by Beate Johns

Create a unique background with thin patterned paper pieces.


  • Patterned paper
  • Paper cutter
  • Xyron®, or other strong double-sided adhesive
  • Cardstock
  • Bone folder


  1. Step 1

    Trim a piece of cardstock to the desired size of your background. Run through Xyron® with a permanent adhesive cartridge.

    If you don't have a Xyron, cover the cardstock with any strong double-sided adhesive.

  2. Burnish the cardstock with a bone folder to make sure the adhesive sticks everywhere. Peel off backing and set aside.

  3. Step 2

    Cut three or more different patterned paper pieces into thin strips of equal widths - the pattern looks best with widths between 1/8" and 3/8".

  4. Step 3

    Pick one of the darker paper strips and adhere it to the cardstock base diagonally. It will divide the cardstock piece into two triangular sections.

  5. Step 4

    Adhere another strip from the same patterned paper across one of the two sections, forming a T.

  6. Take a third strip from that paper and adhere it diagonally across the other section. You now have four triangular spaces on the card base.

  7. Step 5

    Roughly trim the paper strips. It will make the next steps a bit easier.

  8. Step 6

    Pick one section of the cardstock and start filling it in.

    Take a different patterned paper strip and adhere it next to one of the main strips.

  9. Take another strip from the same pattern and adhere to the opposite side of the triangle.

  10. Step 7

    Repeat Step 6 with strips of a different paper pattern.

  11. Continue to add paper strip pairs until the first section is filled.

  12. Step 8

    Flip cardstock and trim paper strips. Don't trim all the way to the cardstock just yet.

  13. Step 9

    Fill in the second triangle with paper strips.

  14. Fill in the the third section.

    Trim the strips between each section. You can use the longer leftovers to fill in the next triangle.

  15. Step 10

    Fill in the last section.

  16. Step 11

    Burnish the background before cutting it to the size of your cardstock. This will prevent smaller strips from falling off.

  17. Step 12

    Use the finished background on project.
    (Roly Poly Winter Joy from Unity used here)


Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Herringbone. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

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Hugs and smiles
Beate  |  Mon Dec 5, 2011 at 10:05 AM
Our local stamping store sells sheets of adhesive paper if you don't have a Xyron. I would definitly use this as a focal point! I can't bear to cover up most of the backgrounds I see online. smile I'm going to make this and then run it through the Cuttlebug with a folder that will make this look more like a quilt. Thanks, Beate!
Shala  |  Mon Dec 12, 2011 at 12:11 PM
Thanks Beate, Great Idea, I made the strips larger approx 1", just great for little fingers. We used this technique for covers of Thank ful Books (a type of smash books) I used the "bind it all" to bind the books for the Children. Thanks again!!!!
Dori  |  Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 7:34 AM
I love the Christmas card, so simple looking but really clean and neet.
pamper1  |  Fri Dec 30, 2011 at 7:39 PM
I think using red, white, and blue strips for a patriotic card would be stunning. TFS this terrric idea.
jean  |  Wed Jan 4, 2012 at 4:34 AM
This REALLY IS a WONDERFUL Technique! ANOTHER ONE I will HAVE TO try!!!!!! smile
Becky Green  |  Wed Jan 4, 2012 at 8:48 AM
Beate, another wonderful idea! You are simply amazing!
Paper Crazy Lady  |  Wed Jan 4, 2012 at 10:03 AM
I noticed you did not use the strips in the same order for each section - does it matter, or is that part of the herringbone pattern? I see birthday and anniversary cards coming with this idea - great one, Thanks!
Sharon  |  Wed Jan 4, 2012 at 4:08 PM
I made this card for Christmas to my friends and I used double faces tape....

Thank you for sharing it with us!
Manon  |  Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 9:48 AM
I LOVED trying this technique! What a great way to use scraps and even papers that I don't otherwise "love" to create something fun. Thanks so much!
SherrieT  |  Tue Mar 6, 2012 at 12:43 PM
I have a xyron my mother in law gave me. But I also have three large boxes of 3M double sided adhesive ( another gift from my dmil) you can cut to whatever size needed. I'm in the middle of moving so my scrap room is packed away right now. Can't wait to try this technique out!! Thanks for another amazing tut Beate!!
Michela  |  Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 4:24 AM
Hi Tina, I would use Jac paper to do this. I have just tried to do a card front by "weaving" strips of paper, but it was hard to get it looking right and I wish I had seen this idea first! LOL.
Jan R  |  Wed May 2, 2012 at 3:51 AM
I tried this with pre-cut quilling paper. Works great!
Donna  |  Tue Aug 7, 2012 at 10:11 AM
Awesome idea!! Love all your ideas.
Pam Shield  |  Fri Sep 6, 2013 at 5:32 PM
Been doing and teaching this technique for ages...I use 1/8" strips. I called it 'Faux Quilting'...for a step further, try die cutting it and using that as your focal point! Certain to bring a lot of WOW's!!!
Paper Hugs,
Janet Castle  |  Fri Apr 1, 2016 at 3:04 PM
Thank you for this tutorial! I am always looking for ways to use scrap papers. Your card is adorable!
FranneB  |  Wed Mar 4, 2020 at 9:40 AM
Love it I am making xmas cards with scraps so will try this design today Thankyou
eluned  |  Wed Mar 4, 2020 at 5:31 PM

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