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Posted by on Apr 30, 2013 in Stars and Stamps, Tutorial | 16 comments

Tutorial: Scrappy Backgrounds Reprise!

Hi everyone! I asked Nancy if I could repost this tutorial sometime…it’s gotten so many views in the last year – and apparently it’s still being linked-to and talked about all over the web! I’m adding an InLinkz, so we can all see what YOU all do with it!

If you ever see our tutorials reposted and getting lots of traffic, let Nancy know – we have lots that are worthy of sharing again since new folks may have missed them. Happy cardmaking! -Sandy


Tutorial by Cara at Crafting Adventures

One of the things I love to do with scraps is to create backgrounds that I can use with my larger images or sentiments. These scrappy backgrounds are great for that purpose!

Scrappy Background Card

Here’s what you need: Strips of paper. While I’ve done some with varying widths, like the one above, I generally prefer to work with 1/4″ strips. Tape runner. No glue dots, no glue stick, no liquid glue. My personal preference is my Scotch ATG. 4″x5.25″ card stock. I prefer to work in this size so that when I make a 4.25″x5.5″ card, the front is matted. Dry embossing tool and folders. I use a Cuttlebug and embossing folders from a variety of companies. Paper trimmer Scissors   Now, let’s get to it!   1. Sort your scraps and cut your strips of paper to 1/4″. What I like to do is actually cut narrow pieces to this size as I craft. I then put them in envelope as I go and every couple of months I dump out the envelope and make a stack of these backgrounds.   The best tool to do this with is a small paper trimmer. Large paper trimmers can make it hard to see 1/4″ and it is too difficult to maintain consistent widths and straight edges with scissors.

Sort Your Scraps
Use a small paper trimmer.

2. Now that you have a nice pile of 1/4″ strips, take your 4″x5.25″ cardstock and run your tape runner. I like to run it along the edges and then make a asterix (*) pattern across it.


I’ve drawn lines on here to show you the adhesive pattern since it is hard to really show that in the picture. It is important that you get the adhesive all the way into each corner. If you don’t your corner pieces will fall off.   Here’s why you need to use a tape runner for this project. If you use glue stick or liquid glue, the amount of glue you need would wrinkle your paper. If you use glue dots, you won’t get a good overall adhesion and may have some uneven textures when you dry emboss this.   3. Lay down your first strip. I lay this piece in one direction and the majority of the other pieces will butt up against it. Once I put this first piece down I run a row of adhesive directly below it so that the ones butting up to it are very secure on the paper.

First Strip

4. Now start placing the rest of your pieces. When you get to the corners be sure there is good adhesion there.

First few strips

5. You can either trim your strips that hang over the edge as you go or wait until you are done. I generally trim mine when I’m about half way done and then at the end. Trim away everything hanging over the edge of the piece of card stock. You can do this with scissors or a paper trimmer.

6. Admire your work! At this point I make a bunch of these backgrounds so I have them ready to go when I’m making cards.

One Scrappy Background!
Whole stack! This will last me a few months.

7. When I incorporate these into my cards I like to dry emboss them. I do this at that point so I can choose an embossing folder that goes with the card I am creating. I really like to dry emboss these background pieces for two reasons: first I love adding texture whenever I can and second it is another layer of security. The embossing helps hold all the little strips securely to the backing.

Going to be embossed. The “swiss dots” pattern is my favorite.
All done and ready for a card!

8. Incorporate this into your card. 

And if you haven’t seen the Scrap Wrangler video – this might help you get those scraps under control, too!

Beautiful work! Be sure to comment here and leave Cara some love for sharing this tutorial with us. Then go out and use your wrangled scraps to make a scrappy background! Share your work here! 


  1. Thank you for sharing. I have wanted to see what is done with scraps and I will now keep mine. I cut 12 x 12 paper into 4 x 5 1/2 inch squares and I always have a one inch strip leftover – no more.

  2. Love making this card, never know the outcome and it helps get rid of those scraps laying around.
    Thank You Sandy for bringing it back.

  3. great idea for scraps …thanks so much for showing this again as i missed it the first time ….

  4. I love doing this background, also, with my scraps. It is called the Herringbone Technique.

  5. This is a great idea! Somewhere in my mind was the thought that I should only use patterened paper- yours are so pretty I am going to try it. I hope my scraps are long enough!

  6. Great idea. I love this technique.

  7. this is something I can do…and will do, thanks for the tutorial

  8. This is so much easier than the way I was doing it. Kudos Cara…I needed this to simplify my life.

  9. Cara, I LOVED this idea the first time I saw it and I love it even more now. I just bought so many pretty summer beach colors, I’ll be using it a lot more. THANKS so much for coming up with it, and thanks to Nancy and Sandy for getting it to the rest of us!

  10. I’ll be trying this soon– looks like fun! ( And I love the added step of security with dry embossing– such a good idea!!)

  11. I love the style. Great color also.

  12. Great tutorial. I had a class tonight using scraps. I’ll keep this one in mind for next month. Very interesting design. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Oh, this just causes much enthusiasm in my crafty brain. I know what my Blog’s card of the day will feature. 🙂

  14. This is a beautiful technique and very Artsy. I Love it and it gives a purpose to all those little scraps. Thanks for sharing. I plan to use this idea as soon as possible!

  15. If you run a pre-cut front side of card(4 1/4 X 5 1/2 through a XYRON machine with permanent adhesive you have a completely sticky background and don’t have to be concerned about adhesive running strips. You can also make the strips in different widths and directions to come up with unique backgrounds using scraps. Have done this for years and have produced many seasonal effects, too by choosing certain colors. For OWH, for instance, you can use red, white and blue strips. XMAS looks great with light blue and white, or red, green and gold or silver, etc.

  16. Sandy, you simply amaze me. You are so entertaining while being educational at the same time. I just look so forward to you VLOGS and tutorials. Great work!

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