Die Cutting 10% OFF or More!
Plus, Thanksgiving, Fall & Floral Themes on Sale! | Details Here.

Using Up Scraps

I've found that there are two kinds of crafters in the world: 1) those who get rid of all their spare scraps as soon as they finish a project; and 2) the remaining 99.5% of us who save even the smallest pieces of beautiful cardstock or patterned paper, sure that one day they will come in handy. If you're among the many who save scraps, here are some tips for actually using them.

Shop your scraps first

If you are serious about actually using your scraps, they should be the first papers you consider when putting together a project. For my son's first-day-of-school picture this year, I wanted to add some small pops of color to bring attention to the photo. Instead of turning to my regular stash of patterned papers, I went straight for the scraps.

Since I only wanted small pieces, there was no need to cut down full sheets when I had tons of perfectly good scraps. I found some tiny scraps of patterned yellows and reds and layered them haphazardly under the photo. The fact that they are different sizes adds interest.

Keep your scraps organized and accessible

In order to use your scraps, they have to be somewhere that you can get to them conveniently and they should be at least somewhat organized.

I organize scraps by color in plastic storage envelopes. When I scrapped the photos of our family's Angry Birds jack-o'-lanterns, I wanted to bring in oranges to emphasize that it was a Halloween layout. I found scraps of three different orange patterns and cut them into strips to go under the photo and into triangles for a banner across the top right. 

Be realistic about what size of scraps you will use

There are a lot of different opinions about how big a scrap has to be to justify saving it. I've heard people say it should be big enough to mat a photo. Others keep anything big enough to use with a punch. Still others keep anything larger than a postage stamp. I tend to fall in with the postage stamp crowd, especially with versatile solids, because I know I will use them.

On this layout, I used a 2” x 3” scrap of white to house my title, then matted that with a black scrap. I cut tiny white scraps into even tinier pieces to write my list of adjectives. I save small scraps because I know I will use them.

If you keep pieces smaller than what you will realistically use, they will only get in the way of you using the larger ones.

Stretch your scraps across hidden areas

Because I save small scraps, I sometimes find a perfect scrap that isn't big enough to fit the place where I'd hoped it would go. That's when I have to get creative and stretch the scrap.By cutting a strip and hiding it behind another feature, I can make a scrap appear much larger than it actually is.

In this layout, the strips behind the photo don't actually extend more than a millimeter behind the photo. I arranged the small pieces on each end to appear as though they run nearly the width of the layout, when in fact you are seeing the entire scrap, minus that millimeter tucked under the edge of the photo mat. 

Make a card

Avoid moving scraps into long-term storage where they might be ignored by using them as you generate them.

When you finish a layout, use the scraps that remain on your desk to make a quick card. Because they worked together on the layout, you already know they'll work together on a card.

Here's a card I made immediately after finishing a layout. The paper scraps, punch, flower and Stickles were already out; all I had to do was cut them to size and put them together.  It took about three minutes.  A quick sentiment stamp and it was ready to go.

I hope these simple tips and tricks have inspired you to use your scraps. You'd be surprised how often creative vision and masterpieces can emerge when you skew tradition and start from the scraps. Make something amazing while you eliminate all those spare pieces of paper and be sure to share it with us in the Gallery! 

Additional Articles
Mixed Media

Comments (3)

Please log in to view and submit comments.