Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hanji supplies for crafting .....

Many people have asked me exactly what is needed to begin doing Hanji crafts so I thought that this year maybe it's time to get back to the basics.

You don't need a lot of tools and they can be added to over time as your interest grows and you feel the need to make larger pieces and embark on bigger projects.  You can begin with just 12 items, some of which are shown here and many you probably already have at home.
  • A pattern or a kit
  •  Hanji papers 
  • 3 mm thick cardboard
  •  Sharp pencil 
  •  Metal ruler
  • 1 cm wide masking tape
  •  Small craft knife
  •  Craft Knife & blades
  •  Soft brushes
  •  Contact Adhesive glue
  •  Wallpaper paste
  •  Cutting mat

Worksheets are available  in some Korean books or through my website. You can buy pre cut kits from shops in Korea which makes the process of learning the craft much easier especially for beginners as the marking out of the cardboard, cutting and assembling is already done.
Instructional worksheets

Pre cut kits

The best paper to use for these projects is the handmade mulberry paper from Korea.  It's mouldable and very easy to work with giving good results that you'll be happy with. These are available in a variety of colours, designs and patterns from specialty shops or online from Korea. 

Hanji pattern with Korean or Chinese lettering
Some of the many colours of Hanji paper

The basic structural material for most Hanji projects is the 3mm thick cardboard which provides strength for the product and a base on which the paper can be applied. In some places you can get a 5 mm thick cardboard which is even better but, much harder to cut. 

Sometimes the cardboard comes with a very thin layer of white paper on both sides which works well when you're applying one of the thinner Hanji papers on top as the white reflects the true colour of the paper in a more natural light. If you can only get the buff/grey coloured board, which is true in my case, this is also fine,  as you can put your own  layer of white hanji paper over it before applying the thinner hanji papers. Fortunately most hanji papers are thick enough not to reveal the base colour of the cardboard and this step is not needed.
Cardboard is used to cut out the designs to make different items.

This is needed to draw accurately onto the cardboard to give precise measurements for cutting.
Draw the design
Cut out the cardboard
These come in all different sizes and  can generally be purchased from stationery stores. I would start with a 30cm ruler and a 15cm ruler. Metal is used so that when you're cutting with the craft knife you're not going to slice off small amounts of the ruler each time and end up with wavy lines.

Using 2 rulers to measure

Used to cover over the joints of the cardboard once they are glued together giving them extra strength and  stability and a smoother base on which to glue the paper.

This is used to cut out designs in the paper to place on your projects. They give you more precision than a normal craft knife. There are several different brands around which come with 30 and 45 degree blades. I use a Japanese brand which is called an NT Cutter D400.
Small craft knife for cutting out paper

Used for cutting the cardboard and they can be purchased at hardware stores, craft stores and stationery shops. You'll find that the blades will become blunt quite easily from cutting through the cardboard, so you'll need lots of spares to replace it at regular intervals.

These are used to apply the wallpaper paste to the paper and then you can apply the paper to the article. They should be soft so they don't tear the paper as it gets wet.

Used to glue the cardboard pieces together.

Any wallpaper paste will do.  Mix up the powder with water until it becomes a sticky consistency without being too thick. This is used to glue the hanji paper to the cardboard.

Essential for cutting on if you don't want to ruin your table tops !!

I hope this has been helpful and gives you a better understanding of what is used in this craft, and why.
Roots of the hibiscus plant used to make the glue in Hanji paper making

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