Whether you’re new to papercrafting, or an experienced crafter, brads are one element that are easy to use and can provide effective results. So here’s a guide to what these strange sounding things are and how to get the best out of using them.
To a beginner crafter, the name ‘brad’ can sound really strange and a bit alien to the rest of papercrafting, especially as the names of other tools and accessories you use and need are generally self-explanatory. If you’ve ever stopped and wondered what on earth a brad is, you’re not alone!
Put simply, a brad is a bit like the old style of paper fasteners, often used in stationary products and as an alternative way of securing envelopes. It’s a metal pin with two prongs going down its stem and the top can be coloured or decorative. To use a brad, you stick the metal prongs through, for example, a piece of card, then pull back the prongs on the reverse side to ensure it’s secured.
Brads come in all shapes, sizes, colours and designs. They can be matt colours, shiny colours, plain colours or patterned colours, and they can have decorative tops, flat tops, textured tops or novelty tops. As they’re available in so many different types, it makes them a very versatile embellishing accessory for papercrafters and they can be used in a wide range of papercrafting projects.
How Can Brads be Used?
They may seem like a simple little crafting accessory, but brads can be used in a wide variety of ways.
Brads can be used in many different ways on handmade cards. Decorative brads, such as ones with gemstones on the top or nice patterns, can be used as a key embellishment and take centre stage. Smaller brads can be used as a means of attaching charms to cards. If you don’t want the ‘legs’ or prongs on the back to show, you can stick an insert inside the card to hide them. Or you can use matting and layering to hide the prongs between the layers.
On Scrapbook Pages
Like cards, brads work really effectively on scrapbook pages too. Decorative brads add a small of colour of texture to a page, or you can create random patterns of brads around the edges. They’re really useful for attaching photos to a page, without the need for glue. They can also be used to form the centre of a flower, be added to complement the pattern of scrapbook papers or act as a fastener to keep charms, beads or ribbons in place.
On Mini Books or Journals
If you’re making mini books or journals, brads can be used on the covers as well as the inner pages. On the covers, for example, larger brads can be used to mimic a handle and inside they can be used to attach charms or add interest or colour to a page.
On Altered Art Projects
If you’re making altered art projects, such as covering boxes, you can use brads to add a different dimension to the surface.
To Secure Ribbon or Vellum
When you’re using vellums or some types of delicate ribbons, you’ll find that certain types of glue don’t work, as the glue shows through and looks unsightly. Brads come in very handy in such cases, as they can be used instead of glue to fix vellums or ribbons to a project. Plus they serve a decorative purpose too!
They Can be Decorated or Embellished
Brads are often decorative in themselves, but the plainer ones can also be made more funky by decorating or embellishing them. If you have a large flat brad, for example, you could put a rub-on image or transfer onto it (some brads are designed to be used in this way) or you could put small stickers or gems onto them to give a different effect.
As the examples show, brads can be used in numerous ways. So have fun experimenting and seeing what new ideas you can come up with!