Home LifestyleCareer Meet Ruth Salas: Master Crafter + Owner of Luna De Papel in Jersey City

Meet Ruth Salas: Master Crafter + Owner of Luna De Papel in Jersey City

by Nicole Gittleman
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If you’re looking for a new creative outlet for your little one in Hudson County, look no further than Luna de Papel – a handcrafting art studio in the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood of Jersey City that is both woman and Latinx-owned. This adorable kid’s space has been in business for four+ years and offers all sorts of artistically-driven indoor activities. The owner Ruth Salas was inspired by her upbringing in Peru and her daughters to open Luna de Papel in 2016. Read on to learn more about Ruth and her shop Luna De Papel in Jersey City.

Ruth’s Story 

ruth salas luna de papel jersey city

Ruth Salas was born and raised in the mountains of Lima, Peru. Her family lived in a small town called Ravira that didn’t have access to many amenities. But, they lived happily – on beautiful, bountiful land that they sowed for food and {in Ruth’s case} fun. 

When she was a little girl, Ruth and her family were accustomed to using their hands. They made everything they had – clothing, shoes, cooking materials, food, soaps, and… toys! Kids would use tin cans and recyclables when playing house and natural clay, Ruth tells us, was molded into quite literally everything they could dream of. 

Read More: PlusThriftJC, a New Plus-Sized Online Thrift Store Started by Jersey City Locals

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In school, whatever materials were used in class to educate students were hand-crafted by the specific teacher you had. Ruth was an incredibly creative young girl, but, like many other kids her age, wasn’t appreciative of the access to natural playing and crafting options she had at her expense in Peru. She didn’t recognize just how creative she was back then, either. 

In 1996, Ruth and her family decided it was time to venture beyond their roots in Peru and immigrated to the United States. Her journey in the states started in Bloomfield, NJ. Fast forward to today, and Ruth lives with her family in Jersey City. She and her husband Marcelo married in 2007 and are parents to two beautiful daughters together – Mikaella {born in 2008} and Camille {born in 2010}. Ruth’s girls are pride and joy. In fact, her daughters are the inspiration behind her business and what keeps her motivated today. 

A Newfound Love  

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When Ruth had her daughters, her creative juices started to flow naturally back to her. She said she could literally feel it. She feels really strongly that parents should give their children the opportunity to learn art and sport if they can. She worked really hard to ensure that her girls were given all the opportunities to learn that they could. When they were very little, Ruth curated activities of all kinds for her daughters, including papercrafts. They would frequently go to the library for inspiration, and over time Ruth became even savvier and craftier from reading and using different kinds of materials she could find.  

When her firstborn first went to school, Ruth was so nervous. She quickly learned that her nerves were stronger than her daughter’s. She was overjoyed to meet a fellow Spanish-speaking mom in the class, and in no time she was finding her footing in the mom’s volunteer group. Ruth loved curating sweet crafts for her daughter’s playdates. Soon after, she then began creating holiday-centric craft bundles for their classes, which were an instant hit. 

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One year, she volunteered to design the costumes and props for the end-of-the-year school play. The other moms {well aware of Ruth’s existing creative abilities} were so impressed with her resourcefulness and her budget-friendly, beautiful creations that they nudged her to start a business. She thought they were “crazy.”  

It wasn’t until a random afternoon, when her oldest daughter ripped the knees of her pants, that she thought maybe, just maybe, this business idea wasn’t so crazy. “My daughter showed me that she had rips in her jeans at her knees, from playing. She told me she needed to throw them in the garbage, and I said I would teach her how to sew instead.” Ruth grabbed a child-safe, plastic needle and taught her daughter how to thread. It was then that she realized – she should be teaching children how to craft, how to use their hands.   

Paper Moon

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The name “Luna de Papel” was inspired by the Ella Fitzgerald song, “Paper Moon.” The idea of using your imagination with “paper moon and cardboard sea” {two phrases used in the song} really stuck with Ruth and her husband. 

Luna de Papel’s interior is filled with crafting accessories galore. From colorful papers to miscellaneous stickers to varying types of paints and so much more, Ruth has everything every child might want to use when creating, playing, and imagining. She loves seeing the ideas of her students come to life in different creative mediums. And, of course, she loves having her girls around at the studio, crafting alongside her. 

See More: Meet Julie Morgan, Jersey City Resident + Creator of the Outdoor Dining Happy Bag

Luna de Papel offers seasonal craft packages, like their Valentine’s Day Craft Kits featured in our Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, that can be picked up at her store on Communipaw or delivered locally. They will have Spring, Easter, and Baby Yoda-themed kits ({by request of her girls!} available soon, as well. Ruth typically tests out her shippable kits with her in-class students first. “It’s helpful to see how the kids build and create in-person before we decide what our new kit is,” she tells us. 

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Additionally, Luna de Papel offers in-person independent or “mommy and me” classes, Zoom classes, craft camps, and more. Ruth is excited to introduce a small outdoor space to the studio in the Spring! 

This will be Luna De Papel’s 5th year in business and Ruth was nearly emotional when sharing how happy she was to be doing what she does. “I could never do this without my husband and my daughters. My family is my best support system and I love them so much.” 

You can support Luna de Papel by following the shop on Instagram, ordering a craft kit, or by bringing your little one to a class or camp at the studio at 321 Communipaw Avenue in the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood of Jersey City. 


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