Scrappy Background Tutorial

Here is a tutorial that I put together that is on the Operation Write Home Stars & Stamps blog today.

One of the things I love to do with scraps is to create backgrounds that I can use with my larger images or sentiments. These scrappy backgrounds are great for that purpose!

Scrappy Background Card

Here’s what you need:

  • Strips of paper. While I’ve done some with varying widths, like the one above, I generally prefer to work with 1/4″ strips.
  • Tape runner. No glue dots, no glue stick, no liquid glue. My personal preference is my Scotch ATG.
  • 4″x5.25″ card stock. I prefer to work in this size so that when I make a 4.25″x5.5″ card, the front is matted.
  • Dry embossing tool and folders. I use a Cuttlebug and embossing folders from a variety of companies.
  • Paper trimmer
  • Scissors

Now, let’s get to it!

1. Sort your scraps and cut your strips of paper to 1/4″. What I like to do is actually cut narrow pieces to this size as I craft. I then put them in envelope as I go and every couple of months I dump out the envelope and make a stack of these backgrounds.

The best tool to do this with is a small paper trimmer. Large paper trimmers can make it hard to see 1/4″ and it is too difficult to maintain consistent widths and straight edges with scissors.

Sort your scraps.

Use a small paper trimmer.

2. Now that you have a nice pile of 1/4″ strips, take your 4″x5.25″ cardstock and run your tape runner. I like to run it along the edges and then make a asterix (*) pattern across it.


I’ve drawn lines on here to show you the adhesive pattern since it is hard to really show that in the picture. It is important that you get the adhesive all the way into each corner. If you don’t your corner pieces will fall off.

Here’s why you need to use a tape runner for this project. If you use glue stick or liquid glue, the amount of glue you need would wrinkle your paper. If you use glue dots, you won’t get a good overall adhesion and may have some uneven textures when you dry emboss this.

3. Lay down your first strip. I lay this piece in one direction and the majority of the other pieces will butt up against it. Once I put this first piece down I run a row of adhesive directly below it so that the ones butting up to it are very secure on the paper.

First Strip

4. Now start placing the rest of your pieces. When you get to the corners be sure there is good adhesion there.

First few strips

5. You can either trim your strips that hang over the edge as you go or wait until you are done. I generally trim mine when I’m about half way done and then at the end.

Trim away everything hanging over the edge of the piece of card stock. You can do this with scissors or a paper trimmer.

6. Admire your work! At this point I make a bunch of these backgrounds so I have them ready to go when I’m making cards.

One Scrappy Background!

Whole stack! This will last me a few months.

7. When I incorporate these into my cards I like to dry emboss them. I do this at that point so I can choose an embossing folder that goes with the card I am creating. I really like to dry emboss these background pieces for two reasons: first I love adding texture whenever I can and second it is another layer of security. The embossing helps hold all the little strips securely to the backing.

Going to be embossed. The "swiss dots" pattern is my favorite.

All done & ready for a card!

8. Incorporate this into your card.

Finished Product!

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One Response to Scrappy Background Tutorial

  1. Daria says:

    Thank you for your tutorial. I saw it on OWH and couldn’t get it out of my mind. I finally used it to make some Christmas cards. Thank you.

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