Mar 29 2010

Pergamano – Getting Started With Parchment Craft

Thank you so much  for the wonderful comments you left on the designs I posted for the JustRite Mega Blog Hop.  I’m honored that JustRite invited me to participate, it was a blast!

I’ve received several e-mails asking about parchment craft and have decided to address the questions in a blog post. Before I get started, I want to advise that I am not an expert by any means on parchment craft. I’m a beginner and am happy to share with you what I’ve learned so far.  In a prior post I incorrectly advised that I made the cards with parchment paper using “Pergamano” techniques.  A viewer wrote and advised me that my language was incorrect, Pergamano is the name of a company that sells products for parchment craft, not the name of the craft. What I should have written is that I made the cards with parchment paper using parchment techniques with Pergamano tools.  I sincerely apologize for the error or any confusion I may have caused and have amended the language in that post.

The question I was asked most often was “what do I need to get started?”  That’s difficult to answer; not all circumstances are the same, i.e., individual needs, desire to learn a new craft, and budget are factors to consider.  The most ideal situation would be to take a class.  Unfortunately it may be difficult to find a store teaching parchment craft in your area.

Another question asked is “how expensive is it to get started in parchment craft.”  In the long run, I believe parchment craft if less expensive than stamping.  However, you need several tools/products to work the designs making the initial output more expensive.  And that’s where the dilemma comes in when giving advice.  I don’t want to sell anyone products for a hobby they may not like.  Below I go over several options.  Read through them and see what best fits your situation.  At the end of the post, if you have questions, please e-mail me and I’ll try to answer them as best as I can.

I first saw parchment craft several years ago on a trip my husband and I took.  After exclaiming to the shop owner how beautiful the cards were and advising I’d never seen parchment craft before, I consulted with her about what I needed to make the design I saw on display.  She advised all I needed was the design packet (instructions were included), a 1-needle tool, an embosser, and Tinta White ink.  I purchased the items and couldn’t wait to get back home to get started.

As soon as we returned home from our trip, I opened the design packet to read through the instructions.  What I discovered was that there were instructions on how to make the design, but no instructions on how to do parchment craft.  Think of it as buying a sewing pattern from Simplicity, the steps are included to sew the pattern; however, the pattern doesn’t teach you how to sew.   So there I was with product I had no clue how to use.  The items found their way to a drawer in my craft cabinet.

Flash forward to 2009 (four years later)  .  .  .  .  while attending CHA, I came across a booth selling parchment craft supplies.  Again, I loved the beauty of the designs.  After chatting with the vendor, I decided it was definitely something I wanted to explore.  When I opened my store several months later I included Pergamano in the product listing.  Well, here I am several months later teaching myself the basic techniques.

After reading the post, if you’re interested in looking at the products or purchasing the Starter Kit, DVD, books, tools, etc., they’re available at A Touch of Grace – Paper Boutique.


To answer the question “what do I need to get started” is, as stated above, difficult to answer, it’s not a one size fits all answer.  Your needs, desire and budget need to be factored in to make the selection that is best for you.  There are tools that are needed, as well as patterns; initially it’s expensive to get started.  A concern for you may be that you don’t want to spend a lot of money only to discover you don’t care for parchment craft or you may be considering your budget.  In either case, I would recommend the starter kit.  The pros are that you can try it at minimal expense with a few of the basic tools included.   The cons are the kit doesn’t come with a mapping pen and Tinta white ink, which I feel is essential to the craft if you really want to try it “hands on.”  The kit provides a white gel pen for tracing the patterns.  I also find the patterns in the kit are a bit difficult for a beginner level and the instructions are not as thorough as I would like.

In teaching myself, the first thing I did was try the kit.  The kit comes with parchment paper, a white gel pen, an instruction booklet, an embossing pad, a 2-split needle tool, an embossing tool, and one dorso crayon. I’m a visual person and found the directions hard to follow, viewing the DVD was very helpful in showing me how to correctly perform the techniques. The three photos below are examples of the designs I made that are included in the kit.  I used a mapping pen and the Tinta white ink.




The patterns are very pretty and will give you a feel for parchment craft.  As I pointed out above, I do feel these patterns are a bit difficult for a beginner level.


Perhaps you’ve already tried parchment craft, but haven’t done it in a while, or you tried the kit and found that you like it, or you may want to skip the kit and go up a level.  If you’re willing to spend more and go to the next level, I would recommend skipping the starter kit and purchasing the Handbook of Parchment Craft Basics, as well as some of the basic tools needed to get started.  The above book is an excellent book for beginners.  It covers the basics of parchment craft and goes hand-in-hand with the above DVD (if you’re a visual person like me, I would still recommend the DVD, it helps to see how the techniques are performed).  The book has 8 chapters covering tracing, embossing, perforating, cutting, dorsing, dabbing, perga colors exclusive (markers), and perga liners (colored pencils and water color pencils).


The book was written in lesson format with exercises teaching how to perform the basic techniques.  The above picture illustrates what you can expect throughout the book.  The patterns start out at a beginner level and gradually build up.  As you can see, step-by-step instructions are given with picture illustrations.


By the time you’ve gone through the lessons, you’ll be making cards that look like the card pictured above.  The last lesson teaches how to use the perga liners on parchment craft.


A group photo of some of the tools needed for the basic techniques.


The tools pictured above are perforating tools.  Shown in ascending order are:  1-needle, 2-needle, 3-needle, and 4-needle tools.  With these tools, you’ll be able to perform all of the basic techniques.  The DVD illustrates how to properly use the perforating tools on parchment paper using perforating techniques.


These embossing tools range in various sizes and are used for the basic embossing techniques.  Shaders are also available as parchment skills progress.  The smallest tool is used to emboss lines and writing while the larger tools are used for embossing larger areas.  The DVD and book fully explain how/when to choose the size embossing tool you’ll need for the design.  The DVD illustrates how to properly use the embossing tools on parchment paper using embossing techniques.


The mapping pen is essential for thin lines.  Tracing (for me) isn’t as easy as it seems, it requires practice.  Pictured above are two inks that are probably used most:  Tinta White and Tinta Gold inks.  Another gold ink is available in a smaller bottle called Special Gold.  The DVD illustrates the tracing technique.


The scissors are essential for cutting.  They have a curved tip and are incredibly sharp for precise cutting.  Cutting is my favorite of the techniques.  Picture above are three mats that I use.  The first mat is 1/8.”  I use it for cutting, shallow perforating, and stippling.  The next mat is an embossing mat (there are several embossing mats, I use this one for smaller designs).  The bottom mat is a mat I use for deep perforating. The DVD illustrates how to hold the scissors, as well as the cutting technique.


The Step-by-Step Crafts – Parchment Craft book is also for beginners; however, it doesn’t go into detail as fully as the Handbook of Parchment Craft Basics, the designs are more challenging.  This is a good book for those who get it the first time and pick up quickly.  Unfortunately, I don’t fit into that category .   .   .  LOL!  It gives instruction on all of the techniques; however, the instructions are not as detailed (it’s not in a lesson format), as the Handbook of Parchment Craft Basics.  Included in Parchment Craft is a brief introduction of the tools and materials used in the book, as well as brief instructions of the basic techniques.  There are fifteen projects with step-by-step instructions with picture illustrations.  I think this book is an excellent follow up to the Handbook of Parchment Craft Basics for building skill levels.


A third option and the one I like best, but unfortunately is the most expensive, is a 7 volume series of instruction books that Pergamano publishes designed for beginners who don’t have access to teachers/classes.  The books are very good.  I like to think of each book as a class.  The cost of one book is equivalent to what you would spend taking the class.  However, you don’t have the opportunity of being in a group setting and watching the technique being demonstrated, nor do you have the ability to try the tools before purchasing them.   Volume 1 focuses on teaching the first 3 basic techniques:  tracing, embossing, and stippling.  The patterns are beginner’s level, step-by-step instructions and pictures are provided.  At the end of each book, additional patterns are provided for practice.


I made these two gift cards from patterns/lessons in Volume 1.  Perforating is not taught in this volume.  I’m giving these cards away and wanted to perforate the edges.


Volume 2 focuses on teaching perforating and cutting. I found cutting to be very challenging.  Being a visual person, seeing it demonstrated on the DVD was very helpful.  Cutting has turned out to be my favorite technique.


These are three of the designs I made from patterns/lessons in Volume 2 – so much fun!


The basic techniques to create white work are taught in the first two volumes.  Volume 3 focuses on adding color to designs.  Dorsing and Perga Colors Exclusive (markers) are taught in this volume.


The card with the yellow flowers was made using the dorsing technique.  The paper is regular parchment paper that has been dorsed on the back side with an orange dorso crayon.  The flowers and leaves were then dorsed with yellow and green crayons.  The fuschia cards were painted with a line technique using the Perga Colors Exclusive (markers).  These samples were made from patterns/lessons in Volume 3.  The circle, ovals, and frames were stippled (technique taught in Volume 1).


This close up illustrates the stippling technique.

I’ll be back as soon as I can to show you examples from  lessons in Volumes 4 through 7.

Without knowing your preferences, it’s difficult to advise via this post what you need to order if you’re interested in getting started.  If you have any questions, please e-mail me and I’d be happy to assist you.  If you prefer to speak to me, please e-mail me your telephone number, along with your questions, and I’ll be happy to call you.  To e-mail me, simply click on the second rectangular button on the left sidebar on my blog that says “e-mail me” underneath the JustRite badge.  You can see all of the Pergamano products that I carry at A Touch of Grace – Paper Boutique.

Thank you so much for stopping by, I truly appreciate your visit!


39 responses so far

39 Responses to “Pergamano – Getting Started With Parchment Craft”

  1. Diane Schultz says:

    Hi Jerri! I’ve been following your blog and admiring and envious of all your projects. Since I’ve seen your earlier post on the your pergamono craft cards, I’ve been wanting to learn this technique. I’ve almost purchased the Starter Kit but now I’m not so sure this is what I need. I would like to try this technique to see if this is what I’d like to pursue. I would like to start with the first of the seven volumes but don’t know what tools I’ll need to complete the first volume. Would there be any way in which you could make reference in your store for beginners who would like to try this? Any help would really be appreciated as there are absolutely no craft shops within an hours drive from where I live. Thanks for sharing your projects and being any inspiration.
    Diane Schultz
    [email protected]

  2. Chris K says:

    Beautiful work as always! Thanks for the detailed breakdown and suggestions for getting started. This is a creaft that has always fascinated me. Can’t wait to guve it a try. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Elaine says:

    Beautiful and very helpful to know learn a little about the craft from your experience!

  4. I’m so glad you are exploring this craft! I too have been very interested in this craft for some time! I have made numerous cards over the years and given them all away. Everyone who received them was so excited at the beauty of this craft. I’m also sad to say, it is very difficult to get products for this craft in my area….I purchased a lot from a craft shop overseas, but in my old age, I have totally forgotten the name of the shop. LOL I look forward to re-exploring this craft through you.

  5. Marion says:

    What a comprehensive introduction to the craft Jerri. This will be so useful for anyone who wants to take up this wonderful pasttime. I’ve been parchment crafting for around ten years. When I started there were very, very few tools and “gizmo’s” available and I did some lovely work with the contents of the starter kit so, can I just reassure anyone that the Starter Kit, together perhaps with a pair of the special scissors, really does contain everything you need to create the most elaborate designs. Multi-needle tools are great to have but, as long as you are willing to take your time and prick multiple holes with the single needle tool, you will make equally beautiful items: Promise!

    Thanks again Jerri! I’m heading to your part of the world (Las Vegas) on holiday in the morning so will have lots of catching up to do when we return.

    Marion, UK

  6. Marion says:

    Forgot to add this tip to help with stippling: If you place a piece of sandpaper (think you know it as “grit” paper) beneath your work, it will make the process a whole lot easier.


  7. Robbie says:

    Absolutely gorgeous pieces of work! Perg is sooo elegant!! This is the first time I’ve seen or known of varying sizes of the embossing tool. I’ve only seen the one standard one.

  8. Joan Fricker says:

    Jerri, Wow what a great article. You explanations are wonderful and your work is stunning. Well done!!!!

  9. Pinky says:

    Jerri, although I am not personally interested in this craft, I found your explanations very easy to follow for a novice. I have a friend that is very interested in this technique so I will pass this along to her. Your samples you made using this technique are gorgeous! I do not think there is anything you cannot create w/any technique because of your amazing talent!!!!

  10. Susan G says:

    This article was most helpful, and easy to understand. I too am wondering where one could purchase the items. Do the “series” books come with DVD’s? tools? etc

    I want to let you know there was once a woman on SplitcoastStampers that was quite proficient at this work…and she called it Pergamano all the time, LOL.

    I am one of those people who are always like I want to learn that, and that, and that? I sometimes wonder if it is the ADHD or if all crafters/artists want to learn all kinds of artwork. My husband thinks it is the ADHD, and uses the example of painters…Monet etc…that was all they did, then didn’t get into petit point or needlepoint, or folding arts like origami. LOL

    To me this still falls withing the pervue of “paper crafts” what do you think?

    You are a wonderful person to be willing to share this much time with all of us “Oohers and Aahers” that are “like how’d she do that?”

    Thanks sooo very much! Your work is stunning…no one would ever know you were a beginner!

  11. Marsha Carlsen says:

    Jerri, I have been amazed at all of your creations. You are one very talented individual. I’ve been following your blog for about 3 years now. Your coloring of the Me and Carrie Lou flowers prompted me to comment that I would fly to Florida from Washington just to take a class in coloring from you.

    I’ve been doing parchment craft using Pergamano for about 12 years and was taught by a certified instructor. It is a very satisfying craft because you can get such beautiful results even doing beginner patterns. I don’t have a very large gallery in SCS (mlcarlsen), but have posted some of my Pergamano work.

    I love that you are creating a stir in the craft world and bringing this talent to attention. Thanks!

  12. Silke Ledlow says:

    Hi Jerri……thank you for sharing this technique and info with us…so cool!!! I recently received a pergamo card from a friend and it was to die for!!! All of your cards are fabulous too…love all the sweet and perfect details!!! Keep them beauties coming!!! Have a wonderful Easter weekend!!! Hugs ~S~

    Here is a link to the card I was talking about…….

  13. Rosie Waldt says:

    Love, love, love your work in the creations of cards. Pergamano looks like a good feeling of accomplishment. Would love to learn this but we have no one near here for instructions. Very nice, Jerri

  14. DJ says:

    I saw this years ago and wanted to learn how to do it, but there was no place to learn and the lady that had it on her site said she bought the tool overseas. But I still not sure if I can teach myself, well see.

  15. Regina N says:

    These cards are beautiful. the explanation are wonderful

  16. Velta says:

    Jerri ~ You really know how to explain your process in this gorgeous technique!!! LOL…I still have the first Mother’s Day Card Kit that I bought from you…I am such a clutz…thankfully, I have used (as you instructed) some other cardstock to emboss, and I have messed up over and over…I am not finished yet though…I have promised myself when I have a day to myself that I will perfect this gorgeous technique…and when I do, you will be the first to see it!

    And now that I have seen your work on this technique, I am just drooling to get started. I have seen this parchment craft before and it truly is one of the most beautiful techniques ever! Your showing and instructing is so very helpful. Thank you for all the time you take to share with me and your other “fans!”

    Happy Easter to You and Yours and May You All Be Blessed this Holiday!

  17. Mary Roberson says:

    Thanks for taking the time to go into so much detail, Jerri.
    As I have come to expect from you, a class act! Your work
    is beautiful and your parchment work is no exception.

  18. Janine says:


  19. Kirsten says:

    Oh Jerri – I just love your works!! You are so talented. This is stunning!!
    I will definitely come back!
    Have a lovely Easter.
    Hugs, Kirsten

  20. Emily says:

    Thanks for the explanations of what the craft is about and the basic guidelines. Your work is so pretty and delicate and you always finish your projects off so professionally.
    Thanks for sharing! :o)

  21. rainy says:

    Jerri your work is always so exquisite! No exception here.. the tiny details, the beautiful designs.. always a total WOW!!

  22. WHAT an informative post! This craft is so foreign to me it was a pleasure to read and learn more about it — thank you!

  23. Hi, have a wonderful trip I loveeeeeeeeeee everything you do.

    Your parch==== cards are are something.

    enjoy your trip

    [email protected]

  24. Amy says:

    Thanks so much for this informative post. I came across several parchment craft books a couple of years ago for free and easily became overwhelmed trying to figure out how one gets started with this beautiful craft. Thanks for having such an inspirational site.

  25. nancy littrell says:

    Jerri, this looks like the perfect art technique for you. It is so intricate and just gorgeous with endless possibilities. TFS and making this technique available.

  26. Rose Toellner says:

    oh my, your cards are so beautiful.

  27. Maria Santiago says:

    Hello from, Cleveland, Oh
    Love your cards, it is impossible for me to find parchment tools/supplies here in cleveland. Any suggestions Thank you.

    Maria Santiago

  28. Carol says:

    WoW!! I am new to this craft and so exited to begin. I have just placed my order for some items from you and have a couple of the books you recommended on their way to me as well. I will have all of my tools by next week and just so excited to start crafting. Your projects are just exquisite and I only hope I can complete something half as nice when I learn how. May I also compliment you on your beautiful site. It is a pleasure browsing here. Thank you so much for the inspiration!!

  29. […] Pergamano — Getting Started With Parchment Craft  – The Techniques – Volumes 1, 2 and 3 […]

  30. Silke Ledlow says:

    GASP Jerri…your Mother’s Day card is AMAZING…it really took my breath away!!! I love all the pergamano creations you have sampled 🙂 !!! Hugs ~S~

  31. Lynn Guitard says:

    Your work is just AMAZING, sitting here with chin dropped. Have you ever considered making a video of how you do your craft. As I am a person who likes to see how things are done it makes is so much easier for me to understand. This would be a great thing for all who love what you do.

  32. […] Pergamano — Getting Started With Parchment Craft  – The Techniques – Volumes 1, 2 and 3 […]

  33. […] Pergamano — Getting Started With Parchment Craft  — The Techniques – Volumes 1, 2 and 3 […]

  34. Lydia says:

    You’ve done a superb job in explaining the parchment craft using the Pergamano products: ) I’ve dabbled in this craft for quite a few years but don’t take the time to do it very often although I love the look.
    I usually take my supplies on our vacation and do some projects then since there is nothing else to take my attention : )
    Seeing your site makes me want to do more than dabble : ) I have most of the supplies so there is nothing to stop me.
    I’ll be checking out your store.
    Thanks for posting your beautiful work!!

  35. I like selection of embossing tools, it’s what I need 🙂

  36. Bluedilly says:

    I love the work you have done I would like to know more about perforating with the different tools. Have I to turn my work over to the right side before perforating with any of those tools?

    • Jerri Kay says:

      thank you for the sweet comment, perforating is done on the front side of the paper, embossing is done on the back side of the paper.

  37. Donna Anders says:


    I am looking for buying some supplies. Is it here that I can buy the tools for perforating? Can you be able to help me? Thank you.

  38. Janet Mayfield says:


    I have been given a lot of Pergamano tools, paints, grids and other items by a close friend. My problem is that I do not have any instruction books.

    I noticed that you have technique books, specifically volumes 1,2 & 3. These books and any others that are available don’t seem to be available in Australia.

    As I am interested in Pergamano and other crafts I would dearly appreciate your help in purchasing the technique books and any other that you may know are availble.


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