10 Ways to Use Old Paper (for Mixed Media Art and Jewelry)

Over in the Etsy Shop, I'm now offering a Variety Paper Pack that includes 50+ pieces of old paper. The pack is mostly from vintage books, but there are also handwritten items, yearbook pages, envelopes, cards, receipts, altered papers, and more. Having a variety of papers like this means that you don't have to go out and search for the items individually and then have to store stacks of books and papers. If you're looking for ways to use these papers, I've made a quick list.


1. Collage

Tear up the papers and glue them down. Almost all the ICADs and art journal pages I make begin with a bit of collage. All you need is some paper and a glue stick.


2. Make a Junk Journal

Using some simple bookbinding techniques, you can fold and tie the old papers together to create your own junk journal like the one I made in this video. 


3. Use in Bezels

Old papers make a great backer inside bezels. You can layer marks, inks, and stickers then top them with UV resin to create a unique charm for jewelry or a decoration on your journal.


4. Cut out sentiments

Find words and phrases within the old pages that speak to you. Cut them out, and use them on your art journal pages or in your mixed media art.


5. Draw neurographic doodles

I've become obsessed with this type of doodling that involves making random shapes and lines on a page then rounding the intersections. Several of my ICADs included it on them. It looks just as great on old book pages as on plain drawing paper.


6. Make Earring Cards

I like to make my own jewelry backers using thin cardboard (fished from the recycling) and old dictionary pages. 


7. Use yearbook photos as focal images

This is pretty self-explanatory. My paper packs have a couple of yearbook pages in them. And, the pictures on those pages are great as focal images in your art. 


8. Create soldered bubbles

I like to use glass pebbles (like you find in the floral section of craft and dollar stores) to create small soldered charms using glue, paper, and solder supplies. 


9. Paint or draw

Create your own focal images right on the old paper using a pen or watercolors. I often like to put down a thin layer of gesso first. This gives a nice surface but still allows the original words/images to peek through.

10. Create jar labels

Cut words or numbers from the pages and use Mod Podge to glue them onto little jars to make a label for them. In my recent Spooky Season Assemblage, I used the page number from a dictionary page as the label for a tiny jar containing a weed. It worked beautifully.


Here's a quick video of these 10 Ways to Use Old Paper if you'd like to watch that as well. 


I'll likely have a list of 10 MORE ways to use old paper before too long. Let me know how you would use one of these variety paper packs. I'm sure there are many ways I haven't even considered yet. 

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