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Using Paper Scraps: Patchwork

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As card makers, we work on smaller canvases and most paper comes in large sheets. I always find that I have plenty of scraps lying around that I can't just part ways with so they land in my paper-scraps pile. I am always looking for ways to utilize these leftover bits so they don't continue to accumulate.

One use of scraps would be to piece them together in a patchwork design. Mixing and matching papers in this type of look is much like a quilter choosing fabrics. Start by picking a piece of paper that has a lot of colors in the design; this "focus paper" is your starting point. Next, select papers that match and coordinate with each of the different colors in the focus-paper design. Choose some papers that have a larger-scale design, and others that have smaller scale. Choose a few that are more solid color and a few that have a white or cream background. If you can't find a patterned paper in your scraps that will help fill out your choices, grab some of your cardstock scraps.

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Next, add some texture or interest to a few of the scraps. Cardstock scraps present themselves perfectly for this technique. Run a few strips through embossing folders to add a quiet design to them. You could also emboss a patterned paper that has a more solid design. If the design is too busy, you won't be able to see the embossing as clearly.

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Finally, assemble your patchwork. You could do this in many different ways. One way is to cut or punch same-size squares and adhere them to a cardstock base to make a full background design. You could angle the squares or lay them out in straight rows. You could even mix in a few rectangles the size of two squares together into your design for something a little different. Finally, create a shape that is patchwork by taking one more step and running the cardstock base through a die-cutting machine. You can use both the positive and the negative pieces for different cards.

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Warm up your fall cards by pulling out your scraps. Mix and match to create different paper combos and try creating a few patchwork design cards. Be careful -- you may want to start trying to quilt after you find out how fun it is to play with this style.