onethingoneweekA few weeks ago, I posted some photos of my crazy scrappy happy quilted bookmarks and I love this upcycled project! Every day at work and at home, I am bombarded by tons of junk mail and it is frustrating.... especially since most of that useless crap ends up in the landfill! Does anyone share my sentiment here?

In an effort to upcycle, recycle and reuse, I decided that my junk mail postcards could be turned into something useful. They are printed on really heavy duty nice paper! So I decided I could make bookmarks for gifts.

You will need:

1 Junk Cardboard Postcard

Fabric Scraps

Thread for sewing machine



Spray Adhesive (optional)

5” ribbon scrap

1 Large Flat Button

1 Decorative Flower Button

Glue Gun

Upholstery Needle & Thread

1 Straight Pin

Here we go!!!!

I started out with a bunch of scraps cut from string quilt blocks that I had made for a string quilt. I have a large baggie full of excess trimmings.


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Here are a bunch of the scraps. The string blocks had a muslin foundation on the back, but any type of scraps will do!


Then I took a large junk mail postcard that I had received in the mail.


I cut it into 3 strips. Each strip was about 2 inches wide. And the postcard was 9 inches long... so I ended up with 3 strips 2 x 9. If you do not have any junk mail postcards, you can also use cardboard from a cereal or cracker box. Any type of lightweight cardboard will do!

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If you would like you can add a piece of batting to the front of the cardboard piece before you begin. In my case, this postcard was pretty thick, so I decided to omit the batting because I did not want the bookmark to be too thick.

Start by laying down your first scrap face up on the top of the bookmark and sew it in place across the top and side of the cardboard.

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Find a complimentary scrap and place it on top of the first scrap. Use a decorative stitch of some sort over the raw edge of the 2nd scrap to sew it to the first scrap and the cardboard. I had just bought myself a new sewing machine, so I tried out the zig zag stitch.

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Keep adding more scraps in the same fashion in whatever random pattern you find interesting and visually appealing. Sew each in place with the zig zag stitch as you continue down the piece of cardboard, filling up all the blank space with your scrappy happy fabric design.

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Here is what my design looks like when the cardboard piece is entirely covered with fabric scraps.

Random. Eclectic. Very scrappy!

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Here is what the bookmark looks like from the back side. You can see the fabric scraps hanging over the sides.

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Trim the fabric scraps from the top and sides of the cardboard. Here is a photo of the cardboard bookmark once the scraps were trimmed.

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Choose a fabric for the back side of the bookmark. On the right side of the photo, you can see the backing fabric I chose for this one.

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Cut the backing fabric to be about 1/4" larger than the size of the bookmark. Please the bookmark from and the backing WRONG sides together lining the two up as best you can. If you have problems getting it to stay together, you can use a spray fabric adhesive or a little fabric glue. I just used a couple of paper clips to hold it together. You can't use pins because the cardboard is too thick for that and you do not want to bend the cardboard.

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Sew very close to the edge of the bookmark with a decorative stitch through the cardboard bookmark and the backing of the bookmark. I use either zig zag, satin or blanket stitch. I have experimented with all of these stitches. I think I like the look of the blanket stitch best. You can use a neutral thread or a bright contrasting thread. It just depends on the look you like!

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Sew all the way around all 4 sides of the bookmark, pivoting at each of the corners.

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After you sew around all the edges, your bookmark will look like this. Trim off the excess backing fabric.

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The back of the bookmark will look like this after it is trimmed. I added some more decorative stitches to the bookmark to add visual appeal.

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Now you get to have some fun because it is time to embellish your bookmark any way you would like! I used a scrap of pink polka dot ribbon (♥ polka dots!), a very large flat black button and a blue turquoise flower button from my button stash! I never throw away old buttons!

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First a put a little hot glue from my glue gun on the bookmark where I want toplace the ribbon. I fold the ribbon in half as shown in the photo. I pin it in place.

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I put hot glue on the back side of the button and hold the button in place for 15 seconds for the glue to dry.

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Then I put a few stitches through the button and the ribbon with a heavy duty upholstery needle. That way I know my ribbon and button won't come off!

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Then I glue the turquoise flower button on top! And I am done!

You can sign the back of the bookmark with your name and the date if you want, or write a special message for that special someone if it is a gift with a permanent fabric marker!

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Here is another bookmark I made and finished off with pink and black striped ribbon, a large white button and a pink flower!

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And the 3rd one I made where I started with a piece of muslin and batting that I put on top of the cardboard and then I added 1/2" strips of fabric scraps for a striped design. I also used muslin for the back with a piece of cream colored flannel underneath so the pictures on the cardboard would not show through the fabric. I added red gross grain ribbon and Christmas colored buttons. This one will be a gift for my favorite friend who loves to read at Christmas!

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And here is a photo of my completed bookmark trio!

Scrappy happy and fun!

Sew colorful!

Have fun making these!



I am linking up to this linky party at Skip to My Lou!

Check out the awesome inspiration on her site!!!



Last Updated (Monday, 25 October 2010 21:56)

Comments (9)
Needle size
9Thursday, 20 August 2015 22:42
Carla Siu
I love this tutorial and appreciate that you have shared it. Can you tell me what size needle you used in your machine to sew through the cardboard and fabric? have a very cool name :)
Poems for booklovers.
8Monday, 20 July 2015 16:14
Here's a site with 12 poems for book lovers to go with your book marks
Gifts for my friend.
7Monday, 20 July 2015 00:21
mary simmons
Thanks for sharing .
Back of bookmark
6Sunday, 19 July 2015 23:52
Janet. Mandour
is it just one piece of material then glued and sewed only on the sides?
5Sunday, 19 July 2015 15:22
Love ideas for scraps. This will make gifts for my charity group. Thanks!
4Sunday, 19 July 2015 10:35
Mary Ellen Kaufman
Loved the tutorial.Just started sewing going try these bookmarks for gifts.Thank you!
quilted bookmarks
3Sunday, 19 July 2015 06:34
Valerie Hart
These are the coolest things. I love to read and am going to try them for sure. Great tutorial. I think would make great ideas for friends who quilt and/or read. Great little ideas to start Christmas gifts..
2Wednesday, 24 August 2011 03:23
Thanks so much for the idea, I cannot throw material away no matter how small. These worked out great. So far I have made 14, but I need a poem to enclose with them for favors and gifts. Any ideas?
Quilted Bookmarks
1Friday, 01 July 2011 13:57
Gale Kendrick
Loved your tutorial. Good work and Thanks for sharing.

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