What is a Snippet Roll and How to Make One?
A snippet roll is a long strip of paper or fabric that is decorated with bits and pieces of paper, fabric and findings. The person making the snippet roll determines the length and width of the roll. There are no rules as to how long or wide a snippet roll must be. Once the long strip of paper or fabric is completely decorated, it is rolled much like a roll of tape and stored for later use. Then a small section (snippet) of the roll is used to add a bit of decoration or interest to a journal or other paper craft. That is how this decorative element got its name. These creations are sometimes overlooked, but a snippet roll comes in handy when you are in the final stages of decorating a handmade journal.
Snippet rolls are not only for junk journals. A narrow snippet roll looks great across the bottom of a memory board. Use a thin one on the edge of a greeting card or framed photo. You can even frame a wide snippet roll to decorate a hallway or powder room. Once you create one, you will find that a snippet roll can be used in a variety of ways.
In this article, the words “paper” and “fabric” are interchangeable since you can use either to create a snippet roll. My personal preference is paper as a base and a combination of fabric and paper to create the interesting layers and decorations. I find that the paper base holds better in the paper craft projects I use my snippet rolls. Some people use nothing but fabric to create a snippet roll because they use the snippets when decorating clothing or fabric journal covers.
The best part of a snippet roll is that it is very easy to make it longer when you want to add more of the same materials to the roll. You simply glue another strip of paper to the bottom of the existing snippet roll and decorate the newly added strip just like you did the existing one. The main reason I do this is because there are times I wind up with scrap bits and pieces that are the same colors or textures as the existing snippet roll. Instead of letting these scraps go to waste, I just add to one of my existing snippet rolls.
Suggested Supply List
Since there are so many ways to create a snippet roll, the supplies are generally whatever is on hand. As I stated earlier, the base is made from either paper or fabric. If you have a small section of wrapping paper left over or even a pretty piece of stationary, these make great backgrounds for snippet rolls. It’s a project similar to mixed media art since you build the snippet roll with layers of beautiful things.
Other items used to make a snippet roll include broken jewelry, bits of lace, decorative stickers and small printed words. I sometimes cut words and definitions from an old dictionary to add interest to the snippet rolls I make. This project is my way of relaxing because there is no right or wrong way to create a snippet roll.
Anyone who makes snippet rolls has their own procedure for the assembly process. Again, there is no right or wrong way. I gather all of my items on my craft desk in little piles. Some of the items I use stay in a plastic bag so they don’t get lost in the assembly of my snippet rolls. I keep like colors, textures and materials together. Okay, I try to. But by the end of making my snippet rolls I’m searching for the scissors, glue or that awesome little bit I wanted in a certain spot.
I lay a 12-inch by 1.5-inch strip of paper on my craft table and add a second one at the bottom of the first with a glue stick. I then glue another strip to the end of the second strip. My base is now 36 inches long. I like this length because my snippet roll doesn’t get overly bulky when I roll it up. I also like this length because I usually create my snippet rolls according to color. With a glance, I can check which color snippet rolls I need to focus on making soon.
I start with one layer at a time. For instance, I add bits of colored paper over the entire length of the snippet roll from top to bottom. I do leave parts of the base paper showing through in spots because it adds more interest to the snippet roll. I use the glue stick for this layer as well.
The third layer of my snippet rolls is fabric. I use bits of lace, part of an old doily, scraps of material from sewing projects, small applique pieces and other small pieces of fabric. I use a fabric glue to attach these bits. These fabric pieces tend to be similar in color but of varying shades and patterns. This layer adds more interest. I do allow the second layer to peak through in spots, just like I did with the first layer of the snippet roll.
The next step is my favorite part because I add beads, bits of jewelry, inspirational words and even tiny pictures or stamps. I also use the fabric glue to adhere these items to the snippet roll. This step is where I get most creative. This is the part that is most visible on the snippet roll. I use tiny silk flowers or sometimes just a petal or two to embellish the snippet roll. The various textures add so much interest to the project.
This step next step of making a snippet roll is not necessary, but it does help secure the bits and pieces a little better. I take the entire snippet roll to my sewing machine and run a zig-zag stitch from the top to the bottom on one side, about a ¼ inch from the edge. I then run another zig-zag stitch, top to bottom, ¼ inch from the opposite edge. I wrap the snippet roll like a roll of tape and secure it with a straight pin or paperclip. My snippet roll is now done and ready to use in all my projects.
Using Snippet Rolls
Once I create a greeting card or journal cover, I pull out my container of snippet rolls and choose the one that matches the colors I want for my project. I unroll it and look at all the beautiful sections. The project I am working on determines which part of the snippet roll I use. If the project is full of textures and color, I often choose a part of the roll that is more subtle. When the project is a bit plain and it needs more color or texture, I will choose a part of the snippet roll that is colorful and full of interest. I cut that “snippet” from the roll and glue it onto my card or journal cover using either fabric or PVA glue.
I love that snippet rolls are such a versatile craft project that I can use in most of my other paper crafts. I usually have three or four in my collection so there is always another element I can add to my paper craft projects. I would love to see the snippet rolls you have created. Feel free to add a picture of your snippet rolls in the comments below.