Archive for April, 2013

Recycled Craft: Jewelry hanger/bulletin board! (Guest Post)

We have a lot of corrugated plastic signs lying around the store right now. Luckily, we have been able to use them in a number of ways already—from table protectors for painting our chalkboard magnets last week, to material for displays for outreach events. Thanks to the creative people of the internet, we’re able to bring you our spin on another great idea: Corrugated plastic bulletin boards!


  • Corrugated plastic sign (If you’re not in Austin (and therefore unable to attend our corrugated plastic sign craft workshop May 2*), Aunt Peaches points out that you can usually find these just after an election)
  • Paper for mosaic–I used a damaged picture book, for example
  • Glue
  • Mod Podge
  • Hooks (optional–we received them by donation a while ago and have been waiting for the right project!)

First, consider how you want your final product to look. Do you want it to hold photos? Jewelry? Things you find in old books?  The corrugated plastic makes a great base for a bulletin board. It easily holds pictures with straight pins, or with thick rubber bands or elastic ribbon pulled around the board you could wedge reminders and appointment dates. Use whatever kinds of materials you have available to make it your own!

Here, I tore pictures from a damaged kids’ book with illustrations by Ezra Jack Keats. After laying out some of the pages I liked to make sure they covered the piece of plastic, I glued them down with liquid glue. I was a little messy, and my pages got wrinkled because of it. Use a brush to evenly apply your glue and while it is still wet, smooth out the pages with your library card. (Just be sure to clean it afterward!)

 After the glue dried, I added a layer of Mod Podge to seal up the mosaic.

craft_hook<< Then all that was left was adding the slip-on hooks. They fit perfectly into the “corrugated part” of the plastic signs.craft_finished

*Like I said, we have a lot of plastic signs to upcycle, so we’re inviting you to come make a bulletin board with us as part of our First Thursday Craft Workshop in May.

First Thursday Craft Workshop
May 2: upcycled bulletin boards
6:00-8:00pm at the store


April 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm 1 comment

Upcycled Magnets!

This Friday, we’re getting ready for the Earth Day Festival this Saturday, April 20th at Mueller. In honor of that, I wanted to feature some of the prize magnets we’ll be giving away there, as well as some of the magnets we will be featuring at Maker Faire in May.

We took old magnets, stripped off the printed paper, and collaged art from books and other upcycled items. Our guiding theme was reuse, so all of the materials used in the decoration of the magnets were taken from soda bottles, old transparencies, nature, or damaged books. Here are some examples:


tree magnet

yucca magnet

April 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm 1 comment

Recycled Crafts: How to Make a Paper Flower

Hello everyone! Today’s craft will be one of many ways to make paper flowers, a way that combines the natural elements of twigs as the flower stem with the upcycled look of paper petals.


Paper strips cut into ¾” x 4”

Hot glue



Step 1:

Take the paper strip and cut out five rounded petal shapes. We used makeup to give the paper a little color.

Paper flower4

Step 2:

Glue one end onto the tip of the twig.

Paper flower2

Step 3:

Begin wrapping the strip of paper around the twig, fanning out the petals as you go.

Step 4:

Once you play around with the arrangement and are satisfied, use the hot glue gun to glue into place.

Paper flower1

Make 4 or 5 of these blooms for a floral arrangement and sit back to enjoy your handiwork!

April 12, 2013 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

Books in Many Languages

chinese1Celebrating April as Poetry Month, Recycled Reads will be hosting the Austin Public Library Program “Poetry in Many Voices” this Saturday from 4–6pm. In the store, the ears of listeners and shoppers will be graced with verse recited in several different languages—Italian, Chinese, English, and Spanish to name a few.

As happenstance would have it, around the same time I was learning about this Saturday’s program, a volunteer shelver pointed out a great collection of Swedish fiction that is currently residing on the shelves of our Foreign Language section. As we looked at the eight or ten books on the shelf, we postulated as to how the books ended up for sale in support of the Austin Public Library. Clearly there are some Swedish speakers among us! It’s not only Swedish books that end up on our shelves. For instance, right now we’ve got language-learning books in Romanian, Turkish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Greek, French, Hebrew, Russian, Italian, German, and Polish (Yes, I made a list; yes, I might have missed a few in there!). We usually have a pretty good supply of Frenpolishch and Spanish prose as well. Oh, and kids’ books! In foreign languages! Yep, we have those.

On a personal note, my number one goal for the summer is to get a grasp on the Spanish language. Having grown up in Texas, I am ashamed to say that I can barely order a margarita in Spanish, let alone carry on a significant conversation with the large community of Spanish speakers in Austin. Long story short, I’ve got some work ahead of me before I start attending Practiquemos Español sessions! (I hear they’re awesome.) If you are considering trying to learn a language, here’s a list of Language Learning Resources compiled by Austin Public Library. Who knows? Maybe by Fall I will be introducing Spanish blog posts to the mix.


April 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment

Recycled Crafts: How to Make Seed Bursts

Happy Friday, all! This week we thought we’d share what we like to call seed bursts, an easy way to start wildflowers. Although there are a lot of recipes out there on the internet, we use shredded up pages from damaged books that we can’t sell. Want to give it a try? Read on to find out how!


Shredded paper



Native Wildflower Seeds

Mold to press the bursts into (we used egg cartons)


Step 1:

Shred up paper, either in a shredder or by hand, and let it soak in a bowl of water for a few hours.

Seedbursts 1

Step 2:

Using an immersion blender, blend the paper into a pulp.

Step 3:

Take a small bit of pulp, squeezing out as much water as you can, press it into the mold, making sure it covers the bottom of it.

Step 4:

Evenly spread a small amount of seed mixture onto the pulp and get some more pulp to cover it up. Squeeze out any excess water into a bowl.

Step 5:

Let it dry in the mold for about 30 minutes, then pop the seed burst out to fully dry. In August, toss them onto a nice sunny spot – don’t bury them – and wait to enjoy the blooms!

Seedbursts 2

April 5, 2013 at 3:04 pm 1 comment

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