START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

17 Creative Ways To Re-Use Your Phone Book

17 Creative Ways To Re-Use Your Phone Book

I haven’t used a phone book in years. Years! I can hardly even remember life before Google. A while back I tried to opt out of my phone book delivery service, but still that enormous heavy tome of wasted paper kept arriving on my doorstep. So I recycled it, like a good green steward, but plopping that massive stack of totally-untouched paper into the bin . . . it still felt wasteful.

So I resubmitted my opt-out, and then got to work thinking of what I could do with the phone books I’d accidentally gotten. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Use the pages to wash your windows and mirrors. Just like newspaper, this is the best method for achieving a streak-free finish.

2. Turn the pages into envelopes. You can find a ton of cool tutorials for folding your own envelopes, and they add such a charming touch of DIY flair to a little gift or hand drawn card.

3. For a bigger, fancier present, you can make DIY gift toppers like lovely bows or fancy flowers.

4. Speaking of flowers, a paper bouquet of roses is, well, pretty dang amazing.

5. You can also turn phone book pages into leaves, like this lovely “newspaper leaf” garland. It’s a season-appropriate decoration these days, and makes a great craft project for children, too.

6. There are tons of paper crafts that are ideal for that thinner, newsprint-y type of paper. For example papier mache, or origami, or paper beads. Each of these can be skewed “beginner” or “master” depending on your skill level. Just google around for tutorials.

7. Paper is paper, and any balled-up paper makes an excellent fire-starter. Keep your phone book near your hearth this winter.

8. If you’re planning a move, keep your phone book to use for wrapping your breakable items. Balled-up paper makes great packing material. This can come in handy for mailing holiday gifts, as well.

9. Use the pages as mulch if you need to prepare a plot of land for gardening. Just spread a layer of paper over the area, then pile on the wood chips or other groundcover. It’s not only free, but very effective. (I speak from experience as a San Diego-area gardener.)

10. Lots of home composters end up with disproportionate ratios of “greens” to “browns”. Phone book pages will work great for the oft-sought after “browns” (don’t worry about the ink, soy is the standard these days). You can also add the pages, shredded, to your worm bin.

11. Although it’s most often done with newspaper, you can also use phone book pages to make seed starter pots. So hold onto it for next spring.

12. I love the shape of this easy-peasy “Flower Power” pencil holder.

13. One of my all-time favorite projects is the secret book safe. You could totally do this with a phone book and no one would ever think to look inside, since nobody ever uses phone books anyway!

14. This summer I got really into pressing flowers, and I plan to start again next season. A phone book makes a pretty excellent flower press. You can also press leaves (like the incredible colored ones that are abundant these days) in there.

15. A phone book is the right height and size to give your toddler the little boost that he may need to join the family at the table. Cover the book in cotton batting and fabric, or save a step and use a cool vintage quilt. Instant booster seat.

16. If you’re an exerciser, you can use a phone book to augment your workout.  They make great aerobics “steps” or yoga blocks.

17. And finally, you might want to keep one in the car in case you ever have to change a tire on uneven terrain or on uneven concrete. You can use the phone book under the jack to straighten it out. Just modify the height by flipping the pages.

And there you go, a wide range of ideas to suit every lifestyle. So please make good use of that last phone book, and then go here and OPT OUT!

Photo info: DIY paper bows like this can be made from telephone book pages. (Photo: ecokarenlee/flickr)

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Conservation, Crafts & Design, Crafts & Hobbies, Eco-friendly tips, Feng Shui & Organizing, Green, Green Home Decor, Home, Household Hints, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Surprising uses for ...

By Sayward Rebhal, Networx

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Selections from Networx empowers people to make educated, economical and Earth-friendly renovation and home repair choices. We are a community of homeowners, renters and contractors who are committed to sharing home improvement expertise and experience.


+ add your own
11:55AM PST on Jan 27, 2014

Thank You.

11:25AM PDT on May 8, 2013


11:17AM PDT on May 8, 2013

awesome tips! truly

1:38PM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

they don't recycle phone books in my area, which is a shame because we have several competing companies which send them out to everybody so every year we get a pile of them.

11:48AM PST on Feb 11, 2013

Passed some great ideas onto my sister. She really was impressed. Thanks once again.

9:25AM PST on Feb 2, 2013

Very inventive, thanks.

4:18PM PST on Feb 1, 2013

Nice links thank you.

7:05PM PST on Jan 31, 2013

I will have a blast making flowers this weekend...perhaps then I will pawn them off on my bride friend?

1:56PM PST on Jan 31, 2013

nice list of extra ways to recycle

9:38AM PST on Jan 31, 2013

Eh, I'll stick to recycling the paper when possible.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Thanks Diane for sharing the wonderful recipes and links, Great photos also.

A wonderful article, little sad but excellent ending. thank you for caring and sharing.

Live sensibly with nature. Waste, as little as you can. Stop destroying nature. That should be each …


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!