Decorating with Papercraft: 25 Fresh and Eco-Friendly Projects for the Home

Decorating with Papercraft: 25 Fresh and Eco-Friendly Projects for the Home

by Clare Youngs

Paper's not just for note cards or scrapbooking anymore! Decorate your home with the 25 fun and fabulous eco-friendly papercraft projects featured in this inspiring new collection. You can conjure up tea light lanterns, vintage flower lampshades, decorative bowls, picture frames, stacking photo cubes, even a decoupaged dresser...all from paper, both new and

…  See more details below


Paper's not just for note cards or scrapbooking anymore! Decorate your home with the 25 fun and fabulous eco-friendly papercraft projects featured in this inspiring new collection. You can conjure up tea light lanterns, vintage flower lampshades, decorative bowls, picture frames, stacking photo cubes, even a decoupaged dresser...all from paper, both new and recycled. Easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions and beautiful photography guide you through the process of making these chic, one-of-a kind designs. There are patterns for all skill levels as well as pages of templates conveniently included in the back of the book for reference. For anyone who has ever wondered how to turn a stack of old magazines into inspired decor, this book is just the answer.

Product Details

Taunton Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

decorating with papercraft

25 Fresh and Eco-Friendly Projects for the Home
By Clare Youngs

The Taunton Press

Copyright © 2009 Clare Youngs
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-60085-301-2

Chapter One

tools and materials

To make the projects in this book, you will need certain essential items of equipment, available from craft and hardware stores or artists' suppliers. A huge range of paper and cardstock of different types and weights can be found at similar outlets. You can also be creative with recycled material.


Papercraft does not require you to buy a lot of expensive equipment. All the tools you will need to make the projects are listed in the sidebar on the opposite page. In addition, there are a few other tools that are useful but not essential. A bone folder is a spatula-type implement that you press along a fold to make it sharp. A soft brush is handy to use to sweep off erasings left after removing pencil marks. Ordinary clothes pins are also useful as clamps to keep glued items in place while they are drying.

Hole punches

For a number of the projects, you will need a hole punch. These come in a variety of types and you can buy them from craft stores. A hammer punch is a metal tube with interchangeable heads. To punch a hole, you position the head and tap the base of the tube with a hammer. This type of punch enables you to place holes very precisely, which is useful when making a pattern of holes, for example for the White Cardstock Candle Shades (see page 114).

There is also a rotary type of punch, which has punch heads on a wheel. You position the head, then squeeze the arms of the punch together (as you would a pair of pliers) to punch out the hole. Both the hammer and the rotary type of punch are quite cheap, but you can also buy more elaborate punches with many interchangeable heads, which allow you to press down with the palm of your hand to cut the hole. These tend to be expensive, but do have multiple uses.

A hammer punch with interchangeable heads in three different sizes (such as 1/16 in., 1/8 in., and 1/4 in.) will work well for the full range of projects featured in this book.


The projects in this book use different weights of paper and cardstock. Paper and cardstock is measured in gsm (grams per square meter), and the higher the gsm, the thicker the paper. For a project that requires a thick paper, such as cartridge paper, look for a weight of about 120 gsm. For thin cardstock, choose a weight of about 160 gsm. For thick cardstock, choose a weight of about 200+ gsm.

The range of paper types is vast. Paper manufacturers all over the world are continually coming up with exciting new varieties, which are readily available to buy. Choose from the textural, handmade papers of India, China, Mexico, and Egypt or the elegantly decorated, marbled and patterned paper of Italy and France. Japanese washi papers come in an array of rich colors and the chiyogami papers are exquisitely patterned. You can buy paper that is flocked, embellished with real flower petals, translucent, embroidered, or metallic.

As you explore the possibilities of papercraft, you can experiment with using different types of bought and recycled paper to complement and enhance your designs and make something really unique. Once you get hooked on papercraft, the opportunities to create exciting pieces are endless.


The projects require various types of glue. Some use two different glues plus an adhesive tape. This is the range of adhesives used in the projects:

Glue stick made of clear glue. This goes on smoothly and never seems to clog up.

White school glue. Drying to become clear and flexible, this white glue is very useful.

Strong, quick-drying, clear glue. A tube of this is essential. It is often necessary for the glue to dry quickly, before you can move on to the next step of the project.

Spray glue (or spray-mount glue). This is used in some projects. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for use carefully and always wear a mask. If possible, use spray glue outside. If you have to use it inside, lay down lots of newspaper and make sure you have proper ventilation.

Adhesive tape. Double-sided tape and masking tape are both used frequently; cellophane tape occasionally.

Essential tools

Scissors (1 large pair and 1 small pair for fine cutting) Craft knife Cutting mat Hole punch that can punch three sizes of holes Hammer (if using hammer punch) Ruler Set square Table knife for scoring Pencils: No. 3 (hard) and No. 2 (softer) Sharpener Eraser Stapler

Chapter Two

papercraft techniques

One of the joys of papercraft is that it does not require the use of complicated techniques. However, you will need to use templates (sometimes enlarging them to the desired size) and to cut, score, and fold accurately. A few tips are given below.

Enlarging templates

Some of the templates printed on pages 118-126 need to be enlarged using a photocopier. If that is the case, the required percentage enlargement is given. If you don't have access to a photocopier, you can enlarge templates by hand. First, trace the template onto graph paper using the tracing technique described below. Then, on a larger, blank piece of paper, draw up a grid that contains the same number of squares but has been enlarged by the appropriate percentage. You can then scale up the template by hand, copying the lines in each square of the graph paper into the corresponding square of the enlarged grid.

For the larger size of Airplane Mobile (see page 72), the templates need to be enlarged in segments, as does the template for the Monochrome Photo Cubes (see page 76). Instructions are given in the projects for how to do this.


Many of the projects require you to transfer a template (see pages 118-126) onto your chosen cardstock or paper. To do this, fix tracing paper over the template with masking tape. Trace the lines with a hard (No. 3) pencil. Release the tracing paper, turn it over and, using a softer (No. 2) pencil, go over the lines. Now turn the tracing paper over again, and secure in position on the cardstock or paper with masking tape. Go over the lines once more with a hard pencil (using a hard pencil at this point gives an accurate line). Remove the tracing paper. You will now be able to see the lines of the template on the cardstock.

When a template is large, with lots of corners and straight lines, it is easier to prick through the tracing paper with a pin at all the meeting corners, then remove the tracing paper and join up the pin marks using a sharp pencil and ruler.


When using scissors, always keep the paper moving, not the scissors, to give you more control.

Sometimes, it is easier to cut with a craft knife. Check that the blade is sharp and always put a cutting mat underneath the cardstock. When cutting straight lines, use a metal ruler and make sure the blade is in contact with the ruler at all times. Cut toward you, applying equal pressure along the length of the cut.

When cutting cardboard, it is often impossible to cut through it with one pass with the knife. Apply light pressure for the first cut, and then repeat until you have cut right through the thickness.


Scoring is an important part of papercraft. Usually, it is best to draw a line with a sharpened hard pencil. Line up a metal ruler with the line, and using the blunt side of a table knife, score down the line, keeping the blade in contact with the ruler.

For the Corrugated Cardboard Letter Rack (see page 80), a different type of scoring is required. Here you apply gentle pressure with the sharp side of a craft knife to break the surface of the cardstock, without cutting through it.


Fold away from you, lining up the edges of the cardstock carefully. Press down to create a crease with the palm of your hand. For an extra-sharp line, use a bone folder to press along the fold. Sometimes it may be necessary to make an incision along the fold line, which breaks the surface of the cardstock (see Scoring, above).

Chapter Three

flowers and frills

party garland 14 flower lampshade 18 asian flying fish 22 tealight lanterns 26 silvery waterfall decoration 30 hanging birds 34 ring holder 38 holiday decorations 42 festive piñata 46

party garland

This garland, fashioned from brightly colored tissues and scraps of contrasting paper, makes for a really festive atmosphere. It can be made to any length you desire. So, if you are having a party, hang it across the room; if you are having friends over for dinner, string it across a table.

tools and materials

Tissue paper, 15 in. x 20 in. per tassel Pencils (No. 3 and No. 2) Ruler Scissors Craft knife Cutting mat Plain colored paper, 1 in. x 11/2 in. per tassel binding Strong, quick-drying glue Template on page 118 Tracing paper Masking tape Patterned paper, 11/2 in. x 7 in. per decorative strip String measuring length of finished garland

1 To make the first tassel, fold the tissue paper in half lengthwise, then in half again and then in half again. Fold the piece in half widthwise.

2 Working toward the fold, cut six strips each about 3/8 in. wide. Cut along the outer edges too, to avoid double-width strips. Stop about 11/2 in. from the central fold.

3 Open out the piece again widthwise, then fold in half lengthwise and then in half again, so that you are left with a thin central strip with a cut fringe on either side.

4 Fold the piece in half to form a tassel. Cut out a binding strip measuring 1 in. x 11/2 in. Bind the tassel piece by folding it along the central fold line and wrapping the binding around the tassel about 1/2 in. from the top. Secure with a dab of glue.

5 Fan out the ends of the tassel. Repeat the process to make as many tassels as desired.

6 Make the decorative strips. Trace the template on page 118 and transfer to the patterned paper (see page 11). Cut out as many as needed using scissors or a craft knife and cutting mat.

7 Put the garland together. Thread the tassels onto the string, alternating with the decorative strips. To attach the decorative strips, fold each strip over the string and glue the ends together.

flower lampshade

Find a lampshade you have grown tired of then customize it to create this individual and striking project. You can use up small pieces of wrapping paper and leftover scraps from other projects. The flowers are simple to make, and on another occasion you could make them to use as decorations for wrapped gifts.

tools and materials

Spray glue Patterned paper, 3 in. x 8 in. per flower Thin white cardstock, 3 in. x 8 in. per flower Templates on page 119 Tracing paper Masking tape Pencils (No. 3 and No. 2) Scissors Craft knife Ruler Cutting mat Lampshade

1 Spray-glue the patterned paper for each flower to a piece of thin white cardstock.

2 Trace the three petal templates and the flower centerpiece template on page 119 and transfer them to the patterned paper (see page 11). Cut two of each petal and one centerpiece for each flower. Cut out the slots in the petals.

3 Take the centerpiece and cut a fringe where shown on the template. Fold the piece in half with the pattern facing inward.

4 Push the petals onto the centerpiece one at a time. Make sure that you do it in order: use a differently angled slot each time so that the petals spread out around the centerpiece.

5 Fan out the fringe on the centerpiece. Bend each petal up toward the centerpiece to form the flower shape.

6 Using the craft knife, make small slits all over the lampshade, about 21/4 in. apart, to hold the flowers. Slip the stem of each centerpiece through a slit. The thickness of the stem will hold it in position. Continue adding flowers until the shade is covered. When hanging the shade, use a bulb with a maximum of 60W.

asian flying fish

Ornamental wind socks have a long history in China and Japan, where they are considered a symbol of good luck. In Japan, they are called koinobori and are flown every year on Children's Day. The wind socks make original party decorations, especially during summer, when they look wonderful hanging from the branches of trees.

tools and materials

1 sheet white tissue paper, 30 in. x 20 in. Pencils (No. 3 and No. 2) Scissors Ruler Craft knife Cutting mat White cardstock, length as for fish's mouth x 1/2 in. Glue stick Double-sided tape Templates on page 119 Tracing paper Masking tape Tissue paper in different colors Thin gold paper Hole punch String

1 Fold the white tissue paper in half. Following the illustration, draw a fish shape freehand on the tissue paper. Cut out the shape.

2 Open out the tissue paper. Measure the head end and cut a piece of cardstock to this length, making it 1/2 in. wide. Using a glue stick, glue the cardstock along the tissue to form the inside of the fish's mouth.

3 Curve the cardstock strip around into a circle, overlap the ends by a small amount and secure with double-sided tape.

4 Spread glue along one long side of the fish, tapering the glue to a point at the cardstock strip, and stick the two sides of the fish together.

5 Trace the templates for the eye and scales (see page 119), transfer the outlines to the colored tissue paper and gold paper (see page 11) and cut them out.

6 Use a glue stick to attach the decorative shapes to both sides of the fish.

7 Punch a small hole on either side of the fish's mouth, through the cardstock. Attach string for hanging the fish.

tea light lanterns

For this project, pretty, translucent paper is used to make paper shades. These fit over a glass containing a tealight. Craft stores, especially those that sell paper for scrapbooking, will have a good selection of papers. When the tealight is lit, the simple paper shade transforms the candle into a glowing jewel-like decoration.

tools and materials

Pencil (No. 2) Ruler Craft knife Cutting mat Tissue paper, 2 in. x 10 in. per tealight lantern Translucent paper, 31/2 in. x 10 in. per tealight lantern Thin gold paper, 1/2 in. x 10 in. per tealight lantern Sewing machine and pretty thread or glue stick Double-sided tape Glass tealight holders, about 3 in. tall x 23/4 in. diameter

1 Cut a strip of tissue paper 2 in. x 10 in., a strip of translucent paper 31/2 in. x 10 in., and a strip of thin gold paper 1/2 in. x 10 in.

2 Fold the tissue paper in half lengthwise and place it 1/2 in. from the top of the translucent paper. Put the gold paper on top, in the center of the tissue paper.

3 Sew through the layers of tissue, gold strip, and translucent paper. Alternatively, you can adhere the papers with glue. If you are making a few tealights, you could vary the width of the tissue paper and gold paper.

4 Attach double-sided tape to one of the shorter sides of the rectangle of translucent paper. Draw the other side around and stick the edges together to form a cylinder that will fit around the tealight holder.

silvery waterfall decoration

It is hard to believe that this waterfall decoration is made out of white cardstock and freezer bag ties. The silver leaf transforms the everyday materials into something very special and the decoration glimmers as the light catches it. Hang it near a window where it can sparkle in the sunlight.

tools and materials

Thick white cardstock, 35 in. x 25 in. Pencil (No. 3) Ruler Craft knife Cutting mat Stapler and staples 9 sheets silver leaf, 51/2 in. x 51/2 in. 4 sheets thin white cardstock, letter size Size or spray glue Tracing paper Hole punch Freezer bag ties (we used white) or very thin wire Scissors or pliers Double-sided tape String or strong thread

1 Start by making the base for the decoration. Cut six strips of thick white cardstock: four measuring 7 in. long, one measuring 25 in. long, and one 161/2 in. long. Each strip should be 3/4 in. wide.

2 Bend the 161/2-in. strip into a small ring. Overlap the ends by about 1/2 in. and staple together. Repeat this with the 25-in. strip to form a larger ring.

3 Join the four 7-in. strips to the small ring. Place the ends of the strips at four equal intervals inside the ring and attach with a stapler.

4 Join the other end of the strips to the large ring. Again, place the ends of the strips at four equal intervals inside the ring and attach with a stapler.

5 Now make the silvery panels. Arrange strips of silver leaf on the thin white cardstock. Place them randomly, filling the sheet but leaving gaps between each piece.

6 Now fix the silver leaf in place. Pick up a piece of silver leaf and brush size on the cardstock underneath. As it starts to dry and become tacky, apply the silver leaf and remove the backing paper. As an alternative, you can spray each piece of silver leaf lightly with glue, put in position and peel off the backing paper. Whichever method you use, rub the silver leaf through a sheet of tracing paper to smooth it down.

7 Cut out 48 rectangles of silver-leafed cardstock measuring 23/4 in. x 11/2 in. and 24 rectangles measuring 23/4 in. x 11/4 in. Each rectangle should include randomly positioned amounts of silver leaf (see photograph on page 31).

8 Work on the larger rectangles in groups of three. In one rectangle, punch a small hole about 1/4 in. in from the center of both short sides. In the other two rectangles, punch a hole in one short side only.

9 Cut the freezer ties in half and use them to join the three rectangles, leaving a gap of 1/8 in. between each one.

10 Work on the smaller rectangles in pairs. In each rectangle, punch a hole about 1/4 in. in from the center of one of the short sides. Join the rectangles together in groups of two, using freezer bag ties (cut in half as above) and leaving a gap of 1/8 in. between each one.

11 Attach double-sided tape to the top rectangle of each group of three rectangles. Attach to the large ring, leaving an 1/8-in. gap between each one.

12 Attach the pairs of rectangles to the small ring in the same way.

13 Punch small holes for hanging at equal distances around the large ring. Thread a piece of string through each and knot on the inside. Tie the ends of the string together to hang up the decoration.


Excerpted from decorating with papercraft by Clare Youngs Copyright © 2009 by Clare Youngs . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >