Sow a New Tradition
Sharing your garden bounty can mean more than handing out juicy tomatoes. Why not also pass along homegrown vegetable seeds? Learn how to harvest them at seedsave.org—then package those future plans in our sweet little DIY envelopes. Simply download the free PDF (plus instructions), then print on earthy paper, fold, and give the gift of gardening for mere pennies. (Recycled paper, $10 for 100 sheets; jampaper.com)
“Stitch” up a colorful paper quilt—no sewing necessary! Inspired by a post on lindaandharriett.blogspot.com, this playful take on a folk-art staple offers a smart way to repurpose scraps of paper. (We used open stock: from 99 cents per 12-inch-square sheet; michaels.com for stores.) Select four different patterned papers; cut 20 two-inch squares from three of them and 21 two-inch squares from the fourth (the extra square will serve as the center of your quilt). Following our pattern template, adhere the squares to an 18-inch-square illustration board using a glue stick. Then, pop the quilt in a frame to show off your handiwork (similar 20-inch-square frame, $47.82; salinepictureframe.com).
This fun craft uses leftover wrapping paper to create decorative tape.
Instructions: Decorative Tape
Dart Fridge Magnets
Get right to the point with photorealistic magnets. The key to crafting these sharp fridge accessories? Adhesive magnet paper ($7.29 for 12″W x 24″L sheet; promagproducts.com). Simply download our PDF (containing these dart and pushpin photos), and print it out on computer paper. Next, pull the magnet sheet’s paper layer away to reveal the magnet‘s adhesive side, and place your printed images atop the adhesive. Smooth out any bubbles before cutting out each image with sharp scissors, working close to the images. Then, take aim at the fridge to see your handiwork hold tight.
Follow our steps to recycle shopping bags, vintage books, and more into eye-catching envelopes.
Instructions: Paper Envelope
Near a favorite reading chair, present a page-turning vignette. Paint a silhouette on a backdrop of book pages. Then cut vase shapes to give text three dimensions. Get the drections to make paper vases »
Postcards, matchbooks, and coins tell the stories of our travels, but back home these trinkets tend to get lost in a junk drawer. Instead, give vacation souvenirs—as well as snapshots—a more fitting home with this project adapted from Paper + Craft ($19.95; Chronicle).
Step 1: To source the geographical shape of your travel destination, type its name (Hawaii, Africa, Manhattan, etc.) and the word silhouette into Google. Print out a resulting image and use a copier to resize it to fit on the lid of a small white box
($.99 each, 4½”W x 6″L x 4½”H; containerstore.com for stores).
Step 2: Cut out the silhouette, then trace it onto the prettiest section of a colorful map of your destination.
Step 3: Next, cut the shape out of the map and use a glue stick to paste it onto the box’s lid.
Step 4: Finish by affixing a label on the lid and writing in the location and dates of your journey.
(Download the labels shown at left from chroniclebooks.com/papercraft).
Make Your Motto into Art
Reward a great quote (we cribbed from The Wizard of Oz) with the gallery treatment, courtesy of this project adapted from Meg Mateo Ilasco’s Crafting a Meaningful Home ($24.95; STC Craft).
Step 1: Lay a piece of poster board on a flat surface. Use letter stencils ($7.69 for a set; staples.com) to spell out the phrase of your choice on the board, experimenting until you find a placement you like. (Use a ruler and pencil to mark horizontal lines for guidance.)
Step 2: Spell out the phrase backward, then flip the stencils over (you’ll be turning the board over when you’re done, and the words will then read correctly). Trace the letters onto the board with a pencil.
Step 3: Carefully cut out the letters with an X-Acto knife, then use hem tape to affix a patterned piece of fabric to the poster board. Flip the poster board over to reveal the finished artwork, then frame.
Black Paper Flowers
Sewing Pattern Flowers
An elementary school craft takes on a sophisticated edge when fashioned from the tissue-thin paper of old sewing patterns.
Step 1: For each flower, cut six 7-inch squares from the pattern. Stack and fold them accordion-style six times, forming a one-by seven-inch rectangle. Snip off the corners of the rectangle with scissors.
Step 2: Tightly twist a wire floral stem around the center of the rectangle.
Step 3: Fan out the paper, then pull apart each layer, creating the blossom.
Lavender Heart Card
Festive Paper Hat Place Cards
Learn to fold these charming paper-hat place cards, then add colorful bands, rosettes, and toppers. Make a sparkling hat topper by coiling a metallic pipe cleaner around a pencil, then carefully inserting the pipe cleaner into the top of the hat. Print or hand-stamp a name banner and trim with pinking shears. Fold hats using newspaper or red, white, and blue crepe paper. Look for striped and dotted paper, too.
Instructions: Paper Hats