How can I reuse or recycle wallpaper samples?

Following on from the paint tester pots the other week, I’ve got some wallpaper samples that have served their purpose too. I really can’t wait for our renovations to be over!

Like the paint, the samples were to check out ideas/colours/designs in-situ. Some of them were torn from rolls in shops (with permission! I’m not just a random vandal ;) ) and are about 60cm/2ft wide by about the same long, while others are A4 sheets that I’ve had posted out to check colours. They’re all thick, heavy paper as you would expect from wallpaper.

Obviously the best thing would have been to reduce in the first place – to be a bit more decisive and not collected so many samples but like with the paint, these are to offset a potentially larger waste by picking the wrong thing – so now I’m looking for reusing/upcycling ideas.

Most of them are “feature” wallpapers so patterns & colours that I like but not enough for them to be displayed as framed pieces of art in their own right. The ones with a small repeating pattern though could be used as paper behind something else in a frame though (for example, I have some pretty buttons that I might want to display – they would look great on some of the plain-ish pinstriped paper).

They’d be fine for lining drawers too – many people (including us) don’t line drawers with paper any more because the insides on modern furniture don’t tend to be as rough on delicates as they used to be but it’s certainly worth doing on vintage furniture – and looks pretty too.

Do kids still have to back school textbooks/exercise books? We used to use wallpaper (amongst other things) for that. The fact I have to ask that question probably shows that it’s not a reuse I could specifically do but others might be able to reuse wallpaper samples in that way — and I could keep some for next time I make a notebook for myself.

Any other ideas? How would you reuse wallpaper samples? Are they suitable for any papercrafts or would they be too thick?

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18 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle wallpaper samples?”


  1. Pair them with cardboard from cereal packets to make gift tags :) I also get samples from the scrapstore to cover the fronts of jiffy envelopes so I can re-use them easily :)

    • theresa peat says:

      can you tell me how yu use wallpaper samples to make jiffy bags reusable thanks in anticipation

  2. Andrea says:

    Child daycare centers LOVE wallpaper sampler books. The paper is sturdy enough to do lots of different kinds of crafts…like matching cards, lacing cards, folders, stencils, etc, etc, etc.

  3. Melinda says:

    Wallpaper can be used nicely on bulletin boards- whether it is whole rolls of leftover wallpaper, or small bits to serve as an accent.

    They can also be used as the outside of home-made notebooks and books. Scrapbookers and card-makers can probably use it, too

  4. As long as the paper isn’t pre-pasted, it works great for all kinds of paper crafts, including origami. Depending on the size of your samples, it makes great gift boxes.

  5. Tina says:

    if there is enough, you can cover small boxes to create pretty storage. I made a jewellery box from a large shoe box, using wallpaper on the outside and wrapping paper on the inside, over cardboard to make dividers. My daughter loves it (she’s only little!).

  6. Topsy says:

    Wallpaper samples can be used for sturdy wrapping paper or to make gift bags, particularly if appropriate coloured ribbons or cord for handles can be found! (Instructions for making gift bags can be found online if necessary or take an old one apart for a pattern).

    Obviously they can be cut up and used for matting/layering in card making. Individual elements (eg flowers) can be cut out and used for decorating cards, accents on wrapping paper etc.

  7. Steph says:

    You can use them to wrap books and send them by post if you swap/share books via bookcrossing/readitswapit for example. I have received books this way (you just have to stick a label/paper for the address on it) and found it a great idea as it is thicker and therefore more protective than brown paper for instance.

  8. Virginia Smith says:

    Re-cycle wallpaper samples – You could start making “Re-cycled” handmade books and use these for the covers as the paper is very strong! Search on the internet as there are many instructions available. Also use junk mail & re-cycled paper in your books..great gift ideas for friends.

  9. Sheila says:

    I work in a school nursery and we are always happy to take old (clean) wallpaper swatches/samples, backing paper, unused key boards, telephones, computer screens. It just depends on your local school/nursery if they’re ok with donations,not all of them are for H&S reasons. We just can’t afford to be proud, especially these days of cuts!

  10. Marisza says:

    Photo frame? Assemble them in artistic way (or your way your taste?), paster on a paper, and frame them.

  11. Irene says:

    Anaglypta wall paper is ideal for rubbings with wax crayons. Children love doing this

    Other wall paper is good for making folded boxes. No glue needed

  12. May be you could have a wall in the house with a wallpaper collage. If not someone already mentioned child day care centers – communities around you shall have some that could reuse.

  13. nancy says:

    cover a piece of furniture – like a side board or side table, or a lamp base and shade – it will look terrific and stylish!

  14. Jennifer says:

    You can also make wall art and remember fondly, haha, redecorating by creating a paper quilt from your favorite quilt pattern and your favorite samples.

  15. kfh says:

    this isn’t the best example… but sometime it feels like more effort goes into creative rather than constructive responses on this site.

    i’m sure – in fact i know – you aren’t the only indecisive type around – so best first “recycle” (actually reuse – even better) would be to return them to from whence they came for others to try out in their potential new schemes.

    happy decorating/reusing/recycling All

  16. Rebecca says:

    Drawer liners.

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