Tricks to Paper Piecing

Heather Color Tricks to Paper Piecing

Heather Campbell, Paper Crafts Go-to Gal

Do you have a favorite stamping technique?  It’s hard to pick just one, I know!  I definitely have multiple favorites but, for me, one of them is paper piecing.

Paper piecing is a simple technique where an image is stamped onto different papers and then cut out and layered together to create a final image.  I love paper piecing because it justifies my collection of 6×6 paper pads and it allows me to easily incorporate pretty colors and some of my favorite patterns (think polka dots and stripes) into my cards.

Heather Campbell Tricks to Paper Piecing
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For today’s post, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my paper piecing tricks! The first step to paper piecing is to stamp your image onto paper.  I like to use a mix of patterned paper and cardstock so that the end result isn’t overwhelming.  Also, I find that stamps that have thick lines work best for this technique.  Thick lines are more forgiving when it comes to cutting right through the stamped line.  Lastly, make sure you use a dark ink that won’t smudge!

Heather Campbell 002 Tricks to Paper Piecing Next up, the fun part of cutting!  When it comes to paper piecing, comfortable, precision tip scissors are essential.  Hand cramps while cutting are no fun! When I cut my stamped images out, I always do a rough cut first around the image so I’m working with a smaller piece of paper rather than the entire 6×6 piece.  When it comes to actually cutting out the stamped image, cut right through the stamped line using long, slow cuts.  Start your cut as far into the scissors as you can and turn the paper instead of the scissors!

Heather Campbell 003 Tricks to Paper Piecing Since I’m the science type, we’re going to bring math into the equation here.  The angle at which the paper is cut is an important one!  Instead of holding the scissors at a 90 degree angle to the paper, try cutting at an angle closer to 135 degree angle to the paper.

Heather Campbell 004 Tricks to Paper Piecing To show the difference the angle at which the paper is cut makes in the end result, I cut two of these monkeys out.  The monkey on the left is at a 90 degree angle and the monkey on the right is at a 135 degree angle.  By holding your scissors at the 135 degree angle to the paper, you don’t reveal the paper underneath the ink.

Heather Campbell 005 Tricks to Paper Piecing The next step is one I don’t always do, but will depending on how much white is showing beneath the stamped line.  If you still have white showing, you can take a marker the same color as your ink and lightly run it around the side of your cut out image.  Here I’ve run a black marker around his head and half of the arm.  See the difference?

Heather Campbell 006 Tricks to Paper Piecing I could have left my little monkey all polka dot but I wanted to give him an accent color on his tummy and face.  To not overwhelm the end result with multiple patterns, I used solid cardstock and trimmed it the same way as I did his body.  Then, I simply adhere the face and belly to the bottom polka dot layer.

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With all of my paper pieced images complete, it’s time to get working on the end result!  On the base layer of my card, I stamped my images again, in the same color ink.  It’s important to stamp the images on the layer they’ll be adhered so that the stamped lines are a consistent width!

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With only a few supplies and a cutting trick or two, the end result is a seamless mix of patterns and papers.

Now that I’ve shared one of my favorite techniques with you, I’d love to hear what your favorite techniques are. Comment below for your chance to win a copy of Stamp It! Techniques, Volume 2, a special issue that focuses on six other stamping techniques! Make sure to leave your comment by 5:00 pm MST on Friday, February 28.

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One last thing before you go!  Today is also the last Wednesday of the month, and after taking a bit of a break to enjoy the holidays, the Go-to Gals are back with another Go-to Gal Designer Challenge.  This month, we’re focusing on Technique Tuesday!  Please check out the following blogs for some Technique Tuesday inspiration:







Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing a part of your day with me!


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85 Responses to Tricks to Paper Piecing

  1. Lyn Kaufmann says:

    Adorable card. I love to color with markers on cards.

  2. bearsmother says:

    I like to fussy cut. It’s fun to use the dies to cut out pieces of a picture but you still get a color around the edges. I like to cut right up to the line.

  3. Michelle says:

    Such a cute card! I love this technique.

  4. Therese says:

    Thanks for the great tips! One of my fave techniques is masking!

  5. I love spritzing, spritzing, spritzing. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  7. Jessica Canham says:

    Thanks for the tip! I like to color with my Copics but I’ve recently dug out my embossing powders and have been enjoying them again.

  8. Teri says:

    High 5, Heather! Great post!

  9. stamping sue says:

    I have a few what I call go to techniques I like to do: emboss resist, paper piecing and masking.
    stamping sue

  10. Peggy B says:

    Thanks for your helpful, detailed hints on paper piecing. Now this may be one of my favorite techniques!

  11. Kristen V says:

    I don’t have a favorite technique yet. There’s so many wonderful ways to create and right now I’m just trying to find out whats me.

  12. Joyce says:

    Oh wow! Never knew the 135-degree cutting tip. My favorite technique is stamping a detailed outline image multiple times then cut them into different pieces and layered them up. I have a couple of flower stamps that I like to use this technique with.

  13. Indy says:

    Actually, I love paper piecing! Thanks for sharing some of your tricks!

  14. Leanne S says:

    Thanks for sharing the technique. Well explained.

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  16. Melissa S. says:

    I’m an electronic die cut girl and I love creating cut files for my stamp designs and then cutting them just a hair smaller than they need to be. I failed cutting in kindergarten and have always been just a little bit behind the curve since!


  17. Janis in ID says:

    I don’t really have a favorite technique. I am pretty basic and still learning.
    <3 J

    jwoolbright at gmail dot com

  18. Lisa Norstrom says:

    I am a technique junkie – but I am partial to heat embossing!

  19. kelly says:

    Great explanation! I use the masking technique often.

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  21. In the pursuit of the latest and greatest in dies and electronic cutting machines/files I had forgotten my first love of paper piecing & fussy cutting…looks like it is time to break out the scissors and the old HOTP Paper Piecing 101, 101, & 103.

  22. Cindy Reynoso says:

    Lots of great tips on cutting! Love the look of paper piecing, but hard for me to get a good cut…will definitely try the angle tip! Thanks!

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  24. Marcia Gray says:

    I love your example…so cute! I enjoy creating story layers on pages and cards so often use masking and paper piecing techniques.

  25. Deborah Rikard says:

    I’ve never seen paper piecing described before. Thank you for the information. My favorite technique is anything involving distress inks and water.

  26. Sheryl Richards says:

    Thank you for sharing your favorite tip. I never heard of the 135 degree angle before, but I will try it next time I paper piece. I also liked your card design. Very cute!

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  28. Louise Dahlgren says:

    I love this idea. I will search for good shearsl. This is a fun card for all ages. Thank you so much for sharing your style.

  29. Peggy Pride says:

    I love these tips. I am just starting to do this with my stamping and appreciate your simple instructions. Take care.

  30. Goldie says:

    This card is too cute! Love your tips! I need to try this!

  31. Michele says:

    Thanks for the tips !!! I love using that paper piecing.

  32. Deirdre says:

    Love it! Thanks for sharing your tips Heather.

  33. Susan Krueger says:

    I love paper piecing and “wet” embossing. I’m not a math person so I don’t understand the 135 degree cutting (even looking at the picture), can you explain. I know to work the paper and try to do that as much as I can.

  34. Jane Schroeder says:

    Thanks for sharing your technique fir paper piecing. I think I need to go out to get some better scissors. I like all the photos that went along with this article. It helped me learn better what you were teaching us. Thank you!

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