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Posted by on Apr 24, 2012 in Cardmaking 101, Stars and Stamps, Tutorial | 26 comments

Tutorial: Using scraps

Scrap Wrangler here to help you get that stash of useless scrappy bits of leftovers under control!

Now first, get paper and a pencil. Estimate the number of sheets of 12 x 12 patterned paper you have, multiply it by 6 (the number of cards you can get out of a sheet) – then divide that by how many cards you make in an average week… have enough to make cards for years to come without touchin’ your scraps. Eh?? Am Iright??? 

So WHAT is our obsession with scraps? 

I challenge you, in honor of earth day, to recycle scraps this week. Anything smaller than a card front, that’s my rule, pardner! I did this with some huge boxes of scraps sent my way….and I turned piles of random scrappy pieces into a huge table full of cards, and some tubs that are all organized. Things you’ll need to do what I did: a paper trimmer, a pizza box for donations, a big recycle bin, and a small sized box appropriate for card-sized papers.

SOLID scraps
  1. Separate out the white and cream from colors. The light ones are good for stamping and sentiments, colors are good for layering. 
  2. Do not keep ANYthing that’s diecut or punched out – cut it to a rectangle. Recycle those messy bits! 
  3. If it’s a color you know you won’t use since it matches nothing, put it in the pizza box for the school…not teensy pieces, just stuff big enough a school could use on a bulletin board.
  4. Cut all the papers into a variety of sizes. The longest we ever need to keep of any scrap is 5-1/2 inches, since in making A2 cards, that’s the biggest you would ever need. Cut them all straight, so when you get them out to use, it’s a quick stamp-and-go. A size range for sentiments could be
    1. 1 x 5-1/2 
    2. 1.5 x 5-1/2 
    3. 2 x 5-1/2
    4. 1 x 3
    5. 1-1/4 x 3
    6. 1-1/2 x 3
    7. 2 x 3, 3 x 4, 3 x 5 could be added or subsituted when trimming colors so you have bigger pieces to layer things. 
  5. Stamp sentiments and be ahead of the game when it comes to making cards!
  1. First, address your old stash. Tell it that you loved it when you bought it, but that it’s going on a wonderful trip. It was left behind the rest of that stack from 1998, and its day has finally come – a local school will LOVE it! You’ll be left with the rest of your decent paper – nice enough to stir up that mojo and inspire you to make fantastic cards.
  2. If you’re not sure if what you’ve got is what I refer to as “decent” paper, take a trip to your local scrapbooking store. Not the big box ones – they carry little except the flimsy paper. Look for companies like My Mind’s Eye, Basic Grey, Echo Park,  Lawn Fawn, and Graphic 45 – touch and smell their paper – mmmmm!!! 
  3. Get in the habit of only keeping card base size scraps, unless you commit to making a card with it within one week. If it sits in the pile longer than that, into the recycle bin it goes.  When you use a new sheet of 12 x 12, cut it into cardbase sizes – 6 cards from a sheet – and figure out what you’ll do with the leftover strip & cut it to the right size and put it away.
  4. For all the scraps already in your stash – pick out an idea that you can stand to make a lot of, print out that sketch, and cut the paper scrap bits down to the right size as you sort through your stash. Put them in baggies marked with the size, tape it to she sketch, and next time you’re mojoless, you can sit and assemble. 
  5. Do NOT be tempted to punch 1000 flowers or hearts! Agh! When you need flowers or hearts, just go pick the right small paper for the project….not sort through bags and bags of punched scraps. 
I’ve put together some ideas that work well for the small strips of paper: 
  • Strip sketches – three or four or five, all work well!
  • Dimensional ruffle – border punching strips can be done while watching tv….and assembled later with popdots under the leading edges.
  • The “smalls” – 3 x 4 rectangles offset 
  • Gift box cards – works for birthday, Christmas, or anytime!
  • And now the pinwheel of summer 2012: Kites – tutorial

Paper Piecing:


Dimensional Ruffle

“Smalls” – see sketch.


Gift boxes: Measurements provided in sketch. Recommended: Attach layers to card, then attach patterned rectangles on top.

Strip sketches: See image

Kite tutorial: see image
Using these sketches and more, I wrangled my scraps into a lot of cards in a short amount of time. And now that the scraps are organized, I’m more likely to actually USE them.  

Now if you can bring yourself to wrangle, purge, recycle, and donate, you’ll be freed from that guilt of all the hoarded paper scraps, our heroes will get awesome cards, and our earth will be happy – because all those scraps that you really never WILL use can now be recycled into …. MORE PAPER!
That’s all from the scrap wrangler……link up your scrap solutions below!


  1. Ah, many, many thanks for this! I can see it will help me SO much to make loads of cards with my scraps and properly handle my too-small ones!!
    PS As I read this to myself, I did so in a somewhat western accent!! 😉

  2. This is one of the BEST posts/vlogs EVER!!!! I have always wondered exactly how to wrangle that pile of scraps…the most I've done is just organize them into solid colors, but this is BRILLIANT. I've put the salient points with the pictures I needed into a Word document that will be in my craft room at all times and referred to OFTEN! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

  3. What an awesome blog entry!! Thank you so much.

  4. What a great tutorial and like Nancy M — I too read it with a western flair — LOL And now — Yippee-Ki-Yay get along little doggies and get organizing.


  5. Ah fully 'gree with ev'rybody 'bout this 'ere post! It's fantabulous! Allison has a great idear….maybe we ken git her ta share that word doc..duc..dacument thingy!

  6. Thank you SO much for this vlog and tutorial! It was a hum-dinger! I've been wanting to tackle my scrap piles and containers, but didn't know where to start and what to do! Now I have a plan to "wrangle" those scraps and turn them into cards! I book marked this page and can't wait to get started! YAHOO!

  7. Thanks very much for the great tutorial. Great ideas for dealing with scraps.


  8. Sandy, thank you! I will be using these ideas.

  9. I love using scraps and these are some great ideas and sketch suggestions! I use lots of cardstock scraps for layers and paper piecing. The starburst and pinwheel cards linked from this post were a real hit last year! Thanks so much!

  10. Great idea to have so much cut ahead of time!!! Now do you have any suggestions on how I get an extra day/week/month/year to do all that? 🙂

    Seriously, the same way I've been making a few Christmas cards every week to save myself from a mad holiday crunch, I now vow to do some sorting and pre-preparing every week. As Fly Lady says. . . Baby Steps!

  11. Howdy Sandy,
    Thanks for the great ideas and for making me laugh. Love the accent.
    Happy Trails to You!

  12. Thanks for sharing all these great ideas… will be a big help to everyone!

  13. Thanks so much for such an informative blog! This is so helpful!

  14. WOW – thanks so much for this – i think i can now wrangle my scraps – gonna try anyway – love the sketches and card samples – this will help stir creativity a LOT!!!

  15. You are so funny! This is full great ideas. I will wrestling my my scraps for sure:)

  16. This is very, very helpful. I'll bet your cutter is plum worn out when you're done being a cut up with your papers. A lot of work but sounds like it works out real nice in the end. And thank you for the paper-piecing ideas for cards too – looking forward to the new kite link too. I so appreciate all the hard work you all put into helping us all make incredible cards. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  17. I can't believe I am sitting here shooting 13 minutes watching this AGAIN. But it his hilarious! How are you not cracking up as you do this??

  18. Dear Wrangler….THAT is the MOST awesomest video!!….and info!!…I have a couple of hours before work to start bustin'….will try a linkydo when I get something made!

  19. Yee Haw! That was one awesome tutorial and video partner. I can now shed my scrap guilt and do somethin useful with um. Can't wait to make a kite. Thank Ya and happy trails.

  20. Best durned too-torrey ever, I reckon a owe Sandy a gallon of molasses fer sure. 🙂

  21. Mighty fine tutorial, Sandy, one of your best!! Between the video and everyone's comments, I am still laughing! I've been feeling scrap burnout but not able to let this comes at a good time! You make a gosh-darn good wrangler; I hope there's a sequel!!

  22. this is fantastic! I am inspired to head upstairs as soon as I have a minute and get some of these kits together for when I don't have a long span of crafty time 🙂 Thank you!!!

  23. Okay, this may be the silliest question ever, but I have problems getting the scraps to be straight. Obviously, they weren’t cut straight to begin with, but I just can’t get them to square up when I’m trimming. Any ideas????

    • If I had anything that came out crooked, that was my excuse to toss it. Shhhh! 🙂

  24. I don’t know how I missed this back in April, but I sure am glad I found it today! You alwqys have what I need for inspiration, ideas, tips, and more. Thank you so much, Sandy, for all you do! Still having a teensy bit of trouble tossing those smaller than card sized but not by much pieces into the recyling box. I think I will try your idea of setting a deadline to use them up, and then they’ll go. But I already see a huge difference.

  25. Sandy, you’re a hoot. I was LOL listening to you. Great information. Gonna tackle my scraps this weekend…..thanks to you partner.


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