23 Surprising Uses for Junk Mail

Is your mailbox flooded with unwanted junk mail? Check out these ways to repurpose all of that wasteful paper!

Junk mail is definitely one of my pet peeves. It shows up unbidden in my mailbox, and basically all it does is create a trip to the recycle bin for me and waste tons of paper every year. It’s the pits, it’s frustrating, and when I get frustrated, I get crafty.

Tools to Stop Junk Mail

There are some actions that you can take to reduce the amount of junk mail in your box. Here are some of the things that I’ve tried. I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!

I’ve never found a 100 percent effective way to stop junk mail, despite my best efforts. The tools above definitely help slow the flow of junk mail, but stopping the stuff seems nearly impossible. Rather than toss all of those raw materials directly into the recycle bin, try some of these junk mail crafts instead!

More unconventional goodness: 15 Amazing Uses for Potatoes, 10 Surprising Uses for Oatmeal, 24 Surprising Uses for Salt

23 Surprising Uses for Junk Mail

1. Paper Beads – Turn unwanted catalogs and coupon mailers into colorful paper beads.

2. Miniature Accordion Book – The security envelopes that come with credit card offers are perfect for making mini notebooks like this one.

3. Window Snowflakes – File this one away for the holidays!

4. Fold a Paper Crane – Cut pretty much any piece of junk mail into a perfect square, and you have instant origami paper.

5. Make Upcycled Wall Art – Get collaging and turn ugly junk mail into modern wall art.

6. Party Decorations – Use junk mail to make old school paper chains to jazz up your next party.

7. Compost It – Not all junk mail is compostable, and you can learn which pieces are and how to compost them over at Condo Blues.

8. Make a Bookmark – Junk mail is just the right size for making custom bookmarks.

Junk Mail Gift Tags

9. Security Envelope Gift Tags – Turn those credit card security envelopes into unique gift tags.

10. Catalog Page Envelopes – Use catalog pages or coupon mailers to make usable envelopes for the next card or letter you write.

11. Gift Bows – Those flimsy, glossy catalog pages also make beautiful gift bows.

12. Make a Bowl – This tutorial calls for magazine pages, but a catalog would work just as well.

13. Delicate Serving Bowl – I love the dainty look of this junk mail confetti bowl.

14. Cute Hair Accessories – This is a fun take on the paper bead – use that junk mail to make decorated bobby pins.

15. A Trash Can Made of Trash – What could be more poetic, right?

16. Party Hats – How fun would these be for a kid’s party? You could even put out glue and embellishments and let the kids decorate their own junk mail party hats.

17. Forever Flowers – Conventional bouquets wilt, but these junk mail flowers are forever.

Junk Mail Cupcake Toppers

18. Sweet Dessert Toppers – Show off that patterned security envelope paper by turning them into heart-shaped cupcake toppers.

19. Confetti Cards – This clever project takes advantage of those window envelopes that come with junk mail like credit card offers.

20. Construct a Shipping Box – You can use heavier-weight junk mail paper to make a box for shipping small items.

21. Miniature Houses – Ellen at The Long Thread uses junk mail in this project to make mini Christmas houses for her mantle. Aren’t they sweet?

22. Typography Art – Typography is super hip right now, and you can get that modern look on the cheap with just some simple paper crafting tools and a stack of junk mail.

23. Make Paper – Yes! You can turn junk mail paper into new paper for crafting. How cool is that?


Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

Some of these ideas sound great.
I'm with Antoinette S. - I'd like to see the instructions for the trash can!

Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa3 years ago

Thank you

Sonia Valencia
Sonia Valencia3 years ago

thanks for sharing these ideas!

Barb Hansen
Ba H3 years ago


Antoinette S.
Antoinette S3 years ago

Great ideas...I wish the person who did the wastebasket actually had instructions on how to make it...looks pretty cool...but some details would save us newbies a lot of time and frustration.

Tanya W.
Tanya W3 years ago

Paper a new garden bed to suppress grass & weeds.

Marie W.
Marie W3 years ago

Use some recycle rest.

Jeff S.
Jeff S.3 years ago

I conserve water by only showering 3-4 times a week, trick is don't get dirty, use cologne, lol. It works..