The Sandpaper Road Formula™ | the ultimate hack to choose patterned paper for cardmaking, scrapbooking & papercrafting

It’s called the Sandpaper Road Formula™ – a simple trick to help you use the patterned paper and cardstock you already have and get yourself ready to create! It’s easy, it’s foolproof AND EVERY papercrafter can use it.

WHAT IS THE Sandpaper Road Formula™ USED FOR?

  • Narrowing down big projects. You know who you are. You want to scrapbook your child’s entire 12 years of school days before the graduation party next month. What’s worse is that you have a huge trunk of “school years” papercrafting supplies that you have been collecting for a decade. The Sandpaper Road Formula™ helps you break down the enormity of big projects into smaller, more do-able segments.
  • Using what you already have. If you are guilty of being more of a “collector of supplies” than an actual papercrafter, the Sandpaper Road Formula™ will help you get through your mountains of supplies. The formula works BEST with paper stacks or with open-stock paper from one single manufacturer, and it works GREAT with double-sided paper!
  • Taking to crops or working in small spaces. Maybe you don’t have the luxury of a craft room. Maybe your craft space is a card table or a corner of the kitchen counter. But because the Sandpaper Road Formula™ only uses a few sheets of paper or cardstock, you have less chaos and less of “everything everywhere” when you actually sit down to craft. Imagine using the Sandpaper Road Formula™ to organize your packing before heading to a crop. So much less to haul!
  • Keeping your organization system the way YOU LIKE IT. You know you have some sort of system for your supplies. Even “no system” is a system! With the Sandpaper Road Formula™, you don’t have to reorganize all your supplies by manufacturer, holiday, theme, or color. As a matter of fact, the Sandpaper Road Formula™ allows you to go ACROSS themes and holidays to MIX and MATCH the patterned papers you already have. I have even pulled patterned paper from a holiday pack to use in the formula with school years papers, simply because I liked the pattern and color combination together. The Sandpaper Road Formula™ helps you think outside the box.
  • Working with sketch sheets. If you enjoy following idea sketches or layouts, you know what a mess it can be to pull your patterned papers with a certain sketch or idea in mind. The Sandpaper Road Formula™ gives you the PERFECT balance of patterns to follow all kinds of sketches and idea patterns, from scrapbook layouts to cards to mini albums.
  • Creating DIY kits. Craft subscription kits are all the rage, but why not make your own? Instead of spending $15-$30 USD or more PER MONTH on a kit that may or may not get used by the time the next one comes, why not start by making a “year’s worth” of “kits” for yourself? Can you get through a year of your own supplies? Think of the money you will save! Plus, it feels so good to use what you already have!

The Sandpaper Road Formula™:

  • 2 of the same
  • 2 “differents-plain”
  • 2 “off-the-chain”

(then add)

  • 2 lights
  • 2 darks

The slideshow below shows some examples of the Sandpaper Road Formula™.

Any size paper will work, but try to stay consistent with size as you group your papers together. For example, maybe use the formula once with 8″ x 8″ papers and then use the formula again with 12″ x 12″ papers. My only exception to this rule is when I add my cardstock for card bases, because that generally comes 8-1/2″ x 11″ standard in the USA.


  • 2 – pieces patterned paper (exactly the same pattern);
  • 1 – coordinating piece patterned paper different from the two “sames” above (it should be a relatively “plain” pattern – not too busy or crazy);
  • 1 – additional coordinating piece patterned paper with a DIFFERENT relatively “plain” pattern;
  • 1- coordinating piece patterned paper with a crazy, wild, busy pattern;
  • 1- additional coordinating piece patterned paper with a DIFFERENT crazy, wild, busy pattern;


  • 2 – pieces light cardstock (exactly the same color);
  • 2 – pieces dark cardstock (exactly the same color);


CHOOSE AT LEAST 3 PIECES OF PLAIN WHITE CARDSTOCK, 8-1/2″ x 11″ or larger. Even if you are using larger or smaller-sized paper for the rest of the formula, try to use 8-1/2″ x 11″ or larger for these pieces (for best results, choose cardstock with a weight of #110 or higher.)

These sheets will be used for creating card bases, for creating photo mats or for stamping. THAT’S IT!

So, again, your patterns are: 2 of the same, 2 ‘differents-plain’, and 2 ‘off the chain’. YOU determine what is “different-plain”and what is “off the chain”. It is completely up to you. AND, your choices may change from kit to kit. But it is ALWAYS your choice, based on what you have and your preferences.
And your solid cardstock colors are: 2 lights, 2 darks and then (at least) 3 card bases.

Want to see more? Watch this short, engaging video!

I have yet to experience failure with the Sandpaper Road Formula™. And it works for EVERYONE, from the beginner to the seasoned papercrafter. Try it for yourself and leave a comment below with your experiences!

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