17 of Our Favorite Paper Crafts for Adults

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pink and red paper crafts
Photo: Courtesy of Shanna Sullivan

When it comes to crafting, originality in the materials we use can make all the difference. One item known for being versatile is paper—and the diverse options in color, texture, and size can allow for almost any type of project. Along with cutting and punching paper to a three-dimensional design, you can also use stamping, coloring, folding styles, dyeing, and other techniques to create beautiful results.

This gallery will guide you on your paper crafting journey with ideas ranging from paper stars to origami paper containers. These timeless projects encourage crafters young and old to think outside the box and pick up inexpensive, easy hobbies.

The crafts ahead are easy ways to spruce up ordinary décor and creating each one is a good way to mix up your crafting expertise.

01 of 17

Paper Kite

Bryan Gardner

You won't have to wait for sunny days to enjoy creating kites. This craft will be just as colorful as it will be fun to make. The washi tape and acrylic paint will add extra flair to the kite paper to make this project come alive.

Begin by tracing the template onto decorative paper and cutting it out. Cut dowel into one 19-inch piece and one 16-inch piece. Cross dowels; lash together by wrapping and tying twine around the point where they intersect. Place dowels on back side of one piece of paper (use the 19-inch dowel for the vertical, and the 16-inch one for the horizontal). Brush glue on smaller pieces of paper, and adhere them over the dowels to larger piece of paper at each of the four corners; let dry.

Cut another piece of twine to the desired length for hanging the kite. Poke a small hole through the paper where the dowels intersect; thread the twine through for hanging.

To create the tail, cut a long length of twine, and cut crepe paper into 4-by-1.5-inch strips. Twist crepe strips at the center, and tie in knots along tail about 8 inches apart. Tie the tail to the bottom tip of the dowel.

Brush glue along back edges of the paper; adhere the second piece of paper, patterned side up. Let dry.

02 of 17

Paper Medallion Decorations

paper medallions
Courtesy of Bryan Gardner

Charming punched-paper medallions can be used to brighten a door, wall, or window. Or string a few together for a garland or mobile. The layered collage effect is a terrific way to highlight favorite special papers or use up scraps destined for the recycling bin.

Start with a punched circle as your base, embellishing as desired. You may decide to leave the base as is (see the large gold and small pink medallions) or back it with another piece of paper (see the medium medallion backed with fringed metallic gold paper).

Create the medallion center: Measure the area within your punched circle, then cut a circle of printed paper to fit within it; adhere the medallion center to the punched circle. If desired, cut out additional silhouettes from illustrated papers and collage them, overlapping the center circle of the medallion.

Create a hanging loop by attaching a length of metallic cord to the top of the medallion with a brass grommet. Create an anchor for the medallion base—beads, small crystals, or stones on cord add a little extra weight beneath a medallion to keep it from flapping in the breeze. Finish the anchor with a handmade tassel.

03 of 17

Paper Animal Masks

Courtesy of Lorena Siminovich

Let your imagination roar by creating paper animal masks. This easy-to-follow project starts things off with a paper template that kids will love. The best part of this craft? It produces little mess, allowing little ones to take part in a creative venture that will have less limits.

04 of 17

3D Hot Air Balloon Paper Decorations

paper hot air balloons
Courtesy of Shanna Sullivan

Make this multidimensional décor your own with easy steps starting with a printable template and colorful cardstock. The other simple materials for this project solely include scissors, a glue stick, and your choice between gold glitter, baker's twine, or monofilament for the finishing touches. These decorations will take flight and allow your excitement to soar. The key element of layering pieces of cardstock paper with different color varieties will be sure to meet your satisfaction.

05 of 17

3D Hot Air Balloon Invitations

3-D hot air balloon invitation
Courtesy of Shanna Sullivan

Give your invitations a creative twist with a hot air balloon design. Begin by printing out your own template, and cut out the balloon shape. Stack five sheets of colorful cardstock, and cut out the template using scissors. (Tip: Stack different colors or subtly different shades of a single color to add dimensionality to each balloon.)

Using a bone folder and ruler, score a straight line down the center of each balloon cut-out. Remove the ruler and reinforce the scored line, smoothing it down with the bone folder. Glue each folded balloon cut-out back to back, so each half connects to another half of a differently colored cut-out, along the fold line.

Cut a small square of paper (this will be the hot air balloon basket). Cut a short length of twine, tie into a knot, and loop behind the basket cut-out (this will be the line that connects the hot air balloon to the basket).

Glue both parts to the paper. Glue balloon cut-outs onto the paper backing of the invitation and unfurl. If desired, tie card invitation with matching satin ribbon if desired.

06 of 17

Paper Stars

paper stars
Courtesy of Reed Davis

With this creative endeavor, a shooting star won't ever seem too far from reach. All you need are scissors and decorative paper for an out-of-this-world creation. Add a fun element to this project by picking out colorful paper of your choosing. This could include anything from bright pinks to electric yellows to let your stars shine bright and catch your attention any time they cross your path.

07 of 17

Paper-Bag Flowers


Keep your crafting simple with these decorative paper-bag flowers. Just grab scissors, a hole punch, double-sided tape, string, and gusseted paper bags of any size to make this craft your own. Try out bright hues like yellow and orange for a special pop of color. The result will be high-flying creations that kids and adults alike will enjoy hanging up for parties or year-round décor.

08 of 17

Paper Origami Containers


Set your sights on a paper project sure to impress. These paper origami containers add a unique element to make your table settings pop. The project will also allow you to put your folding skills to the test. Unlike more intricate projects, this crafting experience can be rather easy. The instructions will walk you step by step to ensure you nail the origami containers so you can fill them with your favorite snacks.

09 of 17

Pretty Paper Flower Bouquet


Make a flower bouquet next on your crafting to-do list for a beautiful rendition to a typical arrangement. You can start off by making the ferns. Attach one wire to an adhesive back of fern and secure with hot glue. Cover the wire with floral tape and apply glitter. To make the sticker flowers, use pliers to twist the tip of the wire into a spiral and bend the spiral 90 degrees. Add hot glue to the flower sticker and the platform. To make the cupcake-wrapper flowers, repeat the spiral wire technique stated previously with one spiraled wire per flower. Use the screw punch to punch a hole in the center of three mini and two standard cupcake liners. You can add more liners for a more voluminous flower.

Insert the end of the wire through the three mini liners. Apply hot glue on the spiral (the top of the wire). Pinch, twist, and crinkle the bottom of the liners to start forming your flower shape. Add the two large liners under the minis. Apply hot glue at the base of the mini liners, and adhere one large liner. Pinch, twist, and crinkle into desired shape. Add more glue to the new base, and add another large liner. Continue until you have desired effect. Secure the pinched end with floral tape, and continue wrapping to the bottom of the wire. Combine all for a beautiful bouquet.

Shop Now: Ashland Floral Tape, $2.99, michaels.com. Signature Extra Fine Glitter by Recollections, $9.99, michaels.com. Eoonfirst Standard Size Baking Cups, $6.91, amazon.com.

10 of 17

Paper Dogwood Flowers

paper dogwood flowers
Courtesy of Anders Krusberg

Make these flowers part of your next craft challenge. Start by cutting card stock into 5-inch squares. Fold a square in half, then fold in half again. Open square, and crease diagonally, reversing direction of fold; repeat to make another diagonal crease. Fold square back up along original creases.

Trace the petal template onto the square; cut out along open edges. Snip off a tiny bit of pointed tip; unfold flower. With an unused pencil eraser and green ink, stamp small marks at indents on each petal. Use a starburst-style stamp to mark the center. Cut out leaves from green card stock. Secure flowers and leaves to branches with clear craft glue.

11 of 17

Glittered Wallpaper Birds


Add a glittery touch to your next paper craft with this creation. To begin, print the template for bird one, two, three, or four. Enlarge or reduce to the desired size. Adhere the template to the mat board with Xyron or spray adhesive. Cut out the bird shape with a craft knife.

Using a ballpoint glue pen, apply glue to the parts of the bird you'd like to glitter. Sprinkle glitter and shake off the excess. Edge the entire bird with gold-paint pen. Print the template for the base and the brace, enlarging or reducing to the same percentage as the bird if necessary. Trace the base and the brace that correspond to the bird from the template onto the mat board. (Note: For bird one, a brace is not necessary.) Glue bird onto base with craft glue. Glue brace onto back of bird.

12 of 17

Pretty Paper Forest

paper forest
Courtesy of Burchu Avsar

Make the most of this paper craft with eccentric colors for an enchanting forest. Use a craft punch to create paper circles in graduated sizes (the ones shown here have six-, seven-, eight-, and nine-inch diameters). Cut the circles in half, roll them into cones, and secure them with double-sided tape. Cut a skewer to accommodate them.

13 of 17

Gorgeous Paper Feather Gift-Box Topper

paper feather gift box topper
Courtesy of Mike Krautter

Top off the perfect gift with a unique paper design. Start by cutting a feather shape out of the paper and fold in half. Fringe each side of the feather with the precision scissors. Attach the feather to the gift box with string.

14 of 17

Paper Ship

paper Mayflower ship for the Thanksgiving kids table
Courtesy of Alpha Smoot

Try out a craft that can set sail. To create it, fold butcher paper in half width-wise, with the folded edge away from you. Mark the middle of the folded edge with a crease.

Fold in the two top corners of the folded edge to meet at middle, forming a triangle with a double-layer flap sticking out underneath. Fold the front layer of flap up to the front; fold back layer flap up to the back.

Take hold of center front and center back of the triangle and pull apart, pushing in opposite corners so they lie flat against each other, creating a diamond shape. Fold the front and back bottom corners of the diamond up front and back, respectively, to meet at the top corner. (You should now have an open-bottomed triangle.)

Pull the triangle open, flattening into a diamond. Pull the wings at the top apart gently, forming half of ship. (You may need to pop up the center and smooth the sides to form the boat.)

Snip the center of the ship, and slip in a dowel for mast (use a dab of clay to stick the dowel to the table). Cut out square scrapbook-paper sails; make slits in top and bottom, and slide them onto dowel.

Top the mast with a scrapbook-paper flag; secure it with double-stick tape. Tie on twine covered in triangular scrapbook-paper flags: Fold scrapbook paper, cut out triangles, and adhere to string with a small dot of glue.

15 of 17

3D Paper Raindrop Garland


Make this multidimensional craft to get you thinking outside of the box. Begin by printing out a template (one for each raindrop in the garland). Stack five sheets of blue card stock and cut out the template using scissors. Tip: Stack subtly different shades of blue to add dimensionality to each raindrop. Secure raindrop cut-outs with paper clips.

Using a pencil and ruler, draw a straight line down the center of stacked raindrop cut-outs (this will guide your machine stitch). Thread your sewing machine—blue will match the color of paper raindrops. Set your machine on a straight stitch with a long length. Line up a single raindrop bottom-end first under the needle, and machine-stitch along the drawn line, continuing to sew for spacing between raindrops. Repeat this step until you have a complete garland of raindrops.

Once you have reached desired length, snip with scissors and knot the end. Petal out the drop facets before hanging.

16 of 17

Paper Cut Luminaries

paper luminarias
Courtesy of Andrew Ingalls

Add some ambiance lighting with these easy-to-create decorations. To make one, cut two small pillow box templates on a cutting mat using the pillow gift box tool. Using a paper punch, punch two designs out of each of the longer sides of the template. (Tip: Draw a centered rectangle as a guide before punching.) Gently fold the scored bottom and top tabs, and the long edges. Assemble the luminary by double-stick taping the tabs together to form a four-sided box. Place an LED tealight inside to display.

17 of 17

DIY Paper Pie-Slice Boxes

Courtesy of Mike Krautter

Take a creative approach to packaging your next convections. To start, follow the template instructions for cutting, and align the edges of the pie box to the left side of the Mini Scoring Board. Score. Align tabs and score as well.

Punch along the top and sides of the box with the edge punch. Form box, and adhere sides together with double-sided tape. To make the tag, punch the full shape from off-white paper. Then punch an outer ring from craft paper. Glue the two pieces together.

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