Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tutorial: Paper Doilies

I have been spending some time at bf's office, trying to set up my website, since I get easily distracted, I wound up spending more time catching up to my favourite mini blogs. It has certainly been a loooong while since I've caught up to the latest mini trends, and what with two of my fave Japanese blogs (Nunu's House and Megumini) featuring beautiful lace doilies, I decided to attempt some of my own.

Of course, my attempts are juvenile compared to their works, but I thought to share what I'd learnt and figured out with the help of online resources (love you, Google!).

This link taught me the basics, and how to make plastic templates, but I am still figuring how best to utilize them:

This one I found extremely useful too, for the variations in hole sizes:

The basic principles hold for pin pricking in miniature, scaling down means scaling down the needle sizes, thickness of papers and learning how best to hold the mini papers, which meant I had to fiddle about for about 4 days at the office before coming up with the following tutorial. Please remember that these are simply recommendations by me, and how I work. I will greatly appreciate comments and suggestions on how to further improve these techniques :)

OK! Time for the tutorial!



I initially thought it would be costly, what with P*rgamano tools (a famous paper piercing tool brand) costing upwards of USD$10 per tool -_-" That and the needles were a little too thick for 1:12 scale. SO I MADE MY OWN! woot woot! And you can too, so simple!

Craft knife
Needle (stainless steel)
Clipper/Wire Nipper

Clip the needle to about 1inch, or shorter. Be careful so it does not fly into your eye, or elsewhere to be discovered only when someone steps or sits on it :X hold on to both ends, and try and avoid hurting yourself.

 My Daiso craft knife cinches together rather snugly, so the fine needle is held rather well in the centre of the crosshairs.

However if your craft knife is like this older one I have, then simply position the needle off to the side, making sure that it is snug and will not wiggle too much.

There you have it! your own needle tool :D You can also use thicker needles to vary the size of the holes, or if you're up for it, put a few needles together in a row or pattern for triangles or crosses. Play around with it!


1-inch scalloped edge punch (pictured is EK Success brand from a scrapbook store)
1-inch circle punch (pictured is Carla Craft from a scrapbook store)
Circle template (pictured from Daiso)

Pin pricking tool
Low tack adhesive tape
Packing material (the translucent foam sheets used to pack plates in) or other 'soft' material to provide padding to prick into
Cutting mat
Paper, 80gsm printing paper, or 70gsm pastel coloured papers 

Save the above pattern onto your computer, or print it directly off your browser onto 80gsm paper (or of your choice).

For this cake doily project, print it at its original size. This pattern was made to use with a 1-inch scallop paper punch that I have (shown below), but can also be used with a normal 1-inch circle punch.
Fold the paper. I folded it till about 5cm widths. Keep folding until you get a 'fan'.

Place the folded 'fan' onto the padding material, and work on a cutting mat so you don't ruin your table :P

Use your other hand to hold down the papers, and your main hand to prick through the design perpendicular to the table. 

You can hold the paper up to the light to check if you've missed any holes (you can see this pic for example, I missed one dot).


Admire your work! :P ok but seriously, I would recommend punching the papers 2 at a time if your punch is blunt like mine :X You can sharpen your punches with aluminum foil (or google for how to care for your punches). I did, but I sorta ruined them when trying to punch plastic (don't do it :~( )

Align the design to your punch. PUNCH!

If you don't have a punch, then use your circle template, and draw a circle, and cut using scissors.

WAIT! Don't throw away your template yet! You can continue using the same piece of paper and template to make more! Simply stick a piece of low tack adhesive tape onto a section of paper further down (up?) and keep going!

You can also vary the design by omitting or adding more pricks to the template :)

Or, align the scallop edged cutter a little differently, to get a different design!
I have made a few other designs, and will offer plastic templates up for sale if anyone is interested :) Will update soon-ish!

- Insert the needle into the papers vertically for neatest results
- I personally find that a piece of low-tack, clear adhesive tape makes it easier to prick through the template without the sharp needle 'snagging' onto the paper
- Try not to align the design too close to the edge of the paper, especially if you are using a punch
- Do not use too many papers (folds) at one time, you might snap your needle and hurt yourself

You may use the above doily template for both personal and commercial projects. Please do not distribute or modify the doily template. If you wish to share this tutorial, I would appreciate links back to this post but it's not absolutely necessary. Please do NOT copy or modify this tutorial in any way, thanks for reading :) 

I hope you have found this tutorial useful, comment if you have! :D :D :D


  1. Thank you for the link Megumini, I already knew Nunu's House. They both make fabuluous miniatures.
    Your paper doilies are great. I won't try to make them, it's so much work.
    The weather was sunny and warm all week in Orléans and now for the weekend it's cloudy. Typical!

  2. Very nice tutorial but I have to agree...very time consuming! So much easier to buy but a nice challenge.

  3. Beautiful work as always! They look just like the real thing. :]

  4. Cool, Cindy!!!! Very glad to see this post :)))))))

  5. Me again...wanted to mention that this is perfect for working with specialty cardstock or papers. Very few choices available in ready-made doilies :)

  6. Hey Cindy, I know this little post here have nottin to do with polymer clay. But i have been following your blog since i was studyin in uk (its where is started playing with polymer clay) and i love ur stuff. My work are however more towards miniature charms. I am now back in Malaysia and would really love to continue making things with polymer clay. Unfortunately, the stash that i have (even some unopen ones) got hard and crumbly even when i hav store it in the coolest place in my house. I have tried changing to air dry clay, but i do not like working with it. So after this long comment =), I just want to ask how do u store ur polymer clay. Have u experience the same thing with ur clay?

  7. Of course this is super useful! :) Very tedious but why not? :) But I am awestruck more by the oranges that you made. OMG! awesomest!

  8. your posts are so fun to read! keep up the great work!

  9. Thank you everyone! yes, it's super tedious, but I like that I have options other than the mass produced laser cut doilies, that I LOVE but....I guess it was just another challenge for myself.....:X

    Dreamer, it does happen. you can do a search for "Garie Sim", he has written up very comprehensive explanations on polymer clay, and how to condition old crumbly clay (even up to 20 years old!!!) I too store my PC in a cool dark dry place in a ziploc bag, but it still does get crumbly. perhaps you might have even gotten some old stocks?

  10. Great tutorial. Now I know how it is made. Could you do one one clear transparent containers? Thanks.

  11. Hi Cindy,
    I just found your blog!
    And became a follower! You are very talented!! :)
    Thanks you for sharing this great tutorial.

    Hugs, Jollie

  12. I am interested in purchasing some of your dolilie templates. Can you email me at and let me know how much they are and let me see pictures. I just love your idea. Thank you Becky


Thank you for taking the time out to comment! :D