“Vintage” Paper Chain

Monday, December 7, 2009


Remember those old paper chains you used to make out of construction paper in elementary school? Well, I’ve been admiring all of the cool wreaths made of book pages (like the wreaths below from Pottery Barn), so I thought it could be fun to make a paper chain for my tree with the same look.


  • An inexpensive book that you can destroy (I found mine at the Salvation Army)
  • Scissors or a fancy scrapbooking cutter
  • A stapler (or glue if you really want to go the extra mile)
  • Brown ink and a sponge applicator (OPTIONAL)

First, I have to say that I made my paper chain while visiting my Aunt for Thanksgiving. She is a card making queen, and as such she had all kinds of fancy supplies for me to use for this project. Yep. I was in awe. Here’s how our conversation about the paper chain went:

Me: Do you happen to have a stapler I could use?

Auntie: I have 5 different staplers for every possible stapling need. Which one would you prefer?

Me: Oh thanks. Do you happen to have any brown craft paint or ink I could use?

Auntie: Do I have ink? I have 10 kinds of antiquing ink. I have walnut, and parchment, and vintage paper, and mahogany, and….

Yeah, she’s totally out of my crafty and creative league.

Anyway, the reason for the explanation is that I wouldn’t normally have used all the fancy stuff. I’m more of a 1 type of scissors, 1 type of stapler gal. But that’s just me. Okay, moving on…

How to Make Your Paper Chain

1) If you want to antique your edges see the paragraph below. You’ll want to do this first.

2) Slice pages out of the book with the edge of your scissors.

3) Cut the pages lengthwise into uniform sized strips with scissors or a fancy paper cutter.


4) Staple (or glue if you’re an overachiever) the ends of the first strip together to form a ring. (yes, that’s what stapling paper looks like…earth shattering, I know)



5) Insert the next strip of paper into the ring and then staple the ends of that together to form another ring. (I know this is totally self-explanatory, I just thought I should explain in case you’ve never made a paper chain before).


If you want to antique the edges of the paper (and you have a spare 4 gajillion hours …more or less), use some brown ink and a sponge applicator to lightly add brown color to the edges of the strips. My aunt said she bought the ink in the photo from Michaels.


Add the ink to the strips of paper before putting the chain together. If you wait and do it after it’s been put together then then this project will take approximately 8 gajillion hours instead of 4. I learned this the hard way.

See my cute cousin helping me put ink on my edges? She was very patient during this process. Thanks Kelsey and Aunt Shelley!


Tune in tomorrow for more about my Christmas tree.

13 Suburbanites Said:

momstheword said...

Very cute and I think that I could actually do this, lol!

Sharon@Sharon at Home said...

pretty made from a book ... the easiest ideas are the best ... especially at Christmas so everyone can help out.

Karla said...

Love it! It's so pretty!

~Karla @ It's The Little Things...

Janell @ House of Fifty said...

Yet another fabulous idea! And what a joy to work on a project at a location stocked with any and all supplies of the supplies you could possibly want or need!

Katie@Yoga Gal said...

What a great idea! I bet scrapbook paper would look cool too. We might have to do this during Cooper's Christmas school break (I am trying to stockpile ideas to entertain him). :D

Courtney Baker said...

Love this! So pretty! Plus anything using distress ink ... so for me!

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog said...

I love the look- the distressed edges are the perfect touch!

Anonymous said...

what a great idea!

Robyn said...

Your paper chain is GORGEOUS! I love it....I too have those paper wreaths on my todo list when I get the spare gajillion hours too! I happen to have lots of kinds of distress ink too! LOL

Valerie said...

I was just planning on doing a page chain for my kid's study room, but I didn't think of inking the egdges!! Can't wait to give it a try. Filing this away at thecraftersfilebox.com.

Thanks for sharing!

Borrowed Bungalow said...

LOVE IT! What a simple idea, but sooo great! The ink makes it!

gina said...

Oh , that's a clever twist on the book page wreath!! You could use old sheet music of christmas carols too!

Jen said...

So pretty! I have a huge stash of old books just waiting on a project like this!!! Have you seen my curly paper tree?