Paper Crafts VISUAL Quick Tips

By Rebecca Ludens Jennifer Schmidt

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2008 Rebecca Ludens
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-470-22852-4

Chapter One

Introduction to Paper Crafts

Paper crafting is anything that uses paper to express your creativity. Some of the most popular categories of paper crafts are scrapbooking, card making, and rubber stamping. Other types of paper crafts, such as collage art, Artist Trading Cards, art journaling, and paper-crafted home décor, are also gaining popularity. To begin, you will need a few basic supplies and some tips on combining colors.

Types of Paper 4 Cut It Up 5 Choose Adhesives 6 Other Supplies 8 Use a Color Wheel 10 Color Scheme Examples 12 Create a Mood with Color 14

Types of Paper

Paper crafting is, of course, all about the paper. The array of paper available is amazing and can be a bit overwhelming at first. Choosing paper appropriate for your specific project will be easier after this overview of paper types.

Cardstock is a paper crafting necessity. You can create greeting cards, mini-scrapbooks, gift tags, and more using only different colors of this heavyweight paper. An easy way to coordinate cardstock is to purchase it in monochromatic sets of different shades.

Patterned paper adds interest to your cardstock layers. This lighter-weight paper comes in every print imaginable. Pattern paper fills in the spots in your projects that may look a little too plain.

Specialty paper includes handmade paper, vellum, mulberry paper, metallics, and meshes. The translucent quality of vellum makes it perfect for layering. When you tear mulberry or handmade papers, you get a fuzzy edge that adds an interesting texture to your project. Just a small amount of metallic or mesh can add a significant level of texture and drama to a page.

Cut It Up

Trimming, cropping, and edging are all fancy words for cutting up things. Good scissors and a paper trimmer are a must. Shape cutters and punches make their respective tasks quicker and easier.

Scissors are a paper crafter's best friend. A good-quality pair of scissors with a nice sharp edge makes every paper task you do easier. Decorative scissors come in many different styles and can be used to add interest to the edges of greeting cards and other projects.

Paper trimmers are a must for cutting sheets of paper and for getting a straight edge when you crop or trim photos. A 12-inch trimmer enables you to cut any size of paper. You will find yourself pulling out your trimmer for almost all of your paper-craft projects.

Shape cutters and punches are used to cut paper and photos into a variety of shapes and designs. The most basic shape cutter can be used to cut circles and ovals of varying sizes. Punches come in every shape and size imaginable. Select some basic punches like circle, square, and tag shapes that you will use again and again.

Choose Adhesives

Holding papers together is the job of adhesives. There are many different types and styles of adhesive, each of which is best for a specific type of paper crafting. Choosing the right one makes all the difference in how your project turns out.


These versatile adhesive dispensers are the right choice for adhering paper and photos to cards, tags, journals, and scrapbook pages. Tape runners dispense clear sticky strips, white squares, or even little blue dots of adhesive.


These are specialty adhesives used for specific types of projects. Photo tape is perfect for making your own scrapbooks and tag albums. Sticky tape or tacky tape is great for adding embellishing stripes of glitter, sand, or beads. Double-sided foam adhesive attaches items to your projects while giving them a bit of lift for added dimension.


These super-sticky little dots come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses, and are exactly what you need to adhere dimensional items such as buttons, metal embellishments, and fabric and ribbon strips to your projects.


You will use liquid glue on projects such as collage and decoupage. Liquid glues and glue pens are also good for metal embellishments and tiny items like letter die-cuts. Use liquid glues sparingly to avoid spillover.


Adhesive machines are the fastest way to adhere die-cuts to your projects. Simply insert an item into the machine, turn the crank or pull the strip, and out the other side come stickers. If you decide to use die-cut letters, an adhesive machine is a must.

Other Supplies

Along with the basics of paper and cutting supplies, many paper craft projects require a few additional tools. Specialty tools for specific crafts will be discussed in later chapters, but these are some basic items that you may want to add to your supply case.


A basic black pen will be your best friend when it comes to lettering on scrapbook pages and greeting cards. To add some interest to your lettering, you may want to invest in a set of permanent pens in a variety of colors. Metallic pens work well on dark papers. Your computer is also an invaluable tool for lettering.


Rubber stamps and stamp pads combine to help you add lettering and designs to your projects. You can also use stamps to apply color directly to paper. To begin, select stamp designs or alphabets that are versatile and can be used on a variety of projects.


Adding color to your paper-crafting projects can be done with craft paints, chalks, and rub-on's. Paint can be used with brushes or rubber stamps, while chalks and rub-on's are most commonly used to highlight smaller areas.


Plastic templates can be used to create shapes and to guide you as you cut out paper letters. Brass stencils are used to make raised decorative surfaces on your projects-dry embossing. Both templates and stencils can be used in combination with paints, chalks, and rub-on's to add color in specific shapes.

Use a Color Wheel

In your first art class in elementary school, you probably learned about the color wheel. This simple device, which demonstrates the relationship of colors to one another, is especially useful to paper crafters. The samples of scrapbook pages on p. 12-13 demonstrate the relationship of colors in some basic combinations. These same rules also apply in card making and other paper crafts.

Monochromatic colors are varying shades of the same color, can complement most photos, and are easy to select.

Analogous colors are two colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.

Triadic colors are any three colors that are exactly one-third of the color wheel away from each other.

Complementary colors reside directly across from each other on the color wheel and can add extra "pop" to your design.

Color Scheme Examples


This scrapbook page layout uses varying shades of purple that accent the baby's bow. An advantage of monochromatic color schemes is that the colors tend to fade to the background, allowing the photos to be the main attraction.


The scrapbook page shown here uses blue and blue-green as an analogous color scheme.


In the scrapbook layout shown here, purple, green, and orange are used as a triadic color scheme. To give balance to the layout, one color (orange) is chosen as the dominant shade and the other two are used as accents.


The scrapbook page layout shown here uses a complementary color combination of blue and orange. Matching the shades of the colors when you combine them is an important part of all color schemes. Light blue and light orange are used on this layout.

Create a Mood with Color

Color can help tell the story of your layout. Bright, warm colors reflect a playful party. Cool, calm colors create a quiet, reflective mood. Everything from scrapbook pages to party invitations will have a different mood based on the color combinations used to create them. The scrapbook page shown here uses neon shades of primary colors to make an exciting beach-themed layout.

This scrapbook page shows the exact same photos with a cool, monochromatic color scheme. Notice how the color choices affect the feel and mood of the layout.


Excerpted from Paper Crafts VISUAL Quick Tips by Rebecca Ludens Jennifer Schmidt Copyright © 2008 by Rebecca Ludens. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.