Learn how to create purses, vessels and mats using the candy wrapper technique! Also known as “paper weaving”, prisoners made stunning bags and sculptures from cigarette packs in the 1950’s. Cell Block Visions has some photos as well as Wonderland(Below).
“Inmate Ingenuity’ at the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists. (Greg Cook)
I wrote a tutorial and have it posted on TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List. You may be able to figure out how to do this on your own, but if you would like me to guide you, there are some tricky steps that I can help you with.
Any paper that can hold a crease can be used to make these. The “Candy Wrapper” part of the name came from the 70’s when kids were making these chains out of candy wrappers. Some of them have the perfect dimensions for folding, so you don’t need to cut a lot of pieces. You just have to eat a ton of candy!
The prisoners used soft cigarette packs. I have used sample wall paper pages and the outer wrapping from dog food bags. I used to have four big dogs so I went through a lot of big dog food bags. Those paper bags usually had an outer wrapper that was thin and that had a plastic coating on them. You want to have that coating to make your bag more durable. If you used something like newspaper, for example, you can also coat it with a finish to protect it, but it looks better when you are just using the paper.
You will need to cut hundreds of pieces, which will then be folded and interlocked. This is not weaving at all! I use a rotary cutter and mat and that makes it go quickly.
I am the only one whom I have seen who adds beads and buttons and other embellishments to the surface. I think it adds a great deal to the design!
You will also need a darning needle and a roll of dental floss (white, non-minty) to sew your rows together.
I am in Paducah, Kentucky and can set up a workshop locally. I can also work with individuals online.
Local workshops are 3 hours long and the online ones are one hour long.
Contact me for availability. rayela @ comcast.net. (Remove spaces)
What you need:
Hundreds of cut pieces of paper to size.
White dental floss.
I made these:
Candywrapper purse by Rachel Biel – Corn
Candywrapper purse by Rachel Biel – Doggie Vessel
Candywrapper purse by Rachel Biel – Timor
I have loved working with my hands since childhood and have tried many craft techniques, finally settling on the textile arts as my main form of expression. I like pulling bits and pieces together to make a greater whole, assembling textures on to a form. But, my bins of fabric are on hold for now as I recently discovered a new obsession, knitting! We’ll see how all of these interests merge together over time… I have also sold supplies and tools that I purchase from traders or find in thrift stores. Textile remnants and printing blocks are two favorites I look for. So you might find these, along with what I make, in my shop.
I use the United States Postal Service for shipping, usually using their flat rate envelopes and boxes. I can ship using 1st Class airmail, which is a lot cheaper, but it is not as secure. In the over 20 years that I have used the US Post Office, rarely has there been a loss of mail, although many countries do keep things in customs for a long time. If something is lost, we will process it through the US Post Office. This cannot be done until one month after the shipping date and takes a couple of weeks. I am not responsible for products lost in the mail.
Full refunds minus shipping are given on all returns. Customer pays for shipping both to purchase and to return. Returns must be done within 10 days of purchase. International customers can return within 10 days of receipt, but need to check in and inform me about what is going on.
Cancellation / Return / Exchange Policy
I believe that customers should be 100% happy with what they buy from me, so will accept returns with no questions asked. Although the internet has made it much easier to access our beautiful world, there are many reasons something might not be quite what was expected. I try to photograph each piece as well as I can and give good descriptions, but if you are not happy with what you bought, do return it.