Working with 6x6 Paper Pads


Hi everyone! It's Suzanne here today with some tips on how to use those 6x6 patterned paper pads that you see appearing more and more in stores these days. I love them as much as I love my stamps, and one of the things people ask me the most is how to pair patterns together.

The beauty of 6x6 paper pads is that the manufacturer has done a lot of the work for you - all of the papers in a single pack fit a particular theme and have incorporated into them colors that automatically match one another. (Even if you don't think this is true, just tell yourself that it is true.) The tricky part is finding pads that fit your style and that carry a wide enough variety of patterns to suit your needs.

For my card today, I knew that I wanted to use Neat and Tangled's Do Not Open image, and for the sake of this tutorial I grabbed one of my newer patterned paper pads. This one by American Crafts is called Kringle & Co. From the front cover, you get a glimpse of the different patterns in the pack.

You might wonder why one might prefer these pads over 12x12 scrapbook sheets of patterned paper. These pads are usually $5-$7, and carry anywhere from 24-36 sheets. Some manufacturers print patterns on both sides of each sheet, and the patterns are sized much much smaller than they are on 12x12 sheets, making them perfect for card making. I also really love how easy these are to store - they stack beautifully, and scraps are easily tucked back into the covers.

If you are new to patterned paper and want to give it a try, the next best step is choosing a sketch to work with. I chose this sketch from this week's CAS(E) this Sketch Challenge blog because I wanted to show how CAS can still incorporate patterned papers.

When I look at this sketch, I see a few places to incorporate patterns: the background, the front layer with the circle cut out, the focal point inside the circle, and even with a border or edge to embellish the left side of the front gray panel.

How do I choose which patterns to use? I usually flip through the book and try to find patterns that go with the stamps that I plan to use and that match each other. Above, I am showing you two patterns that don't seem to go very well to me. This is because the patterns are about the same size and because the colors in each seem too similar to me - too much black.

I pulled these three  patterns from the pack to show you examples of papers that can serve as smaller patterns (compared to those in the photo above). When patterns are small like this I often think them of them as having the same purpose that solid cardstock might have, like plain patterned paper. To me, it's almost as though the subtle pattern does not even exist.


Here we have the three sheets that I decided to work with. I first chose the gift pattern because it goes so well with the "Do Not Open" theme. Next I chose the mini red dotted paper to use as an accent and the cream paper with the stripes is going to go in the background. At this point I know that I will trim away the red border on that paper. Overall, we have a mix of colors and a mix in pattern sizes.

This brings up another point: some manufacturers distress all the edges of their patterned papers, so you might want to watch for that. Since we always have to trim the 6x6 sheets to fit onto a card, you want to pay attention and be sure to trim away all of the distressing so that the pattern appears balanced on your card, otherwise you run the risk of having one or two edges with distressing and the other edges without it. That can look funny. The other solution is to leave it and use Distress Inks to balance out the distressing on all the sides of the paper.

The last thing that you might be wondering is what to do with patterns that you aren't sure how to use. For example, I am not sure that this particular pattern is my style, but I know that the shades of green and cream match the other papers perfectly. Therefore, I can at least use this pattern to line the envelope of the card that uses other patterns from the same paper pack.


So here is my final card...I made the stripes in the background go up and down because I thought they would look best perpendicular to the sentiment. I used that paper in the background so that all the darker layers on top of it would really pop. You can see that I ended up heat embossing the image in white onto two different patterns (one small, one large, but each plain enough that they serve the role that regular cardstock could here.) The red scalloped edge also balances out the red in the banner. Everything was mounted on a black cardstock base because I didn't have a perfectly matching shade of red for the base and because American Crafts incorporated black into several of the patterns in this collection. (I otherwise never would have thought to use black on a Christmas card!)

I think my final tip here is to have fun shopping for these! Until you learn who your favorite manufacturers of these paper pads are, it's best to see these in real life before buying, if possible. Always keep in mind that these pads often coordinate with brads, buttons, chipboard, stickers, and ribbon from each collection; if you prefer to work with any of these things, you may want to buy them so you have perfectly matching embellishments for your paper. Some companies make their pads in an 8x8 size instead of 6x6, and these are awesome because each sheet can be cut in half for two cards, unlike sheets in 6x6 pads; I think you get more for your money with these.

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts! Please let me know if you have questions!

ETA: Tracey left a comment below that made me is true that you fall in love with certain papers and are scared to use them up. The nice thing is that some manufacturers don't appear to discontinue their lines, so you can always replenish your stock...or you can just hope that something even better will come out next year.



  1. Your card looks fantastic! I like it on the black card base.
    Thanks for the great tips on using the paper pads. I have many, but they contain patterns that I'm not sure how to use - but now I'm feeling a little more confident about using them. I love the 6x6 pads - the scraps are perfect for paper-piecing.

  2. Suzanne thank you so much for the tips on using patterned papers with cardmaking. I really struggle with that, I love my dp's so much but I would love to use them too.

  3. Some really great ideas here. Thanks.

  4. wow super cute card...thanks for your tips..

  5. What a great tutorial about mini paper pads!! Love this gorgeous card. You certainly have used the pattern paper and stamp so superbly!!

  6. Thanks for the wonderful ideas! I love to buy the 6x6 paper packs but sometimes struggle to use them. Can't wait to put your tips into play!

  7. This is beautiful and thanks for the how to! LOVE 6 x 6 paper pads!

  8. I am guilty of collecting 6x6 paper packs and not really using them often enough. That must come to a halt.

  9. Thank you, hon, for taking the time to write this up! It's well-done and useful as we all need a reminder to use our "precious" paper and not treat it like gold! I love the 6x6ers, too.

  10. Suzanne - you wrote this up SO WELL. I, too, am loving the smaller pads of paper for just the same reasons. Love the card you made here. TFS.

  11. Very nice job on this - thanks for taking the time to enlighten us.

  12. These were great tips, so glad I decided to pop over and read them! Can't wait to get back in my craft room, pull out my 6x6's and see them in a whole new light! Thank you much!!


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