Get Inspiration for Handmade Gifts

One of the reasons we here at Cloth Paper Scissors love the holidays so much is that our creativity goes on overdrive as we make handmade gifts for friends and family, create mixed-media cards, and decorate with unique ornaments and trimmings. When we’re looking for inspiration, we turn to the same resources you do: special holiday issues of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine!

We have fantastic holiday issues loaded with tons of evergreen ideas and techniques, and they’re only a click away. Grab your supplies and make beautiful paper garlands, ornaments fashioned from recycled books, plus gift bags, jewelry, and more! Managing editor Barbara Delaney and I chose a couple of our favorite articles and had so much fun making holiday-themed projects that we can’t wait to share with you. First up is Barb!

handmade gifts
The best inspiration and ideas for handmade gifts can be found in special issues of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine! We were inspired to make a gift portfolio and textile art cards from articles in issues of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts magazines.

In the Holiday 2011/2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts, Ro Bruhn’s article Festive Fabric Cards shows how to make fabric collage cards using textile and fiber scraps. I decided this was a great time to make some for some of the handmade gifts I have planned.

After looking through my stash for colorful fabrics, I grabbed some coordinating buttons and ribbons to add dimension and texture.

I love the bright pink collection, but I couldn’t overlook my favorite combo of black and white with a dash of red.

I auditioned several layering patterns before finally settling on a nice selection of fabric, lace, ribbon, and buttons.

A variety of shapes and patterns adds interest to these colorful cards, and will make great handmade gifts.

To start, I sewed a button on top of the layers to hold them all together. I placed the pile on the cardstock, and, holding it in place, I stitched through the same button to hold it on the card. I added more buttons and a variety of stitches: A simple running stitch holds the larger pieces in place, and Xs and French knots add design and also help to hold the fabrics in place.

I enjoyed making these cards so much, I had to make another . . . and then another. Make a coordinated group of three to four, tie them with a ribbon, and you have great handmade gifts for special people on your list. If the stitching showing inside the card bothers you, cover it with decorative paper or more fabric, and you’re good to go.

These fabric collage cards allow you to add as much or as little as you like.

Jeannine here—I was inspired by Jennifer Francis Bitto’s article Gift-Giving Ensembles: Inspired by the People You Love, in the Holiday 2010/2011 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts. I immediately connected with her love of bringing together loved ones’ favorite things to create handmade gifts, and presenting them in a special way. She created a dinner party box for an avid cookbook reader, a paper lover’s portfolio for a fan of ephemera, and a stationery folder to encourage correspondence. I have a friend who recently got hooked on making handmade books, and I’m giving her a handmade portfolio filled with fun bookmaking stuff, such as ephemera, waxed linen thread, and fabric.

You can certainly use a ready-made portfolio, but I wanted to personalize mine. For the portfolio itself I used a large piece of 140-pound watercolor paper. I created a template so the finished piece would be 8 ½” x 11″, with a ¼”-inch thick spine, and slanted, gusseted pockets. To decorate it, I randomly applied light shades of spring green and turquoise acrylic paint with a gift card. Dots of bright yellow paint were applied to the paper, and I brayered over them in different directions, which produced a pattern of ovals.

With watercolor paper as a substrate, you can apply any wet color media, such as acrylic paint, watercolor, ink, or markers.

My friend loves Matisse, so I used the Cutouts Inspired by Matisse stencil by Carolyn Dube for StencilGirl Products to create more patterns. Deeper values of the same shades of paint were applied with a cosmetic wedge all over the paper and pockets. As a final touch, I thinned Payne’s Gray paint with water, then splattered it all over with a wide bristle brush.

Designing the portfolio yourself allows you to personalize it with the recipient’s favorite colors and motifs.

When the portfolio was dry I folded in the pocket tabs, and before gluing them down I slipped in a piece of ribbon on both sides, for a closure. To make the portfolio look more like a book, I glued a piece of handmade paper to the spine.

Portfolios make great handmade gifts because they can be used again and again.

Making gifts look special is important to me, so I used glassine bags to hold the various elements. I stamped the bags first with permanent ink and set the ink with a heat tool.

Make handmade gifts special by including special touches such as decorated papers, bags, and envelopes.

I think my friend is going to love this gift! I hope she has fun opening every little bag and thinking about how to use the contents. A portfolio is a great idea for holding handmade cards, stickers, a few small handmade notebooks, or vintage bookplates.

handmade gifts
How could you personalize this portfolio for someone in your life?

We hope you have fun making your handmade gifts special! Be sure to get all of our holiday issues, so you have plenty of projects to choose from. Have a wonderful handmade holiday!

If you’re like us, you can’t get enough inspiration and ideas for holiday handmade gifts. In this blog post, learn how to make festive tags using paper clay!

Discover how to make beautiful holiday décor, one-of-a-kind journals, unique stocking stuffers, and more in the Holiday 2010/2011 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts.
Making handmade gifts this year? The Holiday 2011/2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts has all the instructions to make tree skirts, ornaments, tote bags, journals, and much more.
Paper Holiday is filled with everything you need to create gorgeous mixed-media handmade gifts, with hand-picked articles from past issues of Cloth Paper Scissors, Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts, I Heart Paper, and Pages.


Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques

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