Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Stapleless Paper Chains

The classic paper chain is, well, a classic. But sometimes even an old favorite needs a little "chainge". These new paper chains take extra time, but require no staple, tape, or sticker to secure each link. Plus, it's fun to change the shape, and they are easy enough for a 4 year old to make without injury (didn't you ever staple your thumbs together making a paper chain?) I have, with difficulty, found instructions for Stapleless Paper Chains in two locations. One was rather confusing and lacking any photos or diagrams, while the other was a pdf that was impossible to locate a second time. I decided to attempt my own tutorial for it. So, here we go.

You'll need: paper, scissors, pencil, and two round templates (1-2 inch and 2-3 inch).

Making the Links: I cut a regular size paper into fourths--in half vertically and then in half horizontally. This creates a chain link approximately 3 inches long. You can go for the jumbo size and use a whole sheet of paper (yielding a 5.5 inch link), or even a teeny tiny version. Any size rectangular paper will work.
Fold your paper in half vertically. Next fold it in half horizontally. You should now have one folded edge on the left side, two folded edges on the bottom, and four edges on the right side and top.
Using the larger round template, draw a semicircle starting at the top, left corner with the straight edge along the folded left side. Using the smaller template, draw another semicircle within the larger semicircle. A little less than a half inch from the left side draw a vertical line starting at the bottom of the paper and ending where it connects with the semicircle. I call this bottom part the "stem."
**Note: The center cut must be wide enough for the next chain link's unfolded stem to fit in. Also, try to keep a good distance between the tops of the semicircles. The smaller the distance, the weaker the chain link.**

Now cut along all your lines. This is a finished link. If you want all the links to be identical in your chain, you can create a pattern to trace from this first link. If you want each one to be individual, don't bother drawing any lines--just cut freehand (it adds a charming spontaneity).
Connecting the links into a chain: Vertically fold link 1 and feed it through a horizontally folded link 2. Repeat this process until you have reached the end of your chain. Then secure the very last link with a small piece of tape.

Shape variations:
Rectangle--Very easy to cut the straight lines of the outer shape. Great for younger children if an adult can cut the centers.

"Y"--This was the easiest for my son to cut. I drew a line that curved up towards the top right corner. Then I cut out the centers.

Heart--Perfect for Valentine's Day.

Spade

As you can see there is still room for quite a bit of additional improvisation. Hope some of you enjoy trying this.

33 comments:

mommomto2pumpkins said...

love love love this idea! what great fine motor for LO's linking the links together!

thanks we are going to try this!

Erin said...

That really is smart. Before reading your instructions I didn't know how to complete the circle of the chain. But you explained very well and this looks like a lot of fun.

What talent you have!

Vanessa said...

I am so glad I found your website! You have some fantastic ideas!

meggiecat said...

Perfect project and great tutorial!
Thank you

Isabel's Mommy said...

What fun. I have bookmarked this to use in the future. My daughter is a little young to do this yet,, but times goes by so fast that she will be able to do it very soon.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful tutorial! I saved it to favorites and sent the URL to both of my daughters-in-law. One is a primary teacher and the other the mother of my five-year-old granddaughter who loves crafts.

These would look great in vintage printed papers.

Keisha Coconut said...

Wow! How creative. We're going to try this. :)

jennifer | themakelounge said...

Fab, very clear tutorial and great project. 

April said...

this is PURE GENIUS.

jook2007 said...

GREAT TUTORIAL, THANK YOU.

erika said...

Thank you so much! I mangled my fingers last year with the stapler trying to make paper chains the "old-fashioned way". I love the hearts, especially.

Eve said...

I think it would look great if you got two different pieces of fabric, stitch witchery them together and then cut out your shapes. You would then have a great fabric chain in two colors to hang on the Christmas tree.

amy said...

Eve that is a great idea, I was just about to leave a comment saying, "this is so cool, I want to make one, but I don't know what i'd use it for." Now I do, thanks!

Pastiche said...

Love this idea so much, both in paper and fabric, I've linked to it from Crafty Christmas.

BUSIR said...

Great !I have 4 grand daughters age under 6 in France .Thank you

Anonymous said...

Great idea! I'm making Christmas decorations out of paper for a charity Xmas Tree. This fits PERFECTLY!!! I'm using wrapping paper, & a glue stick to fasten the "spade/Xmas ornament" shapes together so only the pretty side of the paper shows.
This is a quick & beautiful garland on my tree! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I just found this and LOVE the idea. I'm going to try it with my 3 little girls tomorrow. Did I miss the part on how you completed the circle to make a wreath shape? Thanks for posting this.

Mommie said...

This is a great idea!! I might use this as a craft for Christmas...

Mommie
http://www.mommieshome.net

kangaroo said...

this is so funny...check out the template i created in a post a couple of days ago about recycled paper chains! very similar! yours are gorgeous, love the continuous circle.

penn said...

fabulous idea! I work at a nature center, and we are always looking for fun things to do with kids. Bonus: everything here is perfectly recyclable, and it can be made with paper scraps. I'm also blogging about this; this is the best paper chain tutorial I've found in my afternoon of searching.

Anonymous said...

great find! thanks a lot.

Annette said...

Thanks for sharing this! I made the jumbo size and think they'll be great for displaying the names of our summer readers.

krylonultraflat said...

Awesome! I'm going to use this to make curtains, like those shown here:
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/sf/look/look-paperchain-curtains-032487

Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Thank You!

~shari~ said...

just found your blog through Amber Pitt's blog...

SO HAPPY I STUMBLED ONTO IT! You have fab ideas that I KNOW my 4 and 6 year olds will love to do over the summer!

THANKS!

Sheronda said...

Hi I'm creating lesson plans for teachers in my school district and would love to use this idea. Do you mind if I used this in my lesson plan?

Expat Mom said...

What a great craft for kids. My son is about to turn 4 and he's very into making crafts. He's going to enjoy this one! My almost 3 year old might be able to handle it, too.

Anonymous said...

I do not see your logic

Anonymous said...

This is soooooo cute!!!

Anonymous said...

It was extremely interesting for me to read the article. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

Anonymous said...

Pretty cool blog you've got here. Thank you for it. I like such topics and anything connected to this matter. BTW, try to add some photos :).

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