Thursday, May 24, 2012

use your scraps week 2 | filling negative space

Hello again, everyone! How are those scrap paper piles looking? Are they getting any smaller? Looking any more orderly? And, most importantly, are you having fun? :)

Today's foray into the wild and wonderful world of scrap usage finds us using some of those smaller bits- little strips that are perhaps just a tad too short to stretch across a page and smaller chunks that aren't really suited for use as a card front or a photo mat.

You know, the pieces that look like this.


Almost every thread that crops up on message boards asking for ideas to use paper scraps is met with at least one "punch them out" response. This is a fantastic idea- in fact, I covered uses for such punched shapes in a post from my last round of Use Your Scraps Week- but today I want to take a look at ways to turn that idea on its ear and, instead of punching or die cutting shapes from scraps, we're going to use them to fill in the negative spaces left by making those cuts.

This is one of those ideas that's really best communicated visually rather than with words, so I'm going to link you up to several examples of using patterned papers to fill in the empty spots left after die cutting or punching paper.
  • Jillbean Soup designer Carole Maurin used small bits of paper behind a series of negative snowflake punches to create a lovely rainbow effect.
  • Hambly Screen Prints DT member Jen Rzasa makes a white card pop with a bit of color behind the negative space left by a series of butterfly punches.
  • Michelle Wooderson uses the negative bits left over from making die cuts to frame journaling and titles in her Project Life album.
  • Jennifer McGuire shows how to make a super-smooth card when filling in your die cut's negative space.
  • Lisa Truesdell posted a tutorial on the 2Peas blog showing how to re-create the washi tape backed words in her 2012 Captured class for April. Though Lisa uses tape, the same effect can be achieved with short strips of scrap paper.
Now, not all of these ideas specifically use scraps, but techniques like this one that call for small pieces of patterned paper are perfect for using up those accumulated leftover bits. You can even double your scrap usage by first die cutting or punching on a scrap piece of cardstock, then using even more scraps to fill in those negative spots. And if you then take that creation and attach it to a card base that's also made from a scrap, you've achieved a scrap usage trifecta!

Let's take a look at this technique in action, aided by a couple of my Papertrey Ink dies.


I started this project off with a piece of cardstock cut to the size of a standard card front (4.25" x 5.5"). Actually, I cheated- these pieces came already cut to this size in a set that Core'dinations sent over after the last CHA show. I've found it pretty useful to have packages of cardstock already cut to a standard card size as it keeps me from cutting into a whole 12x12 sheet just to make a card, thus preventing scraps from being created in the first place! And if you have scraps in this size, they're of course perfect for using as card fronts, too.

I sandwiched up the cardstock with the cloud dies, just as I always do when using my Sizzix Big Kick, and ran the whole sandwich through the machine as usual.


Once the cardstock was cut, it was time to choose a couple of scraps to fill in those spaces and adhere them in place. The cool thing about this technique is that as long as your scraps are smaller than the card front, it doesn't matter what size or shape they are. Just slap them on the back of the card so that they cover the holes and adhere in place!


Now, the back of this piece looks pretty messy, so I wanted to mount it on a full card base to cover those rough scrap edges up. I trimmed off 1/4" from the top and and side of the card front before mounting it on a kraft card base, leaving a small contrasting border. I also used dimensional Glue Dots underneath to give just a bit of depth to the whole project.



For this second card, I picked up one of the die cuts that I made in Tuesday's post about cutting scraps into Project Life elements and used it (after backing the heart cuts with scraps, of course) on the front of a card. I promised you those die cuts would be useful for way more than Project Life, didn't I? :)


I want to leave you with just one more negative space idea for using scraps, though this one is a bit different because instead of filling in a shape with a scrap, we're going to use the scrap to make the shape itself!

Clear as mud? Actually, it's really, really easy! All you need is a paper scrap, the base paper that you want to make a shape on, color mist, and some sort of shape or die cutter.

Take the scrap paper and cut or punch it as desired. Here I've opted to use the cutouts left from making the cloud card earlier along with a piece from a Spellbinders card that I'll show you a little later today.


Place the cut papers on top of the base paper, then mist away! When you remove the cut shapes, you're left with an un-misted area in the shape of your die cuts- basically, you've created your own misting mask!


Isn't the effect on the tags just cool? They're ready and waiting for just a few little bits of embellishment and stamping to turn them into adorable gift tags. I'm going to have to set these one aside for use another fact, I'm willing to bet that you'll see them back here tomorrow. ;)


Now, I must warn you that these paper masks are really a one-time use sort of thing. Once they've been misted over they tend to warp and curl (see the photo below), making them not so useful for a second round of misting, so they have to be thrown away afterward (unless you have a use for the misted shape itself). This is a great way, though, to use up those "ugly" papers, or, if you're like me, the stack of plain cardstock scraps that you've accumulated and can't find another use for (I have an affinity for my patterned scraps, but for some reason am no so drawn to the plain ones, so they languish a bit longer in my scrap bin).


Who knew negative space could be so useful, right?!?

Spellbinders has kindly sent over a few more of their fun new tools for me to play with this week, so I'll be back with a post later today showing you how use them to dress up some of those bigger pieces of plain cardstock that we've made today. See you then!

Supplies (click on images for product links):