Crafting cure-all: Entrepreneur develops kit to relieve coronavirus boredom and stress

Earlier this year, many Northeast Ohio residents were desperately looking for projects to keep their hands and minds occupied during quarantine. Lora DiFranco, founder of Free Period Press, a company that sells planners, coloring books, self-care guides, and other fun ways to relax and unwind, had just the cure for coronavirus boredom: collage kits.


DiFranco’s collage kits provide everything needed to cut and assemble artistic masterpieces, and her kits are becoming popular in both local stores and nationwide.


The University Heights resident has even saved her customers the tedious task of scouring through magazines and searching for designs by making ready-made collage kits. Now all you really need is glue and a pair of scissors to create your work of art.


Free Period Press Collage KitThe kit contains 120 pages of photos, designs and illustrations ranging from travel, nature, letters, vintage photographs—all from 40 artists.


Additionally, 25% of the profits made from every purchase goes directly to the contributing artists (in addition to a flat fee they receive for submitting their works).


“The [materials] included in the collage kits have work from both local and international artists, but I tried to keep it Cleveland-focused,” DiFranco says. “I put out an open call for art contributions, and people sent me their work. I think it’s a great way for up-and-coming artists to get themselves out there.”


DiFranco founded Free Period Press in 2013 as a way for people to care for themselves by turning off their screens and connecting to their minds, bodies, and communities through mindless activities they genuinely enjoy doing. When people were homebound in the wake of COVID-19, she wanted to give them a non-technological activity that channeled their creativity.


During her 10 years as a strategist and account manager, DiFranco had Free Period as one of her side projects, but it became her primary focus this past January. She originally collaged and colored to decompress, and the activity is now part of her full-time job.


Free Period Press Collage Kit“I’ve always had a hard time slowing down and unplugging,” she says. “I collaged a lot in college because of how easy and mindless it is. I came up with the collage kit idea during quarantine because it’s a fun, indoor-friendly activity that doesn’t require a screen.” DiFranco says her best days are ones free of devices and to-do lists.


DiFranco suggests the following collaging activities to unplug:


  • Greeting cards. Nothing screams “thank you” like a homemade card. Make yours stand out by using the collage technique.


  • Home decor. Whether you’re living in a dorm or simply want to liven up your living room, making your own decor is a great way to change up your space. Collaging is a great place to start.


  • Journals/planners. Journals and planners can be bought just about anywhere. Instead of buying one with a generic design on the cover, collage your own!


DiFranco says she enjoys collage because all it entails is cutting, pasting, and having an eye for aesthetic images and patterns. “It’s something anyone can do,” she says. “You just need scissors, glue and a magazine with good pictures in it.”

Her latest collage kit is available for $28. It’s become popular, as she’s sold over 200 since its release in April. Free Period products are sold nationally, but can be found locally at stores like Banyan Tree, Harness Cycle, Inner Bliss yoga studio, Loganberry Books, Love, Anji, Mac’s Backs, Oceanne, Room Service, and Visible Voice Books.

Read more articles by Dana Shugrue.

Dana Shugrue is a recent graduate of John Carroll University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Communication with a concentration in digital media and minored in professional writing. Dana is currently a blog editor for Empowered & Poised, a start-up company that aims to empower young women through social, physical components, and a freelance writer for Contempo Communications and Civilis Consulting.