By Christina VanGinkel
When someone first starts scrapbooking or making cards, they usually purchase a few tools and a couple packs of paper. Once they realize how much fun they are having, creating and designing layouts, note cards, tags, and such, all of their supplies can really start adding up, as they see this pack of paper, or that cool new tool, and decide they just have to have it. As a result, finding ways to save money, and at the same time keeping their layouts and cards as unique as possible can be a challenge. One of my favorite ways to stay on top of both of these issues is to incorporate my flatbed scanner and inkjet printer together, to help me create interesting background papers and embellishments.
What is so cool about using my flatbed scanner is that I can take things that I might wish to somehow incorporate into a layout, but have not because of a size issue. However, by scanning it, I now not only can incorporate the actual item into my layout, I have created a unique background piece of paper with it, an embellishment, even a mat for journaling, or a photograph.
To start, consider what an upcoming project might be for you, and then try to think outside of the normal range of what you might normally try to scan. This can be the best way to open the doors wide for ideas. Ask yourself if there is something in real life that would exemplify what you want to convey in the layout, or on a card or tag. For example, I was recently doing a scrapbook layout about my son's recent snowboarding accident. Looking through my papers, I could not find any that conveyed the snowboarding aspect of it all, and then I remembered a box my son had on his shelf of miniature snowboards and skateboards. Taking several of the snowboards, I placed them on the scanner in no particular order or direction, and placed a plain piece of black paper behind them. I scanned the image, and printed it out to create the mats for my photographs. I recreated the same steps with different color papers behind the toy snowboards, in colors that would match his attire in the photos I was using.
The saying might be old, but in this project, it is as true as ever. 'Try to think outside of the box'. Look around your scrapping space; check junk drawers, your children's toy shelves, even the cover of a favorite book. If it can be scanned, it could potentially be your perfect answer to your next layout or card-crafting project. Some of the items I have scanned to help me create my own paper include:
Popcorn (unbuttered to keep my scanner as easy to clean up as I could)
My favorite book cover
My son's cast last year, complete with his hand and wrist and lots of signatures from friends and family
A bunch of old postcards
My grandson's pacifier
My oldest son's Froopy (this translates to a Snoopy styled blanket that was about the size of a washcloth that he carried everywhere until he was well past the age of having a favorite toy! We called it a Froopy, because that was how he pronounced it when he was little. )
The corner of my daughter's baby blanket
Wooden baby blocks
Game pieces from various games
Money (For a page about how broke we always seem to be, but how we always manage!)
This is just a small sampling of what I have scanned through the years to make my own decorative paper to work with. I hope that this will give you some ideas of what you could scan of your own. Some of the papers I printed on my inkjet is full or muted colors, others I actually printed on my laser printer in black and white, and went over by hand with acid free markers to just add a touch of color in select spots.
If the cost of paper crafting supplies is threatening to bust your budget, consider a few ideas such as these to help keep you happily crafting away, while not emptying your pocketbook at the same time.