From Fabric to Paper Card Holder

From Fabric to Paper Cardholder

For my last project for Arnold Grummer's Design Team, I will show you how I use fabric and thread scraps from textile projects and make them into handmade paper. This project will detail how to make a card holder out of handmade paper.

If you have been following me very long you may remember the Boho Meets Boro Bag I made for Gwen Lafleur's Artist Tribe.

If you are going to carry a bag like that about in public, people are going to talk to you. If you are lucky they will ask for your contact information. So having a business card on hand is a good idea. Having your business cards in a case that matches your bag - well that just adds to your mystique! 

If you sew you probably know about all the cut thread ends, the tiny pieces of fabric trimmed from the seam or left over after cutting out your project. If you have ever wondered if there is something you can do with these leftovers? This is the post for you! Have you made a wonderful gift and want a gift tag to match? This is the post for you! 


leftover scraps of thread and fabric from a sewing project cut into small pieces
paper to recycle
medium pour handmold 
medium couch sheets 
coordinating thread
your business card for size reference

How to Make Paper: Adding Botanicals

This video will show you two ways to add inclusions.

Arnold Grummer's books are very helpful as well. In Trash-to-Treasure Papermaking, adding thread is addressed on p. 70 under the heading Internal Embedment.

Grummer, Arnold E. Trash-to-Treasure Papermaking. North Adams, MA, Storey Publishing, 2011.


Adding thread to paper

Prepare your pulp and pour into handmold as usual. Before removing the mold from the vat of water add a pinch or two of the leftover thread you have prepared. Add turbulence to the whole. Pull paper, cover with mesh, remove water and transfer to couch sheet as usual. Dry as per your favorite technique.

I first saw thread embedded into paper in Japan. It was so beautiful. I was entranced. When I was introduced to papermaking I knew I wanted to try it too. I threw in tons of thread and it really wasn't as elegant as that paper I had first fallen for. Recently I have made paper out of worn out sheets and love the texture of a heavy dose of thread. Moral of the story: experiment with how much inclusion makes you happy. Be flexible and make the density of thread to paper according to the end project you have in mind.

Fabric and thread leftover from the Boho Meets Boro Bag. The threads are chopped into small pieces. The fabric was either unraveled and chopped or simply cut into pieces approximately .25 inch square.

This piece is dense with fiber. The purple pieces you see are leftover fabric chopped into small pieces.

Another piece heavy on the inclusions. You can see lots of threads leftover from the embroidery on the bag. 

Just imagine the paper you could make with bits of fabric and thread leftover when making a quilt, a sweet outfit or from a wedding dress. That paper could be used as the tag to go with it, a guest book, a pamphlet telling about the making of the item.

Making the cardholder

Lately, I have been wild over boro, kantha, and simple stitching. This stitching was used in the bag so it was reflected in the stitching below.

1. Fold the paper according to your card size - once lengthwise and once widthwise.

After folding it seemed that the pocket was too tall for the cards to show. No problem, folding down a small bit and stitching the length not only fixed the problem but also added strength. 

 The next step was to sew along the spine.

I had a piece of fabric that retained some of the stenciling done for the bag. The piece had been partially shredded for threads to make into the paper and had a groovy look to it. It would look great on the front. Before sewing the sides the piece was stitched in place to put as little stress on the paper (or the seamstress) as possible. It was attached with three cross stitches.

Once the embellishment was affixed, the cardholder was stitched up one side, around the top, and down the other side. The last side got another row of stitching as the edge was uneven enough that it seemed like a good idea to reinforce it.

Finally, the top was folded down to hold the cards in. The pocket was refolded to ensure that it lay flat. 

Look at how it coordinates with the inside and outside of the bag! 

Tips for sewing on paper:

1. Paper can be similar to cloth when sewing when the paper is thick enough but tearing is more common.
2. When learning to embroider or sew long seams running the tip of the needle through the cloth several times before drawing the length of thread through is encouraged. With paper the technique is ill-advised. When the thread is drawn through, the paper tends to rip. Taking one, two at most, stitches at a time is much safer.
3. Tiny stitches are the mark of an excellent seamstress. They are deadly for the paper sewing enthusiast. Leaving a little extra space will save you heartache.
4. Knots. They are a blessing and a curse. If you pull too hard on a knot it will pop through the paper leaving a rather large hole. Take care when securing the knot.
5. If you are having a hard time piercing the paper, place the paper on a piece of cardboard and pre-create the hole using an awl. Then simply sew in the holes.

Do you have any other tips for sewing on paper? I would love to hear them.

Thank you for reading my posts. I have enjoyed making them and sharing them with you. To continue to see what I'm up to visit me on my website where my blog is located or other social media.



  1. I love the densely threaded paper, I bet it's hard to tear your eyes away from it. It's "scrummy"!

    1. Thank you, Sandee! I can't resist thready paper. It's so textural. I know we are textured paper enthusiasts.

  2. What a wonderful way to combine two of my favorite things. Will have to try this soon.

    1. Thank you! I can hardly wait to see your stitched paper!


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