Monday, September 18, 2017

lotus mandala: step by step

the last time i posted a handcut mandala, a few people asked how i made it, so when i used some of the fruits of saturday's uber-fun gelli printing marathon with stephanie to make another, i took photos of the steps! if you're pressed for time, these pics can also be seen as a flipagram in my instagram account.

ok, let's go!

papers, scissors, dry adhesive, a pencil, optional ink (for edges) and something you can use to draw a fairly neat circle this case the cool teal protractor thing that stephanie found in an art supply store in nyc.

start with a circle
you can trace a roll of tape or a glass, or use a stencil or diecut. it's pretty helpful to start with a somewhat symmetrical circle, though. after this we'll wing it. i like inked edges, especially when i have this many competing prints, but they are completely optional.

i used dry adhesive to tack my circle to another layer of paper, then sketched a petal shape or two. sometimes i divide the circle neatly into quarters, then halves, and mark all the sections; this time i just started cutting. as you can see, the lower left is pretty wonky, because i ran into the edge. it somewhat evens out in the next step though. but mostly i'm just lackadaisical about things like this, and fun is better than perfect, imo! :)

again, i attached the completed bit (circle + scallops) to the paper i wanted to use next. this time i made sure to center it, so i'd have enough room! i sketched a couple of half circles to see how they'd look. i liked them, so i cut them all the way around.

more petals
because i have A LOT of patterns here, i wanted to keep the shapes pretty simple, so i just stuck to petals, scallops and circles. in retrospect, i wish i had swapped out a few of the prints for plain cardstock, because it's pretty frenetic, but there ya go.

another circle
this time i used a compass. i don't know why i insist the circular layers be fairly precise, while the shaped layers can be wonky, but that's what i usually do, lol.

more scallops
if you don't like handcutting, you can make them by punching loads of circles and attaching them from the back, so they look like scallops. in which case you'll want to use a bit more adhesive on those layers. 

another circle
again with the compass. it's actually slightly smaller than the layer in front of it, but it peeks out from behind. 

at this point i went to the sewing machine and added a ring of machine stitching to each of the three circle layers. because i like the way it accents and outlines the shape, but also...these layers are of different paper weights, and the stitching ensures that everything will stay firmly attached. it also allows me to leave the petals and scallops loose, so i can curl them up slightly for the "lotus" effect!

finally i mounted the whole thing to one last gelli print, trimmed it into a square, matted it on black glossy cardstock, and added one more bit of stitching.

et voila! 

not into sketching or hand cutting? 
use punches, dies, doilies, templates, decorative scissors... the possibilities are endless! 
all you need are stacked layers and a little imagination!


  1. I love this. I can hear my stacks of gelli prints calling me. this is going to be my next project. thanks for sharing all your "goodies" with us. they are great.


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