Oh, my. Have I had a long-term relationship with paper. I wouldn’t want to say that I used to hoard it–“hoarding” has been plagued such horribly visuals lately–but I did have The Paper Room, an entire room in our house that was filled with shelves and boxes and stacks of amazing, wonderful, fabulous paper–most of it free. Years and years ago when I first started rubber stamping, I made some intricate pop-up cards and took them around to the printing companies in town and asked if they would save their scraps for me. I developed a relationship with the largest company, and for over a decade, Kitty saved everything from vellum to heavy cotton paper to tissue paper, from business-card-sized cardstock to sheets large enough to fold into pages for over-sized books. It was marvelous, and I gave away a ton of paper I didn’t need–schools, churches, after-school programs–and still had enough to do anything I wanted that required paper. It was amazing.
Of course, I also had paper I bought: marbled paper, bark paper, painted paper. Then, when I wrote about Arnold Grummer and they sent me a huge box of paper-making supplies to play with–including a wonderful paper press–of course I started making my own.
I think you get the idea: I had a *lot* of paper. And when I began to turn from paper crafts to focus more on my first love, fabric, I needed to do something with what I had left after giving away boxes and boxes and more boxes full of paper. There was some that was just too cool to get rid of, in single sheets that wouldn’t really work for schools (who’s going to get to use the cool neon paper? Who gets to use the half-sheet with flower inclusions?). I found some patterns for useful stuff–envelopes, book pockets, page markers–and created a stash of things I still use today, years later. I wanted to share those this week; I’m sure I’m not the only one with a little bit of a paper issue, maybe a little extra paper I can’t bear to get rid of. Right?
So for the next several days, I’ll be providing PDFs, photos and instructions for really simple projects that are actually useful–really!–and will let you use (and keep, if you can’t bear to share) all those sheets of fabulous paper.
But first, before we start, this: if you’ve got paper you love, save all the scraps you trim away in the making of these. When I cleared out The Paper Room and all the drawers of handmade paper, I gathered up the sheets I loved the most, hauled out the paper trimmer, and made myself enough bookmarks to last approximately the rest of my life:
I love using these–so much better than the random bit of torn newspaper or tissue hastily grabbed to mark your place. Every time I use one, I admire the paper. It becomes softer with use, and that’s lovely, too.
So check back to get ideas and instructions for using your stash~~
You might also enjoy checking out Mixed Media Storytelling Workbook: Art Journaling Inspiration, Words and Prompts, edited by Kristy Conlin.
MORE RESOURCES FOR MIXED MEDIA ARTISTS