Cardmaking, Die Cutting, EBE by Julie Ebersole, Essentials By Ellen, Uncategorized

4 Tips for Creating with Paper Scraps

Do you need help deciding what scraps to keep and when? Do you have an out of control scrap paper box-drawer-bag-tray-etc.? Our creative ambassador, Daniel West, is here with 4 tips for creating with scraps that will help you make more with less mess.

Hey there! Daniel West, here with some great advice on how to use scraps to make more with less mess. Number four is gonna hurt, but in a good way!

TIP #1 — Plan for Scraps

When you design your primary project, keep in mind how your die cutting, heat embossing and stamping will create leftovers. I like to cut up my full sheets of card stock into quarter panels. When I die cut a panel, I leave windows for shaker cards! When I heat emboss a sentiment, I make several on the same panel and die cut them or trim them down into strips immediately, tucking them behind the stamp set they came from for future use.

When I created the shaker card in this post, I knew I wanted to use the eggs for my bear to hold in a second card. So I staggered them in such a way as to create the window panel for my shaker. If I had just die cut the eggs, willy-nilly out of a random piece of card stock, I would have had to die cut them all twice.

Also, when I am going to stamp multiple images, I will die cut the image in a way to create a template for stamping. I will also tuck this template into the back of my storage pouch for future use.

TIP #2 — Make a Scraps Project Immediately!

Instead of tucking the scraps away into a drawer or pouch, make another card with them right away. You already have everything out on your workspace. Take advantage of this opportunity. You will avoid breaking a decluttering rule — avoid handling things more than once. You also won’t add to your scraps pile and you’ll be the proud owner of an extra card to give away.

TIP #3 — Keep Scraps organized

This leads me to organization of scraps. I keep my scraps in a few ways. The extra die cuts, stamped images and sentiments go back in the storage pockets with their stamps/dies. When I want to use that item again, I check for scraps before re-doing the work.

Since I plan my die cutting and sentiments, I don’t have a lot of extra small pieces of scraps to organize. If I happen to have a quarter panel of card stock leftover with a die cut hole, I store it back with its color family. Each color family has a space in an ink pad organizer that hold the panels.

If I have to use a half or whole sheet of card stock for die cutting, I will trim the left over into a quarter panel sized piece and store it.

And don’t forget to shop this stash often as you create!

TIP #4 — Don’t Keep Every Scrap

Scandalous, I know! But hear me out. So many feel super guilty about throwing scraps away. This actually comes from a scarcity mindset that can become toxic and limiting. Something I call organizational peace matters more to me than saving a scrap of paper and a few pennies.

The beauty and appeal of a clean and organized environment makes me happy. When I end up with small a piece of scrap paper, less than 1/2 of a quarter panel, I will chuck it to keep my peace. Set a limit on what you will keep. You know yourself and your space. My limit is basically a quarter panel and my die cuts, too.

For the shaker card, I die cut the egg shapes out using Essential Eggs, Essentials by Ellen Designer Dies, and a quarter panel of white cardstock and glued a panel of acetate to the back of it. Then, I adhered the bears from the Bear Ware Grand Tour and coordinating dies peeking in at different angles. I grabbed some Catherine Pooler Sequins and poured them over a card base of Hero Arts Antique Ivory cardstock. Then, I popped up the window panel with a double dose of foam tape and added a stored sentiment strip from the Positive Vibes, Essentials by Ellen Clear Stamps.

For the second project, I stamped some dots from the Elegant Eggs stamp set on the front of an Antique Ivory panel with Catherine Pooler’s Bellini Ink. Then, I deckled the edges with Tim Holtz’s Torn Edge Trimmer and popped everything up on the front of an A2-sized white card base.

I added foiled sentiment I already had created from the Way with Words, Essentials by Ellen Hot Foil Stamps. To finish it off, I add more sequins from the same mix as the shaker.

The cards are really very different setups, but they are tied together by common elements. You can see, I added very little color to the project, letting a splash of Bellini and some sequins do the work for me. I also love the bit of subtle contrast between the ivory and white cardstocks!

I hope you found these tips helpful and loved the cards, too! I had fun creating them for you. If you make a two-for project like this, I’d love for you to post it on the socials and tag me! You can find me on Instagram, here! Have a wonderful week.



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  • Reply Adriana April 8, 2023 at 5:51 am

    This is such great advice! “Organizational peace” – YES!! Thanks for the idea to die cut strategically (as a shaker) as I have never considered this. So, fun. Thank you, Daniel!

    • Reply Daniel West April 9, 2023 at 8:48 am

      So happy to help, Adriana!! Thanks for spending some time here!!

  • Reply mandalj April 12, 2023 at 3:50 pm

    Lovely cards – I love the minimalist colour scheme, and great tips!

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