Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Paper Orphans (project)

I love patterned paper. I have towers of 6x6 paper pads and probably more paper than I can use... But paper is what inspires me the most. Some people are inspired by cute stamps, ink or new techniques. It's all paper for me. I can look through a few of my favorite patterned sheets and I immediately feel like making something.

I make mainly A2-sized cards (4¼x5½") which means I cut my 6x6 paper down to 4". This leaves me with a 2x6" strip of paper that I have affectionately named a paper orphan (you know, separated from their family and all). I save all those strips in a large zippy mesh bag because I just can't bear to get rid of them. Of course, this means my collection of orphans is growing exponentially, and it's time to figure out what to do with it all.

One of the options is to just use it for die-cutting. I could cut some cute shapes, words and panels. 2x6" is not a very large canvas to work with, but it's perfect for tiny hearts, stars and circles - which there's never enough of in my stash. However, all of my tiny shape dies are for my BigShot, and cranking out set after set gets tiring (not to mention takes way too long because my orphan stash is massive...).

So, I decided to just work with the orphans and try to use them in a more conventional way - as accent paper for various card layouts. This seemed to work really well, especially since I tend to favor the clean&simple (CAS) style of card-making. This gave me a chance to test out a few layouts and figure out new ways to use paper.

I came up with several different possibilities, but the one I liked best is to use the patterned paper as a border and add a white cardstock panel on top. I could vary the border shape to create some interest, as well as choose which side it went on. With this in mind, I created several layouts and then tested making some cards...

This first card was literally a "you have just one minute to make a card before someone walks in!" kind of card. I wanted to see if there was a super quick way to pull off a card using pre-made elements such as stickers, die-cuts or even stamped images I'd colored in advance. It worked great! The card was super simple to put together and having that pre-done base made it easy to choose all the coordinating elements.

With the second card, I took it a small step further and did a quick stamped and colored image. This made the card take just a tad longer, but it was still a pretty quick process - especially when it came to choosing colors. This is a great option for using up all the adorable little critter images. The layout gives them a way to shine without needing to set up a scene or get creative with die-cutting lots of extra panels.

For the last card, I went all out with stamping Julie, Copic-coloring and fussy-cutting it out. It made the card a bit more elaborate, but it still has the same unified simple style. With a sentiment and embellishments, it made the card feel like it's my style - i.e. not at all like it was pre-planned and made in pieces.

I'm going to continue working on this project, finding new layouts and combinations that work together. I think that having a stash of ready-to-go bases will be helpful with those quick need-em-now cards, and I just love the idea of making full use of the materials I own.

Thanks for reading!


  1. lol Elle! You crack me up! And inspire! I have tonnes of paper orphans too. Time to put them to use like you have. Love the curvy borders. All three cards are gorgeous!

    1. I'd love to see what you do with them! I think using up scraps is the biggest challenge all us card-makers have... I envy those ladies that just throw away scraps. I seem to keep mine forever and ever and ever. XD