Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
Hello, I’m Sarah I’m a British freelance paper engineer and paper cut designer. I work with a variety of brands and individual clients to design and make paper creations for photoshoots, visual merchandising, events and everything in between.
I am a design-enthusiast, sucker for good packaging design and total perfectionist, who loves to explore, wear stripes and nest when not in the studio.
Tell us a bit about the book?
The book contains 25 unique projects, each containing step-by-step instructions and templates, at a variety of difficulty levels as well as an introduction to the basic materials, tools and techniques required. The projects explore paper cutting, folding and engineering and are centred around the theme of home accessories and gift/party items, including a pop up card, a garland, a lampshade and even a cuckoo clock! I wanted to ensure that the projects were accessible for all abilities, with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, but created impressive-looking outcomes. Whether the reader is a novice taking their first papercrafting steps or a seasoned pro, I hope they feel inspired to channel their creativity, set aside some time to slow down and indulge in a crafternoon or two. The projects in the book are designed to be made with love and treasured for years to come, whether the reader wants to create something beautiful for their own home or as a truly unique gift to make somebody’s face light up with joy!
What was the inspiration behind it?
I love craft books and have my own mini-library of them at home, so had always dreamt of adding my own to the collection. I felt that there was a gap in the market for a book featuring stylish designs, incorporating a variety of techniques including simple paper engineering (which to me simply means transforming paper from 2D to 3D, by creating sculptures or pop-up mechanisms). The majority of my freelance work is 3D paper sculptures and I felt this area tended to be a little overlooked in papercraft books, so made sure to include 3D pieces in my project list.
Which is your favourite project?
Oh this is such a tricky one! I think right now it is the swan gift bag, it’s such a joyful design. They would make such great favour bags for a party and I love the texture of the paper feathers as well as the balance between clean graphic design and whimsical fun.
What is your craft space like?
Bright and airy, and full of my materials and tools! I’ve tried to make it both pretty and practical, with open shelves, a home-made peg board and a glass cabinet displaying pieces of my work, as well as a huge desk running all the way along one wall, which is always covered in whatever I am working on at the time! I try to keep the area around my computer relatively clear, and I have a beautiful geometric brass mobile made by Electric Sun Creatives hanging in the corner. My bookshelf is full of inspirational craft books and magazines I have been featured in (I always try to get a copy of anything I’m featured in!), as well as pretty patterned boxes containing my crafting supplies.
Have you always been creative?
I have been a maker for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories include folding origami penguins, cutting paper doll chains, and (endlessly) making my own books! I was taught to sew at a young age (leading to my brownie leader refusing to give me my sewing badge as my stitching was too neat and she thought my mum had done it!) and used to love making clothes for my dolls, and then for myself when I got a little older.
It wasn’t until I was at university, studying Textile Surface Design, that I fully realised how much I love to experiment with paper. It suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t really enjoy the fabric ‘end result’ of my projects as much as I enjoyed the ‘paper-based’ sketchbook and paper maquette stage of my projects, but fortunately we were quite free to explore different materials and processes, and I ended up ditching the fabric and creating a collection of printed and folded paper jewellery for my degree show.
When did you first start crafting?
My boyfriend jokes that my mum ‘groomed’ me to craft… She encouraged all things creative from when I was old enough to hold a crayon – I was constantly making things as a child! I don’t remember the first thing I made but there are a few things which stick out in my memory; I remember making a princess puppet on my first day of school, and there was a book called the Jolly Postman (I’m not sure if that is just a UK book?) but it has envelopes for pages, each containing a letter, and it was my favourite book to read! I used to spend days recreating it, making envelopes and attaching them together, then making and illustrating the letters to fill them. I also remember being fascinated by a book my mum had which taught you how to make pop up cards, and one day I spent hours carefully following the instructions to make a bunny rabbit pop up card when I was around 6 years old and being so proud when I showed my parents what I had done!
Who are your crafty heroes?
One of my favourite books is ‘Paper Parties’ by Erin Hung, which is probably slightly cheating because I worked on it. Helping Erin to create the projects for this book was one of the first big jobs I took on after becoming full time freelance. It was so fun to work on is such a beauty! I also love pop up books and have a little collection of them. One of my favourites is called ‘Trail’ by David Pelham. It is all white and silver, full of amazing landscapes and animals and is absolutely beautiful, and my other favourite is a French one called Animal Carnaval by Iris de Vericourt. It has a different animal on every page, each one split into 3 sections for the head, body and tail or feet of the animal, so you can mix and match! There are so many crafty people I admire, but one of my current crafty heroes is Brittany from The House Lars Built. Her work is an explosion of colour and creativity, full of fun, whimsical DIY projects, which are always styled to absolute perfection.
Where do you find inspiration?
I take my inspiration from nature, architecture and my overactive imagination! I think I’m always gathering inspiration everywhere I go without even realising it …plus I must admit I do love a good browse on Pinterest and Instagram.
What's next for you?
I always joke that the biggest, most exciting commissions come at the last minute with the tightest deadlines, so I’ll have to wait and see what’s next. There’s a potential project on the horizon involving making a LOT of paper flowers! Until then, I have plenty of smaller projects to keep me busy – today’s tasks include designing a greetings card and making some 3D paper stars for a craft magazine project.
Paper craft is given a stunning and contemporary look through these easy-to-make projects for home décor.Transform a simple sheet of paper into something extraordinary! Explore the versatility, beauty, and simplicity of paper. From a geometric paper-folded vase to paper petal lights and a unique paper cuckoo clock, you’ll discover 25 projects that use basic materials and easy techniques to create stunning home décor items. Taking inspiration from the shapes and repetition found in architecture and nature, designer and paper-lover Sarah Louise Matthews offers contemporary designs that will add a creative flair to your home or make for wonderful gifts. With clear step-by-step instructions and beautiful photographs, you’ll explore techniques like paper cutting, folding, and engineering to create gorgeous results.