Help! My craft magazines are breeding…

When I moved house I had far too many craft magazines (the pile was up to my waist) and nowhere to re-home them.  So drastic action was required.

Why exactly was I keeping the whole magazine?  I couldn’t come up with a good reason so I decided just to keep the pages with projects, techniques and templates that I liked.

I started by either pulling out the page or colour photocopied it (its handy to have a good quality printer and scanner at home) put it in a plastic sleeve.

Then I purchased a lever arch file and tabbed folders in pretty coloured card (the kind kids have for projects).  I glued the tabbed folders together to make a sturdy file tabs and put into the lever arch file along with plastic sleeves.  After much deliberation I decided to have tabs for birthdays, christmas, occasions (birthdays, weddings, easter etc), others, techniques and templates.

To finish and encourage me to continue to the practice I added spare plastic sleeves to each tab.  The magazines then went to craft friends with a caveat that they couldn’t be returned.  Problem solved!

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How to use surplus building bits in your cards

I was given three yellow double-sided foam disks (see picture below) which were surplus to requirements in a flatpack assembly. Thought you might use them in your craft MM says. So they sat on my desk for a few days and then inspiration hit – pacman! Sure I could have used them as double-sided foam tape but not half as much fun as creating my own version of a pacman card.

I happened to have double-sided foam dots just about the right size so I just coloured in the backing sheet to find a good shade of yellow, mounted some blue strips on black card and voila. Voila – one homemade pacman card.

Using store bought embellishments

There are some beautiful embellishments and chipboard stickers now available.  But you cry I already have stuff I haven’t used!  Well, think of it this way buying a set of chipboard stickers or a new embellishment is a quick and relatively inexpensive way of being inspired.  Or if you don’t want to buy new stuff put together a small selection of bits that you haven’t used or bought too much of (because they were on sale!) and exchange it with a crafty friend.

Here I have combined embossed papers and washi tape with store bought flowers and chipboard stickers.  Pretty special don’t you think?

Making your own die cuts

Die cutting machines are a fantastic aid to the serious crafter.  Particularly if you are able to use a software program like Sure Cuts a LotTM.   In addition to the various  SVG files you can buy there are also a range of free SVG’s available (SVG Blog has a great range and for $5 she will send you a complete zip of all the files).  This gorgeous little baby elephant and butterflies are a free from Sure Cuts a Lot, horse from SVG Blog, dinosaurs and trains I created myself from some old colouring books whilst the flowers, presents and bus are from CircutTM Stretch your ImaginationTM cartridge.

Do you research (googling your die cutter and “SVG” is good place to start) before buying so you understand which cutters allow you to cut files without buying the “cutter branded cartridges” and any limitation on selling your creations.  Being able to use free resources and design your own cutting files makes the purchase of a die cutting machine economical for home crafters and gives creative freedom as you are not limited to only those which the die-cutter maker decides that you want.

What to do with washi tape?

My latest discovery is washi and paper tape. These come in a fabulous range of colors and designs to suit every taste. You can pick the up at speciality stationers and craft stores for around $4. The tape is “easy lift off” on most surfaces allowing you to experiment with a design and change your mind.

The tape is very versatile – use as a border, background or accent on cards, notebooks, pencils, gift wrapping or anything else that takes your fancy. A quick gift is to add a few strips to a plain notebook, wrap around plain wooden pencils tied together with rafia. Buy some and you will pleasantly surprised with the many things you can do with it.

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How to use leftover letter stickers

It is such a waste to have beautiful sheets of sticky letters and then use the same few over and over. I have seen suggestions – make your words from different letter sheets, mix and match fonts and colours. But I still end up with excess letters.

Yesterday I had an light-bulb moment. Why not piece together sayings and see what letters were missing then replace the missing letter with a die cut which is the same theme as the saying. I set to work rearranging the letters I had and inserting die cuts ready for the next crafting session. So simple – why had I not thought of this before?

Here are some examples:

Kat