journal page with DIY heart
Cardboard Crafts,  Paper Crafts,  Scrapbook Crafts

Making DIY scrapbook embellishments from boxes

Dress your scrapbook and shabby journal pages with these adorable DIY scrapbook embellishments made from corrugated cardboard!

I love the simplicity of creating my own DIY scrapbook embellishments for my pages, journals, and canvases. Firstly, it gives me a good deal of satisfaction when I see the end result. Secondly, sometimes it’s easier to make your own DIY embellishment to match or fit your project rather than struggle trying to buy something that really doesn’t work. These shabby corrugated hearts couldn’t get much easier and by using materials already on hand it’s a great money-saving project as well. And I want you to learn how to make these shabby hearts from plain everyday corrugated boxes.

Several pieces can be connected by twine or ribbon, consequently creating an adorable DIY scrapbook banner embellishment like this one.

Stringing the DIY scrapbook embellishments together create a banner.
Stringing three corrugated hearts together create an adorable banner for a scrapbook page.

The experimentation with corrugated cardboard embellishments started years ago after reading an article from a stamper who uses corrugated box pieces in her work. She cut the cardboard in smaller squares and rectangles so they are more manageable. Then she soaks them in water for a bit, which makes the layers easier to peel apart. She then uses the outer layers to stamp on. My mind immediately went to ornaments and scrapbooking and the corrugation. The CORRUGATION because I LOVE texture!

Making my own DIY scrapbook embellishments lets me use my favorite tools

I turned to my Tim Holtz Vagabond and an older Sizzix Die of Primitive Hearts. Both of these tools cut through thick materials so I tend to use these tools frequently.

The first pieces I made were for little ornies. They’re a favorite of mine because they can be displayed from cabinet knobs, lamp switches, shelves, and more. It’s a fun way to display mini art pieces.

These were made for Christmas time. The cute little shabby hearts really add a heart-felt touch to Christmas packaging – a little gift upon a gift! A while back my sister came for a visit so we made some star ornies as well. You can see them here.

Turning DIY scrapbook embellished shabby hearts into ornaments is great for gift-giving.
It’s the prefect time to tackle this project before the Christmas season.

Recently I’ve been working on a shabby journal so was looking for just the right thing to add to a couple pages. Nothing I was trying was working to my satisfaction so I was getting quite frustrated. Do you ever struggle with that? How do you work it all out to get to a point that you’re happy with it? Well, for me, I continue to pick up bits and pieces in my stash. Laying it here, trying it there. Hoping the light bulb will go off, resulting in me finding the perfect item!

Consequently, I found the perfect piece while dipping into a storage container full of precut flowers, hearts, stars, and medallions. The heart caught my eye and I knew once it was shabbied up it would fit perfectly with the theme.

Here’s what you need to make these DIY scrapbook embellishments from a corrugated box

  • disassemble and cut a cardboard box into pieces about 6X6 or so to make it easier to work with
  • die-cutting machine that cuts corrugated cardboard and shape die or cutting mat and a craft knife with a sharp blade
  • spritzer bottle with water
  • non-stick craft sheet or mat to protect your work surface
  • white gesso
  • script stamp
  • black waterproof ink (Ranger’s Archival is perfect)
  • small paint brush (1-inch or smaller)
  • bits of old lace or fabric, tiny buttons, printed words
  • liquid quick-dry glue (Designer Dries Clear is perfect)

Let the fun begin!

You can hop into my Free Resource Library to watch the video tutorial or follow along here (the password is paper). Begin by cutting your shape. If you do not own a die-cutting system that will cut through corrugated cardboard use a craft knife on a cutting mat to cut out several heart shapes. Next, lay your shapes on a non-stick craft sheet or mat to protect your surface. Spritz them with water and let rest for a few seconds so the cardboard is more pliable.

spritzing DIY scrapbook corrugated hearts with water
Use a small mister to wet the surface of the shabby hearts.

As the water begins to break down the fibers in the cardboard you can use a finger nail or a pic to muss up the top of the shape. In addition, tear some pieces off and use your finger to roll some of the loose paper edges for a decorative look.

mussing up surface of the DIY scrapbook corrugated heart.
Dig into the surface paper and gently peel the layer away so the corrugated part shows.

If your cardboard pieces are wet use a heat gun to dry them a bit before applying the gesso. I like to use a white gesso with a bit of firmer texture. Golden is my preferred brand but others work well also – use what you have!

I lightly dip my brush in my gesso and tap most of it off on the inside of the lid. I prefer a dry-brushed look so apply the gesso very lightly. You’ll see more on this in the video.

Using stamps and ink

When you’re done applying gesso use a heat tool to dry it before moving on. Use a stamp (I prefer my script stamp) to add ‘noise’ to your hearts. Ink your stamp with a waterproof ink, stamp the hearts, then use a heat tool to set the ink.

Once your ink and gesso are dry enough to move on use the ink pad to lightly ink the edges of the hearts if you’ll be using them on a scrapbook layout or in a journal. The inked edge will help the hearts stand out more from the background your adhere them to. If making ornaments there’s no need to ink the edges.

Watch my video

And there you have it! All pretty and shabby! Click on over to my Free Resource Library to watch the video I made showing how to create these shabby hearts. My password is: paper.

I hope you give these a try. Feel free to share your shabby hearts on my Facebook page:

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