Elegant Recycled Paper Art: Spotlight on Franky and J. Designs

Karla DeStefano of Franky and J. Designs is an artisan and calligrapher whose handmade paper goods delight me. Just wait until you see the variety of eco-friendly home decor and hand lettered items she creates. I became aware of her work last summer via the Etsy Design Awards as one of her recycled paper pulp bowls was named a Finalist, and since then have enjoyed following her Instagram posts... she has a good sense of humor, always a plus in my book! 

white crepe paper peony held by stem 

There is something special about each product Karla crafts... they are stylish and useful. Now, part of the allure could be her gorgeous photographs, but there's more to it than that. What also attracted me are customer reviews that say she puts a great deal of care into everything, from promptly responding to questions to thoughtful packaging.

handmade white paper pulp bowl with rose gold painted interior displayed with green plant and jar containing unpainted wooden beads 

This is a tough time for calligraphers... think how many special events have been cancelled in recent months. Karla told me she is filling the void by making cotton rag paper that she will be using going forward for invitations, escort cards, table numbers, signage, and the like. She loves its pillowy texture.

handmade paper wedding invitations 

Fun fact - Karla began working as a sign artist at Trader Joe's in 2013... it's where she fell in love with hand lettering. Personal note - my youngest is recently engaged and you can bet I'll be telling him and his fiance about her... they're looking forward to Covid-19 being obliterated so wedding planning can commence.

white ink hand lettered black envelope  

These watercolor place cards are ahh-worthy... ideal for a waterside wedding (no, not waterslide, although you can sign me up for one of those, ha!).


Something I find especially commendable about Karla is her determination... when she thinks up a new product she just goes for it, tinkering until it works.

watercolor, hand lettered place cards

Karla says: There is a lot of trial and error in my work, but that’s what I absolutely love. I love working with my hands and creating things from nothing. All my paper pulp bowls, sculptures, and pendant lamps always start with 100% recycled paper. My goal is to make one-of-a-kind pieces that are also environmentally friendly.

 three vivid color crepe paper gerbera daisies

The high quality crepe paper flowers she makes are popular... from realistic gerbera daisies and peonies to fantasy flowers like these pretties...

trio of paper mache cupped flowers

Paper pulp wildflower seed bombs would be a nice gift for those with planting space. They're available in rainbow packs or three ombre color mixes.

rainbow colored wildflower seed bomb balls

I think even the guys on your gift list would like a handsome paper mache container to hold keys, rings, and more. Karla uses acrylic paint and applies satin varnish for protection.

black and white splatter paint paper mache bowl

paper pulp square white, silver, and gold trinket dish

Add a battery operated tea light to this perforated paper bowl to cast beautiful shadows.

paper pulp perforated bowl

Spruce up a blank wall with a rustic driftwood mobile that features paper mache elements.

paper mache stars and triangles rustic mobile

You could us this Moleskine journal to plan a journey... you know, for when the world starts to to turn again.

hand lettered Moleskine notebook

Visit Franky and J. Designs and follow Karla on Instagram. She also has an Etsy shop

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Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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