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20 Perfect Paper DIYs

by Grace Bonney

One of the things I always find myself with an excess of after any re-organizing project is leftover paper. Old newspapers, magazine clippings, cardboard scraps– they seem to accumulate in the oddest of places and rather than banishing them to the (recycling) curb, I thought it would be fun to find interesting ways to reuse them. So I went through six and a half years of D*S DIY posts to find 20 of my favorite paper-based projects. From paper chandeliers and nite lights to stationery, paper flowers and storage baskets, it’s amazing to see what you can do with some humble paper scraps. Thanks to all of the clever contributors who came up with these ideas over the past few years! xo, grace
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DIY Motel Nite Light: a great way to commemorate a favorite travel destination- or just remind someone subtly that you’d like to be taken to said destination.


DIY Tape Stencil Stationery: A great project for little ones, or anyone who would prefer to send something handmade over store-bought.


DIY Paper Orb Lights: These are so pretty I always forget they’re made from paper!


DIY Giant Paper Flowers: Beautiful, over-the-top and stunning for a backyard wedding or just a dramatic statement at home.


Recycled Paper Basket: A paper basket for holding your papers? So meta.


Vintage-style Book Dustcovers: If you’re worried about protecting original book art, these clever covers are a simple way to keep things safe.


Paper Marquee Letter Lamp: I’ve always loved the look of Marquee lights, but they can be a serious bear to carry up stairs. This light-weight paper version packs a strong visual punch without the heft of a real metal sign.


Paper Mardi Gras Beads: Max made these beads in a hot second and we’ve loved them ever since. They hang on our prop shelving and look so pretty we don’t wait for Mardi Gras to showcase them.


Hand-Embroidered Note Cards: I love a hand-written note, and this project takes the idea a step further. Embroidered initials are a simple way to make this concept shine.


Recycled Road Map Cork Board: This was my favorite project of Halligan’s- so simple and fun. This would be a great way to celebrate a cross-country trip or just some serious home-state love.


Paper “Leather-bound” Books: Protecting books was a real theme here for a while (despite also showcasing projects that use books as raw materials for crafting) so this faux-leather book cover was a great addition for anyone who wanted a little extra texture.


Newspaper Taxidermy: I’m not a fan of taxidermy in general, especially not when it uses real animals. This project puts a spin on the style- no hunting, necessary.


Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier: This might be one of my top 10 favorite projects we’ve ever run on the project. Brenna recreated a classic Capiz shell lamp using paper- so pretty.


Bookbinding 101: Japanese 4-hole binding: Part of larger series, this project is a great gateway into handmade books


Flower-dyed thank you notes: Dyeing paper with flowers is such a quick and easy way to make use of dying flowers and remember their colors long after they’ve faded.


Coffee Filter Flowers: Gorgeous flowers from paper coffee filters? Sold.


Paper Bookplates: A sweet and simple way to keep track of books or gift a new one to a loved one.


Recycled Scrap Notebooks: What better way to organize scrap paper than to bind it together for more notes later?


Decorative Light Switch Cover: Is there anything gift wrap can’t make better?


Paper Scrap Jar Tops and Pencils: Turn extra paper into unexpected pops of color and pattern in your home office.

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  • Can’t wait to try these. It’s nice having all of the paper DIYs in one place for the next time I have extra paper lying around. I can’t get over those coffee filter flowers! I often make coffee filter sun catchers, flowers, or butterflies with liquid watercolors or dot markers with kids- what a beautiful, grown up version!

  • Love this post! I work with paper all the time with my side business, and I’ve been trying to think of ways to use my scraps (I have tons. They’re taking over my work space). I’ve thought of a couple cool ideas so far, but this is inspiring! Thanks!

  • Great DIY posts! I can never get enough of them. I actually created stationary that I loved recently, ( actually used the Color911 app that so many people are using these days.. ) had fun creating a color palette, then made stationary in all the colors I planned on using. So much fun!

  • I love these projects and can’t decide which one I want to try first! The giant flower appeals to my inner Lilliputian, and the marquee sign makes me want to spell out HATS (I’m a milliner).

    Also, thank you very, very much for stating your non-fandom of actual taxidermy using real animal corpses. As a vegetarian for ethical reasons, I have been over this form of animal death porn since way before its current moment in the spotlight. My fandom continues, strengthened.

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