Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How to Make Round and Oval Rosettes, plus Rosette Math Theory

Here's a (not at all) quick post about how to make rosettes.  I'll start with the basic instructions and then move on to my little trick for making oval rosettes.  I will also share with you how to make sure that the width of paper you're using won't be too wide for your finished rosette.  (Warning: that part takes... MATH!!!  I figured I'd get it out there now for those of you who tremble at the mere mention of its name.)

I'll save the usually lengthy introduction and simply say this: rosettes are awesome!  These are another one of those things I like to make on those days when I want to sit and make something, but I don't know what.  Bang out a ton of rosettes, flowers, etc., for use in future projects.  That's the way to look brilliant with less effort when it counts!  ^_~


I use Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive for gluing the initial folded circle and hot glue for the finished rosette.  I find that I prefer low temperature hot glue for these because it sets faster than the high temperature hot glue.

Get a strip of cardstock or paper, usually either 11 or 12 inches long.  Make your strip half the size of your desired finished rosette.  If that's 2", for instance, cut a 1" strip.  If you want a fancy edge on your rosette, punch along the edge of your paper first and THEN cut the strip, else you'll end with a rosette smaller than the one you initially wanted.

Don't go any wider than 1 1/2" for either side, unless your edge is punched like mine, with an up and down pattern.  Then, for a 12 inch strip, you can get away with 1 3/4".  This instruction is all based upon evil maths.  I won't get into the maths part yet, but just listen to your Sensei to avoid some grief.

When you have your strip cut, go ahead and score.  I use my handy dandy Martha Stewart Scoring Board, which I love beyond all reason.  I usually score every 1/4".  You can try to score so that each line lines up with the dip in your punched edge, if you have one, but I never do.  I think I did once.  For me, that way lies madness, and the finished rosettes look just as good, in my opinion, so I abandoned that bit of OCD in favor of productivity and I haven't regretted it even one time.

Once the entire strip has been scored, begin to accordion fold your piece along all of the score lines.  This means that you will fold up at one point, then fold down at the next, then up, then down.  If you were to set the paper down, it should look like a line of wee mountains, and make your heart glad to see it.

At this point, I'll say that cardstock is harder to fold in that it's thicker and therefore more difficult to push the folds true, but it's easier to fold in that it's more stiff and will basically only fold where it's been scored.  Paper is easier to fold down, but you have to be really careful that you're folding on each actual score line instead of just past it or just before it since paper is flimsy and will fold anywhere.

When you get to the end of the folding, you'll end up with two ends that look exactly the same and don't seem to join together.  Other tutorials will tell you to cut one strip off of one end so that you can neatly fold one end to the other, and you can do that.  I just put glue on two of the folded sections and then fit the two sections of the other end on top so that I don't have to grab yet another tool at this point.  By the time I'm  here, I'm ready to be done, quite frankly, and this still works out for me.  Press firmly on the glued join and proceed at once to the next step.

As soon as you've glued the ends together, that part will be flat from your pressing.  To make it folded again and heart-gladdening, simply fold the section again.  Grab the folds nearest the join and squeeze them onto the place you glued.

Press the rosette into its final formation.  This gives the rosette a little bit of a memory and makes it easier to push down when you go to glue it.  It also convinces you that, yes, you will soon have something to please you as a result of all of this effort if you'll just keep going a little further.  Sometimes I need this kind of motivation.

(I grabbed my silicon craft mat because I'm using pretty paper as a backdrop so that I stop offending everyone with my ugly desk.  Normally, I'd be doing this part directly on my desk because it's much easier to slide the rosette down onto the glue when it's being done on a surface that will allow sliding.  If you have a silicon craft mat, you could technically do this next step without the little paper square underneath, but you'd have to wait for the glue to set completely before you could move your piece.)

Cut yourself a little scrap cardstock square.  This is an excellent way to use up those random strips of cardstock that are too thick to throw away, but too thin to really be of any use.  Some people use pretty punches for the backs of their rosettes instead, and I think that's very nice if they can make it work.  I find that I can't perfectly center the punched piece on the back and when it's a punched piece, it looks like it's supposed to be centered, so if it's not, it looks a bit dreadful.  In light of this, I use a simple, smallish cardstock square.  I can usually put a punched piece on the back later if the back will be visible in the finished project.  99% of the time, for me, you won't see the back.

Put some hot glue in the center of the square.  (Again, I prefer low temperature hot glue because it sets faster.)

Get your folded circle piece ready.  Start to push it down, then peek through the hole and make sure you're centered over the glue.  Keep pushing down, aiming carefully for the glue.

Push your rosette all the way to the bottom and hold for a few seconds.  You know it's okay when you lift your fingers and the rosette doesn't pop back up at all.  Congratulations!  You've just made a round rosette!

Now, to make an oval rosette, you basically repeat all of the steps above, but change the last part, where you push it down.  Also, make sure your strip is no bigger than, say, 1 1/4" thick.  You need a bit more wiggle room for this to work, and the finished rosette ends up bigger anyway, so it balances out.

Get to the point when you'll be pushing the rosette down.  Don't just push it down straight, though.  Stretch it slightly from side to side before you push it down and you will end up with a pleasing oval shape.  (I usually do this with two hands.  It's only one hand below because I had to hold the camera with my other hand.)

Instead of a cardstock square, cut yourself a cardstock rectangle.  Put a relatively large bit of hot glue onto the rectangle.

Push the rosette down, stretching the sides, and looking down through the middle to make sure you'll hit the glue.  You may have a tiny bit of wiggle room to adjust sides, but it's mostly just moving forward and hoping for the best.

You can see my oval rosette in the card below, which I made as part of my husband's Valentine Card Bomb.  Obviously this wouldn't do for an envelope, but they get displayed instead of given, really.  I think a card like this wouldn't need an envelope, anyway.  Just stick it in a gift bag as is and let it be part of the present.

Now, for the evil maths.  I'm going to do my best to explain this in such a way that no one gets too upset.  Once you understand this, you will always know how long to make a strip for any rosette you want to make.  If you've ever worked hard and folded up a strip only to have it be too short to form a flat circle after you've already glued everything, you will feel motivated to learn this.

Basically, you have three parts to any circle.  They are:

Radius: measurement halfway across
Diameter: measurement all the way across
Circumference: measurement all the way around

To put this in rosette theory, the width of your beginning strip is the radius because that measurement is only halfway across your finished circle.  When your rosette is finished, the diameter is the measurement all the way across the rosette.

When you start with a 1" wide strip, that's the radius.  The finished diameter of your rosette will be 2".  If you start with a 1.5" strip, your finished diameter will be 3".

That might not seem so scary, but we haven't gotten to pi yet.  Yes, I said pi.  Hold your hats, I promise this won't be too bad.  Pi is basically equal to 3.14, and that's as far as we need to go for our rosettes. 3.14 is just a number, and it's not scary at all.  It's a very special number, and I'll explain why.  When we get finished here, I think you will LOVE pi.

Pi is an expression of the ratio between the circumference of the circle and its diameter.  The circumference of any circle (including your rosette) is always about 3.14 times the diameter.

The circumference of the circle is the outside line, all the way around.  Basically, why this matters to you is the fact that the circumference of the circle will never be longer than the length of your strip.  You can imagine that when you cut your strip, one side of the strip (usually the punched end, if you decorate it), will end up circling the outside, and that side will become the circumference.  If the strip is longer than the desired circumference, you'll be fine.  If it's shorter, you'll end up not being able to push the folded circle down to form the rosette.

How do you know your desired circumference?  You multiply your diameter by 3.14, or, pi.  If you're making your 2" rosette, for instance, it breaks down like this:

Initial strip width: 1"
Final diameter: 2"
Circumference: 2 x 3.14 = 6.28"

Your strip needs to be at least 6.28" long.  You'd be totally fine to make a 2" rosette from a 12" strip.  This is where the math magic comes in.

For a 3" rosette, it breaks down like this:

Initial strip width: 1.5"
Final diameter: 3"
Circumference: 3 x 3.14 = 9.42"

Your strip needs to be at least 9.42" long.

For a 4" rosette, it breaks down like this:

Initial strip width: 2"
Final diameter: 4"
Circumference: 4 x 3.14 = 12.56"

You need a strip that's at least 12.56" long, which is why a 12" strip won't work for a 4" rosette.  You'd need to basically accordion fold an extra two-three inch piece and glue it to your folded up 12" strip in order to make it work.

For a 6" rosette, this is what you'd do:

Initial strip width: 3"
Final diameter: 6"
Circumference: 6 x 3.14 = 18.84"

For these, I will cut two 12" long 3" strips and score them every 1/2" instead of every 1/4".   Glue the strips together and then glue the ends together to make your final rosette.

Anyway, I know that was a very long winded and technical explanation for how to make rosettes, but understanding this has sure helped me in making sure I'm always cutting the right lengths for the rosette I want to make.  You also don't absolutely have to use a calculator each time.  Just multiple your diameter by three, and round up at least two inches, and you should be fine.  Now go make some awesome rosettes!  ^_~

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