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Intro to Perforating, Part 2

April 23, 2010

In part 1 we looked at perforating around the border and within a pattern, as well as the basic tools we use.

Next, let’s look at piercing. There are two ways to pierce the parchment paper. The first is to pierce the paper while it is over the pattern. The second is to pierce the paper while it is over a metal grid. (There are numerous grids on the market to choose from). While one can pretty much use a grid to keep their piercings straight and even, there may be times that you will not be able to do this. (Additionally, if you ever decide to take the Parchment Craft Guild exams, you will need to be able to pierce over a pattern).

Years ago (and I mean back in the late 1990’s), some kind soul had a number of perforating patterns on her website. Unfortunately, I never wrote down her name, or where the website is, and I have not been able to find it some 10+ years later. I have recreated a portion of some of those pages for you to download to practice piercing over a pattern (.pdf format). All of the patterns on this page use the 4-needle tool.

While there are quite a few multi-needle tools to use for perforating, many of these multi-needle designs can be made using the 1-needle and/or 4-needle tool. There are some exceptions, such as the semi or half circle, but, even those can be accomplished using the 1-needle tool.

While piercing over a pattern, you want to line up your tool with the dots on the paper. It is this part that takes a lot of practice. You will notice that while you are sitting at your craft area, aligning the needles to the pattern, you can only see at most, 3 of the 4 needles when using the 4-needle tool, and to do even that, I find that I have to stretch my neck in several different directions (not at the same time, of course!). The same is true with other multi-needle tools — you don’t see if all the needles are properly aligned. Make sure that you have all the needles that you do see aligned in the middle of the dots, and that your tool is completely vertical. (The mirror trick comes in handy here too!)

Depending on the design of the pattern you are piercing, you may be placing 1 or more needles into the previous piercings as you go along. In other words, if the piercing pattern has “stand alone” piercings, such as a pattern of X’s, you will pierce each one separately. If, for instance, you are piercing a slot pattern with a 4-needle tool, you will put two needles in the previous piercing. This is to help you stay straight.

The trouble with piercing over a pattern is that no matter how careful you are, the piercings can often go awry. Even the minutest bit off in your piercings can show up in the finished piece, although may not be easily seen by others. So that this doesn’t happen, you could use a clear ruler to help you to keep your piercings straight. Kingfisher Crafts has a special perforating ruler, with little cut-outs that hold the needles straight.

The going awry on freehand perforating is why many people like to pierce a border pattern over a grid. Working on a grid will produce evenly spaced holes, and, when done properly, no chance of the piercings going crooked.

If you have ever worked a counted-cross stitch design, then working on a grid will be very familiar to you. As I have stated earlier, there are numerous grids on the market, including some with fancy designs. Here I will be working with the straight grids.

Some folks will work their central pattern first and then work the grid border. Some folks will work the grid border first, in case they make a mistake, and then work the central pattern. But, I am here to tell you that you don’t have to throw away anymore projects because you “messed up” on your grid border!

One of the problems I have had while working on the grids is piercing in the wrong hole. I can see there are a lot of you that are nodding your heads in agreement! Because of that, I now take a piece of scrap parchment paper, and work a pierced border pattern on that. When I make a mistake, I mark that hole with a fine-tipped red marker so that I know not to prick that hole. This gives me a template to work from, and when I want to use that same piercing pattern, all I have to do is take out the template.

I have always found that working a grid pattern within the pattern itself, to be less stressful than working a border pattern, until I started making the templates first, that is. When working within an image, or between the border and image, pick a spot to start your perforating, and always work each row in the same direction. If you start on the left side of your sheet and work towards the right, on the next row you will do the same.

Here is a little video on perforating for you:

In Part 3, we will start cutting!

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4 Comments
  1. April 23, 2010 11:59 pm

    Great job, C!!!!!

    • cepet permalink
      April 24, 2010 12:33 am

      Thanks V! 🙂 I have this sinking suspicion that I forgot something, though.

      • April 24, 2010 12:58 am

        lol…..whatever is is/was, it’ll be here waiting for additions/corrections a few days from now!!!!!!

  2. cepet permalink
    April 24, 2010 1:45 am

    too true!

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