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Paper Crafting with Garden Catalogs and Magazines

By Amber Royer (dandylyon85October 2, 2013
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What gardener doesnít get excited when the first gardening catalog shows up in the mailbox in the spring? But most of us donít have the space to plant all the beautiful varieties pictured, and after we have made our choices, these colorful catalogs are discarded (or at best, recycled). The same goes for gardening magazines, once weíve read the articles and applied the advice we need. Why not turn these publications into eco-friendly paper art?

Gardening picture

You may find as you flip through your catalogs and magazines collecting images that you have more than you need for these projects.  Use your imagination to incorporate your garden love in design for gift tags, goodie bags, cupcake wrappers, scrapbook pages,  bookmarks, journal covers and more.  I hope you use these ideas as a jumping-off point and create your own art from seed catalogs and gardening magazines.

 Image

Lined Envelope - This is perhaps one of the simplest paper art projects, but it can produce elegant, stunning results.  You may have to limit the envelope size based on the size of the image you have found.  Alternately, you may create a montage of images to fit a larger envelope.  If you want a less formal look, you could flip this project inside out and use the image on the outside of the envelope. (see tiny envelope pic)

1 envelope (to use as a template)
1 Thick, creamy piece of paper (but not card stock)
1 Image (somewhat larger than the envelope)
Scrapbooking tape runner, or other adhesive

Carefully pull the envelope apart along its glue lines.  Place it face down on the sheet of paper and trace the outline of the envelope onto the paper.   Cut it out using a paper cutter or pair of scissors.  Fold the new envelope along the same lines as the one you used as a template.  Cut your image so that it lines up with the folded bottom of your envelope and measures ¼" smaller along the sides and angled top edge.  Run your tape runner along the outside edge of the back of the image and place inside the envelope.  Run a tape runner up against the edge of one half of the envelope's join, and overlap it to create your envelope.

 Image

Puffy Paper Flower - I use these in combination with gift tags to add a little something special when I give a garden-related gift (I like to stuff them with dried lavender flowers).  But you could use them to embellish a picture frame, or fill a bowl with them to use as a unique decoration.

1 page of text
Flower template (I use a cookie cutter)
Pink thread
Pillow filling OR shredded paper OR dried herbs
Large button OR Gold Microbeads
Glue (optional)

Fold the page of text in half.  Use the cookie cutter to draw the outline of the cookie cutter onto the paper.  Cut through the doubled thickness to create two identical flowers.   Make sure that the text on both sides is facing out and reading the direction you want, then whip stitch the two flowers together using the pink thread.  Leave one of the petals open for stuffing, and leave the thread attached to finish the job.   Gently push the filling into the flower, making sure to press some into each of the petals.  Do not overfill.  Create the flower's center by either sewing on the button (I like to sew through both outside pieces so that the middle pulls in, creating a sense of an extra dimension) or by creating a circle from the glue and pressing a layer of microbeads into it.

 Image

Layered Text Page Art - This project allows you to really get creative, and to recycle materials from more than one source.  This has a strong enough frome that you could attach a hanger to the back.  Depending on the elements you choose, this can have a vintage/elegant feel, or can be very rustic.   

1 empty cereal box
1 Page Text
Scrapbooking Paper (optional)
Scrapbooking tape runner
Wood glue
Images, embellishments, etc.

Measure and cut a 5"x7" rectangle from the cereal box.  Measure and cut a 4"x6" hole in the center of the rectangle to create a frame (leave the remaining rectangle intact.  Either leave the raw cardboard side turned up, or cover the frame with scrapbooking paper.  Cut the page of text from your catalog/magazine to fit inside the frame  and tape it in place.  Cut a second 5"x7" rectangle from the cereal box.  Raw cardboard side out, glue this piece to the back of the frame to add stability.  Make sure that you do not glue the paper, as this can cause wrinkles.  Layer the images and embellishments to create your desired art composition.  Try to choose one larger image as a focal point, and choose the other elements to complement it.

Tips for these projects:

I prefer using a scrapbooking "tape runner" when adhering paper to paper, as liquid adhesives can wrinkle a magazine-style page.    
If you want your art to last, spray the paper with an acid-free aresol, which neutralizes the acid in the paper, preventing it from yellowing or fading.  You can also find UV protectant sprays.

When cutting your images from magazines, you will get a much smoother line using a ruler and a craft knife.  Don't forget to put a piece of cardboard or cutting mat under the page to prevent slicing your table!


  About Amber Royer  
Amber RoyerAs a librarian turned freelancer, Amber likes to research the history and botany behind the modern garden. Her true plantly love is the herb garden. Follow her on Google.

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
All good ideas Cville_Gardener 4 16 Oct 16, 2013 5:21 PM
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