A Little Paper

by Rebecca Underwood

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During the last few years, scrapbooking has become an expensive hobby for many. But for the thrifty, frequent sales mean a vast array of beautiful paper can now be had for just a few cents per sheet. With a little creativity and a few dollar store or flea market frames, these papers can be turned into beautiful and unique home decor. Use papers to create the work of art; an exacto knife and a ruler will also turn them into cheap mats. Either way, you'll be proud of how beautifully and inexpensively you've decorated your home. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Wording - Poems and quotes have been used as artwork for a long time. Type on a computer in a pretty font and size to fit the frame. Print on the best quality printer that you can find or borrow. Test on scrap white paper, then use the good stuff. Don't be afraid to print on a faintly patterned background; the results will look rich.

    You don't have to be limited to poems and quotes. When I was stumped for artwork to match the Italian floral linens in our bedroom, I finally printed the Italian words for "love", "hope", "joy", "passion", "laughter", and "faith" in a beautiful script on a Venetian leaf-patterned paper. The results looked professional and cost just pennies. Other options might be a family tree for the living room, an heirloom recipe for the kitchen, or song lyrics for a child's bedroom.
  2. Paper Collage - Pick a few sheets of paper with rich colors and a variety of patterns. Cut or tear and assemble to form collages. If you lack artistic talent as I do, go abstract. If you prefer, pull together a landscape or other scene. You can easily make your collages 3-dimensional by gluing hidden bits of foam sheet between paper and background.

    If you don't trust yourself to cut or tear, check with your local school or regional education center. You can often get permission to use their letter/shape presses if you let them know you'll be bringing your own paper. These "Ellison" presses stamp out die-cut shapes for you. There are tons of shapes available, many of which will form the basis of beautiful collages.
  3. Found Objects - Scrapbook papers make wonderful backgrounds for all sorts of objects. Dried flowers/leaves can be mounted quickly and easily on paper, matted, and then framed. An antique doily or handkerchief can be displayed just as well.

    Even a collection of small items can be mounted on patterned cardstock and displayed in a shadowbox frame. Fishing lures are fun in an outdoorsy room. Old-fashioned sewing items, unique buttons, and tiny Christmas ornaments are just a few more options. To make the collection look truly professional, type labels for each item and print out on a contrasting paper. Cut out carefully and mount.

The possibilities are truly endless. Just use your imagination...and a little bit of paper!

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