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Creating a Master Board for Paper Crafts

Creating a Master Board for Paper Crafts main article image
Posted on March 12, 2021 by Julie Richards
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Creating a master board is the perfect way to use up all those scrap pieces of paper left over from your paper crafts. A master board is made from a file folder or card stock and strips of left-over paper. Once complete, the master board is cut into tags, journaling cards, and pockets for a junk journal. This is a limited supply paper craft that recycles strips of paper that would otherwise go into the trash.

You only need scissors, a file folder or card stock, glue and pieces of paper. There are no rules to this paper craft. You can color coordinate the paper scraps you use or select a mixture of colors and patterns to create your master board. Once the master board is complete and dry, it is cut to the desired size. Most crafters choose to decorate each of the cut pieces to match the theme of the journal or paper craft in which the cards will be used.

I often use digital kits for the pages of the junk journals I make. Sometimes the digital kit pages are larger than the pages for the handmade journal. I take this opportunity to use up those cut-offs to create a master board to make coordinating tags, journaling cards, tuck spots and even pockets. This gives my junk journal a cohesive look when it is completed.

Master Board 2

Supply List

As I stated, this is a limited supply paper craft. Everything you need will be found in your craft area. The supply list is as short or long as you decide. I am also including items you made want to use to decorate your cards and tags. The first three items are absolutely necessary but the rest of the list is completely optional.

  • File folder or card stock
  • Paper scraps
  • PVA or school Glue
  • Scissors
  • Distress ink
  • Rubber or silicone stamps
  • Ink pad
  • Ephemera
  • Die cuts
  • Lace
  • Ribbon
  • Fabric/Cheese cloth
  • Bling/Beads/Charms/Boho Beads
  • Small words/phrases
  • Hole punch
  • Corner rounder
  • Sewing machine

This list is not all inclusive. I don’t know how many times I have made a master board (the easy part) and in the process of decorating my tags and journaling cards (the fun part) decided that I still wanted something else added to the piece I was making.

The Process

  1. Open the file folder or card stock flat on the craft table
  2. Cut the paper scraps into squares or rectangles at least one inch wide by three inches long.
  3. Glue each piece of paper separately to the file folder. Change the direction of the pieces to add interest to the master board. Do Not Overlap the papers.
  4. Cover the entire surface of the file folder with the scrap papers.
  5. Set the master board on a flat surface to dry completely. If the master board curls or is wavy once it is dry, set it under a heavy book overnight to flatten it.
  6. Check the master board for loose papers. Add a small bit of glue to the papers that are not adhering to the file folder and allow to completely dry.
  7. Determine the sizes of your journaling cards or tags and cut the master board accordingly. It is perfectly acceptable to have more than one color or pattern of paper on the tags or journaling cards.
  8. (Optional) Sew around the edges of the tags and journaling cards using a zigzag or decorative stitch. NOTE: A straight stitch will perforate the papers.
  9. Check one more time for loose papers on the master board.
  10. Decorate the tags or journaling cards as you desire.

Master Board cut up

Decorating the Tags/Journaling Cards

Think of the master board as the background of the tag or journaling card. You may find that the combination of colors and patterns on the card is perfect and it does not need decorating.

Just Stamped

Other cards or tags may lack interest or the patterns and colors are just too “busy” and need something to tone it down. This is the part of creating a master board that I love the most. I get to add personal touches on the tags and journaling cards. This is where the fun begins.

To me, decorating a card or tag is all about the layers. With the master board, I have my background. Now I want to create a story on that background. I build up the layers until I am satisfied with the decorating process. This means I may add lace, cheesecloth, strips of fabric or even more paper to the tags.

Decorated Tags

When you add layers, remember to keep the thickness of the journaling card or tag in mind. You don’t want the card so thick that it becomes bulky. It is best to layer across the entire card instead of just one spot. If you add material to the bottom right corner, add something to the middle left side to evenly distribute the thickness across the entire card.

Steps for Decorating

  1. Distress all the edges of the card or tag with your preferred distress ink.
  2. Add a piece of lace or material along one outer edge.
  3. Choose your desired image or die cut for the second layer and decide where you want it to go.
  4. Add a piece of cheesecloth or even tea-dyed paper behind the image so it peeks out around the edges.
  5. Glue the image into place.
  6. Choose an inspirational word or phrase and distress around the edges, if you desire.
  7. Glue the word or phrase where you choose on the tag or journaling card.
  8. Punch a hole in the top middle of the tag or attach a pull tab.
  9. Insert ribbon or lace through the hole. (skip this step if you added a pull tab)
  10. Continue decorating until you are satisfied with the tag or journaling card.

Layered Tag

One of the best things about creating a master board is you don’t have to use it right away. It is great to have a few master boards on hand so you can quickly and easily make an entire group of tags and journaling cards all at once. I hope you create a master board and will leave a picture in the comments below.


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Creating a Master Board for Paper Crafts
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