Archive for March, 2013

Recycled Crafts: How to Make a Flower Pencil

Hello everyone, it’s Friday, hope you’re ready for another craft tutorial! This week we’ve got more decorating options for your writing instruments, to continue from last week’s theme of pen toppers. You could easily glue these tiny, fun cutouts onto a pen cap just as well as onto a pencil, but we liked the green shade of the pencil used.




Flower punch

Hot glue

Step 1:

Punch out about 25 flowers. We used 5 flowers per row on the pencil. Lightly bend the flower petals up to prepare for gluing.

FlowerPencil 1

Step 2:

Putting a dab of hot glue on the back of each flower center, begin to place them along the metal part of the pencil, just below the eraser. Be sure to keep the petals sticking out perpendicular from the pencil. Continue in rows until you like how it looks. We stopped at 5 rows.

FlowerPencil 4

Step 3:

All done! Now you’re writing in style.

FlowerPencil 5


March 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

Recycled Crafts: How to Make a 3D Paper Pen Topper

Happy Friday everyone! Today’s tutorial is how to make a 3D paper pen topper. We have one at the store that everyone loves, so it was decided a tutorial on the blog was in order.



Paper punch or circle template


Paper of your choice

Glue stick 

Hot glue

Ballpoint pen

Step 1:

Using a template or a paper punch, cut 16 circles.


Step 2:

Fold each circle in half, and then begin gluing half of one circle to the half of another circle.


Step 3:

Continue gluing halves together until all the circles have been used. Connect them into a circle by gluing the last two halves together. If you used a template, some of the edges may need trimming if they overlap.


Step 4:

Add a bit of hot glue to the inside of your sphere and attach it to the cap of a regular ballpoint pen. Enjoy!


March 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

Back to Work

Returning to Recycled Reads after being away for a few days is essentially returning to an entire new book store. After a week off of camping in the woods of Arkansas (with a few paperbacks I scored before my trip—Farewell my Subaru by Doug Fine and Beneath the Window, a memoir about growing up in Big Bend Country by Patricia Wilson Clothier—two fun and quick reads that I’ll likely donate back to the store in due time), I came back to work yesterday to see the accumulation of a week’s worth of donations and books weeded from the library on the shelves. Like a kid in a candy shop…

In the $10 Collectibles corner of the store alone, I found many new and interesting books to share:


  • The Steampunk Bible by Jeff Vandermeer with S. J. Chambers. Abrams Image: New York, NY. 2011.

A few months ago, Recycled Reads hosted a Steampunk art exhibit. This hardcover book, calling itself “an illustrated guide to the world of imaginary airships, corsets and goggles, mad scientists, and strange literature,” is filled with beautiful photos blending the past with the future. It had me at “corsets and goggles.”

  • A History of the Adirondacks (2 volumes) by Alfred L. Donaldson. Harbor Hill Books: Harrison, NY. 1977.

Considered a major work about the Adirondack region, this book is special because it was inscribed in 1988 with a sentimental letter. It clearly belonged to someone who loved the Adirondack Mountains.

  • Interwoven: A Pioneer Chronicle by Sallie Reynolds Matthews, with drawings by E. M. Schiwetz. Texas A&M University Press: College Station, TX. 1992.

Coming off of the high of a camping trip, the title of this book caught my eye. Roughing it, living off the land, not showering for a few days…you get the idea. But Interwoven is about life on the Lambshead range of northwest Texas—a far different terrain than that of northeast Arkansas. It is a classic source on the history of West Texas.

Round Rock

Round Rock, Texas: From Cowboys to Computers by Karen R. Thompson. Nortex Press: Austin, TX. 2002.

Here’s a book about the history of our neighbor to the north, Round Rock. I know and love Round Rock for their donuts (and their honey isn’t bad either!), but for anyone with an interest in Central Texas history will enjoy thumbing through pages and pages of black and white photos.

Well, March is coming to a close and April will be full of spring-time events. Recycled Reads will be out about the town almost every weekend of April in different forms—crafting demonstrations, crafting workshops, and providing general information about what we do for the Austin Public Library and how you can get involved. Check out the website or our Facebook page to see where you can find us.


March 21, 2013 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

Recycled Crafts: Origami, Upcycled!

Happy Friday everyone!

We’re excited today, because this coming Sunday, March 17 at 2pm, our origami club will be meeting at the bookstore, as it does every third Sunday of the month. Adults and older children are welcome to come and discover the fun of origami with an upcycled twist, using paper cut from old or damaged books. Come join us!

Here are some of the examples of what we’ve done:


Want to further explore origami? Here are some of the titles available at your local Austin Public Library branch!

Trash Origami by Michael G. LaFosse

trash origami

Origami You Can Use by Rick Beech

origami you can use

March 15, 2013 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

Recycled Crafts: How to Make a Cardboard Loom

Here at Recycled Reads, we’ve been experimenting with all things plastic yarn, aka plarn. Which is why we had to least attempt a loom, made of upcycled cardboard. Your loom can be any size cardboard, depending on what you want your final product to be. In this post, we’ll show you how to make your loom, get started on weaving with the plarn, and give you some resources to continue your weaving adventure!


Piece of cardboard (we used  6″ x 9″ size)

Xacto knife



Yarn needle

Step 1:

Along the top and bottom edges, measure out notches every 1/4″. Make all notches 1/2″ long.

Step 2:

Make a knot at the end of your plarn and put it through the first notch on the left hand side. The knot should keep it from slipping through the notch. String the plarn down to the adjacent notch at the bottom. Wrap the plarn around the back of the loom to the right and bring it back to the front through the next notch. String it up to the notch on top, repeating the front to back wrapping technique.


Step 3:

When you finish wrapping all the notches, anchor the plarn in place by tying a knot in back to the original knot you made to begin with.


Step 4:

To start weaving, take another piece of plarn, about 3′ long, and leave a 4″ tail. This will be woven in later. Take the plarn and weave it in under and over, as shown in the photo.


You can use different colors, or continue in one color. When you have reached the end, take the yarn needle and thread the tail, weaving it in along the sides of the piece.

Carefully take the piece off the loom, cutting each loop and making a double knot on each one to keep it from unraveling.

Here are some good resources available at the library to help out:

Creative Weaving by Sarah Howard

creative weaving

Weaving Made Easy by Liz Gipson


March 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm Leave a comment

Recycled Reads is Four. Now what?

Group and Window

A big, hearty Thank You to everyone who stopped by the store last Saturday to help celebrate our 4 Year Anniversary. We had a great day with a Literature Live Puppet Show (Check out the schedule here—there are a few more opportunities to catch the performance of Anansi and the Golden Box of Stories around town!), craft demonstrations by our own crafty lady, Laura, and really fun live music performed by Joe Blanda.

Now, we’re excited to make a few announcements. Starting tomorrow, Thursday March 7, Recycled Reads will be open until 8pm on Thursdays. That’s two more hours every week to spend with us in the shop. We are looking forward to adding more programming—be it craft demonstrations and workshops, reading or writing groups, or story time for the kids with these extra Thursday evening hours. If there is something you’d like to use our space for on Thursday evenings, let us know on Facebook or leave us a note in the comments! We are open to ideas for making Recycled Reads a creative space for the community.

When you stop by the store next, be sure to check out our new window sign. (You can’t miss it!) We have so many first-time customers surprised to find out we are part of the Austin Public Library that we figured we’d announce it to Burnet Road. To help cover the costs of the sign, we made and sold a collection of book planters. There are a few left, so don’t miss out on your opportunity to support the store and go home with a great planter, perfect for springtime in Texas.

Last, we are working on making the transition to sell some of our collectible books online. This means we will be able to reach a larger audience, but it also means our local customers will be able to browse our collectibles online and shop in the store. We’ll still make sure to highlight books on the blog, but hopefully this transition will create a more streamlined online browsing and buying experience.
_____Thistle Edition

Now available: The Thistle Edition of The Waverley Novels by Sir Walter Scott, a 48-volume set published by Harper & Brothers Publishers: New York, 1901-1902.

March 6, 2013 at 4:56 pm Leave a comment

Recycled Crafts: Book Planters!

Happy Friday everyone! We have been busy at Recycled Reads this past week gearing up for our 4th anniversary celebration this Saturday, March 2nd. We will be selling handmade book planters at the celebration, the proceeds of which will help pay for our brand new window wrap.

Book planter 4

These book planters wouldn’t have been possible without Mr. Recycled Reads, who graciously donated his time and energy into cutting holes into the soon to be planters. Thank you!

Book planter 1

For those of you who are curious, we first applied Mod Podge to the edges of the pages to make the books more solid for cutting. To cut the circular holes, we used a Dremel, clamping the book down for added stability.

Book planter 3

Be sure to stop by tomorrow, March 2nd to see our new window wrap and buy a planter while supplies last!


March 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm Leave a comment

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