A Glammed Up, Girlie Paperweight That's Seriously Easy to Make

Whenever I pass by a Target store, I'll often stop to pick up a few things so I can look through their selection of Papyrus greeting cards.  These cards are very well designed, decorated with all sorts of embellishments, and perfect for creating some seriously cute paperweights.


For this project you'll need a greeting card and a paperweight kit.  The card used in the example is a birthday card from Papyrus ("Four Girls Playing Dress Up", papyrusonline.com)  Because I wanted to include as much of the design as possible in the paperweight, I used the largest paperweight kit we have available (PhotoWeights: Large Rectangle).

Each paperweight kit includes a pre-cut, self-adhesive mounting board.  Simply apply the adhesive side of the board to the back of the design and cut any paper that extends beyond the edge of the board.  The board is rigid, so it will act as an excellent cutting guide.  The photo above shows the artwork already mounted to the board.

A word about glitter.  I'm not a big fan of glittery greeting cards because the glitter can get everywhere - your hands, clothing, face.  Before you assemble your paperweight, I recommend removing any loose glitter by running a dry cloth or brush over the design.  A few gentle puffs from a can of compressed air will work nicely, too.

Before you begin this step, clean your paperweight with a streak-free glass cleaner.  After you check to make certain there are no smudges or dust particles on the glass, place your artwork face-down into the recessed are on the bottom of the paperweight.

For the finishing touch, cover the base of the paperweight with the pre-cut, self-adhesive bottom pad that's included in your paperweight kit.

Greeting card paperweights are perfect for holiday gifts because there are so many card designs to choose from.  As you can see, they're also a breeze to make.


Turning Old, Brass Hardware into Pretty Paperweights

If you look closely for the small things we tend to overlook when searching for design elements, you can discover a treasure trove of findings you can use to create some very beautiful and unique paperweights.

This paperweight was created with a brass key hole cover I found while sifting through a $1.00 box at an antique flea market.  The only other items required for the design include a couple pieces of scrapbook paper.

Pictured above are the elements needed to create this paperweight.  They include a paperweight kit (PhotoWeights: Round), key hole cover, a small piece of black, textured paper, and a swatch of scrapbook paper.  I used paper from a paper pad (MME #P0R6X6, Cowboy) that resembles an old, French newspaper.

The first step is to cover the self-adhesive mounting board (included with each paperweight kit) with the paper being used as the background.  Trim any paper that extends beyond the edge of the board.

Center the key hole cover onto the mounting board, or place it in the desired location.  Using a pen or pencil, outline the key hole opening and mark the location of any nail holes.

Nail holes are relatively small, so the area behind them can be blacked out with pen.  For the key hole opening, I glued a small piece of textured, black paper over the area that will be visible.

Because the back of they key hole cover is not smooth, and doesn't have any flat surfaces, I used hot melt glue to apply it to the background.  Keep the glue away from the key and nail openings.  Also be careful not to burn yourself.  When you're using hot glue on metal, the entire piece will heat up.

After you've cleaned your paperweight with streak-free glass cleaner, and removed any dust or particles from the paperweight and your artwork, place the mounting board face-down into the recessed area on the bottom of the paperweight.

To finish, place the plush, self-adhesive bottom pad over the base of the paperweight.

I hope this project will inspire you to see the design possibilities in objects you may not have looked for in the past. 


Capture Your Summer Memories in a Glass Paperweight

When my husband and I travel, I always keep an eye out for just the right souvenirs to bring home to family and friends. As you've probably experienced, finding the right mementos can be a challenge because so many souvenir shops are stocked with key chains, magnets, T-shirts, and other kitschy items that lack style and character.

If you're traveling with children, visiting a souvenir shop comes with a special set of challenges. Stuffed animals, puzzles, and other colorful, tempting merchandise are placed right at a child's eye level, making tears and tantrums a very real possibility.

Some of the best travel mementos can't be found in any store.  They may be stuck deep in your jeans pocket, buried in your purse or wallet, or hidden on your digital camera!

You can easily personalize PhotoWeights paperweight kits with tickets, maps, postcards, tokens, pressed pennies, hotel stationery anything you may have collected along the way.  Glass paperweights can also turn a favorite vacation photo into a treasured keepsake.

So when something pulled off a rack or shelf won’t do, create a souvenir paperweight that tells your personal story!  Here are a few designs ideas to show you how.

Using Photographs

Bring life to a favorite vacation snapshot and relive the moment by turning the image into a keepsake paperweight for your desk.  (Shown: Oval Paperweight Kit)

Preserving Small Mementos

We made the shell paperweight pictured above using a photograph as the background, adding text to the image before printing.  We glued the shell directly to the image.  (Shown:  Heirloom Dome Paperweight Kit)

Maps, Tickets, Playbills, Etc.

Look for scraps of printed items you've collected and haven't had the heart to throw away.  This paperweight pairs a New York City MetroCard with a map of the New York City Subway system.  (Shown: Large Rectangle Paperweight Kit)

What's the wildest or wackiest vacation experience you've ever had?  What item do you have from that experience?  Leave your comments below.  We'd love to hear from you!

Posted on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 | Categories:


Create Decorative Photo Mats for Use in Your Paperweight Designs

Creating a photo mat for your paperweight designs is easy.  This post will show you how I made a simple mat out of colored paper.  I'll also explain different variations that will help you achieve a variety of looks.

The purpose of the mat is to offer a decorative border for your photograph while providing an area that may be used to apply decoration, add a small trinket, or feature text.

For this project I used a hole punch that produces a cameo-shaped opening with a scalloped edge (Recollections 1.5", Michaels Stores).  For the mat I used blue scrapbook cardstock.  The 'baby boy' dimensional sticker was part of a set by K&Company (Sweet Pea Little Prince Grand Adhesions).  The paperweight kit style is the Heirloom Rectangle.

The first step is to trace around your paper kit's mounting board onto the paper being used for your mat.  You can use solid color paper, patterned paper, or paper you've printed a design or lettering on.  For example, next to your child or grandchild's school portrait, you can print their name, the date, the name of the school, and the grade they're in.

After you've cut out your photo mat, create the opening for your image with a decorative punch.  These may be purchased at most craft stores.  My local Michaels and JoAnn stores have a fairly large selection.  Martha Stewart Crafts has a number of punches available.  If you don't see these with the other brands, they may displayed with the Martha Stewart Crafts products.

If you don't have a photo that's the right size to fit into the mat's opening, adjust the size of the image on your computer and print it on quality photo paper that resists fading.  The photo should be slightly larger than the opening so you can adhere it to the back of the mat.

Apply a small amount of glue to the reverse side of the photo mat.  You can also use permanent mounting tape for this step.

After the glue has dried, place the mat (with image) onto the adhesive side of the mounting board.

A dimensional sticker (K&Company, Sweet Pea Little Prince Grand Adhesions) was placed in the open area to the right of the photo.  Other design ideas include a photo of baby's first hair cut with a lock of hair displayed on the mat; a photo taken at the beach with a few small seashells; or a wedding photo accompanied by a few pressed flowers.

Once the design was finished, the paperweight was completed by placing the design face-down into the recessed area on the bottom of the paperweight (shown above).  The plush bottom pad was then placed over the base of the paperweight, holding the mounting board in place.

My next design post will include a couple different variations using a photo mat, including designs that feature text and small mementos.


How Do You Display Your Digital Memories?

While I was setting up for a design piece for my blog this morning, and about to recommend a project involving photographs, it occurred to me that we’re not printing pictures the way we did in the past.

Now that film cameras are relics of a bygone era, and everything has gone digital, how do you display the memories you’ve captured in photographs?  How has digital photography changed the way you chronicle your life in pictures?

Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2013 | Categories:


Collection of Low Profile Skeleton Keys from K&Company

One of the many memories I have of my grandmother's house, a small bungalow just outside Los Angeles, is a collection of decades-old keys that hung in a kitchen cabinet, seemingly forgotten.  Perhaps the only thing they opened was a memory or two - a first car, her childhood home, maybe a key she brought with her from Germany when she was a child.  What I would give for those keys now!

Skeleton keys are among my favorite items to use in my paperweight designs.  Unfortunately, many keys have a profile too deep to fit the interior of several PhotoWeights paperweight styles.  This is why I wanted to share a recent find that offers the look of timeworn keys while providing a low profile and a flat surface that make them easy to adhere to fabric and paper.  The set is called Life's Journey Keys Metal Art (565227) by K&Company.  (UPC 643077565227).

The "Life's Journey" collection includes ten different keys that range from 1.5" to 3.5" long with a thickness of 1/16" - 1/8", depending on the style.  The finishes include aged brass, copper, and steel.  The photo above shows the depth of one of the keys in the collection.

These keys are perfect when displayed alone on scrapbook paper.  You can also use them to create mixed media vignettes for your paperweights.

If you need some inspiration for your paperweight designs, visit a local craft store to see all the different metal art and embellishments available these days.  Bring a paperweight with you to help you envision how items will appear and fit within the display area.


Applying Charms and Accents to the Top Surface of Your Paperweight

I love finding new products to use in my paperweight designs.  The latest is a collection of charms called art-i-cake by Amy Labbe (Distributed by Horizon Group USA, Inc.)  The designs truly capture the look of handcrafted pieces I've seen in magazines featuring mixed media artwork.  The quality is also much higher than many other charms and findings sold in typical craft stores.

Amy Labbe's line of charms (pictured above) includes some pieces thin enough to fit the display area depth of most of our paperweight kits.  Unfortunately, many of the larger, statement pieces are far too big.  The solution?  Think outside the box... or the paperweight.

This idea post is all about taking advantage of the prime real estate on the top surface of your paperweight by applying charms, decorative accents, and other items.

For this project I used the "Sassy Girl" charm (Item AL44251, UPC 765940442517) which came on a card with a cute shoe charm I'll save for another project.  I also used PhotoWeights Oval Paperweight Kit.

I applied a clear urethane glue to the reverse side of the charm (Liquid Fusion).  Choose a maximum strength glue that will bond to glass, as well as the material being glued to the paperweight.

Here's how I applied the charm to the paperweight.  Because the glue will run, I left the charm face-down on my work table.  After cleaning the top surface of the paperweight with glass cleaner,  I slowly positioned the paperweight over the charm and lowered it into place.  Once the glass made full contact with the glue, I carefully turned the paperweight over, made sure the charm was centered, and allowed the glue to dry thoroughly.

After the glue has dried, and your charm is securely bonded to the glass, you can place a photo, decorative paper, fabric, or other material underneath the glass to act as a background.  (Simply use the finishing kit that comes with each paperweight kit.)  You can also leave the paperweight as it is if you prefer the look of the clear glass.

I'm a huge fan of scrapbook paper that's sold by the individual sheet.  Don't be afraid to play with patterns.  In the photo above, I show the paperweight against two very different papers - solid green and a black and tan damask.  As you can see, the result is two very different looks.  This sassy girl paperweight called for something bold!  (Recollections, Black and Tan Damask, 12" x 12" scrapbook paper, Michaels).

I hope this post has given you some new ideas on how to design and finish your paperweights.  If you have any questions, or if you need some help or advise on a particular design dilemma, please don't hesitate to send me an email or leave a comment.  I'm always happy to help.


Creating Old-fashioned Paperweights with Antique and Vintage Photographs

I love to create old-fashioned paperweights with antique photographs.  It's a wonderful way to display long-forgotten images that would otherwise remain in album, box, or dresser drawer.

When you're working with family photos, I recommend scanning the images to your computer so the original photo will be preserved.  This will allow you re-size your images and add text using a image or word processing program.  You can also print duplicate copies to create additional paperweights as gifts or mementos for an upcoming family reunion.

Many antique shops have a variety of photographs available for sale.  I call these instant relatives.  I'll often flip through boxes of snapshots and cabinet cards, looking for interesting photos to add to my collection.  (I collect photos of farm houses, cats, and children holding teddy bears.)  Look for images that can start a conversation.  These make the best paperweights.

For a touch of whimsy, add a balloon caption that reflects a funny thought the person in the photo may have been thinking. This can transform an ordinary photograph into something truly special.


Antique Button Card Paperweight


This paperweight would make the perfect gift for a seamstress or someone who collects antique sewing notions.  It's made with an old sewing card that still has it's pearlized buttons attached.  The artwork on the card features two peacocks with their outstretched feathers fashioned into a border.

The buttons are sewn onto the card with a small sheet of foil behind them.  This has a mirror effect that adds a lot to this piece.  I added a needle and thread to the design to give it a little more interest.

The first step in creating this paperweight was to make a background to build the design on.  I chose a sheet of greenish-blue paper from a scrapbooking pad.  (The color was a close match to a color in the peacock feathers.)  The paper was placed on the pre-cut, self-adhesive mounting board included with the paperweight kit.  (PhotoWeights:  Large Rectangle)

I used double-stick tape on the back of the button card because I wanted the card to lay as flat as possible on the background.  Be sure to use permanent tape, as removable tape is likely to lift.

As you can see, the buttons are sewn into the card.  Sometimes you'll find the thread used to do this is somewhat delicate, especially on older pieces.  If this is the case, re-stringing the buttons with new thread is an option.  If the thread is still in fair condition, you can also apply just enough glue to the thread on the back of the card to keep it secure.

After you place the button card on the background, gently press down on all areas of the card to ensure a tight bond with the double-stick tape.

Here's a tip.  Before I applied the tape-backed button card to the background, I drew a faint line with pencil as a guide to help me center the card.

I wanted to add a little something to the design to give it more interest.  I thought a needle and thread would be the perfect element to tie everything together.  After I threaded the needle, the needle was glued to the button card with clear adhesive.

The thread was laid across the buttons.  In order to keep it in place, I used a small amount of clear glue on the middle button, second row from the bottom.  The end of the thread was tucked underneath the mounting board and held in place with tape.

Here is a close-up view of the finished paperweight.

Button cards are just one of the many things you can find at flea markets and antique shops for your paperweight projects.  Dollar bins are a great place to look!


Bronze Paisley Paperweight with Ribbon and Buckle

When I thought of doing a buckle paperweight, I purchased the supplies to take it in two very different directions.  There's the bronze paisley design that's shown, and one that will involve bright pink ribbon and a round, rhinestone buckle.  I'll save the glitzy one for next week.

This is an incredibly easy paperweight to create.  You'll need some decorative background paper, a slide buckle, and a short length of ribbon that fits the buckle's opening.  Our Heirloom Rectangle paperweight kit works very well for this project.

The photo above shows the finished design before it was displayed in the paperweight.  The adhesive side of the mounting board was covered with scrapbook paper (The Paper Company, Bronze Paisley on Ivory, P89103).  Before I adhered the buckle (La Mode Buttons Style 24763) to the background with fabric and paper glue, I slid the ribbon through the buckle, making sure there was an extra 2" on each end to tuck underneath the board. 

Once the glue on the buckle sets, secure the ends of the ribbon to the back of the board with a small amount of hot melt glue.  (I prefer hot melt glue for this step because it sets instantly and won't allow the ribbon to loosen.)

When the artwork is complete, place the mounting board (decorated side down) within the recessed area on the bottom of the paperweight.  Cover the base of the paperweight with the bottom pad that's included with each paperweight kit.

See our illustrated, step-by-step instructions at PhotoWeights.com.