Some people find a blank page to be really intimidating: that empty state, that nothingness, that void that you are expected to fill with words, drawings, or something to catch your flowing creative juices. Sometimes, though, those juices just don’t flow, they sputter. As a writer, I am all too familiar with this and the level of frustration it can cause. That’s when you just take that piece of crap paper and wad it up into just a piece of crap and show it who’s boss! Alas, there is much more to do with paper than just decorate on it (or, in my case, abuse it); why not decorate with it? We’re talking about paper crafts, but not those turkey hands you made in kindergarten or even scrapbooking. More elaborate, adult, and might we say, fancy paper decor and paper projects can actually provide that focal point or small, decorative touch you didn’t know you were even looking for. Let’s discover them together!
Perhaps you’re already stumped at what to do with paper besides use it as some sort of display. Why not make the paper the display itself?
Ah, ol’ Martha Stewart gets us again with Dogwood Flowers! Similar to the origami projects below, each paper flower uses folds to finish as something completely different than when it started. What’s better, this paper project requires very minimal cutting, so your fumblin’ fingers can’t mess it up! Arrange them in a vase or a shadow box to add a bit of permanent spring to a space.
Damn you, Martha Stewart, you’ve captured us like prisoners! (Ha ha ha) Crepe paper birds look ridiculously real, yet the paper crafts consist of just smoothfoam, glue, and crepe paper. And how can you be intimidated by blank paper shaped like Snow White-worthy creatures?
Maybe you’re not wanting a full-on project, but rather just a little something to stimulate your creativity. After all, sometimes the best strategy to getting over writer’s block or other creative problems is to just step away from your work and let your mind wander with an unrelated, perhaps frivolous project.
A 5-minute origami set is just what you need. The paper folding projects literally take five minutes of your time– the perfect amount of distraction to refresh your mind when you return to your work. Don’t even think of this simple origami set as just child’s play, either. Use your small paper creations to accent a table by placing them in a clear vase like in the picture below.
The geometric origami set can also be used in a decorative way: try cutting a side or two off, gluing down the loose folds, and making an admirable desk organizer like this one:
A paper project with a little more functionality might be found with an Animated Origami Set. This paper folding set includes instructions on crafting those famous bobbing cranes or jumping frogs. Attach them to strings and hang in a nursery or in a corner above a chair as a paper mobile, and use the simplicity of this Scandanavian Swan Mobile and DIY origami mobiles as a little inspiration:
Like the idea of a paper mobile but not with animals or shapes? Try your hand at a Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier, a design feature that’s really hot at the moment to bring an approachability to modern spaces.
Seriously, if you saw this DIY paper chandelier, would you know it was made from a hanging planter and wax and parchment paper? Seriously!! While not your typical paper project, the result is absolutely stunning, stylish, and we might say expensive-looking!
Similar to the origami sets described here, Pneuma Box Animals are paper projects with more for your hands than just the construction: they’re paper monsters! Each paper block fits with another block to create any shape monster you can think of! And you thought the only way to play with paper was to crunch it up into a ball and throw it. Pneuma Box Animals balance just the right amount of playfulness with coordination so that empty page you’ve been staring at for hours just doesn’t seem scary after playing with dots and stripes for a few minutes.
So when a blank page gives you that daunting blank look, stare right back at it and proclaim, “You are nothing without me!” Which is true, really. Grab a sheet of paper, any sheet of paper, and get folding, gluing, cutting, hanging or (in the case of the paper capiz shell chandelier) ironing! Paper crafts need not words nor paint to adorn them to be appealing, or even a lot of dexterity, just a little creativity and maybe a need to break up the monotony of repetitive or demanding work– and hey, you even end up with something decorative in the end!