Trending Craft Ideas You Really Should Try, Part One: Repurposed Paper Art

Three Quick Ideas: Handprint images on wrapping paper, print-out quote on map pages, and comic book art on old comic pages.
Left to Right: Hand prints on wrapping paper; print-out quote on map page, and easy comic book art on old comic pages.
My "El Chuco Tardis" image; watercolor and acrylic on a dictionary page.
My “El Chuco Tardis” image; watercolor and acrylic on a dictionary page.

These clever and nostalgic crafts have been popping up all over Pinterest, DeviantArt, and Tumblr sites, as well as at weekend art shows and comic-cons. They bear everything from floral patterns in watercolor and fairy tales in acrylic, to superhero portraits in sharpies and zombie apocalypse warning signs in pen-and-ink.

As varied as the subject matter and medium is, they all share one common denominator: They are drawn all drawn on some type of repurposed paper. Yellowed pages from old books and dictionaries, newspaper and tabloid pages, and leftover trimmings from wallpaper or drawer liners are popular canvases.

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Molly, 11, and Erin, 4, show off their creations.

The hardest part is deciding what to draw, so here are a couple of hints to get you started:
• Draw a simple emblem from a favorite superhero onto the page of an old comic book.
• Type a favorite book quote or movie line, and print it out on a letter-sized sheet of patterned scrapbook paper.
•  For younger kids, use stamps or stencils to make pictures on pages from old dime novels (make sure the page’s content is family friendly as well).
• Make hand or footprints in washable paint on patterned wrapping paper or wallpaper.
• Draw abstract pictures of landmarks, vehicles, or people on pieces of travel maps or outdated atlas pages.

Not ready to rip up any books or magazines? Two sites I’ve found that offer free vintage-style downloads are olddesignshop.com and callmevictorian.com.

If you want to give these finished creations as gifts, this is also a good way to make new use out of old picture frames. This type of art even makes those ornate dollar store frames look cool.

This is one of the simplest ways of turning most any drawing or painting into something pretty unique, no matter how much “natural drawing talent” you think you have or don’t have.  The possibilities are endless.

Next week: Geeking up the crayon drip method.

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Lisa Kay Tate is a veteran feature writer with 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine and freelance writing. In addition to serving as Associate Editor for her local arts and entertainment guide, El Paso Scene, she has been a regular contributor to the site ihogeek.com and maintains her own blogsite at lisathegeekmom.wordpress.com. She and her husband, writer/photographer Rick, live on the edge of "New Texico" where they keep busy raising their two geeklings and sharing space with their dog, Sirius Black, and cat, Loki.