Pleated Paper Medallion Tutorial

Sometimes when people learn that I make things, I get the question: “Oh! Do you scrapbook?” And then I have to dash the perfect image they have of me and say, “No. Actually that’s one of the few things I don’t do.” The converstaion usually ends shortly after. “But I love paper!” I shout after them as they walk away.
I do love paper. But I love it for different reasons, in different ways than most scrapbookers. I love paper that has a story of it’s own. I like foreign food labels and chinese take- out menus and wine labels and postcards (that were REALLY written and sent fifty years ago from Aunt Beulah in Des Moines) and of course, maps.

This is how I like to work with paper: take a piece of paper that’s stand-alone-cool and make a sprightly decoration from it, like my Pleated Paper Medallion. This is a simple project that packs a big paper punch. Enjoy!

Pleated Paper Medallion Tutorial

Materials: Paper, quilting ruler, cutting mat, X-acto knife, pencil, hole punch, 2 yds. string, tapestry needle, glue, decoration for the center (optional).

1. Cut paper into two equal long strips.* My two strips each measured 6″ x 30.5″ long.

2. Lay one strip face down on the table with the short end facing you. Using a ruler and pencil, mark horizontal lines equally spaced down the entire length of the strip. I marked my lines every 1.25″. These will mark your fold lines. Repeat for the other strip and do not worry if there is a little room left over at the end.

3. Accordion fold paper on the pencil lines, back and forth, making sharp creases as you go. Repeat for the second strip.

4. Determine which edge of the paper will be the center of your medallion and which will be your outside edge. Hole punch a hole evenly spaced between each fold, about a half inch from the edge. Repeat for second strip.

5. Glue the strips end-to-end, matching up the creases, and end-to-end again to form a continuous loop (being careful not to twist paper).

6. Thread needle with string, doubled for strength. Thread through each hole.

7. Pull the strings tight and tie. Snip ends.

8. You can glue a decoration in the center or leave your medallion plain. Gluing a decoration to the center will give it strength and make it rigid. Old Christmas cards, monograms on cardstock circles, family pictures, and schoolroom holiday decorations (the printed cardstock cutouts that used to decorate our grade school classroom walls) are great candidates for a festive medallion centerpiece. I decorated plain manila rounds with simple text and a wreath of vintage tinsel. If you leave it plain, you will be able to store it as a corrugated tube.

Ta da!

*OK, here’s the math you need to know for this project. For a regular, flat circle, the circumference (the long edge on our strip) equals 3.14 x 2 radius (the short edge on our strip). Because we are makeing a pleated circle, we’ll need a longer circumference, about 50% longer than a plain circle’s radius. For my project, I cut 2 strips of paper, which, when glued end-to-end was 6″ x 61″.