A Helpful Hint for My Fellow Paper Addicts: Making a Paper Swatch Ring


Instead of sharing a new project today, I’d like to share an arts and crafts tip that will help those suffering from the same affliction as I am: paper addiction.

Paper addiction starts out innocently enough.  You buy a few sheets of 12 x 12 patterned paper here, a roll or two of washi paper there.  And then, before you know what’s happened, you’ve got a stash of paper that defies logic – more paper than you could use in a month, and maybe even a year!

This post isn’t about curbing your addiction, so worry not my fellow paper addicts.  My helpful hint shares a simple way to catalog your paper stash – in order to prevent duplicate paper sheet purchases, and to aid your muse when you’re creating.


My Paper Swatch System

I devised this simple paper swatch system years ago, and it has served me well.  The concept is simple: When I buy a new sheet of larger paper, I remove a small piece of the paper and add it to my paper swatch ring.  Why?  This system helps me both in practical ways and in creative ways.

I own several sheets of rolled paper and because I have them tucked away on a shelf that’s higher than eye level, it’s easy to miss all the lovely patterns at my disposal.  Out of sight, out of mind – right?  My collection of paper swatches gives me a visual reminder of all the gorgeous papery goodness that’s available to me.  When I’m creating and designing I can pull out my handy-dandy swatch ring and know, at a glance, which papers I have at the ready that might fit my needs.

This swatch ring also helps prevent duplicate purchases.  It’s all too easy to fall in love with a sheet of paper for a second time, forgetting you already have one at home.  By bringing your paper swatch ring along when you shop you’ll have a portable catalog of what you already have at home.


Making a Paper Swatch is Super Easy!

To make a paper swatch ring of your own, you’ll need a few very basic supplies.  Here’s what I used:

1¼” square punch
¼” round hole punch
6” of ball chain with clasp

To assemble your swatch ring, simply punch a square from the corner of your sheets of paper.  Next, punch a hole in one corner of each square paper swatch using your round hole punch.  Finally, string your paper swatches onto the ball chain and then close the chain.

Keeping Your Paper Swatch Ring Current

Maintenance is quick and easy!  If you buy a new sheet of paper, punch out a square of it before you put it away and add that swatch to your ring. If you use up a particular sheet of paper, simply rip the appropriate swatch square off your ring.

I hope you find this “paper wrangling” method as helpful as I do.   And remember, fellow paper addicts: you’re not alone!

Warm regards,

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  1. Posted June 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm by Fran aka Redondowrit | Permalink

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Posted June 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm by paddy | Permalink

    love your paper swatch idea

  3. Posted June 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm by Beth Nielsen | Permalink

    How cool is that? So great for organizing & keeping things orderly. You are right about the duplication too; often I end up damaging some pieces trying to see what all I have. ACK! ;o)

  4. Posted June 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm by Pam Morgan | Permalink

    “….more paper than you could use in a month, and maybe even a year.” Ha! How about a lifetime?! Great idea, Melody. Your blog continues to be an inspiration….visually, creatively and gastronomically.

  5. Posted June 9, 2011 at 8:08 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Hello, fellow paper addict! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog, and that you find it inspirational on multiple levels. Woo hoo!

  6. Posted June 9, 2011 at 8:09 pm by Melody | Permalink

    I’m glad you found this tip helpful. Please let me know if you decide to adopt this method…

  7. Posted June 9, 2011 at 8:09 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you – so glad you love it! Thank you for commenting!

  8. Posted June 9, 2011 at 8:10 pm by Melody | Permalink

    It’s my pleasure – glad you found this post helpful. Thank you for reading, and commenting!