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DIY: Paint Chip Crafts

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Despite being born into a family of artists, I have… let’s call it limited artistic talent. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have any artistic ability, it just means I’m more crafty than classically trained. Case in point: there are plenty of art-inspired DIY projects that don’t require an understanding of composition or contour. My favorite example? Paint chips.

Paint chips can usually be snagged for free at paint and hardware stores – probably nice to ask if you’re snagging a grip of them, if you’re being nefarious, I don’t know about it. And trust me, there’s enough neat projects here to give anyone a case of sticky fingers in the paint aisle of the hardware store.

Notepads: This one is easy enough – just fold the paint chip over, fill with paper cut to size, and seal with a staple. If you’ve got a spiral binder, you can use that instead. Decorate with letters, images, ribbons, stuck on jewels…

Gift Tags: This is a neat repurposing trick: either just write directly onto the paint chip using a metallic pen, then adhere to a gift, or use a hole punch to punch a festive shape in the middle of the paint chip and attach.

Bookmarks: Punch a hole. Pull some (Colored? Textured?) string through it. Decorate as needed.

Cards: Decorate the colored part of the paint chip with stamps, write your note on the back. Likewise, they also work as moving announcements.

Business Card Holders: A few snips here and there, a little origami-style folding action and you can make yourself a box out of paint chips – either in a rectangular, business card shape or a more true, square box version.

Calendar: If you’re as organized as you are crafty then try your hand at a decoupage-esque paint chip wall calendar. It’s mostly sizing, cutting, and gluing so even disorganized folks stand a chance here. (The one in the photo is framed in glass; a dry erase marker is used to write on the surface).

Rolodex: Speaking of organization…. take apart a cheap-o rolodex, save one of the inserts as a template and cut out your paint chips to use as dividers instead.

Napkin or Utensil Holders: Make two parallel incisions in your paint chip, put a stamp or lettering in the middle and thread a napkin through it. Alternatively, sew or glue two paint chips together (leaving the top oepn) and you’ve got a colorful utensil holder.

Decoupage: Upgrade a plain lamp shade with paint chips, it just take some measuring, cutting, hot glue gunnin’ and (my favorite) packing tape. It’s like a punk-as-fuck decoupage. Likewise, you can use paint chips in actual decoupage – these table tops turned out pretty lovely and were assembled with double-sided tape and mod podge. If that sounds like a bigger project than you’re up for, then start small by decoupaging coasters instead.

Garlands and Mobiles: Remember all those punched-out bits you have left over from the gift tags? String them up and make a garland! Or a mobile! Hell make both! Adhere using glue or tiny holes and string. A garland is pretty straightforward, mobile folks, you’re going to sew your shapes onto your strings to create strands, then tie the strands in even spaces to a hoop.

Art: And by that I don’t mean “ART” like “uh… sure, art whatever that means! throw some crap together!” I mean: circles overlapping to create a calm ocean effect, or geometric shapes in patterns, or contrasting dots, or mod dots, or city skylines, or collages, or even just a huge wall of color melting from shade to shade. Who needs to be Picasso?


Images courtesy,,,,,, (calendar and rolodex),,, and (Etsy Seller PaperStories)

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Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

A freelance writer, blogger and poet based in San Francisco, Amber has written for PC World, InfoWorld, and the 16th & Mission Review. She has performed at City Hall, Litquake, the Brainwash, 16th & Mission, BlueSix, and SFSU among other places. Amber is also consummate fan of swearing, organizational freak, yoga practitioner, music geek, caffeine addict, and tattoo enthusiast who enjoys platform shoes, making out, thumb wrestling and fighting the good fight. She owns a bicycle named Gretel, a motor scooter named Elroy and a cat named Simon. She can be found in various virtual locations all over your interwebs.


  1. […] tag a face lift with fabric and Mod Podge, or acrylic paint (and sealer!). Use a paint chip (yay paint chip crafts!), or a square piece of canvas. And bon […]

  2. August 13, 2012 at 10:14 am

    […] tag a face lift with fabric and Mod Podge, or acrylic paint (and sealer!). Use a paint chip (yay paint chip crafts!), or a square piece of canvas. And bon […]