Top 10 Creative Uses of Paper

Written by: Editorial Staff

February 23, 2011
Filed Under Crafts 


Contributed by Rosemary O’Brien, Info Guru

Papercrafting is one of my favorite hobbies. It makes you feel like you are in kindergarten again while you cut and paste paper, and it’s not just construction paper anymore.

With the advent of scrapbooking, stamping and cardmaking, we have seen a zillion excellent papercrafting projects. Check out ten of the many creative uses of paper that will have you saying, “This ain’t like that project I made in kindergarten!”


Let’s start with the most obvious project and one of the simplest. Bookmarks can be made out of card stock, envelopes, specialty paper and a variety of other stationery supplies. You can even create them on your computer using a word processing or design software and then print them out in bulk. Print a bunch of the same design or make several different designs. Keep in mind that the standard size of a bookmark is 2″ x 6″.

9. Door hangers

Kids love door hangers. Many times they are made out of foam paper or foam sheets. These are shaped like standard-size pieces of paper, but are made of a springy foam. Well, instead of being like the other kids, why not make your door hangers out of paper? Look for reinforced paper in bright colors that is easy to decorate. You can even just draw on it and skip the messy glue. Your door hanger can be whatever you want it to be. It’s your door!

8. Scrapbooks

One of my favorite uses of paper is in a scrapbook. After spending my childhood flunking art and trying to paint rocks with some sense of artistry, I discovered paper as my true medium. Scrapbooks are a way to preserve the past. At the very least, they provide a way to organize your photos and mementoes in a way that will make people want to view them. Scrapbook your summer vacation fun. They are also a good way to stay organized. Choose the good photos, then either toss the extras, give them away or save them for card making.

7. Card making

A secondary hobby for many scrapbookers is making cards. By making homemade cards, you not only give someone a piece of your heart, but you also use up all of the paper scraps you accumulate making scrapbooks. Try a butterfly card or make holiday cards. Add some pretty ribbons or buttons to make your cards pop. Each one can be different or you can make a bunch assembly-line fashion.

6. Tabletop decorations

Table tops decorations can be creative and geared to the occasion or holiday. For Valentine’s Day, for example, cut out a bunch of hearts from red or pink cardstock. Decorate with markers, paint or even puffy fabric paint. Just be sure not to burn the paper when you heat it. Attach the hearts to floral wire and stick them in a decorative jar. That’s it! An easy way to jazz up a table for baby showers, Fourth of July or even a wedding.

5. Boxes

If you are good at folding, one of the most helpful uses of paper is to make your boxes. There are tons of good patterns online. Just figure out the best size for your gift or project, then choose your pattern. Fold paper and score the folds using your fingernail or a bone folder (used for card making). Make the top just slightly bigger and with shorter sides than the bottom, and you have a box to use for a gift, storing recipe cards or for anything you want. You can easily decorate the box with the same techniques used for cards or scrapbooks. Make it art and stick it on your fireplace mantle.

4. Memento book

Memento books are an excellent way to store special event tickets, programs and just about anything you want to save for posterity. By folding several pieces of card stock into pockets, then adhering them together into a book, you can have a homemade treasure. Punch holes and bind with yarn or ribbon, or you can staple it along the edges. Use your memento book to stuff with leaves and findings during a nature walk, or add cards from a special birthday or holiday.

3. Love jar

This follows the same principle as the table top decorations. Cut out the same shape several times. You can use hearts for a classroom of children, for example. Send them home with the students and have them write what they like most about their favorite teacher. They can decorate their hearts any way they want. When you get them back, put them all in a decorated jar. The teacher can take out one heart for every day. Your teacher will know he or she is very special as she reads a sentiment each day.

2. Alter something

Alter mint tins, old books that you are about to toss, cigar boxes, even shoe boxes are great items to alter. Choose something with an interesting shape, like an Altoid tin. Smear a strong glue all over it, then cover it with paper. You can use any type of specialty craft paper, from card stock to copy paper for this project. It is even easier to make it look good if you use many different colors and types of paper and tear them into interesting shapes. Place them all over the piece. You can make decorative items, gifts or even jewelry by altering items with paper.

1. Decoupage beads

This is a fun project for kids, but I have seen many artists wearing necklaces made out of paper beads. Take any strength paper and cut it into neat, long triangle. Get out a pencil and roll the paper onto the pencil beginning from the long end of the paper. Before rolling, brush the part that is not directly attached to the pencil with tacky glue. This will form the bead as you roll the paper out to the end. Dot a little more glue on the end of the bead, then let dry a bit. String the bead on a dowel and paint all over with white glue or some type of glue that dries clear and hard. When your bead is completely dry, you can string them on a length of cord or string such as hemp. Depending on the type of paper you use, these can be as simple or as involved as you want to make them.

You can find many more creative uses of paper if you scour the internet, craft magazines or your local library for interesting paper projects. By buying in bulk, you can end up with a variety of choices for all of your paper crafting projects. Try mixing patterns, colors and types of paper to get fun effects. It will be like going back to kindergarten, but without the nap.


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