Wednesday, September 23, 2009

C019 Free Form Bargello

Helene Metivier, co owner of Magenta rubber stamps, was given a book about Bargello quilts several years ago, and she adapted the textile form to paper. Her works are spectacular wall hangings, but you can produce them in card size works of art, too. Please try to view Helene's Bargello’s in the July/August 1999 issue of Somerset Studio, page 40. The trick is in the craft knife and the ruler. All cuts made must be VERY precise.
Use 5 pieces of cardstock in various colours, all measuring no smaller than 1 x 4.25”. Decorate each piece separately using DTP techniques along with two small rubberstamps (a total of 10 stamps are needed), using black Memories ink. Take three of the decorated pieces and over stamp the first one with gold ink, the second one with silver ink & the third one with copper ink. Don't necessarily worry about how each strip looks when it’s finished ‑ you will be cutting it up and putting it back together again, anyhow! Heat or set aside to dry.

Get out your cutting mat and craft knife. Cut each of the five pieces into two, ½” strips – see sample picture on left. Arrange the 10 strips on to a piece of 5.5” x 4.5” black construction paper, rearranging them until you are satisfied with the combination. If you are using pastel or light coloured strips for the most part, glue on to light coloured construction paper. Glue in place. Trim to measure 5” x 4.25” – see sample.

This is the hardest part of the Bargello technique. Lay your card stock with the coloured strips on it horizontal (meaning the strips of paper are horizontal). With the ruler held vertically, start cutting the paper into narrow and wider strips. Make sure your ruler is perfectly straight. Even a tiny bit of deviance will show up later on. When you cut each strip, move it to the side being sure to place each strip you cut right next to the one before it. In other words you want to keep all the strips in order – see sample.

After all of the strips are cut, get out another piece of black construction paper or if you are using light colours, use light coloured construction paper. Glue the first strip down. Glue your second piece so that one tile is off your construction paper at the bottom – see sample. Cut the bottom tile off and glue it to the top of that strip. Glue your third piece so that two tiles are off your construction paper at the bottom. Cut the two bottom tiles off and glue them to the top of that strip – see sample. Glue your fourth piece so that three tiles are off your construction paper at the bottom. Cut the three bottom tiles off and glue them to the top of that strip. Keep repeating in this manner until all the strips are glued down. Trim edges if uneven.

Glue your finished product to a prefolded 5.5” x 4.25” complementary colour card stock.

Silver emboss the poinsettia #02168.L page 251 on the same colour cardstock that you choose for your card. With a craft knife, cut out the inside frame. Cut out the rest of the image and glue to the center of your card with foam mounts.

Here is the list of stamps/colours I used:

1. Sage cardstock – DTP using eggplant; 14221.D page 139, 23087.B Page 153.
2. Forest cardstock – DTP using ruby; 28017.D Page 161, B.0311 page 236. Overstamped with Gold and 09134.B page 142.
3. Burgundy cardstock – DTP using orchid; 03097.C page 184, 03083.C page 36. Overstamped with Bronze and 21036.B.
4. Navy cardstock – DTP using colonial blue and ruby; 14234.C page 167, 09134.B page 142. Overstamped with Silver and 14221.D page 139.
5. Bronze cardstock – DTP using turquoise; 28017.D Page 161, B.0311 page 236.

First taught this class on July 11, 2001.


  1. Carole, This is fabulous! I love Bargello and will share this with the group! Hugs Lori

  2. I love this technique. It's just beautiful. I wish the blog showed more of the colors of ink.


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