Sewing Paper Garland from Junk Mail and Pretty Scraps

I collect scraps of papers that are just too pretty to throw away. I cut out small shapes or use a paper punch, sort by size and color, and store them in canning jars stacked on the corner of my studio table. When the jars are full I sew the many circles and scalloped shapes into long strands of paper garland. Don't worry, this paper saving is less of a pack rat problem and more of an attempt to use recycled materials whenever I can. Though, I admit, it also appeals to my treasure-hunter nature so it's a double win. (Win, win.)

This weekend my studio was overcome with paper garland making madness, in the very best sense. This is one of my simplest and more satisfying projects so I make them over and over again. I save the pretty sides of notecards, calendars, magazine covers, postcards, and even those pesky junk mail envelopes that clutter up the mailbox. Have you ever looked on the inside of the privacy envelopes and noticed the wonderful patterns and colors? Take a peek. There are treasures to be found there, I promise.

I hang these garlands all around my studio, like swags in my doorways, and at nearly every turn in my son's nursery. They also make pretty Christmas tree garlands, replacements for bows on birthday presents, and they're easy party decorations too. Just tape a few to the ceiling as makeshift mobiles or string them across the room for an instant party. Plus the cake and ice cream, of course.


PS-- If you want a step-by-step tutorial take a look in my sidebar. I give the break down of the paper garland process under the "tutorial" link.


  1. awesome use of junk mail and paper scraps! super sustainable.

  2. Kristin9/11/2012

    Love it! And thanks for the tutorial guidance. ; )

  3. oh you smart girl you! tutorials - yay! also, i need to schedule a few hours with you to help me spruce up my blog. maybe we can set another tea date to do this. in fact, why can't we just move in together? then we can chat whenever we need too! ha! xxxooo

  4. shauna: upcycling, upcycling! glad you like this how-to.

    kristin: yes, yes. this is such a fun easy sewing project and makes a studio that much more colorful.

    jenifer: yes, trying to offer a tutorial here and there. and yes, we need to be roommates. sigh.

  5. Anonymous9/14/2012

    I like this blog its a master peace ! .

  6. i'm always loving those safety envelope interiors ;)

  7. anonymous: thank you!

    lisa: i know, right? they are such tiny treasures of color and pattern. just waiting for paper crafts or collage.


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.