DIY Gifts: Paper Arts and Crafts
Creating with paper can involve lots of different materials, from something as simple as crayons and markers to special supplies you might have to go to a craft store to buy. You can even try making your own paper. Or you can rip up paper and use it to make things out of papier-mâché. Even folding paper into neat shapes can be a fun craft to try. You might be surprised by the many creative and fun options there are for making things with paper. Many of these things can also be perfect for giving to friends and family as birthday or holiday gifts. Giving homemade gifts is extra-special because you took the time to make them yourself and the results will be unique.
Making Something New With Paper
One thing that you can make out of paper is more paper. To make paper, you will need a blender and some old paper. By ripping up the paper, soaking it in water, and blending it, you can make pulp that can be pressed to form new paper. Once you finish making your paper, you can make it into homemade cards to give away. You might also want to try making something with papier-mâché. To do papier-mâché crafts, you tear old paper into strips, soak them in glue, and form them in layers to make a shape.
- Handmade Paper
- Technique: Make Paper (PDF)
- Paper From Paper: A Hands-On Approach to Recycling
- How to Make Paper
- Papier-Mâché Instructions (PDF)
- Papier-Mâché Is a Great Recycled Craft! (PDF)
- Papier-Mâché Piggy Bank (PDF)
- Papier-Mâché Insects
Folding and Cutting
Folding paper can seem very simple, but there's an art called origami that uses folded paper to make all sorts of fun things, like birds, stars, or even a jumping frog. Paper-cutting projects are another activity you could try. Just by folding and cutting paper, you can make snowflakes or flowers.
- Six-Pointed Paper Snowflakes
- How to Make Paper Snowflakes (PDF)
- Origami Crane Folding Instructions (PDF)
- Making an Origami Bow Tie
- Octagon Star
- Origami Jumping Frog (PDF)
Decoupage is a fancy word for a type of art where you cut out paper and glue it onto things with a special kind of varnish. Some people like to save greeting cards because the pictures on them can be perfect for a decoupage project. You might also use pictures from magazines, wrapping paper, or old books for a decoupage project. Gluing paper designs to a table, a shelf, or even a serving tray are just a few ideas for a simple and beautiful decoupage project. Once the glue dries, it becomes clear so you can see the paper design on the surface.
- Instructions for Easy-to-Create Decoupage (PDF)
- The Art of Decoupage: Decorate Objects Using Cutouts and Paste
- Decoupage Basics (PDF)
- Simple Decoupage Collage Art (PDF)
- Decorative Decoupage Crates (PDF)
- Decoupage Birdhouses (PDF)
Collages and Scrapbooking
A collage is a collection of things pasted onto a single background. Collages can include photos, pictures from magazines, torn paper, fabric, and even things like plastic, ribbon, or other fairly flat objects. Scrapbooking also involves gluing things onto a background, but with scrapbooking, you glue things onto pages to make a book that helps you remember something: A scrapbook is sort of like a photo album but with more decorations. If you fill a scrapbook with pages of memories from vacations, trips, school plays, or books you read, you will have a special keepsake.
- Leaf-Rubbing Collage (PDF)
- Trash to Treasure (PDF)
- Scrapbooking Crafts for Kids
- 4-H Scrapbooking (PDF)
- Create a Collage
- Newsprint Cat Collage Instructions
- You Can Create a Collage in the Style of Eric Carle (PDF)
- Torn Paper Collage (PDF)
Books make perfect gifts, especially when you make them yourself. Imagine how special it would be to give someone a homemade scrapbook that you bind into a book yourself! Use cardstock for the pages, and fill them with photos or other special things. Then, stack the pages and bind them together with glue or string. After you put the pages together, it's fun to create a colorful cover for your homemade book. You might even decorate the cover with colored washi tape to make your book even more special.