How to generate New Ideas using Scrap Paper

Tag 3: Sea Bird

Cut-off strips of paper, from making square substrates (for my 365-collages) or from book binding projects, often go directly into the trash can. Mostly because they are very narrow and hard to keep organized. But really, every piece of paper can be used! Sometimes I keep them together with a paper clip, and use them for writing lists, note taking or to write thank you notes when I sell something in my Etsy Shop!

Lately, I’ve been keeping strips of thick paper on my desk to draw these little mixed media doodles and ideas on, and I found that it lead me to new, cool discoveries!

How to generate new ideas on small tags

If you use scrap paper, paper that was actually not cut to be used, but are only left over from other projects, you too might discover the secret of scrap paper. Because it is not precious or meant to become a keepsake, it’s basically just sitting there waiting for you to mess it up. Right? And because of this you can let go of preconception of who you are and what it is that you create. I find this so freeing!

Tag 1: Pink flower in the making
Tag 1: Pink Flower

What comes out on the scrap paper will be something new, something you haven’t done before.

Find New Ideas using Scrap Paper

So, the next time you’re cutting postcards or book pages to size, be sure to save some of the leftover bits. It doesn’t matter if they’re covered in paint already, or plain white. Clip them together with a paper clip and keep them on your studio desk. When you feel too tired to paint in your actual Art Journal, try a scrap paper piece. Just try.

Fill a few scrap papers this week and see what comes out for you. Probably something that is new to you, an idea that you didn’t know you had perhaps.

A new shape: a bird found in the in-between where the pencil didn’t color. Or a new combination perhaps: like a drawing of a flower beside some tissue collage… Or maybe the oblong shape of the paper will inform the shape of the doodle: a oblong head that I don’t know where it came from! All unexpected surprises for me!

Tag 2: Angry person

Every time I try a new kind of paper or notebook, I am amazed to discover how much the format influences the outcome! When the intention is different, new brain paths are born – and new ideas generated.

I try to throw away left over bits of paper sometimes, but it is hard. I am a hoarder of paper, and I always have been. I started my paper collection as a young kid, and don’t think I will ever stop. Even the smallest bits can be perfect for a collage. And the left over from making journals or collage squares, are as you can see, perfect for idea generating.

Keep some on your desk, in your handbag, bring them on travels or on the commute to work. If you mess one up you can throw it away and play/create on another one.

I hope you’ll give scrap paper creating a try!? Let me know what you find.

** Also check out my updated Tutorial Page – lots of ideas there!

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10 Responses to How to generate New Ideas using Scrap Paper

  1. Rhiannon says:

    Such a great post Hanna :) And perfect timing, I need to try something new today and this looks like a fab idea. I love your spring one the most :)

  2. What a good idea! Right now I just use my scraps as bookmarks in my reading or cookbooks. Doodling on them first might turn up something new and they’d be cuter in my books :)

  3. Kim Mailhot says:

    I am like you, Hanna. I when I see the scraps of paper or thread on my desk, I often think how pretty they are and have a hard time throwing them away. Using then in impromptu pieces like mini collages is brilliant ! So is letting go of preconceived notions about what you are going to create !
    Love this post !

  4. jenni says:

    I love all of these especially the fuchsia flower! I have all kinds of paper scraps that I save and I am definitely going to try this idea, so much fun!

  5. storybeader says:

    I have a hard time throwing away any bit of paper, no matter what shape they are in. Unless I’m at my day job. I have leftover boxes (and more boxes) in my workshop that I keep paper in. Some are so tiny, I sort them by color. I love to sort! I’m actually a sorting nut! {:-Deb

  6. zouzou says:

    As usual your are so inspiring, thank you so much!

  7. Anne0904 says:

    Wow, like this a lot!
    Will try it with all the scrap that lies around.

  8. Erica says:

    When I have bits of scrap paper (like you I am a hoarder of paper) I generally take my hole punches to them, most recently I took some gel plate prints and punched Christmas trees out of them to stick in holiday cards. Though next time I go through my paper hoard I may have to give your idea a shot. Thanks for another incredible post.

  9. Carin says:

    Great post Hanna! I usually save those scraps too and use them. Sometimes they become a part of something bigger (an art journal page, collage, painting), sometimes they’re cut down (ATCs, bookmarks), and sometimes I just test new materials, ideas or doodles on them. They’re so handy.

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