After making several scrapbook layouts, you will realize that you’ve accumulated quite a bit of leftover paper and embellishments. You can’t bear to throw any of them away, but what do you do with all the mismatched odds and ends, like the chipboard letters that don’t spell any words or the tiny bits of ribbon and cardstock?
Many scrapbookers will keep these leftovers in a box or folder, which is shoved under the desk and…forgotten. Not anymore. Here are some fun, easy and creative ways to breathe new life into these supplies.
1. Make gift tags
The little pieces of ribbon and paper may be too small for your scrapbook layouts, but they’re the perfect size for gift tags.
The secret is to get a small shoebox and dedicate it to ‘gift card materials.’ This eliminates the need to rummage through all your scraps (that’s just way too inconvenient, and you’ll just end up buying a gift tag to save yourself the trouble). But if all your small scraps are in one place—conveniently stored in a desk drawer—then it’s easy to grab the supplies when you need them.
For gift tags, save any paper that’s the size of a calling card, or any ribbon that’s at least 2 inches long. You can decorate your gift tag with brads and eyelets and flowers, or stamp a simple image, like a cupcake for a birthday gift or a little angel for a holiday gift.
2. Make a mosaic.
Group together papers that have a similar color (like pastels or earth tones) or vibe (like vintage or retro). Then, use a giant punch to cut these into the same size and shape.
These scraps can then be used to make a border for a picture, or artistically arranged on the front of a card for a simple and beautiful design. In fact, this is a favorite technique of scrapbook designerAli Edwards,
3. Make a mini book or mini album
Think beyond 12×12 scrapbook layouts! One of the hottest trends in scrapbooking is mini books: smaller albums that can be carried around in a bag or displayed on a table.
Mini books or mini albums can be as small as 4×4 inches. Tag albums are even smaller: they’re literally the size of typical shipping tags, and are usually held together by ribbon, a binder ring, or ribbon.
These small-format albums are perfect for using up leftover paper and embellishments. The trick is to group supplies that belong to the same color family or have similar vibe. They don’t have to match perfectly, but do look for one element that can tie the pages together.
4. Decorate a notebook.
Buy a cheap notebook or address book from a dollar store and then decorate the cover! You’ll spend far less than you would on a fancy journal, and you’ll create something that’s completely unique.
These also make excellent gifts. Why not use your leftover flowers to make a diary for a friend who loves gardening? Or gather your baby-themed patterned paper and stickers to make a Mommy Journal for a co-worker who is expecting her first child?
5. Use them for die-cuts.
Diecutting machines like Sizzix and Cuttlebug cut little pieces of patterned paper into letters, tags, shapes—pretty much anything! There are thousands of die cut templates, and prices have really dropped lately because of the introduction of electronic diecutting machines like the Cricut and the Wishblade. However, hand-operated diecutting machines are best for cutting small pieces of paper.
6. Make cards.
Handmade cards are far more personal and meaningful than e-cards or even the generic ones sold in the store. Your friends, relatives or co-workers will surely treasure what you made. ‘You did this for me?’ they’ll exclaim, ‘how sweet of you!’ Even before reading the message inside the card you’ve already made them special and loved.
You can make cards completely from scratch (folding cardstock into two to form the ‘base’) but you can also buy blank cards and then just decorate the front. Or you can try experimenting with creative formats, like pop-up cards or accordion fold cards. Why not start making them now? You may even be able to turn it into a small business—the holidays are just around the corner, and people are always on the look-out for unique cards!
Interested in learning how to make exquisite cards? Take a card-making class from Christy Sheffield. whose work was used in the photo of this article. (She’s got other great stuff on her blog.
7. Use them for kids’ crafts.
You can place your scraps in one box for your kids to ‘raid’ whenever they need to make a project for school, or just want something fun to do on a rainy day. This may even be a way to get them interested in scrapbooking! Then, your favorite hobby can become a fun family bonding activity.