Archive | April 14, 2011

Remix Your Tools: Using the Papertrey Ink Banner Builder Die Set

Trends in scrapbooking are like that awesome new song that you hear on a Top 40 radio station. You instantly fall in love with it, buy it on iTunes, and then proceed play it on continuous repeat for the next several weeks. You hear it day and night – on the radio in your car, in your headphones at work, and (in extreme cases) even in your sleep. But then, one day, it happens. You’re suddenly sick of the lyrics and can’t stand to hear even a single note of it without the urge to throw the offending audio device out the window.

Fast forward several months, though, and a slightly different version of the song is released. Someone comes out with a remix, a cover, an acoustic version, or even a club mix. The tired, old song suddenly becomes fresh and fun to listen to again!

So it goes with scrapbooking. One day everyone is using brown ink on the edges of everything in sight, or they’re doodling on all their pages, or it seems as if the “one or more owls per layout” rule is being enforced by every scrapbooking magazine on the newsstands. And then, suddenly, everyone becomes sick of the new trend and moves on. Trends move and things change, and that in and of itself is not the issue. The problem is that there are a lot of specialized tools – dies, punches, and stamps, for example – that are produced and sold in response to a trend. How is a scrapbooker to keep these expensive items from collecting dust in their stash – to continue using these tools “After the Thrill Is Gone” (The Eagles, 1975), so to speak?

The answer is to remix them! Just as tired old hit songs can be made new again with just a little ingenuity, your scrapbooking tools can have a new life if you learn to think outside the box. Let’s take a look at one such trend, mini pennant banners, and just one of the many tools being produced in response to the trend, Papertrey Ink’s Banner Builder Die Set.

This die set is designed to simplify creating those cute little banners in a variety of shapes and sizes. It’s very good at its original function, but what can we do with it once the current banner craze has passed? I have several ideas to help keep this (and similar tool sets) fresh for years to come.

“All the Small Things” (Blink-182, 2000)

When you break it down, the Banner Builder die set contains many small pieces that can be assembled to make banners. But what else can you build with this set besides banners? You can make lots of things, if you take the individual shapes away from the whole!

For instance, see those cute little rounded pennants? If you turn them upside down, they look an awful lot like tombstones. Add some “grass” cut from green paper using the decorative edge die that comes with the set, and you’ve got the makings of your own little graveyard.


Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (Stonehenge, Raven)
Patterned Paper: Basic Grey “Sultry” (Citron)
Pen: Signo Uniball (white), Zig Millenium (black)
Letter Stickers: Cosmo Cricket Tiny Type Collection (black)
Spray Mist: Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist (Haunted ShadowsJack O’ Lantern)

A row of those same rounded pennants peeking out from under the edge of another piece of paper would also make a great scalloped border!

The triangles are perfect for creating a “quilted” look with papers. I punched them out of several different colors of patterned paper and arranged them to create the background for this card.


Cardstock: The Paper Studio (JoAnn)
Patterned Paper: K&Company “Sweet Nectar“, Making Memories “Noteworthy: Hillary Collection”, October Afternoon “Fly a Kite” (Dandelions), Crate Paper “Snow Day” (Blizzard)
Stamps: K&Company “Lotus” by Amy Butler (sentiment), Papertrey Ink (Label Basics)
Die: Papertrey Ink (Angled Labels and Banner Builder)

You can also use a single row of the same quilted look to create a unique border strip.


Patterned Paper: Making Memories “Vintage Hip: Paisley Collection”, K&Company “Handmade

Any of the pennant styles would also be perfect for arranging in a circle to create your own flower accents, or use your imagination to come up with more unique arrangements!

“I Fall To Pieces” (Patsy Cline, 1961)

We’ve already looked at what we can do with this set by combining several individual elements together in a unique way, but what if we want to use just a single piece on its own?

The tiny little decorative edges look great when punched from coordinating patterned paper or cardstock and used in embellishment clusters.


Patterned Paper: GCD Studios “Ava” (Bloom)
Buttons: Scarlet Lime Kit Club
Rhinestones: Basic Grey (Bling-It “Sky”)
Rub-Ons: Pink Paislee “Fetching”

A single flag makes an adorable accent on a cupcake themed card!


Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (White, Bitter Chocolate), The Paper Studio (kraft)
Patterned Paper: K&Company “Sweet Nectar
Pearl: K&Company “Serendipity” Adhesive Gems
Letter Stickers: My Little Shoebox Mini Alphabet (Limeade)

There are so many more options for using just a single piece of this set. How about using a single triangle as an arrow? Or a single flag to underline an important letter in a layout title? The possibilities are endless!

“Inside Out” (Eve 6, 1998)

Of course, I don’t mean to literally turn the dies inside out. What I’m talking about is using the negative or empty space in a die or punch (as opposed to the piece that’s actually punched out), or even using the punch-outs to create negative space.

Papertrey’s Banner Builder set doesn’t leave a very usable negative of its cutouts (by design, since it cuts the pieces as close together as possible to save paper), but the cutouts themselves make great misting masks. I used the tiny flag pieces for just that purpose on this layout to create a subtle banner with negative space instead of a row of patterned paper pieces.


Cardstock: The Paper Studio (JoAnn)
Patterned Paper: Little Yellow Bicycle “Lucky Me” (Denim Clover and Lucky)
Letter Stickers: American Crafts “Poolside” (green), October Afternoon “Seaside” Mini Market (blue)
Journaling Spot: Anna Griffin “Darcy” Collection
Punch: Martha Stewart Crafts
Rhinestones: Kaisercraft
Spray Mist: Tattered Angels (Slate)
Date Stamp: Office Supply

All of these ideas, while specific to the Papertrey Banner Builder die set, are also general approaches you can use when remixing items from your own stash. Even if you don’t own this particular die set, try applying the concepts presented here before bidding “Bye, Bye, Bye” (‘N Sync, 2000) to your valuable scrapbooking tools!

Note: The author apologizes for any musical trauma that may have been inflicted during this article, but is not responsible for injuries related to having any particular song stuck in your head. Especially that last one.

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