Paper is a fascinating artistic metamorphosist. This easily accessible material, that is most often used to write on or scribble doodles on, may be crafted to sometimes even create magnificent gallery-worthy paper art! Different craft techniques, whether it is cutting, folding, and pasting to stamping and embossing, can transform a simple paper into something truly astonishing. From delicate paper cutouts to expressive origami; from larger than life paper flowers to fantastical paper illustrations, the world of paper craft is indeed a wonderful warm world to explore!
What is paper crafting?
Any form of paper handicraft, where paper is the main medium, is called paper crafting. The options are limitless. Crafting paper most definitely starts with the right choice of paper. How does paper type matter? Well, a combination of thickness, texture, finish (matte or glossy), and weight can determine the way a paper holds its shape and its use. On one hand, lightweight paper (except maybe tissue paper) is best for folded cutwork. On the other hand, heavier paper is best for cutting in a continuous line.
Here’s a quick look at a few examples of how paper quality matters in different types of paper art:
- Card stock - A crafter’s favorite! When paper art needs some rigidity, this is the best type of paper to use; it comes in an assortment of colors, patterns, and textures. It is perfect for making
- 3D crafts like rolled flowers
- Bags and boxes
- Card making
- Business cards
- Crepe paper - Coated tissue paper with a crinkled surface; very lightweight and thin; has the ability to stretch, & bend. Ideal for
- Floral decor
- Party decor & streamers
- Gift wrapping
- Paper sculpture
- Tissue paper - A simpler form of crepe paper; ultra thin and fragile; It is popularly used to
- Line gift bags
- Create delicate florals
- Make pom poms/ tassels
- Paper Lanterns
- Collage making projects
- Origami paper - It is primarily used for origami craft projects; other paper craft making as well; one side of the paper is patterned, while the back is plain; medium weight, and can fold and hold shape really well. Great for
- Picture backing
- Box decorating
- Vellum paper - a very thin translucent paper with a slightly rough surface; despite its weight, it can be used for printing; adds visual interest to paper crafts, without overcomplicating design; Great for:
- Adding layered dimension
- Making pockets
- A liner in invitation cards
What are some popular paper crafts?
Let’s take a look at some popular paper art techniques and craft definitions:
- Scrapbooking - There can definitely not be a better way to immortalize one’s family’s beloved memories, than by preserving them in a uniquely personalized and creatively embellished book, filled with photos and memorabilia. That is exactly what scrapbooking is all about! It is not about creating the most beautiful layout. It is in fact, about creating a layout that you can relate to.
- Card Making - Card Making is all about creating a greeting card from scratch. The card may be personalized with various decorative elements and colors that hence make it unique from a store bought greeting card.
- DIY Home Decor - DIY home decor is very trending right now. Starting from DIY paper lamps, to flower curtains, to beautiful wall art, these simple yet eye pleasing elegant decors can go on forever.
- Stamping - Stamps are a perfect way to add unique artistic elements into paper crafts (like cards or scrapbook pages). They help to incorporate beautiful designs onto your projects. All you need to do is add ink to your stamps, then press the stamp onto paper, and watch the magic happen!
- Die cutting - The invention of a die cutting machine has made life incredibly easy. It eliminates the need to hand cut shapes. With the help of a die set and a die cutting machine, any desired shape can be cut!
- Layering - Layering, whether with paper, stamps, stencils or dies, adds texture and depth to all kinds of paper crafts, especially scrapbook layouts, cards, or wall decor. Altenew has an amazing collection of their very own layering stamps, stencils, and dies, that would definitely satisfy any paper crafter.
- Embossing - Embossing adds a unique flair to handmade cards or scrapbooking and journaling pages. It is a great way to add texture and is a technique that raises a three-dimensional image on paper. Essentially, there are two types of embossing in craft making. One type is with the use of 3D embossing folders. These folders produce three-dimensional shaped designs to enhance our projects, by simply running it through a die cutting machine. The second type of embossing is called heat embossing. This method is used with a stamped image (combined with a heat gun and embossing powder), and can create a beautiful, colorful raised pattern!
- Stenciling - Stencils are extremely versatile. They can be used in numerous unique and interesting ways to add texture, dimension, and creativity to any paper handicraft. A stencil is a tool for applying a pattern, design, word, etc. to a surface. It is generally made of plastic, and has cut areas, through which a coloring medium can be used to create the pattern.
- Journaling - Journaling is simply the concept of putting down your thoughts and feelings to help understand them more clearly. Then those written pages are decorated with photos, illustrations and embellishments. Bullet journaling is one of the most popular journaling styles these days.
- Origami - Origami is the traditional Japanese art of folding a sheet of paper to make figures and objects.
- Decoupage - Decoupage is the art of gluing paper, tissue, fabric, or other materials to another surface, such as glass, plastic, or wood.
- Paper Flowers - Paper flowers never wilt, and don’t need to be watered. Therefore they are perfect for home decorating. These blooms also make great handmade gifts, and many times are perfect for weddings as well! Paper flowers is the art of crafting flowers and floral embellishments from different textures and thicknesses of paper, especially crepe paper and tissue paper.
- Quilling - Quilling is the art of skillfully arranging small strips of paper into intricate multi-dimensional designs. Depending on the desired shape and appearance, it can be rolled, looped, twisted, and curled, before securing with glue.
How does paper crafting help?
There are so many different ways to use paper to create art. Even in this digital age of instant messages and emails, a handmade gift, or a handmade card holds a lot of sentiment and value. A variety of paper crafts also allow friends and family to socialize with others while crafting, as well as helps to document memorable moments. Paper art is indeed a unique way to express yourself, and nowadays with all the tools and advancement of technology, it has only become easier to get creative, whether by replicating, or making something original.