Behind the Scenes: Making our Holiday Window

It’s probably no surprise that we love making our store festive for the holidays, and that starts with our holiday window display (after all, it’s the very first thing you see)! Here, we take a look behind the scenes with our Director of Visual Merchandising, Rick V., on what it takes to make the holiday window come to life!

holiday window together

How do you decide what’s highlighted in the window?
Our windows typically relate to one of our exclusive Paper Source-designed kits. This year we had a few options that we thought would make a good window and would also tie into our holiday gift assortment.

Initially I started with another concept but kept gravitating back to the Nutcracker Doll Kit. The Nutcracker Dolls have a traditional holiday feeling that evoke a lot of memories and capture the essence of the season. Once we decided on the Nutcracker Dolls, I started sketching and we layered in a variety of wrapped packages focusing on our Gold and Glitter gift wraps (completed with red accents, ribbons and bows) that also highlight our new Gold Foil assortment we introduced in our Holiday Photo Card line this year.  

BTS Holiday Window

Knowing we would be featuring Nutcracker Dolls in our windows, and that they are meant to be ballet dancers, I really wanted to find a way to incorporate movement. The twirling of the Sugar Plum Fairy recreates the animation of traditional holiday windows, as well as emphasizes the original ballet. She spins in our windows atop one of the gold glitter boxes in her Plum tutu – all while secretly running on a battery operated spinner hidden beneath a glittery star!

When do you start thinking about the window displays?
We began with the inspiration and design for the holiday windows all the way in early June once our Paper Source holiday kits are finalized!

What goes into planning a window display? How long does it take to get it perfect?
Once the window theme was solidified, I worked to recreate enlarged versions of the Nutcracker Dolls.  In order to get the scale correct, I created three sets of dolls before deciding on the correct size for our feature windows. I then installed the “window” in our Chicago office using the final prototype sizes. This ensures all of the components are provided to stores for them to recreate the window, and that everything looks great.

holiday window HQ

All of the pieces required to construct the window are packaged into store window “kits” in much the same way our regular kits are prepared! Each one is hand-assembled in our Chicago office by our dedicated team (a truly remarkable feat given the quantity!).

Who assembles the window displays?
We provide a comprehensive step-by-step for each store to reference along with any templates and files to assist store teams. Stores then sketch their window out based on size, and once the sketch has been reviewed, they create everything from the pieces received!

All the elements for this window were cut on our Silhouette Cameo using the 12” x 24” cutting mat. Each store then embellishes their Nutcracker Dolls to create a unique look. We love it when the windows come “alive” and showcase the creative talents of our associates!  

Holiday Window Evanston

Paper Source Evanston’s store window!

What do we do with the window pieces when they’re uninstalled?
Once the windows are taken down, stores work within their community and donate the removed kits to local charities, organizations and schools as requests are made with the store.


So there you have it! Thanks to Rick for giving us a peek inside the process of designing our Holiday window! What’s your favorite window we’ve done? Tell us in the comments below!

Workshop: DIY Calendar


2015 is just around the corner which means it’s time to get your calendar ready. We have many beautiful designs to choose from but one of the most creative calendars we have is one that lets you be the designer!  Our DIY Calendar comes with 12 monthly grids printed on recycled paper and a gem case for desktop display.  Looking for some creative inspiration to get you started? Join us for our DIY Calendar Workshop on Saturday, November 15th to make yours. The calendar and supplies are included in the class and we will show you different ways to embellish each month. Beginner and experienced crafters alike are welcomed!

Many of the techniques we will teach you in the workshop look great replicated across a whole year.  Here are a few favorites:


The Pennant Punch: Pick your favorite decorative papers and pair them with coordinating solids – then punch away!  This is also a clever way to use up your scrap paper.



Washi Tape:  So fun and easy to use we even have a whole book filled with ideas.



Color Wash: Achieve an elegant watercolor look with your favorite ink colors and a Sponge Dauber.



Handmade calendars make beautiful gifts.  You can design each calendar to match the recipients personal style.  If you attend the workshop, you can use your 10% off coupon to save on all the supplies you need to create your holiday presents!


Paper Source Holiday Crafting

Looking for ways to get creative this holiday season?  We have plenty!  Nothing sparks the holiday spirit quite like holiday crafting and we have multiple options to get in the spirit! Find out more about our holiday events and our holiday contest below.

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Holiday Card Making Crafter’s Night Out, Thursday, November 6th: Kick off the season with wine, cookies and a little crafting!  Make four different cards and get loads of ideas for your annual holiday greetings.  This is one of our most popular events of the year!  You can sign up online or contact your local store if they are sold out to see if they are running an encore.

holiday event photo


Free Make & Take Event, Saturday November 29th: Swing by between 11 am – 3 pm at your local store (no reservation necessary!) to do some light crafting with friends and family.  Make festive holiday tags with stamps, tape and punches.  You will even get to line an envelope with colorful holiday wrap – a great DIY touch for both handmade and store-bought holiday cards.



Holiday Gift Wrap Workshop, Thursday, December 4th:  Bring presents and get ready to wrap!  We will teach you the basics of gift wrapping along with some unique accent ideas.  Learn more details and sign up here.



Staff Holiday Favorite Workshop, Saturday, December 13th: Contact your local store for details.  Choices range from gift wrap, to decor to Nutcracker paper dolls!

holiday card contest header


Holiday Card Making Contest, deadline December 15th: Time to show off your creativity!!  Enter for the chance to win $150 gift card.  There is more than one way to win – check out our contest page for details!

Get Creative with Us: Work at Paper Source!

Holiday seasonal hiring is upon us and we’re excited to expand our store teams! If you’ve ever been delighted by our store windows, inspired by our workshops or envious of our catalog pages, Paper Source might be a great fit for you!

Not only will you be a member of the expansive and creative Paper Source community, but our part-time seasonal team members get a 30% discount on great holidays gifts and crafting supplies to kickstart projects.

If you’re interested in a fun holiday career, here are some things we’re looking for in our new associates:

  • Passion for Paper Source and our products
  • Fast, fun and friendly people
  • Experience working in a busy retail environment delivering a high level of customer service
  • Flexibility and availability to work the upcoming holiday season including nights, weekends and holidays

We love our holiday associates and wanted to share a story from Vanessa, who began with Paper Source as a holiday associate last season and has continued to grow with us since then.

“I joined Paper Source last holiday because I had been at home for six months with my new baby and knew I needed to get out and connect with people again. I come from food service/retail management background and I really enjoyed showing people new things and building relationships with customers plus I love crafting! I figured Paper Source would be an awesome place to learn new things and share them with others. Plus, the Store Manager was so welcoming and straight forward during my interview, I knew it would be awesome!

From day one I knew I had found “my people” here at Paper Source. It was so incredibly refreshing to work in an environment where everyone is helpful and knowledgeable. Plus, they are all amazingly crafty and inspiring! It is so fun getting to know our customers and hearing their stories! My husband refers to me as the detective at home! I love to help bring customers’ ideas to their full potential. It is very gratifying!

If you or someone you know think Paper Source’s holiday positions could be a good fit for you, be sure to apply today at your local Paper Source store or online at:

Have a great holiday season!

Paper Source Recruitment Team

Workshop: Fall Card Making

The turn of the season always brings with it a creative spark.  As Fall approaches we have warm colors and rich patterns in mind for our upcoming card making workshop: Colorful Paper Tapestry.  Our inspiration for these card designs comes from vibrant textiles and embroidery.  We played with punches, stamps and twine to find ways to translate this artistry from fabric to paper.

Our Pinterest board holds our inspiration for this class!

This workshop is great for a crafting beginner who wants to learn some card making basics but also gives the more experienced crafter the chance to try some new techniques with stamping, layering, braiding and knotting.

The techniques in this class also translate well to holiday card making – like this example from the creative team at our Ann Arbor store:

We hope you join us on September 13th to get crafty!  Sign up here or contact your local store for more details.  If you can’t make it on the 13th but still want to take the class, ask your local store about setting up a private class for you and 4 – 7 of your friends!

Workshop: Learn to Letterpress

Until recently, if you wanted to experience the rewards of letterpressing your own cards you needed to acquire a quite large (up to 4,000 lbs!) and quite expensive (up to $10,000!) machine. We don’t know about you, but we don’t have that much space in our dining room and we’re not sure we can commit to living on ramen to pay it off!

No need to go to any extreme measure–the Evolution machine now comes with a letterpress kit; making this an accessible and super easy art form!

If you’re curious to see how this works or just interested in dabbling in a new technique, join us for our Letterpress Stationery Collection Workshop this Saturday, August 23rd. During the workshop you’ll learn how to use the Evolution machine to emboss, letterpress and create your own stationery set. Your five card collection will also come with a pocket folio and textured accents like linen and wood. Added bonus: you can save 10% off the Evolution machine when you take the class!  Sign up here. We hope to see you Saturday!

Crafter’s Night Out: Flea Market Style

This Thursday we are hosting Crafter’s Night Out in all of our stores from 6 – 8 pm.  For this workshop, we were inspired by one of our favorite summer pasttimes: flea markets!  Some of our favorite market finds include vibrant oil cloth, unique vintage bottles and nostalgic black and white photos.  These beautiful objects sparked our creativity and the result was the projects for this class.  Join us to make colorful cards, tissue paper flowers and even etch a glass milk bottle!  The retro style pieces in this class are fun to complete and easy to repeat for summer party favors, gifts, personal stationery and more.  Find out more about the projects here.

Get in the flea market mood by checking out some of our inspiration.  We hope to see you on Thursday!



Workshop: Indigo Card Making

This post is brought to you by Rebecca B., who creates our workshops. Here she tells you how she found the inspiration for our newest workshop, Indigo Card Making, happening Thursday, June 19.

My latest crush is on Indigo.  I see it everywhere: clothing, textiles, home decor, ceramics, the list goes on.  I wanted to combine it with my other love, paper, so I created the Indigo Card Making Workshop!  With the stationery collection in this class I tried to capture some of my favorite forms of the trend: sun prints, Shibori dyeing, dip-dyeing, Ikat prints and mosaics.  You can take a look at some of my Indigo inspiration on this Pinterest board:


This roll-up-your-sleeves class is such great creative playtime!  Among the projects, you will learn how to create decorative paper with Shibori techniques that involve binding and dying paper with inkpads. Then you will use your beautiful hand-dyed paper to create stationery.  One of my favorite aspects of the class is the “reveal” moments when you unfold the bindings to discover the Indigo pattern.  Click here to learn more about the other projects in this workshop.

Classes are filling fast but many locations are running encores so be sure to call your local store if seats are sold out online.

Pinterest inspiration for our workshop. Check out more here.

Favorite PS colors: cement & coral
Favorite PS product:  Mint Patterned Napkins

Workshop: Mini Succulent Garden

This post is brought to you by Rebecca B., who creates our workshops. Here she tells you how she found the inspiration for our newest workshop, Mini Succulent Garden, happening Saturday, May 10. 

Time for me to confess: in a year’s span, I have lovingly built and slowly killed two terrariums.  I’d like to blame this on the amount of travel I did during said year, but regardless, I have decided my next terrarium is a paper one!

In 2013, we launched new succulent designs in gift wrap, stationery and our calendar collection.  When the teams in our Edina and Minneapolis stores saw them, they had a great idea – why not have a paper succulent class?  This year, when we added a new Succulent Wreath Kit to our assortment, it was the perfect prompt to make good on the request and create a succulent workshop.

This class is one of my favorites and includes 2 projects: a mini succulent garden in a burlap pouch (which you can easily transfer to your favorite container at home) and a canning jar terrarium card.  These are fun to make and look so sweet when completed.  The Mini Succulent Garden Workshop takes place Saturday May 10th, which means it would be a great gift for Mother’s Day (which is Sunday, May 11th!).  You can bring your mom for a fun experience, or you can take the class on your own and give her the little paper garden the next day.

Whether you keep your garden or give it away, the good news is there is no watering necessary!  Added bonus: once you learn how to make these succulents, you will be able to try other great paper succulent projects like these from out Workshops Pinterest board, too!  Sign up here!

Favorite PS colors: cement & coral
Favorite PS product:  Succulent Wreath Kit