Posted in How-to

How to Make Artist Trading Cards (and Why!)

Artist Trading Cards (or ATCs) are cute little pieces of art meant to be traded with other artists. What are ATCs used for? Collecting! That’s it.

I mean, I guess you could argue people use artist trading cards for inspiration… either for more ATCs or other forms of art. But really, it’s just a lot of fun to trade your art away and get someone else’s in return. Especially in such a small, collectible format.

Okay, so… how do you make an ATC?

One of the coolest things about ATCs is that there are very few rules. All you really need to do is make sure you’ve got something (thin cardboard or watercolor paper, ideally) that measures 2.5 x 3.5″, which is the same size as a typical poker playing card or trading card.

(You can optionally round the corners off like a playing card. This is super easy with a corner punch and I do it literally every time because I just like the way it looks. I’ve never seen it required for a swap, though.)

Got it? Now make art! 🙂 Just decorate one side of the card however you’d like. Collaging, painting, drawing, sewing… anything goes, really.

When you’re satisfied, it’s a good idea to seal the card with Mod Podge or the like. I alternate between matte and glossy Mod Podge because the glossy stuff looks cooler but takes a lot longer to cure (so it might be sticky even if you don’t realize it).

The final step is labelling your ATC with your information. How much you provide is totally up to you, but personally I include the following:

  • My full name, username, email, city and state, and country
  • The title of the card
  • The date I made the ATC
  • What kind of exchange it’s for (Swap/trade/mingle/RAK [Random Act of Kindness])
  • The theme of the exchange it’s for

At first, I just handwrote this info in Sharpie on the back of each ATC. Now, though, I print premade ATC backs and glue them to the back, filling in the blanks with a Sharpie.

Do you have a template I can use for the back?

Sure. Here’s an artist trading card template I made with Canva.

How do you find people to trade ATCs with?

I mostly use Swap-bot and ATCs For All, personally. Those links are my direct profiles, so feel free to reach out and say hi. 🙂

Swap-bot has a lot more to it than specifically ATC swaps, but they’re all swaps–meaning you send a card(s) to someone and they send to someone else. It’s a lot easier to get involved in ATC swaps on Swap-bot once you’re in a mail art-specific group.

On ATCs For All (or AFA), you can also find trades. So you might message someone if you see a cool ATC in their online gallery, they respond with what they like of yours, etc. You directly exchange in a trade.

A swap on AFA means that every player sends cards to the host, who then redistributes them among all the players (sometimes randomly, sometimes thoughtfully).

In some private groups, there are “mingles,” which mean the same as swaps do on Swap-bot (so you send to one person, who sends theirs to someone else).

RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness) can take place anywhere, basically. If someone feels like sending you their cards out of nowhere, with no expectation of a trade or swap, that’s a RAK.

I’m stuck at the “make art” part. Where can I find ideas for ATCs?

The good news here is that usually you’ll have a theme to work with for whatever kind of exchange you choose. Limiting your options can help you get creative!

Otherwise, honestly, Pinterest is great. Here’s my ATC inspiration board.

If you join ATCs For All, they have a huge gallery of cards, too. You could always just browse for inspiration for your own ATCs.

Well, those are the basics of all you need to know about making artist trading cards. I hope this was helpful!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon! 🙂

Posted in How-to, Resources

Your Complete Guide to How and Where to Find Sims 4 CC

A while ago I wrote about creative video games worth trying out and The Sims 4 was at the top of that list. And for good reason! There’s just so much you can do with sims, and community-made mods and Custom Content (or CC) add even more possibilities.

So many, really, that it’s hard to know where to go to find the best cc and… “collecting” the best stuff for your sims is almost a hobby in and of itself.

Or maybe I’m just a hoarder, you know. Whatever. 🙂

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of the best places I’ve found a lot of great custom content to help you get even more creative with your sims.

General tips

First off, here’s what you DON’T want to do:

  • download anything that looks sketchy; for instance, if it uses Not worth it!
  • simply place .rar or .zip files in your Mods folder without extracting the files first
    • if you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry; I’ll explain below
  • download mods or cc that requires expansion packs you don’t have
    • many downloads will specifically say “base-game compatible” or “bgc” OR note what expansions are required to use the content
  • (optional) download a ton of content without also getting mods to help you manage it
    • for example: expanded CAS columns becomes verryyy necessary at a certain point

Yeah, so I would suggest NOT doing the above things. Here’s the basics of how you actually DO download mods/cc for your game:

Disclaimer: I have a PC and am running Windows 10. I honestly have no idea how this changes if you have a Mac. YMMV, etc etc.

  1. Find cool stuff and download it! Yay! This is the fun part. Make sure you know how to get to where everything downloads, i.e, usually your Downloads folder.
  2. Look at what file type each download is. PACKAGE files are the easiest to handle; go to 2a. Go to 2b for .rar and .zip files.
    • 2a: If the file in question is a PACKAGE file, all you really have to do is move that sucker into your Sims 4 Mods folder. Click to select it, then you should see “Move to” up at the top of your file browser. Use that to navigate to your Mods folder, which for me is in Documents, but you might have to look around. The path should be something like Documents > Electronic Arts >The Sims 4 > Mods. Once you’ve moved the file to Mods, you’re done with this step.
    • 2b: For a .rar or .zip file, I would recommend using 7zip, which is free and by all accounts much better than winRAR or whatever else is out there. With it installed, right click the file, then 7zip > Extract… and click the three little dots off to the right to browse for your Mods folder. The path should be something like Documents > Electronic Arts >The Sims 4 > Mods. Press OK to extract the files to your Mods folder and now you can delete the files from your Downloads.
  3. Now you’ve installed your mods/cc and want to actually play, right? To do this, you’ll need to start the game, go into Options, and enable mods and scripted mods. You’ll find the options in the “Other” category. Note that you’ll need to re-enable mods every time the game updates.
  4. Now you’ll need to restart your game. Do this and you should be all set!

Now that you get the process, where do you actually find all this cool stuff to download??

Larger/general sources of Sims cc

  • The Sims Resource.
    • This one can be divisive because you have to pay to conveniently download anything, but it’s pretty cheap. I think it’s very worth the price.
    • The content here tends to be high-quality and there’s a lot of it. It’s kind of overwhelming, honestly. Often I find cc through another source (like Pinterest) that points me back to TSR, though I wouldn’t have ever seen it there otherwise. Maybe their search needs some tweaking? Not sure.
    • You can absolutely try TSR for free for a while and if you use it a lot, consider upgrading to a paid plan.
  • Tumblr.
    • So-called “simblrs” tend to host free cc, but sometimes they link to Patrons-only Patreon accounts.
    • Simblrs are great for going down rabbit holes, because often they reblog each other and/or have lists of other simblrs you can check out.
    • You don’t need a tumblr account of your own to search tumblr!
    • The biggest downfall of searching tumblr is that many of the links are broken. Sometimes it feels like a cc cemetery. 😦 But there is still so much left up there!
  • Pinterest.
    • I unironically love Pinterest lately. It learns quickly what you’re into and suggests infinite sources of cc once it picks up on your interest in it.
    • Pinterest is also great for organizing all that stuff you want to download later!
    • I would recommend adding a “note to self” when you download something so you don’t forget. For example, I would add “Downloaded 5/11/22” to everything I download today. These notes are only visible to you, don’t worry.
  • ModTheSims.
    • ModTheSims is especially great for, well, mods. I means mods as opposed to cc that doesn’t really function in an innovative way, e.g., clothes.
    • You can download stuff for free here!
    • Beware of very old mods–I haven’t seen anything malicious on MTS, but some modders have abandoned their mods over time and they can either just not work and/or cause problems with your game.

I’m sure I’m missing other sources, but these are what I use, generally. I’m a little hesitant to recommend Simsdom because I find the wait time (if you don’t pay) to be extremely annoying and the price doesn’t seem worth it. That said, sometimes I’ll download from there anyway.

Maybe you’re looking for even faster shortcuts to the good stuff. 🙂 Don’t worry, I got you.

My more specific faves for cc sources

The following list is probably well into “overwhelming” territory, but I’m providing little notes to help you determine which links to follow based on what kind of cc you’re looking for. Have fun!


Like I mentioned above, TSR is technically a paysite, but it’s well worth the cost, in my opinion. There’s no other site as legit, high-quality, and (almost) free of ads.

Some of my favorite TSR artists are:

KaTPurpura: clothes, especially female kids and toddler clothes cc

McLayneSims: clothes, especially male clothes cc (for all ages). Really prolific creator on TSR.

qicc: hair cc

remaron: hair and clothes cc (for all ages)

Severinka_: object and furniture cc

SIMcredible!: super polished object and furniture cc, especially sets

Pinkzombiecupcakes: clothes cc (for all ages and genders)

RAVASHEEN: objects/furniture cc. Often modded to function in some awesome and creative way. Probably one of my top favorite Sims cc creators/modders.

Sims House: clothes cc for male and female adults

Syboubou: object and furniture cc, amazing quality.

Pralinesims: buy/build objects, walls and floors, and premade houses cc. Incredible attention to detail, especially in subtle textures. My go-to for flooring and terrain.

wingssims: alpha hair cc. Super realistic.

wondymoon: object and furniture cc. Lots of really good stuff.

Onyxium: object and furniture cc, often a really cool modern/minimalistic style.

ung999: object and furniture cc, modern style.

NynaeveDesign: object and furniture cc. Not currently uploading (at least on TSR), but their stuff is very high-quality.

jomsims: VERY prolific creator (over 6k creations on TSR), with plenty of great clothes and object/furniture cc.

OranosTR: clothes and hair cc

Darte77: clothes, especially male clothes cc. Very detailed–goes for realism.

belaloallure: clothes cc. Very detailed, goes for realism.

lillka: kids and toddlers clothes cc

Simblrs (Tumblr)

These are some of my favorite sims-focused Tumblr blogs. You don’t need a tumblr to chase rabbitholes of reblogged cc. 🙂 There is some risk of broken links, though.

Peacemaker: objects and furniture cc. You can tell this person is very kind and does it for the joy.

KK’s Sims: clothes, especially male clothes cc

MaxisMatchCCWorld: a HUGE collection of cc. Very neatly organized, too. A great source to find any kind of cc you want.

wcifsareclosed: a reliable simblr with a large collection of cc. I don’t think they create, though I could be wrong.

okruee: clothes and hair cc

This is Them: skinblends cc that make sims look like real people. It’s crazy.

My Pinterest board

If you want a direct way to see what I’m into as far as Sims 4 cc, check out my Pinterest board.

I will warn you, however, that some links may be broken and/or lead to adfly or be otherwise sketchy. I can’t guarantee everything on here because I don’t download before I pin, typically.

Patreon/Other sites

Most of these are on Patreon, but here’s a protip: scroll down to “See all posts” and then filter on the tier dropdown to only show public posts. This lists all the free content for you!

Around the Sims: an unreal quantity of buy/build objects as well as clothes cc. If you aren’t a paid member, you need to download items individually (sometimes a pain, but I think it’s worth the effort).

myshunosun: object/furniture cc with a distinct minimalist style.

Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla: clothes, especially male clothes cc. They have a very clean and professional style and are super prolific. I probably have hundreds of Gorillax3 pins on my Sims board.

LazyEyelids: clothes cc (for all ages and genders)

Solistair: clothes cc for male and female adults

Rusty Nail clothes, espeically male clothes cc (Sims4Downloads has a lot of ads, but otherwise seems legit)

Rimings: clothes cc. Very detailed, goes for realism.

AdrienPastel: clothes, epecially male clothes cc.

casteru: clothes and hair cc. A smoother, closer-to-EA sort of style.

obscurus-sims: sliders and presets. Seriously, their sliders are the best out there.

I hope this was helpful to anyone looking to try out some Sims 4 CC! See you soon! 🙂

Posted in How-to

How to Read a Friendship Bracelet Pattern

So I’ve been making some friendship bracelets lately, and recently branched out to making my first pattern of my own!

But I think there’s kind of a steep barrier to entry for a lot of people: the diagrams look really complicated. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and never really get going. But you’re missing out, y’all! So let me try to explain how to read the patterns.

I’m going to use my own submitted pattern because that seems like less of a copyright concern, no? I mean, I did create the thing myself.

So, first things first. This is what the bracelet looks like:

Blue and black geometric friendship bracelet pattern

Now, there are a couple of things to remember here. For one, there’s no fixed number of times that the design needs to repeat. You just make it as many times as you think you need to to get an appropriate length for a bracelet.

Also, this is the perfect princess digital version. So… it doesn’t look exactly like that as a bracelet. It’s hard to explain why, exactly, but something about how the knots stack and the embroidery floss stretches plus the tension you hold it with… yeah. It gets complicated.

Now, here’s what the pattern looks like:

Full diagram of my friendship bracelet pattern

Please don’t run away! I can explain!!!

Take a deep breath. Good? Ok.

The very first thing you should notice is that we’ve only got two colors going on. A (black) and B (blue). The reason we bother to say A or B instead of just the color is because you can and should pick whatever color combos you want; this black/blue is just a suggestion.

The second thing you want to look at is the very top row:

First row of the pattern

Never mind the arrows for now–just notice how many strands of thread you have “leading into” the first row. You’ve got A B B A A B B A A B here. Which is 5 A strands and 5 blue strands.

You need to know this because your next step, if you want to try following along, is to cut 5 strands of each color you want to use.

The million dollar question: how long do I cut each strand?

Good question, pal. I’m still trying to figure out how to guesstimate this more precisely, but most people use a rule of thumb of the length from the tip of your middle finger to your shoulder. Per strand, mind you.

(There are also a lot of people who double this length and fold each strand in half to form a loop at the top. I think this sounds very legit, but I haven’t actually tried it yet, so I can’t really talk about it :D)

Ok, so you have your embroidery floss, right? 10 strands, 5 of each color?

You can just knot them all together in a simple overhead knot about three inches down from their ends. It will be thick and you’re about to tie a billion other knots directly below it, so don’t worry about it being super secure. This is just your starting point.

I would recommend you somehow secure this end to something solid before we go on, though. I like using a clipboard, but maybe that’s weird?

Ok, back to the scary diagram:

First two rows of the pattern

If you’re following along, you’re basically sitting at row 0 right now.

Now each row tells us–according to how the last one led into this row–how we tie each knot. Because each knot only includes two strands at a time, and you can skip strands on the ends (more on that later).

So if we look at the very first knot:

The very first knot diagram

A is supposedly on the left and B is on the right, because we read top-down and left-right. (I only say “supposedly” because at the very beginning, you just have a random arrangement of strands coming out of your overhead knot. When you reach the bottom of the pattern and repeat, however, you will actually see the arrangement in “row 0.”)

So what that arrow tells us is that A is wrapping over B first. So you lay A over B like an L first before pulling A back through the loop it just made. It’s important that you hold B straight in your right hand while you pull A tight (like really tight) and all the way up as close to the original overhead knot as you can get. Then do that exact same thing again. Loop A over B, etc.

You should have made your first real knot–congrats! So any diagonal arrow in a diagram means make two knots with the same two strands in the same direction.

Now, my friend: set those two strands off to the left. Seriously. You will NOT be able to keep track of where you are if you don’t habitually set your completed strands aside.

Now, the second knot is eerily similar:

The first two knots diagram

EXCEPT: we should start with a B/blue strand on the left and A/black on the right. And we wrap B around A, holding A tight and straight in our right hand. Don’t forget to actually do the knot twice and then set these two strands aside, too.

Oh no, a new challenger has emerged!

The first three knots diagram

So the third knot in the first row is our first departure from the one type of knot we know, but, spoiler alert: there are only 4 basic types of knots and only 3 of them are in this pattern!

So the only real difference is who’s looping over who at any given time. Again, if we look to row zero, we should have an A on the left and a B on the right. But instead of looping A/left/black over B/right/blue first, we’ll lay B/right/blue over A/left/black. So instead of an L, we get… a backwards L shape. But we still pull B through the loop it just formed. And we hold A straight in our LEFT hand instead of our right.

Remember to do the same knot twice and set those two strands off to the side!

Still with me? God, you’re killin the game. Nice work. Soon you’ll be making friends and friendship bracelets left and right.

Here’s the whole first row again:

The first row diagram

You should have just set two more strands off to the side for the third knot. So I think you can handle the last two without me helping you out! Go on. I have the utmost faith in you.

By the way–if you were to mess up a knot, you can easily undo it by sticking a needle or a pin in the offending knot. It’s actually surprisingly easy. And worth it, trust me.

So if you’ve gotten here, you probably knotted that whole first row, right? BIG CONGRATS

I would recommend at this point that you print off the pattern and trace what row you’re on by following it with a paperclip. I’m sure there are a million other ways to do this, but that’s my method.

Ok, so peeking at the second row:

The first two rows diagram

I want you to notice first that what we did in the first row matters. So even though in the first row, we had black on the left and blue on the right in that very first pair, it’s now flipped around. You should see that your strands have a natural preference to lie in a specific order now–and you should let them.

Over time, you’ll get better at not mixing up who’s who, but in the beginning, just do your best to see where everything wants to go. Like if you collect all the strands together and let them fall, what order do they like? The point being that you shouldn’t have to force any strands over or under another one to have it in the correct place.

You should also notice that we have TWO different symbols going on.

So on the far left there, you should have a blue strand coming down. LEAVE IT ALONE. That’s literally all that means. Take your leftmost blue strand and just set it aside without knotting with or on it at all.

Your first knot will be with the next two strands, which are A/black. I trust you know how to do this and the next knot. Good luck. 🙂

All right, now the third knot in on the second row has some funny business taking place. Just what does that confused arrow even mean, you ask?

The confused arrow diagram
What is the meaning of this??

So it’s a bit unfortunate that in this example, both strands are the same color. But the principle will remain the same. Let’s call the black strand on the left Al and the black strand on the right Fred.

This confused arrow means we WON’T make two little knots in the same direction–rather, we need one of each. And because the arrow first points left and then points right, this means that Fred will cross over Al first (as if it’s a left-pointing normal arrow) and once that ONE knot is tightened, Al is gonna cross over Fred (as if it’s a right-pointing normal arrow). You’re still only tying one knot made up of two smaller knots; it’s just not made of two identical ones like it normally is.

I really hope that makes sense, y’all. You can tell me if it doesn’t and I’ll try to explain again!

The rest of knotting is just… keep going! When you reach the end of all of the rows, go back to row 1! I won’t cover how to finish it off here, but rest assured you can just tie a basic overhead knot again if all else fails.

I honestly think that’s the bulk of how to read patterns. The only one direction not shown here is the confused arrow that first points right and then left, but it’s the same principle as the other confused one.

I really hope this helped! I had to figure some of this stuff out on my own and it was pretty confusing. Please let me know if something is unclear.

By the way: to see this pattern in full for yourself, click here.

You can find my profile on Bracelet Book here.

And, finally, if you’re just interested in any patterns, check out Bracelet Book.

Thanks for reading! See you soon!

Posted in How-to

How to Make a Modular Origami Star

First: try a lot of other origami models that are not this star, because life is hard and so is origami. 🙂

Actually first: you’ll need six sheets of paper. Squares! And it would be ideal if there’s either color on both sides or the back is plain white, because you’ll see a bit of the backside on the finished star.

It’s funny because I literally didn’t follow my own advice. This is where we’re headed:

This is an example of modular origami, so we’ll be making a relatively simple unit–and then making the same thing five more times–AND THEN we’ll put it all together and it’ll actually look like something.

I really like this model because it’s not ridiculously hard to put together. It’s a cool introduction to modular origami if you’ve never tried it. Or a breath of fresh air if you have tried modular origami.

Sound fun? Cool. Buckle up.

Okay, so you’ll need to start with your first square white- or backside up.

Then we’re going to fold it in half, bottom to top (top being the edge furthest from you):

You might not be able to tell in the picture, but the raw unfolded edge should be furthest away from you at this point.

Got it so far? You’re doing great. You made a fold!

Now we’ll take that folded bottom edge and act like we’re going to fold the whole thing in half again, but we’re only kidding, so we’ll just make a light crease in the approximate middle. We’re only doing this for reference, so as long as you know where it is, you’re good.

Now we’re going to take the top-left and bottom right corners of our little rectangle and make them line up with the crease we just made–AND we’re going to make these folds run through the bottom-left (from the left) and top-right (from the right) corners.

This might sound confusing, but that’s why we have pictures, right? I got you.

You should have a parallelogram now. It’s pretty cute.

Take the cute lil guy and fold him left to right so that the left diagonal edge lines up with the right diagonal edge. You’re folding it in half, really, but it won’t be pretty because it isn’t symmetrical.

Okay, so now you’re gonna undo that fold. I know. I’m sorry. We’re just kidding again and only doing it for the crease.

Don’t hate me, but we’re actually going to fully unfold it now. you should have the white side up, like this:

And now we’ll fold along creases that already exist, so that’s fun: fold along those diagonal creases on the left, both top and bottom. You should see triangles of the front side of your paper:

Now take that crispy crease across the middle and let it happen. I mean, fold the top edge down to meet the bottom edge:

This, my friends, is a trapezoid. Welcome back to geometry class.

Okay, we’ve come to the hardest part, now. I 100% believe in you, but if you don’t know origami, you might need a moment to catch your breath.

Do you see how, in the trapezoid, we have a couple of parallelograms and a triangle made out of creases? What we’re going to do is flip the paper inside out at the point where the two parallelograms meet.

Still breathing? Good. If you’re lost, think about reversing that fold across the middle, but leaving the leftmost parallelogram segment alone. If you invert that crease, the paper will want to flatten out to the shape I have pictured. I promise.

It might not seem like it, but we’re kind of almost done.

Now we’ll need to invert those triangle pieces through the white part on the bottom. It’s a lot like the last part, but a little less dramatic:

Because I’m an imperfect human being, my module isn’t quite lining up right, but hopefully you get the picture. the white part should approximately line up with the front edges, leaving you with a front-colored parallelogram on the left + a white triangle on the right.

Okay, so that’s… one module. Of the six you need. 🙂

It’ll go by faster than you think. I’ll be here waiting once you’re done.

I’m serious. Literally take another square, white/backside up, and repeat all that. 5 times.

If you’re still with me, I am so proud of you. Hats off to you, honestly.

So when we put this together, try to keep the white triangle off to the right, to make it easier.

We’re going to use the little triangle arms to lock around other units. Give em a little hug. These are two, pre-hug:

And post-hug:

Okay, so you’ll want to put three units together, then set that half aside and put the other three together. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT

Once you have two 3-piece halves, it should make sense where they fit together. Just keep folding those little arms in, giving hugs.


At least, I hope you did. If you cheated and are reading past the point you’re at, cut that out, pal.

Thank you for reading and trying this out! I’ll see you soon!

Posted in Color, How-to

How to Pick Coordinating Colors

This seems like a basic thing, but what do we really mean by “coordinating”?

Lots of different things, as it turns out. I’m resisting the urge to pull out a color wheel because it seems like everyone and their cousin does that. Not without good reason, I guess, but I’m tired of color wheels. I’m gonna assume you’ve got the very basics of color down. Deal? Deal.

You might have forgotten the names of things, though. So, a good rule of thumb is to consider a color’s friends and enemies. Friends meaning the colors who are its neighbors on the color wheel and enemies meaning the ones opposite.

Real Artists(TM) would call these analogous and complementary colors, and they’re useful to recognize because the combinations achieve very different ends.

What are friends for?

Friends, or analogous colors, always play nice together. If green is our reference point, yellow and blue will never let you down. You can’t go wrong. This also starts to feel like a spectrum is forming, which usually has broad appeal.

You want friendly colors when you’re looking for a way to branch out without getting too crazy. Mild salsa is not the most exciting choice, but it’s also popular for a reason.

Photo by Zaksheuskaya from Pexels

The above photo also speaks to the point that analogous colors can safely mix, as in paint. I go to analogous colors all the time, especially when I’m painting.

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer?

Complementary colors, on the other hand, tend to scare me a bit. Color wheel enemies, like blue and yellow, have a strained relationship at times.

I’m not saying they can’t hang out, but you kind of need to plan ahead if you want to include them. Blue might say something snarky to Yellow if they’re seated next to each other at dinner.

But that’s not to say it’s a bad idea to play with complementary colors. Exhibit A:

A bright yellow lemon in front of a bright blue background
Photo by Toni Cuenca from Pexels

Man, does that yellow POP, right? You cannot possibly ignore that lemon. That lemon has something to say.

I actually adore the combination of blue and yellow. I’ve recently figured that out because I really like Van Gogh, and blue and yellow are a big theme in his art.

But if this idea appeals to you, bear in mind that mixing their paint will reveal a friendly green, which is an entirely different vibe. Blue and yellow is bold; it almost operates as black and white does. But there is a time and a place both for strongly contrasting black and white AND graceful transitions of shades of gray.

Pick your battles

Speaking of which, these friends/enemies ideas apply to intensity, too. Like, if you want a really intense focal point, it should be surrounded by peaceful neutrals or it won’t stand out. Whereas if you’re looking for a pretty even spread of intensity, stick to similar levels across the board. Intensity friends are nice to each other.

Nature is Cool

Finally, my favorite advice about color theory: just look at pretty things and steal their colors. Most of this stuff is intuitive, right? It helps to have a vocabulary and make intentional choices, but you also can grab stuff that looks good and do amazing art with it.

One resource I found today that’s really fun to mess with is this palette generator called coolors. It somewhat randomly chooses colors for you and you lock in your favorites one at a time. It has some intelligence about it, too, so whatever it generates next goes with whatever you’ve already locked.

I came up with this one when I was playing around:

A color palette ranging from muted light greens to bright raspberry to muted pinks and purples

I named it “Raspberry and friends,” because of reasons.

I just love it because I never would have picked out this palette had I not seen the colors next to each other. Hooray for serendipity!

Well, I hope you got some colorful inspiration out of this. Color coordination means something different to everyone, but knowing what combinations create what kind of tension will help you make more confident choices. And don’t forget to just wing it sometimes to broaden those horizons!

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you soon!

Posted in How-to, Ideas and inspiration, Technique adventures

How to Make a Color Palette Generator with Canva (Free Version)

Oh man, you guys. This was truly an adventure. By which I mean I had a looottt of trouble getting something simple to work. More on that later. 🙂

First, a disclaimer: I’ve never really played with Canva before. I’ve been interested in trying it, but this is really my first experiment. So I fully expect I did some stupid things. Please let me know if you have tips!

This is more a post to walk you through my experience, rather than Knowledgably Advise you on how to do this. But, to my credit, I now know at least one way to get the job done!

The first steps

I first just opened a blank “Play with Canva” file because I have no clue what I’m doing.

I decided the first thing to do once I was in was literally just search for a color palette template. At least I was smart enough to do that, and not try to reinvent the wheel!

Screenshot showing a search for "color palette" template in Canva

Bear in mind, I only have the free version, so there aren’t that many options. I first picked this one:

Screenshot of "Color Palette Inspiration" template in Canva

Little did I know the Hell that awaited me.

I wanted to upload a picture and see how easy it was to let Canva pull out the colors for me. As it turns out, that part was very easy and user-friendly.

All I had to do was upload something (though I know that part was probably unecessary because they have free images, too) and click on it to add it to my existing project. I chose a somewhat clumsy golden retriever pixel art I made last year, mostly because I only used 4 colors and it would make it easy.

Screenshot of Canva project after uploading an image

Fairly straightforward so far, right? I had figured out I needed to do this because when I clicked on the color palette (as highlighted above), I could see that Canva automatically tells you what colors are present in the photo/project over on the sidebar.

So my little dog pixel art resulted in this (I needed to click “See All” under the colors in the photo):

Screenshot of Canva's automatic color detection on my dog upload

Massively helpful. Thank you, Canva! It also gives you the hex code for each color when you hover over it with your cursor.

I thought “Wow, this was easy. I’m basically done!” But… I’ve foreshadowed enough. Here comes the trouble.

I was able to do a number of small, basic adjustments like moving things around, resizing, updating the text to reflect the real colors in the dog, but I couldn’t get the color palette itself to have all rounded corners once I cropped the extra fifth color off.

I know it sounds like no big deal, but I spent a very long time trying to figure it out. See, there are frames in Canva which will crop your image to the frame. So I should have been able to simply drop the palette piece onto a rectangular frame with rounded corners, but it just wouldn’t work.

This is where you find the frames and what they look like, by the way:

Screenshot of Canva menu showing frames

After suffering for a long time and trying and retrying resizing in every which way, I nearly rage quit the project altogether. Maybe that sounds dramatic, but every tutorial was like “it’s so easy, just drag and drop! :)” and meanwhile absolutely nothing happened when I did that.

I suspect the problem is either something is too fixed about the template I was using or I wasn’t able to resize finely enough or something? I’m not sure. This is what my experiment looked like when I gave up on it:

Screenshot of first Canva palette experiment
There was an attempt

Experiment part II

But instead of rage quitting, I decided to try a different template. I picked the sandy beach one you’ll see here, right above the one I first chose:

Screenshot of Canva's color palette template options

It was all smooth sailing from there. I deleted the background sand, which left me with a square frame. I was worried, but this time, my dog image actually resized to fit it. Amazing.

Then it was just some copying and pasting and changing the colors over to eventually get this:

My final experiment result, showing a dog with its color palette

It was a wild ride, maybe, but I got there eventually. And now I know how to do something new!

I learned a lot in general behind-the-scenes, too, just figuring out what’s available in Canva and that sort of thing. It seems like a great tool. I wish the paid version didn’t cost so much, or they’d have me as a customer.

I hope that you got something out of this, if maybe only entertainment at my Canva ignorance. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you soon!