I discovered design papers in my favorite local craft store during a sale campaign. Generally, design papers are thematic sets consisting of several illustrated sheets. I have noticed 3 sizes: 15×15 cm, A4, and 30×30 cm. These sheets of paper are quite strong (200+ gsm, more information in previous post) and mostly double-sided – there is a design on both sides. If you’ve seen beautiful floral papers on handmade albums and boxes, or a beautiful abstract background on cards with craft flowers, these are usually design papers. These sets can be found in very different styles and in some ways with a different function. They usually have 3 different components:
- a solid texture for the background (such as a wooden floor, sand, pattern, music sheet, book, etc.)
- an image with a central visual element (human or animal, house, door, window, wreath, bouquet, etc.)
- cut elements sheet (reduced size and elements without bckground design, also found in other images in the set, sentiments)
I initially started buying design papers by single pages. Large paper is usually sold one at a time (average 1€ per page). I started by choosing pages that could be cut and used on several cards. Since I didn’t cope with my Cricut right away, the design papers helped me. For me, they complemented each other, and I finally got some ideas moving – design papers can be used as a background for machine-made shapes, cut-out shapes can be used to complement images on design papers, and in fact, design paper can also be used to cut shapes.
The more different design paper brands I discover, the more new techniques and new ideas I find, as they often involve an active community on social media that shares their creations and tutorials. Some brands have a dedicated design team that regularly demonstrates something exciting. There are so many new findings in my head right now that I often don’t know where to start.
In this post, I will highlight some design paper brands with several collections that have caught my eye and who also have a highly active community that is interesting to follow. I also plan to write about the exciting types of cards that are popular on these channels right now.
My first purchase and current favorite brand is Mintay Papers. I have already bought several collections from them and I feel that I am still missing some. Mintay papers have a double-sided design and the pictures are often so realistic and beautiful that I don’t dare to attack them with scissors. Fortunately, each image is represented four times in a set and both sides can be used separately. Mintay has each collection in 2 sizes – 15×15 and 30×30 cm. The collections contain all the components described above and even have another interesting system that I have not noticed in others – each set has a collage of 12 square images in addition to the cut sheets. These pages were my first purchases. Small collections do not have cut-out and sentiment sheets. However, they have separate sets called Book line that contain only cut-outs. Mintay has it’s own “Dream Team” who actively shares their work and activities on both Facebook as well as Youtube. Every Sunday, a new video tutorial with at least one project is published on YouTube. Facebook also has a group where everyone can show off their Mintay inspired creations. If you notice a specific designer from the “Dream Team”, I also suggest to follow them separately. For example, I am following Alicia McNamara on Youtube because I like her style.
Lemoncraft is currently my second favorite. They offer double-sided design papers in all three sizes and their style reminds me a bit of Mintay. So far I have only bought 15×15 cm sets from Lemoncraft and I can say that these packages also have cut-out sheets. Compared to Mintay, their sets contain more subtle structured images that can be used as a background. They have an active team on Facebook, which often hosts live demonstrations and videos also on their Youtube channel. Since Lemoncraft produces its media primarily in Polish, I have rather started following one particular designer, who often makes her videos in both Polish and English – Emilia Sieradzan or Lady E Design on Facebook.
I have discovered that these beautiful papers all come from Poland – my recent discovery ScrapBoys is also from there. I have bought large 30×30 cm papers from this brand, because they offer a lot of beautiful backgrounds. Their collection Cotton Winter also inspired one Christmas project that I did with my Little One. I can’t say much about their media yet. I couldn’t find them on Youtube, but now I started following their Facebook site and it looks like they are also quite active.
Over a long time, in addition to sets, I also found a few 30×30 cm single sheets for my shopping basket – this time I got my hand on winter animal motifs from AB Studio. Of course, I researched further what the collections look like and it’s a very interesting style. What I like about their design is that the objects are depicted in great detail, but at the same time the background is very artistic and reminiscent of painting. On the website you will notice that you can also place direct orders here, and they are not only engaged in wholesale – the temptation to order some collections is strong.
For Christmas, I also discovered Stamperia for the first time. They originate from Hungary and compared to the previous brands, the style is also quite unique. Unfortunately, I can’t connect to their homepage right now, but here’s the collection Pink Christmas that I purchased. Compared to Polish design, they have an unconventional approach, but at the same time a vintage feel. If you research further, you will also find a good industrial design. With the Pink Christmas collection I liked the fact that they also have a different design structure – the cut-outs are not only images and messages, but also stamps and name tags. There are many beautiful backgrounds in the collection, but they also have a small visual element that can be highlighted if desired. I’ve been following them on social media for a while, but they have too many mixed media projects for my taste. If you like a more modern design and feel that paper alone is not enough, then they are just right for you – they organize many live workshops on Facebook and share these videos on Youtube as well.
Ciao Bella is my new dream from Italy. I don’t have any collections yet, but I discovered them on Amazon when I was writing my letter to Santa. As the Ciao Bella price range is double compared to the previously mentioned brands and I already had some Christmas papers stocked, I left them on hold for the time being. But my fingers are already itching to place an order – they have very inspiring fairy-tale and romantic designs, and they will probably land on my desk anyway.