What on earth can I do with paint chips?

Paint chip bookmarks
Admit it. You can't help yourself. After all, they just sit there, unguarded, practically  asking for it, aren't they?

I'm talking about that irresistible hardware store temptation -- paint chips. Those thin paper strips in every color of the rainbow. They inspire even the most jaded crafter. (Here's one of many Pinterest boards devoted to paint chip crafts.)

Some people argue that using paint chips isn't really upcycling. Especially if you grab them from a store display. Makes sense. But what if your chips are certifiably used? Last fall I nabbed a set of paint samples at Zero Landfill Seattle, where samples used by designers and architects are given away. For free. 
paint chip book from Zero Landfill event
Last week I dug them out from the hinterlands of my stash. I wanted to make bookmarks for an upcoming event. I'd made some out of paper money in the past, but this time, I wanted to try something different.

First I cut the strips to a size I deemed optimal for bookmarks -- 1 1/2" (4 cm) wide x 5 1/2" (14 cm) long. Then I chose images from my paper stash -- illustrations from old books, maps, dictionaries, magazines. I used one of my beloved punches to make small circles. I grouped the images and then stuck them to the strips with a glue stick.
Paint chip bookmarks
Three circles fit nicely on each strip. For each trio, I imagined a scenario, adding a caption if possible. (My favorite is "What on earth is a Shalako?" from a Hardy Boys book.)
Paint chip bookmarks
To make them look more like real bookmarks and less like upcycled paint strips, I rounded the corners with my envelope cutter. I added a strip of Washi tape at the top, so that the bookmark won't get buried inside the book pages.

Finally, I stamped the back of each bookmark with the name of my store and website address. They're advertising, after all.
Paint chip bookmarks
So what have YOU made with paint chips?


  1. Yes! I have a whole box...can't resist the pull of color.


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