*A la cartonnage

January 10, 2007 at 2:03 pm | Posted in Craft - Blogs, Craft - Books, Craft - How-to's, Craft - People, Craft - Websites | 9 Comments

cartonnageFrench is just a languge too hard for me to learn. It seems to be a fashion to name one’s products with French names. Or it is only true in Japan?! Maybe it is much more romantic using a French name than English ones. Or, they tried to imply the techniques are from France? Since le duvet deux, I’ve seen quite a few Japanese crafting websites using French names. I saw another one recently. That’s Yumiko Komizawa(駒澤由美子)’s A la cartonnage.

As shown in the picture on the left, both Yumiko’s works and her website are about cartonnage (dont confused with Egyptian mummies), namely fabric(mostly cotton)-covered cartons. The technique can be traced back to France in 19th centry. There is a basic tutorial of how to make such nice boxes. In the galleries of Yumiko and some other people, you can find various applications of this technique.

Yumiko has published 3 books last year. My favorite is the first one, especially the box for coasters on the cover. I have to admit I like the coasters more than the box. 😛


The second one(ISBN430928065X) applies mainly Hawaii-style fabrics for cartonnages. No ideas about the third one. Thanks to a Chinese crafting blogger zoe(?) who are living in Japan, I’ve got a bunch of nice links related to this topic, including Japanese and French ones. (If you are interested in x-stitches/embroidery, dont miss one of zoe’s archives.)

1.Shops and tutorials

Atelier M
Fabric House Bit
Le Monde Du Cartonnage

2.Personal BLOG

Comfortable Space
@telier A&G

Atelier PetitPoint
Webring of cartonnage lovers

3.Another person that has published 3 books on this topic:La Baguette

4. Related Japanese books






Again, all these lists are from Zoe’s blog.

As for myself, I would rather use fabrics for sewing. It seems too extravagant for people, who do not have a huge collection of fabrics, to cover cartons with cottons. Nevertheless it’s still nice to read and learn some techniques like this. We can still use nice wrap paper for that.

Also from Japan, there is a nice tutorial of making paper-mache lampshade. That’s something I am interested to try.

BTW: via batixa’s blog, “the last knit” is another must-see video clip.


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  1. I think “cartonnage” is the accepted term in Japan to describe this technique (there is also découpage isn’t there, that is used outside France?). “A la cartonnage” is not correct though, since cartonnage is masculine, not feminine it should be “au cartonnage”. Still doesn’t mean much though (^-^;). Personnaly I haven’t tried it yet but I think “cartonnage” boxes are beautiful. Actually I have a French book that I bought last summer, about cartonnage decorated with cross-stitch. I’ll have to hunt it down and post some photos.

    From ccat:
    Then, I should mark a star on the phrase. 😛
    French words like “decoupage” and “papermache” are used more frequently than cartonnage which is totally new to me. 🙂
    I guess the title is from something like “a la mode”. Well, since I dunno French/Japanese, it only reminds me a Chinese dialect in which “a la” means “ours”.
    Again, crafting is my way to learn languages. 😀

  2. Cartonnage

    I must say, Mr Clean’s magic sponge is really something. I used it on my favorite mug that was so coated with tannin my husband said it was impossible to clean anymore, and now it’s pale blue again. Anyway, this post on Crafty Beats the other day rem…

  3. Please could you tell me where I can buy a book on French Cartonnage Boxes; I would like to buy one.

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