Wishing upon a pocket shooting star

It seems like the trials and tribulations of one year’s Christmas cards often inspire my thinking for the next. After the fun, dance and extra expenses of mailing last year’s Christmas cards, I knew I wanted to do something that was small and thin and compact (not that last  year’s wasn’t – except for that bag of tea!).

Inspiration and format

One idea I’ve had kicking around in my head for a while is folded bookmarks. Giving something that can be more than a single-use greeting really appealed to me. Bookmarks, keeping your place, keeping track of things, new year’s resolutions… one thing led to another, and I decided to make portable paper wish trackers. I’m a firm believer in the idea that dreams are a combination of luck and hard work, so tracking your progress makes sense. Hence, a pocket shooting star!

Part of me wonders if I should call these Christmas cards anymore. For one, I seem to use the term “card” in the loosest way possible when coming up with designs, and sometimes (mostly because I worry that I won’t get them done in time for Christmas) the messaging seems more appropriate to the new year. But in any case, seasonal wintry-time greetings…

I started by looking up folded bookmarks (simply google origami bookmark, folded corner bookmark, etc.), and followed the instructions with some scraps of paper, then drawing on them to see where the artwork would be positioned. Below are my tests. I had a more complex idea in the beginning, involving more interactivity (inviting people to unfold the bookmark to reveal more messages or to write down their wishes/goals inside it) but decided it was too much trouble for me and for the recipient. Plus, it would have required the paper to be printed on both sides, requiring more time and creating finicky-ness (for aligning the artwork etc.) in production.

Work in progress folded models and pencil sketches of bookmark idea

I did all the artwork in brush pen, then scanned, composed and coloured on the computer. I wasn’t sure if it was immediately evident that this was a bookmark, and I didn’t plan for the design to explain itself either. And of course the piece is already so small, I couldn’t take away any of the space I had for writing my message! So I decided at the last minute to add an insert with some explanation/instructions.Work in progress inked drawings for bookmark instructional insert

Production and assembly

I wanted to do more risograph printing, and had such a good experience working with Pindot Press on my OFF-PANEL Emmies that I decided early on I would print these there.

One thing I neglected to account for was the fact that risograph ink is not that rub resistant. Once they’re assembled, it’s not so bad, but I blackened my fingers quite a bit while folding them and had to take breaks to wash my hands. I experimented with heating the ink to fix it better, thinking it could be like how you can iron newsprint so that the ink doesn’t rub off on their hands. All I had was a hair dryer though, so that didn’t work too well. Lesson learned!Work in progress pocket shooting star bookmarks being folded

It was fun stacking the finished pieces together. At one point I had so many I could bend and curve them like a worm or a serpent!

A bunch of bookmarks stacked together

And the finished pieces!

Complete set of pocket shooting star bookmarks - front, back and instructional insert

Since they’re not holiday-specific, they make cute little giveaways! I still have quite a few left, so I plan on giving them away as extras in online orders and at events to spread the good wishes~!