Paper Bargello Tutorial for Cards

Paper crafters have been “borrowing” from other art forms probably forever. Seen this post by one of our designers, Shannon, featuring a card with quilt blocks. Today I’m going to teach you about a technique that originally came from needlework, then went to quilting and has moved to paper crafting.
Bargello: a type of embroidery formed by making parallel stitches to create geometric patterns. The name comes from Florence, Italy, where a set of chairs from Bargello Palace showed off a “flame stitch” pattern. See images of Bargello needlework here. Check out quilter’s interpretations here.
Today, I’m here to show you how to transfer the idea onto paper, using scraps. (I must tell you that this is not as hard as it looks and it is really addicting…and a bit messy for all the glue).

Go from this
to this
with just a little time and effort. Here’s how!

PART 1 creating the foundation
Gather 5-6 different scrap papers that have at least 3×12″ section as in the ones seen above.
Using the best trimmer you have, cut each paper into thin strips. (Mine are 1/8 to 3/8 inch wide)

Lay the piles of strips in the order you want them on the page. Using printer paper, spread a little liquid glue onto 1/2″ of the long edge.

Starting from the right pile, pick up one strip and press it into the glue on the printer paper. Grab the next colored strip to the left of it and lay it down next to the first. Continue to the left, using all the colors once. Do not pick up the end piece again but start with the second color in from the left and move through the colors towards the beginning, like this:

Continue with the colors, “rebounding” at each end and gluing colored strips until the whole page is finished. You can move quickly on this but it is essential that all parts of every strip are glued down. You may want to go back and make sure the ends are stuck well. Set aside and allow it to fully dry.

PART 2 creating the pattern
This part is a little slower but still not difficult.
Choose a neutral 12×12″ cardstock for backing (I used Brown Bag Paper Kraft 12×12)
Again, using your best trimmer, cut one strip off of the foundation. (You may need to first cut off the loose ends and straighten up the edge.) The strips from the original gluing should be going perpendicular to the cut edge so that each piece looks like tiny squares and rectangles. Glue down the first strip.
Cut the next strip, and glue it next to the original strip. Pull the strip up just a touch so that it is slightly offset from the original as seen here.

Continue the process building peaks and valleys into the design.

Once you’ve gotten as many strips out of the foundation piece as you can, allow the new piece to dry completely. Then trim the page into rectangles for cards or other paper projects.
 Using Cut Card Stock’s Curious Metallic, create several card backs and frames for the Bargello pieces. Put your cards all together with embellishments and “Pronto!” You are ready.
Supplies: Curious Metallic Lime, Cryogen White Brown Bag Paper Kraft 12×12″; Basis Yellow (; Patterned papers; liquid glue; turquoise ribbon

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