There are some things that just should not go into the garbage. Period. End of story. I live in an area where it actually costs a significant amount to recycle, so I’m trying to be as eco-friendly as possible. Green crafting, up-cycling, whatever you want to call it is not only good for the planet, but also good for your wallet. As I mentioned in my very first post, being frugal can really pay off in terms of your own creativity. So I have generated a list for all of you wonderful readers of things not to throw away!
- Paper Scraps
Use them to make paper rope (click for tutorial!)- super easy and an infinite number of uses!
Use the super tiny and/or ugly scraps to make your own paper (there are lots of tutorials, I like this one)
- Tin Cans
Use them as lanterns for tea lights (one cool method for leaf-shaped patterns)
Paint them, use aforementioned paper scraps to decoupage them, decorate them and use them as vases or to organize stuff
Quick and free iPod speaker: place iPod in can. That’s it. The can will magnify the sound with relatively good quality
- Glass Jars
Put clippings from your garden in them for cloning (I am trying peppermint…)
Decorate and use for organization or just as a regular ol’ vase
- Old Prescription/Vitamin Bottles
Wash well and use to store small stuff: glitter, needles, pins, organize your buttons by color…
Dry your own herbs and store them in cleaned and dry bottles
- Old Books
*Please only use these if they are absolutely unusable! If you think anyone would be able to enjoy reading them, please donate your old books to a local library or charity
Up-cycle the book into a new, custom journal, recipe book, or sketchbook (here’s the tutorial I used to start on the book I am working on now)
If you can’t use the cover, salvage the pages and use them for random crafts! (and if the cover isn’t moldy, tear it up and make paper with it!)
Make your own stencils! Just cut out the shapes you want with an exacto knife (or scissors if you’re just that special!) and secure to object before painting
If it’s still in box form use it for organization! Cover/decoupage/decorate and put whatever fits best inside (example here!)
Random squares from broken down boxes? If they are thick enough, use them for wall art. Paint them as they are, or cover with fabric scraps for a chic and cheap pin-board
Super small scraps? You can make paper out of these too!
- Plastic Take-out Containers, Yogurt Cups, etc.
Use them to start seedlings or scoop dirt in the garden- many already have holes in the bottom for drainage, and poking your own is easy too
Awesome for holding water for rinsing paint brushes
Using ink or food coloring? Use them to dilute or mix colors, or simply keep colors separate while painting.
- Fabric Scraps
Sew a random quilt! I don’t sew much myself, but I love quilts!
Make a rag-rug (many tutorials out there, check out this one!)
Decoupage just like you would with paper- lace is especially cool for this one: see a planter here
Up-cycle your old t-shirts: dye them, cut them into new designs, make them into bags, hairpieces, etc. (You know how to use Pinterest, so just look this one up on your own! Let me know if you find something particularly unique in the comments section)
Anyways, the possibilities are endless when you become a borderline-hoarder! (But please don’t actually become one, that show is depressing and just shouldn’t be on TV, and hoarding just isn’t healthy…)
*Also note: keep things dry (by this I mean don’t save wet newspaper without drying it and checking for mold and mildew first, don’t store your prized home-made spices in an uncleaned old salsa jar, you get the idea)
Have fun, craft, and post your weird reusing tips below in the comment section! I can’t wait to hear what other people save for their projects ❤ -Amy