Most Creative DIY Uses of Paper


Paper has been around since as early as the second century AD and the process of creating it is believed to have been developed in China. It is a multi-purpose substance and is widely used for several different applications, including representing value (i.e. money), writing, printing, packaging, cleaning and construction. Its existence and usefulness was spread to the rest of the world through the Middle East and into Europe during the Middle Ages, and the first water powered paper mills were built there circa the 13th century.

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In the 19th century, industrial production drastically lowered its cost, facilitating an increase in paper based communication and signalling a new era via massive cultural shifts. Even now, in the 21st century, with a massive shift to digital media, paper still plays a huge role in our daily lives. Not least, because it is still a very versatile substance that can be utilised in a plethora of creative ways. Here, we will look at some of the most creative uses of paper that can be replicated for DIY purposes in the home environment.

Papier Mache

Papier Mache

Papier Mache, from the French language and literally translating as ‘chewed paper’, is the process of crafting models artistically with paper strips soaked in water and bound together by flour, glue, wallpaper paste and/or starch. It is popular with primary school children and craft lovers alike and is used typically used for semi-permanent and temporary sculptures ranging from face masks and piggy banks, to piñatas and carnival floats.

Despite the French name, this craft technique was not originated in France but in China, where paper was first developed. It was commonly used in the manufacturing of helmets which were made sturdier by several layers of lacquer. The technique spread to Japan and the Middle East where it was used much as it is today, for mask making and festival activities, before spreading to the rest of the world by the 18th century when it became universally popular.



Decoupage, from Middle French ‘decouper’, meaning to cut out or cut from something, is the art of decorating an object by gluing coloured paper cut-outs onto it along with gold or silver leaf, etc. Typically, an item of furniture or something similar is plastered with several layers of paper cut-outs. The layers are all individually sealed with varnish until the result resembles painting or inlay work. The origin of the art form is largely considered to be East Siberian tomb art, where the Nomadic tribes of the time used cut out felt to decorate the tombs of their dearly departed. By the 1600s, the practice made its way into Europe, via Italy which had established strong trade links with the Far East.



Origami is the art form based on intricately folding paper in order to ‘sculpt’ a three dimensional model. If the use of glue, cuts and markings are applied, then purists do not consider it to be true origami. It is often associated with Japan and its culture, but in modern terms, it is used inclusively for all folding practices, regardless of their origin. The relatively small number of basic folds utilised in origami can be combined in several ways to create very elaborate designs, with the most popular example of an origami model being the Japanese crane.



Card-making is the art of hand-crafting greeting cards, done by both amateurs and experts either for personal or commercial purposes. The tradition of sending greeting cards, as with most things paper related, can be traced back to ancient China, where people exchanged messages and good wishes to celebrate the New Year. Greeting cards exchanged as a tradition did not begin in Europe until the 1400s, and by the 19th century they had been transformed from being an expensive accompaniment to a gift, or being the gift itself, to being an affordable and easily accessible means of personal communication. This was owed in no small part to the great advancements made in the industry due to the industrial revolution. The custom of exchanging greeting cards at Christmas time also began in the 19th century.

Five Best Homemade Craft & Design Websites


Crafting a piece of homemade furniture, or making some chic decorative designs to liven up our personal living spaces, or even just getting involved in homemade craft and design purely for the enjoyment of the art, is something that many people enjoy and many people would like to do. The unfortunate part is, for many of us, the natural artistic touch that is sometimes required to create a breathtaking piece of DIY art or craft never found us. And so for many of us who would like to try, fear that the lack of ability and know-how will render any attempts futile stops us right in our tracks. However, due to the rise in popularity of pintrest and other similar sites and blogs on the internet, there has been a surge of interest in DIY and homemade projects. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most helpful and inspiring crafts and design blogs and websites on the World Wide Web.

Almost Makes Perfect

Almost Makes Perfect is a blog created by Molly, a freelance designer and editor based in California. Her blog covers food, DIY, travel, mixtapes and style. Her DIY tutorials cover a wide range of topics from ‘how to make a 5 minute gallery wall’ to ‘DIY printed donut favour boxes’. Her website is very elegant and chic, but more importantly, so are her craft ideas and tutorials. The mixtape section is a wonderful touch too, if you’re into that sort of thing.


Dollar Store Crafts

Dollar Store Crafts is a blog that was created by Heather Mann in 2008. Heather is a mother of three, crafter, writer and entrepreneur based in Oregon. Her site is focused on creating cool crafts that are easy to make, using materials found in the dollar store. If you love to craft, or even if you are a novice looking to get into the game, Dollar Store crafts is the perfect place to help you do that on a budget. The site has projects under the categories “$1 or free”, “$5 and under” and “$10 and beyond”,  and features some really cool, simple and straightforward tutorials.

Positively Splendid

Positively Splendid is a fantastic blog founded by Amy Bell in 2010. She is a wife, homemaker and mother of four, and states that helping others discover their own creative potential is what drives her in her endeavours with her blog. The blog itself is chock-full of project tutorials ranging from recipes to home decor crafts to gardening.


Lovely Indeed

Lovely Indeed is a great ‘creative lifestyle blog’ founded by Chelsea, a mother and wife based in California, and started out as a way for her to organise her wedding DIY projects. Its brand is now well recognised and has expanded to include consulting, workshops and speaking engagements. The blog itself has a strong focus on DIY covering a wide range of areas in the home, from the wardrobe to the kitchen.


P.S. – I made this…

P.S. – I made this… was founded by Erica Domesek, a design and style expert based in New York City. She has stated that her mission is to help others stylishly personalise their lives through DIY and embrace her concept of “I see it. I like it. I make it.”  As a result of Erica being so passionate about hand-making beautiful objects and fashion accessories, she launched her website in 2009 and soon after, Elle magazine did a feature on her, dubbing her “Fashion’s Queen of DIY”. The website focuses on style and trendiness, and features loads of tutorials that are very easy to follow.

Cake Decorating and Why it is Genius


Recipes and all manner of cookery are popular sub-sections on many a homemade craft and design blog/website, and the variety of techniques used to make some truly fabulous eatables is astounding. Some of the disciplines in cookery are so creative and artistic, with the resulting foodstuffs resembling works of art that deserve to be housed in galleries rather than being consumed! Baking, for example, is one of those disciplines where the resultant end product, aesthetically, can be worthy of the Turner Prize.

In the last few years, I have particularly been struck by how artistic, creative and downright genius some of the designs of cakes are, as they are decorated in such a way that they do not even resemble edible food most of the time, rather, they resemble art work. With sculptures of literally anything that you can fathom being able to be reproduced, cake decorating has certainly gone up in many people’s estimations as an art form in itself worthy of distinction and celebration.

Defined in basic terms, cake decorating is the use of icing, frosting or other edible decorative elements to make plain cakes more visually interesting and appealing. To that end, cakes can also be moulded or sculpted to resemble three-dimensional objects, animals or even people.

There are three main types of cake decorating media, these are;


Royal Icing

Royal icing is sweet white icing made with egg whites, powdered sugar and lemon or lime juice. It is typically used on Christmas cakes, wedding cakes or birthday cakes and its resultant fine edges are ideal for piping elaborate writing or lacework onto cakes. In addition to being used as frosting, or for piping writing on cakes, royal icing can be used to make decorations to embellish the cake, i.e. flowers or figures, etc.

Sugar Paste

Sugar Paste

Sugar paste icing, also known as gum paste, is made from sugar and glucose and is used to cover cakes, mould figures and create decorations. It is brittle when dry, and dries quickly, and is ideal for making bigger decorations that will stand up on a cake, i.e. bride and groom figures. Homemade sugar paste icing is known to not store for long compared to commercial preparations, but can be much cheaper.



Fondant icing, usually referred to simply as fondant but also known as sugar paste, is commonly used to decorate wedding cakes but can be used to decorate any type of cake. In its simplest form, it is sugar and water cooked until it reaches a fudge-like consistency. In commercial preparations, it is made up of ingredients including gelatine, food-grade glycerine and sugar, and colourings and other flavourings are typically added too. It can also be made with powdered sugar and melted marshmallows. Rolled fondant is rolled out like a pie crust and then draped over the cake. Fondant’s popularity is increasing due to the fact that it provides a smooth and chic finish to a cake, coupled with its versatility when it comes to texturising it.



Given just how mind bogglingly creative some cake decorators are, I do not hesitate in using the often misused word ‘genius’. Their work proves that they are artistic geniuses and they deserve a lot of praise and recognition. And for those who go the extra mile by sharing their genius in the form of tutorials online, in my opinion, they deserve Nobel prizes… seriously. They share what is a beautiful art, and allow amateurs like myself and others to learn and attempt to recreate the beauty that they design. And that’s why I have decided to give a special mention to what I am dubbing, the unsung heroes of homemade craft and design.