Introducing Scrappin’ – An Accessible, Affordable, Awesome Activity for All Ages

Merril Seidl, more the merrlier©

So what is scrappin’ anyway? Ignoring the urban dictionary, five years ago I was sprawled on the floor with magazines, little pieces of paper everywhere, when my husband walked in and said, “you scrappin’ again?”

Aha, I thought, that’s exactly what I am doing. Not quite collage, not quite painting, it’s scrappin’! A mess-free, affordable way to explore creativity and unwind. I’m talking about collecting all the miscellaneous magazines in your house that have been piling up and putting them to purpose!

Having been at this particular form of play for over a decade now, I can tell you that you – yes you, your kids, your partner, and your neighbor – can make unique and beautiful art. I never took an art class outside summer camp and perhaps what I love most about this pastime is that I can not screw up. And, if I do, the material was likely going to a landfill, at best to a recycling facility, so no loss. I just find another scrap and keep layering.

So what do you need to scrapp?

Simply recycled magazines, scissors, a glue stick, something to scrap on, mod podge, and a dash of wonder.

Let’s take a deeper look:

  1. Recycled Magazines – I scrapp with anything from the sturdy likes of Edible to the flimsiness of Sunset, and it all works! With the lesser quality paper stock, you may sometimes see through to the other side, but that can add some additional textured fun.
  2. Scissors – Nothing fancy here, I just use a pair of Fiskars®. For your pre-kinder kids, you can just tear paper. My two-and-a-half-year-old still likes to use his turquoise sparkle scissors on the side though.
  3. Gluestick – Elmer’s Extreme Glue is what I prefer but if you are working with kids try the
    Disappearing Purple for some extra fun.
  4. Scrappin’ Surface – Use something as simple as some cardstock, recycled cardboard or
    splurge for a nice woodblock, box, or maybe even a stool!
  5. Mod Podge® – You can use any type of sheer acrylic paint but I prefer the brand name sealer. There are many varieties and what you choose will depend on what you are scrappin’ on and whether you like a glossy or matte look. This is the priciest piece of the scrappin; process but a little goes a long way! You can find it at Target, Michaels, Amazon, or your locally owned craft store.
  6. Wonder – As a mom, you are sure to have reconnected to wonder through your kids. ‘But why mom, why?’ Don’t take the process too seriously and you will be surprised at what your fingers turn up. For me, scrappin’ is the time I zone out to zone in.

At this point perhaps you are wondering, how is this different than collage. Rather than piecing whole images together (which is also totally valid and fun), scrappin’ is using pieces of color and texture to create one singular image.

For example, I did not find a shark or octopus in a magazine and then put them in a different scene, I created them! You can start simple, baby shark being roughly 20 different scraps (left), or go bonkers to 100 or more scrapps like inky the octopus (right).

After you have all your materials, what are the next steps?
That depends if you already have an idea. If you don’t, no worries! Simply start flipping through a magazine and see what catches your eye.

‘Ooo, this kid biting into a grilled cheese advertisement is so cute. I could recreate this in
the image of my own child in the semblance of our kitchen!’

Tear your inspiration out and use it as a direct reference. If you happen to discover an image that is also the perfect scale, you could even glue that down and scrapp directly on top of it.

Once you have an idea, it’s all about harvesting, or rather, the process of gathering the colors and textures you will use to paint your picture.

If you are going to scrapp frequently, I suggest buying some file folders to organize pieces by color, texture, and/or theme. Even with my dozens of folders, however, I still actively harvest while I am creating. There is something about casually and curiously flipping through a magazine whilst scrappin’ that always gets me in the zone.

When you feel like you have a nice color palette to work with, start snipping. I find that the
hardest part of any collage is getting the proportions of the focal image right. For example, I probably spent 30% of the time on this iguana collage just getting the proportions of his body right (left).

Once you get the base of the focal point done, the sprinkles, as I like to call them, will just flow from your fingertips. I make my focal point on white cardstock, as opposed to directly on the final surface (block, box, mirror, what have you). I do this so I can place this object on a variety of background scrap candidates until I find the perfect one. For a full peek into my process, you can read more here.

Remember, you cannot make a mistake! If you glue something down and then change your
mind, simply peel it back up and try again, or glue another layer over it.

Whether you are interested in scrappin’ your five-year-old or yourself, I hope this article inspires you to go have some good ole’ scrappy fun!

Merril is a mom of two vivacious boys under three. She spent a decade working in water resources and currently serves as the Head of Operations at Neyborly. On the side of it all she scraps. An occasional hobby turned small business in 2017, more the merrlier is a passion project she just cannot drop. Spending time outdoors, exercise, cooking up new recipes, and toddler dance parties are a few of her other favorite ways to unwind.


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