From Clutter to Craft: How to Tame Your Paper Scrap Collection

They’re every crafters dirty little secret – paper scraps. Whether you store yours in a drawer, toss them in a bag, or have a giant pile growing on your desk, paper scraps can feel like an insurmountable mountain of disorganization. But they can be useful – after all, why would you keep them if they weren’t?

Organizing Your Paper Scraps

The problem is, no matter how good our intentions are, that paper scrap pile only seems to grow. Luckily, a little organization can help keep your scrap mountain under control. Here are a few of our tips for keeping your scraps neat and tidy:

  • Cut everything down to squares or rectangles. Trims rough edges from die cuts, tears, or other uses so all your scraps are neat squares or rectangles. Recycle the messy parts, or even use them as kindling for your next campfire.
  • Separate colors and patterns. Light, solid colors are perfect for stamping, while patterns and brighter colors are great for layering or die-cutting.
  • Create a filing system. Label hanging folders by color, pattern, or style and file your paper scraps in a filing cabinet, or even store them in magazine holders.

Using Your Paper Scraps

Instead of adding to your scrap pile or drawer next time you sit down to craft, try giving your scraps a new life. Here are 20 of our favorite suggestions:

1. Paper Beads

Paper beads are a great craft project for both kids and adults. Bust out all of your most colorful paper scraps and have fun creating beautiful jewelry for your whole family.

Learn how to make your own paper beads.

2. Scrapbook Embellishments

Paper scraps are perfect for creating your own customized scrapbook embellishments. Forget spending tons of money at the craft store – with a little creativity, you can create your own embellishments design specially for your layout.

Watch this video for some great ideas for homemade scrapbook embellishments made using paper scraps:

3. Try Your Hand at Paper Quilling

Quilling is an immensely popular paper craft, and it’s easy to see why. It’s easy to do, and the results are seriously impressive.

Learn how to quill.

4. Layer Paper

Try layering your scraps to add depth to your paper crafts.

Learn how to layer paper like a pro – read our suggestions for layering paper.

5. Create a Chevron Pattern

Chevron patterns are very trendy right now, and they’re super easy to recreate using leftover scraps.

Here’s how to create your own chevron pattern.

6. Swap Scraps with Crafty Friends

Refresh your paper stock by trading scraps with your crafty friends! After all, we’ve all got scrap stores somewhere, so why not share your colors and patterns with your friends?

7. Craft a Cake Card

Who doesn’t love birthday cake? Try using your paper scraps to make these cute birthday cards.

Read the tutorial here.

8. Gift Tags

These gift tags aren’t just for Christmas! Simply use a different cutting pattern or file, and voila! Tags for any occasion.

Learn how to make your own in this video:

9. Paper Quilting

Paper quilting is a little different than fabric quilting, but the end result is just as wonderful.

Here’s how to create your own quilted pattern.

10. Cut Out Letters

Simply trace letters onto your scraps and cut them out to create customized alphabets and letter embellishments for scrapbook layouts or homemade cards.

11. Paper Weaving

Weave your leftover scraps into an artful design. Watch this video to learn how:

12. Scrapbook Inspiration: Grid Layout

Use your paper scraps to create a grid-patterned background for your scrapbook layouts, just like Allie from Magical Messes.

Check out the showcase and learn how to create your own pattern.

13. Make Confetti

If you’ve got a hole punch, turn your paper scraps into confetti! Simply punch some holes and collect your confetti, ready to be thrown at your next party. You could even make funkier confetti using die-cuts.

14. Create Wall Art

Turn your paper scraps into an artistic masterpiece!

Get inspired to create your own wall art.

15. Try Paper Piecing

Paper piecing is like building a puzzle out of paper, except you can create your own puzzle. It’s a great crafting technique, and the perfect way to use up all your scraps.

Here’s how to do it.

16. Photo Corners

Cut out triangles and place them over your photos in your scrapbook layouts for easy, instant photo corners.

17. Make Your Own Gift Topper

These paper bows look lovely on top of any gift, and you can easily put them together using your leftover scraps.

Here’s how to make your own curly paper bows.

18. Make Labels and Journaling Cards

Scraps are the perfect canvas for homemade labels and journaling cards.

Get our tips for writing evocative journaling.

19. Christmas Ornaments

You can never have too many Christmas ornaments! All you need to turn your scraps into a festive bauble is a clear glass Christmas ornament. Simply stuff it with colorful paper scraps and hang it on your tree.

Here’s how to make your own ornament using leftover paper strips.

20. Matte your Photos

Mounting your photos onto one, two, or even three mattes helps create a cohesive scrapbook design. Try matting a single corner instead of creating a border around your entire photo, using multiple patterns, and experimenting with different border widths.

Scrap Happy

No need to fear that growing pile of paper scraps! These craft ideas are sure to put a dent in your scrap mountain – at least until you start your next scrapbook layout.

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