Paper is a pretty inescapable product. Whether you’re reading a book, checking the mail, or working on a craft project, chances are you’re using paper. In fact, Americans use around 700 pounds of paper per person every single year!
Rather than tossing all of that paper in the bin, why not use your crafty skills to give it a new life? Here are some common paper products we encounter and ideas for how we can reuse them.
The greenest option when it comes to magazines is to stick to reading online. Still, magazines seem to somehow creep into our lives. If you don’t have a subscription, maybe you have friends or family members who do?
Magazines pages are perfect for all sorts of paper crafts where more delicate paper will do the trick. You can hunt down the perfect image for a collage piece or assemble lovely magazine flowers. To turn magazine pages into origami paper, just cut the paper into squares, and you’re ready to fold! The images and text will add nice color and interest to your folded pieces.
Want to make a magazine paper crane like the one above? Just cut a 6 to 8″ square from a magazine page, and follow these folding instructions.
>>Next: Book Pages
Crafting with book pages is sometimes controversial. Before you cut up that old book, you may want to do some googling to make sure it’s not a rare treasure! Once you’re certain that your book is craft-worthy, there are tons of ways you can use it.
Like magazines pages, book pages are great for collage and pretty much anywhere that mid-weight paper will do. I’ve also seen some really beautiful art painted right onto book pages. With a little mod podge and imagination, a book page makes a great canvas for creating a mask, like the one pictured above. Just use a glue stick to attach the paper to an old cereal or beer box, so it will be a little sturdier, and you’re ready to cut and embellish.
>>Next: Junk Mail
As hard as we try to stop junk mail from landing in our mailbox, we still can’t seem to totally succeed. Usually, junk mail is a mix of glossy fliers and heavier paper cards.
You can user the fliers similarly to how you use those magazine pages: collage, origami, and anything else that calls for light weight paper.
The heavier paper can work in places where you might use card stock. Since it’s got printing on it, you’ll probably want to collage on top of there with other bits of salvaged paper. You can make sweet little artist trading cards or business cards. Cut or fold these up, and they make lovely gift tags or tiny holiday cards.
>>Next: Security Envelopes
Have you ever peeked inside of those security envelopes? They often come with bills and credit card offers and are printed with a pattern on the inside, so folks can’t see the contents through the paper. Once those envelopes have served their purpose, they’re a great crafty resource!
You can use a bit of glue to make security envelope paper beads, like the ones pictured above. Just glue stick the white side of the paper and roll it up around a toothpick.
With a paper punch or a steady hand and some scissors, you can cut out little shapes to add to collages or homemade cards. Really, security envelopes are great for any sort of small embellishment you can think of!
>>Next: Paper Bags
Did you forget your reusable bag at home and have to take a paper one? Paper grocery bags are great for crafting!
You can cut up that heavy paper to make recycled cards or gift tags. Maybe even embellish them with some security envelope shapes?
If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can turn those paper grocery bags into seed packet business cards! Don’t need business cards? These would make really cute gift tags, too.
Have you done any fun, crafty conservation projects? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Magazine Origami. Creative Commons photo by loriburleson
Book Page Mask. Photo by Becky Striepe
Junk Mail Collage. Creative Commons photo by Block Party Press
Security Envelope Beads. Creative Commons photo by misskoco
Paper Bag Gift Tag. Creative Commons photo by The Second Fiddle