Follow Me...

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to subscribe!

Monday, January 28, 2013

From Scraps to Cards

Scraps are one of those things that can overwhelm a lot of people. You don't want to toss a perfectly good sheet of paper, but overtime they become unruly. Every few months I try to create projects that will help me tame these piles and reduce the clutter in my scrapbooking room.I get asked all the time to share my scrap workflow. Today I would like to try and explain it.

On my desk there is a container with a lid, a recycled nut jar. When I finish with a project, the remnant flowers, ribbon, unused embellishments, stickers and bling go into the jar. Then on my cutting station, I have a small file box, where all the scraps of paper get tucked away.   When the containers overflow - it is time to start working.

Here is my typical work flow
  • I always go to these piles first for projects.  If I need to die cut something - I look for a paper in the scrap pile before I grab a fresh sheet.  Part of my self challenge with every project I create is incorporate something old - it can come from this pile!
  • Collage work - I look at these two buckets to see if there is something that I can either use, or die cut to make my project more interesting.  
  • The day of sorting....When the pile is just unmanageable.   I sort the scrapbook paper as follows: 
    • Solids in one pile, patterns in another, then by size and colors.  
    • I start with my largest pieces first and ask "are there any large pieces that would make great cards, or could they be trimmed to 5.5 x 4.25 for card backgrounds?" I always do these large sheets first.  The scraps from these trimmings go back to the pile.
    • Sort the remaining papers by theme or color.  This gives me an idea of what matches in the pile.
    • Evaluate the patterened papers and see there are elementss that could be cut for layers.
    • Die cut shapes for future use - like tags, doilies, letters, flowers, butterflies, birds, labels etc....

Once everything has been organized, folded, punched or died (this could take the better part of an afternoon depending on the pile),  I begin organizing them.   I use Ziploc baggies (all sizes from small jewelry to quart sized bags.  I put all the same shapes into their own bags organized by color.
I have invested in a few other containers to help me manage these die cuts.

Both of these containers are made by IRIS and can be found at your local craft box stores.  I use my coupons on these as they can be pricey.  The container on the left is  "Card" organizer, and it has dividers so I use it to store my pieces that I made into cards and pieces that are trimmed for card backgrounds, also I have some of my larger dies that won't fit in the container on the right.  The container on the right is called a double photo organizer.  I have 4 of these AND LOVE THEM!   It is a box that has 12 - 4x6 smaller boxes that lock on the inside.   The smaller die shapes get placed in a compartment and then the tops are labeled. I LOVE THIS SYSTEM so much that I have one for Metal, buttons, flat back pearls, brads, etc., one for organizing small scraps of colored paper, one for dies, and one for small flat dies like MFT, PTI, and Spellbinders.
The next day I sit down and start making cards.  Because all the labor has been done the day before, my card making time is productive.   I don't put sentimenets on these cards (YET), many of them can be all occassion. I wait until I'm ready to use it unless the card theme clearly defines the purpose.
Here is a video where I share 10 cards that were created in an afternoon. 

People are always amazed that I create as often as I do and have NO scraps.   The funny thing is - I never throw anything away including packaging.  This may seem like a lot of effort, but trust me the time spent is an investment. I look at these cards as "found money".  When I'm in a hurry to go to a birthday party - the card is made and waiting to be used - I'm not at the local drugstore spending $4 on a card. 
How do you use your scraps? 
Thanks for stopping in today,


  1. Boy, your video is so timely. I'm cleaning up my space and have tons of left-overs that I wanted to use for cards. I also have a box for paper scraps that includes a file folder for each basic color and once I finish a project, I file as part of the clean-up. I use this box so much but my problem is having lots of bits and pieces that "go" together and don't want to separate them. Having a card making storage system is the answer as well as setting a monthly day to use up the scraps! Thanks so much for your video.

    1. I think that's why I do it once a month because then all the scraps match (they usually come from the same collections. Glad I could inspire you. And hey - cards make a great gift set too. You can never have too many of them!


I love seeing things you create using my tutorials or project shares. Please use the following handles/tags in social media to insure that I get to see your creations:

INSTAGRAM: #FollowingTonyaGibbs    |   TWITTER:  @gibbst    #FollowingTonyaGibbs   |      FACEBOOK:Tag  Tonya Gibbs   #FollowingTonyaGibbs

I Design for:

Guest Artist: Click icon to see post!

Past Teams     marion