Daydreaming on Paper
April 2018
Fun With Paper Scraps

I have a thing for paper. I collect it in a variety of forms: novelty memo pads, sumptuous engraved stationery, colorful cardstock, origami and washi paper, recycled-fiber office paper, printed backgrounds, handmade floral papers - you name it, I have it. In fact, I have lots of it, which is why I have made a deliberate effort over the past couple of years to significantly cut back on accumulating more of it. Simply put, I am running out of space for it. The issue is not only that I keep acquiring new paper, but also that I hang on to every little piece of it until it is all gone. Paper is too lovely, and I am too cheap, to discard the random bits and bobs that are left over after major projects. I save all of those odd pieces, no matter how small. Whether it's a lush sheet of Dempsey & Carroll writing paper or a strip salvaged from a Chinese-language newspaper, I want to use every scrap of it.


Box of Paper Scraps
My big box of paper scraps

Smaller Bits and Pieces
I keep smaller scraps in an envelope near my desk for easy access.


And so, over the years, I've had to get creative about finding ways to use my stash of paper odds and ends. I most often use them to adorn handmade cards and bookmarks, adding color and texture to enhance the overall look. Bigger scraps come in handy for lining envelopes - handmade or purchased. I have a few lining templates that I made for the envelope sizes that I use the most but, in a pinch, you can always simply trace around the front of the envelope (with the flap open) and then cut it out slightly smaller and shorter so that it fits inside. This is a really good technique for those times when you need, but can't find, a security envelope.

My favorite uses for paper scraps are as fun embellishments in my day planner. I like to make mini collages on the divider tabs, and I cut appropriately sized rectangles and strips to make pretty page borders that make the daily appointments and tasks look a little more appealing. One thing that I've been doing a lot of lately is using a 1- or 1.25-inch circle punch to turn scrap paper into non-adhesive stickers. These are perfect for drawing my attention to general information that I want to make note of for a particular date: book releases, festivals and concerts, group bike rides, registration deadlines, and so much more.



Plain colored paper works best for this purpose, while printed, patterned, and decorated paper make good non-adhesive seals and labels to use in your notebooks and on mail. I like to letter my initials in the center of a circle and then write my return address in a smaller size along the inside border. You can use paint, ink, rubber stamps, stencils, commercial stickers, and anything else you can think of to make miniature, one-of-a-kind works of art. With glue stick in hand, you will find all kinds of fun and useful places to apply them. Don't throw away the punched paper scrap, either; use that to make colorful frames for your photos, mini sketches, and other images.


Monogram seals to use on my mail


For most of us, paper is no longer the precious commodity that it once was, but that does not mean that the papyrophiles among us are willing to let any of it go to waste. By flexing our creative muscles just an extra bit, we can discover new ways to enjoy our favorite samples to the last shred.


Happy Scribbling!


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