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        What Can I Do With Wallpaper?

            Wallpaper isn't just for walls anymore. It can be a free source for some of the most creative yet simple crafts. On this page, I have tried to answer some of the more common questions regarding wallpaper crafting. Not all of the ideas are mine. Many have come from friends, bbs notes, and books. Please E-mail me if you have any questions, or if you know of other ways to use wallpaper.

          Where can I get free wallpaper?

            Most stores that sell wallpaper will give away their sample books from discontinued wallpapers. They are usually very glad to get rid of them. These sample books have pages large enough to make most of the crafts mentioned on this page. They are also great for projects that need several coordinating designs, such as the quilting. Another source is friends that have recently repapered a room and may have leftover scraps. I have also seen wallpaper rolls at garage sales. Although not free, it can be very low cost.

          How do I get the paper out of the sample books?

            The sample books can take up a lot of room, but they can be taken apart and the paper stored. The easiest way is to use a utility knife and cut the pages out. However, you will lose part of the paper that is caught inbetween the covers. Sometimes you need that little extra to get an entire design or to make that special project. These books are put together very well to hold up to a lot of abuse, but they can be taken apart in a very short time with little effort. This is the method I have used.
            You need a HEAVY straight blade screwdriver, pliers, wire cutters, utility knife, and if you have one, a small crowbar-like tool. A strong arm also helps!
            First cut the covers off where they fold back. Save these for lap pads, cutting boards, ironing pads, any time you need a firm surface.
            Most books are put together in the same general way. There are 2 or 3 main screws on each side. Insert the screwdriver under the cover next to a screw. Pry it up. This may take some work, sometimes they are quite easy. Use the crowbar if needed. Once you get it up, go on to the next one. Do one complete side, then the other. Once the cover is off, you can see what method was used for that particular book. Sometimes it's staples, sometimes ring-shank nails, sometimes regular nails. Check to see how they are fastened on the other side. Sometimes they go all the way thru and then bend over, so you can't just pull them out. Again, do just one side at a time. Use the crowbar, pliers, screwdriver, whatever it takes to loosen it up. If it's the real long staples, I've found that cutting it and then pulling each side up with the pliers works pretty good. Once you have one side off, you can just pull the sheets off - no need to actually remove the nails from the other side.
            Just keep trying - the more you do, the easier it gets.

            Once you get the books apart, separate the actual wallpaper pages from the dividers, fabric swatches, and cardboard. I store mine in a dresser drawer in my craft room. For those that are really ambitious, save the fabric swatches for quilting.

          What about the back side of the wallpaper?

            For many projects, you won't want the back side of the wallpaper to be visable. The easiset way to cover this is to bond the wallpaper to something else, such as tissue paper, gift wrap, or even a coodinating piece of wallpaper. The best way to adhere them is with plastic. My favorite is the plastic bags from dry cleaning, but any very thin plastic will do. Food wrap is OK, as long as it's not the heavy microwave type. Cheap garbage can liners will work, too. You will also need an old iron. I have one I keep just for crafting. You probably won't want to use the same iron on clothes that you use for wallpaper.

            On a firm surface(the covers from the wallpaper books work great!),layer the wallpaper, face down, then the plastic, then the tissue paper (or whatever paper you are using for a backing) in that order. If you want a unique look, crumple the tissue paper first, then smooth it out and place it on the plastic. Using as hot of a setting as you can, iron the tissue paper. This will melt the plastic, and bond the papers together. If you want to make a box, use this same procedure to bond the wallpaper to cardboard from a cereal box or other thin cardboard you may have.

            If you want the wallpaper to have a plain white backing, you can iron freezer wrap to the wallpaper. You won't need the plastic, as the freezer wrap has a plastic backing on it. You can also use the freezer wrap to bond with tissue paper, gift wrap, maps, calendar pictures, paper napkins or tablecloths, or any other recycled paper to make many of these same projects.

          How do I cut and fold the wallpaper?

            Glad you asked. Many templates are available commercially. The Kreate-a-lope sets make envelopes very easy. The companion to this, the Kreate-a-bag, makes great gift bags. Rubber Stamp stores sell envelope templates as well.
            You have many templates around the house without realizing it. A small gift box, a potpourri pouch, a teabag envelope, a dry soup box, all can be unfolded and placed on the wallpaper. Trace, cut out, and fold like the original.
            For your convenience, I have zipped up some jpg's of some of my favorite templates. To use these, import them into your favorite print program, enlarge to the desired size, and print out on cardstock. To make them last longer, either laminate or cover with clear contact paper. Cut them out, and then trace onto the wallpaper. Follow the assembly instructions on each template.
            Get the templates file now!

          What else can I make with this?

            Just to name a few projects, how about notecards with matching envelopes, bookmarks, gift boxes, sachet pouches, serving trays, picture frames, and many, many more.

            These are some ideas gleaned from other people. I have given credit to them when possible. Please contact them directly of you have any questions.

            Some of my favorites:
            To finish off that envelope, cut out a single item, such as one flower, from a scrap of the wallpaper. After folding the envelope, attach this cutout to the flap as a seal. To make matching notecards, glue smaller cutouts on the front of a folded 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 sheet of cardstock.
            To make a cover for a 3x3 Post-it pad, fuse 2 pieces of wallpaper together. Cut out a piece 3 1/4" wide by 6 3/4" long. (This looks very nice done with edging scissors) Place the pad, with the back sheet removed, at the bottom of the cover, and fold over the end. Score as needed to keep crisp folds. Using double-stick tape, fasten the cover to the glued edge of the pad. Looks much nicer on a desk than a plain pad. If you have enough wallpaper of the same design, you could make coodinating desk accessories.
            If you have leftover wallpaper from a room you have done, make a matching clock. Get a round clock from your local discount store - they usually run around $6.00 - and gently pop off the plastic top. Carefully lift off the hands, pulling straight up, then remove the clock face. Use that as a pattern to cut out a piece of wallpaper. For the numbers, use whatever you want. The press-on vinyl numbers work great, or get creative with acrylic "jewels" at the 3-6-9-12 spots, and smaller ones for the other numbers. Write the numbers on with markers or glitter. Use you imagination and the decor of the room for ideas. Reassemble the clock, making sure the hands are put back in the correct order.

            From Donna Oberline:
            Note cards and pouch.
            To make the pouch I measured two note cards and their envys side by side both lengthwise and widthwise. I made a cardboard pattern of the envy then I cut a piece of cardboard to fit in the bottom of the envy to give it some support. I measured it from the bottom of the flap to where the envy is folded up at the bottom. I then used the double sided red tape and taped it down in about 4 or 5 places. Then I took a sheet of metalized gold inkjet paper and put it down as far in the envy as I could (leaving enough at the top to make sure the flap would be covered. I then taped the envelope together. (Some of them I glued) After the envy was all done, I trimmed the foil paper around the flap. I then measured about 5/8" of the foil (I used scraps) for the width and measured the length to fit across the envy. I again used double sided tape to attach it to the the envy, then I trimmed the edges. On some of the pouches I used an eyelet, but in order to use it I had to put a little piece of cardboard under the foil so it would be thick enough to hold the eyelet. I soon just used a punch and dots. I always save all of my scraps, especially of the foil paper. You'd be surprised at what all I use them for. Well, no you probably wouldn't.

            From Karen Barber: barber@OBERON.ARK.COM
            This year our phone books were particularly unattractive, so I precreased some wallpaper and just glued it onto the phone book. I used the original cover as a guide to trim the edges afterwards. I used two coordinating papers, and I must say, it looks very stylish!
            I also covered some blank school notebooks to make Doodle Books for my kids.

            From Laura Bashlor: lauralou@ILI.NET
            My daughter just left for Nashville to pursue a Christian songwriting and singing career. She is renting a room in a lady's house so has to be careful of the phone calls. I would rather not have phone bills through the roof, either. So...before she left I made about a dozen lovely envelopes out of wallpaper using my handy-dandy Kreate-a-lope templates. I put a sheet of Great White computer paper in each, folded into a card and trimmed with wallpaper that coordinated with the envelope. Then I attached address labels addressed to ME and with MY return address sticker. I also stamped the envelopes. I did everything but write the letters. I have received several of those nice long letters back. She said she really likes writing on the lovely stationary. I do hope she gets e-mail soon as I don't really like writing back that much. Typing on the computer and printing it out on GeoPaper, helps, though.

            From Capi Pike:Capiiii@AOL.COM
            A few months back I took an old ice cream carton...the commercial size that you see in Baskin Robbins...and covered it inside and out with similar wallpaper, then tied a raffia bow around the top edge. It is now used as a waste paper can in the bathroom...matches nicely too. I often use wallpaper in card layering...sometimes you cannot find just the right card stock or exotic paper to use and I find my WP books come in handy.... My newest acquisition is a slew of material sample books (from the wallpaper store) and these have WONDERFUL possibilities in layering...I took some leaf green satin weave with a combination stripe and other pattern and cut into 1" strips, a bit longer than my card lenthwise, then pinked* the edges. I glued it down and then put my other layers on top of it, but smaller so that the "ribbon" showed above and below the rest of the card. I extended it by about " below the card and also left on the paper backing for stability, coloring the backside of the paper with a gold paint pen. *Keep in mind that to pink material, you do need pinking shears....the paper edgers are not made to cut material and will do a botched job of it....especially after having cut paper for a while. Paper dulls scissors very all the sewers in the crowd already know.

            From Bonnie:
            I enjoy working with wallpaper samples. I use these for making greeting cards, picture frames, cone shaped angels, and serving trays using quilt patterns. Cut your wallpaper into the quilt patterns, then glue them unto the bottom of your tray. When dry, coat it with Modge Podge to seal it. They're really pretty.

            We had a grandparents day at our elementary school and needed really inexpensive favors to hand out. We found a bargain on silk tulips. To display them, we covered coffee cans with wallpaper from the sample books and added a trim of thin satin ribbon to the top and bottom edges. Lots of teachers have kept them to hold pencils, markers and rulers. One of the neatest things the teachers have done is to make Father's Day cards with the samples. The kids picked out a sample and cut it into the shape of a necktie! They pasted the tie onto the cover of their cards. I have also used them to make fans. I've made small ones using any patterns with red and green colors to make Christmas ornaments. I make the fan, staple at the bottom, open it and glue a couple of silk holly leaves and a berry at the bottom, glue a string to the back to hang. These also make great gift box decorations.

            From Beth:
            My mother-in-law gave me some extra wallpaper border so that i could make her a floral arrangement using those colours...Then I got some other ideas for christmas presents etc. I was thinking of cutting the shapes out and gluing or decoupaging them to a paper mache box, then using some silk or paper flowers to embellish it. Another cool idea, (using the "decorative stationary" idea) is to use the sheets for your memory books as the mattes for your pictures. Or use it to decorate the outside of your memory book.

            From Diane Black:
            I use my samples books (lots of them) to make my own decorative stationery, use a "matting" behind picture before you put them in frames, to line shadow boxes which I decorate with my own homemade furniture, decor etc., use them to cover worn out bathroom scales, cut up and use as "borders" in bathrooms, kitchens etc., cover tin cans (the rectangular kind from International Coffees, make envelopes, tri-fold letter stationery, etc. etc.

            From Becki:
            Using a box such as a baking soda box, form a bag shape over the box, gluing down the flaps.. Slip it off the box and cut top edge with fancy scissors. You can punch holes in and thread handles. Pretty!
            You can form wallpaper into fans by accordion pleating, then gathering one edge. Fasten that edge with a needle threaded with heavy thread, then cover joint by gluing on small silk flowers, etc. Beautiful for wall decorations or tree decor depending on size.
            Wallpaper makes beautiful beads. You cut it in strips like thin pennants, spread with clear glue and roll up over a pencil, nail, or straw. After it starts to set, slip it off and set aside to dry. Shellac or varnish for protection and shine, or just coat with another layer of clear drying glue.

            From Wendy:
            Wall paper can be used for gift bags with matching gift tags
            Liner for envelopes
            Layered on cards
            Wonder-undered onto cardboard to bake the covers of a scrapbook
            As a book cover
            On a plastic Crystal Lite can covered with clear contac paper as a pencil can or toothbrush holder
            To cover an ice cream can as a trash can
            To cover light switch plates to match or coordinate with a room
            On a matt around a picture
            To wrap a present (old national geographic maps are good too)
            To cover a box (lid and bottom seperately) to store things in
            To cover a hat box or band box
            Use as a cover on the back of a framed picture to give a finished look

            From Madene Walker:
            Make a Butterfly Supplies Needed: wallpaper scraps, metal pen top; pipe cleaners
            Insert the 4" square of paper into the metal clip of a pen top, gathering the center under the clip. Cut scallops along the sides of the wings, or trim with pinking shears. Glue on pipe cleaner antennae, and you've made a pretty butterfly.

            From Christy:
            I made a pocket folder today out of two large sheets of wallpaper, glue gun, and piece of velcro. I made it to use to carry papers -- I type for a consultant & he & I are always needing something to put the papers in to carry them back & forth to each other. It is basically enclosed on 3 sides with the small piece of velcro to hold the 4th side shut (or you could velcro the whole top side if you plan to put small stuff in it). I took two large sheets of wallpaper samples that coordinated and folded the sides inward and glued so that it had a gusset on the sides to allow for a hunk of papers. Then I added the small piece of velcro to the middle of the inside of the top side. The finished size was 13" x 10". These are sturdy enough to carry papers to & fro in your car, to school, etc. and can be embellished or left plain.

            Be sure to check out Page 2 - more templates, scans, samples, and ideas!

            More Wallpaper Ideas!

            Wallpaper Page 3

            Samples of wallpaper cards

            Vicki Mossman - VSM Creations
            Sue Beck - Wackey World
            Dragonhome's Wallpaper Ideas

            For more ideas on what to do with wallpaper, be sure to check out

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