Herringbone Paper Technique – The Vibrant Power of Repeating Pattern

Image of card using herringbone technique

The herringbone paper technique is a great way to use up leftover bits of pretty printed cardstock. You know, the kind that’s too pretty to throw away but too small to use any other way. It’s fun to mix and match to make this unique, snazzy background. Let me show you how!

Don’t let the complicated look fool you – herringbone paper is a cinch to create

You only need a few supplies to make this easy background layer: some patterned paper scraps, some solid cardstock, small scissors, a paper trimmer and a bone folder, which I’ll explain in a moment. Oh, and you’ll need sticky paper, too.

Sticky paper is paper that is stickier than label paper, and once a material is stuck to it, it stays stuck. It’s the paper I use to make my stenciled glitter background layer, and it’s the best way to create this background too. You could use glue, but adhesive paper is so much quicker.

As for the paper scraps, this is a fun technique for any occasion, including holiday cards. I used this technique for my Halloween herringbone card and plan to make a few Christmas cards like this as well. After all, who wants to throw away pretty patterned scraps?


Steps to make herringbone paper

Step 1

Trim the adhesive paper to the desired size of your background.

Step 2

Trim 3 or 4 patterned papers into strips between 1/8″ and 3/8″ width. Trim a dark color into one of those sizes. I trimmed my dark brown into 2/8″ width.

Strips of paper ready to create the herringbone paper technique

Step 3

Take one of the dark strips of paper and adhere it diagonally across the adhesive paper. Do the same with two more strips of dark paper. You have now divided the base (adhesive) layer into four rough triangles.

Step 4

Roughly trim the paper strips. This will make the next steps a bit easier. Do NOT trim up to the base layer just yet. (You can see two of the dark strips trimmed shorter.)

Note: Don’t worry about being precise when laying out the dark strips. There is no certain way or pattern for doing this. The right way is YOUR way.

Dark strips of card stock  adhered to adhesive base layer - the first step to making herringbone paper
The foundation

Step 5

Pick one of the four triangles and start filling it in. Choose one of the patterned paper strips and adhere it next to a dark strip. Choose another of the same pattern and adhere it next to the dark strip on the opposite side of the section.

Step 6

Repeat Step 5 until the entire section is filled in.

One section filled in completely with patterned strips
One section down, three to go

Step 7

Flip layer over and trim paper strips close, but not all the way to edge yet.

Back side of layer with strips trimmed down
Trim close but not all the way… yet

Step 8

Fill in the second section with paper strips.

Fill in the third section. Use longer leftover strips for this section.

Step 9

Fill in the fourth section.

Step 10

Trim the strips close to the base layer.

All layers trimmer close to base layer

Step 11

Burnish strips firmly to adhere all strips to adhesive layer. This ensures smaller strips will stay adhered. Turn over and trim again if any “stretching” has occurred.

Using the bone folder to burnish the strips to the base layer - the herringbone pattern is complete
Burnish firmly

Step 12

Use background on finished project.

Image of card using herringbone paper technique
A fun way to use leftover bits and pieces of patterned paper

This sweet baby card was finished off with a bird stamp colored with chalk pastels applied with Q-tip cotton swabs onto white cardstock and layered onto two doily diecuts. A stamp die cut tag attached with the tiniest clothes pin onto a green seam binding bow finishes this card off with sweet effect.

This herringbone paper technique doesn’t need much flash or sparkle – it stands on its own quite nicely.

Now it’s your turn. Give this clever herringbone technique a try and share it with us on Facebook. We’d love to see how you use YOUR leftover patterned scraps!

Other cards featuring interesting texture and pattern…

Spoiled Kitty with a Distressed Embossed Background
How to Stencil with Glitter and Turn Dull into Dazzling
A Cute Birthday Card Using Two Fun Techniques

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