Archive for July, 2013

Upcycled Crafts: Origami Dice

Happy Friday everyone! As you might know, we are always trying to think up new crafts to reuse damaged books in order to keep them out of the landfill. We take some of these crafts to outreach events so we can better illustrate our mission to people. One such piece that we’ve taken to events is a pair of origami dice made from the pages of a damaged art book. Our resident craft master, Ruth, wrote down questions on each side of the dice for a recent Health Fair we went to, in order to make a fun, interactive experience.


These dice are examples of what is called modular origami, which is origami that is made up of many pieces of folded origami paper, each piece or unit folded in the same manner and then interlocked into the other units. The specific unit we are working with is a variation of what is called the Sonobe unit, designed by Mitsonobu Sonobe. We had to slightly alter the design in order to get more writing space. The great thing about modular origami is you can take units like the Sonobe unit and make huge geometric shapes, or a simple cube or ball. It’s all up to you!



July 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm 4 comments

Upcycled Crafts: Woven Book Cover Wallets

Hello everyone! We just finished up another Upcycle This! craft night here at Recycled Reads, where we did book cover wallets, both the kind covered in this blog as well as woven wallets, which we’ll be covering in this tutorial. The actual construction of the wallet is the same concept, it’s just the weaving part that makes it different.


Book cover or other heavy weight paper

Paper cutter



Step 1:

Begin by cutting out a piece of the book cover that measures 8” across by 7 ½” in length. Then, lengthwise, measure out 6”  and draw a line across the entire 8” of paper. If you are using a book cover, use the back side, as the shiny front side is difficult to make a mark on.

Step 2:

Measure out ½” intervals along the 8” of the paper and cut along these marks, only going as far as the line you drew in the previous step. These lengthwise strips are what is called the warp in weaving terminology.


Step 3:

Measure and cut out more strips that measure ½” in width. These are called weft strips in weaving terminology, and they will be what you weave into the warp strips cut in Step 2. After you weave each strip in, affix it to the piece with a dot of glue at each end.


Step 4:

After you have woven in as many weft strips as will fit onto the warp, glue the edges down and trim to where the piece measures 8” by 6”.


Step 5:

As with the previous book cover wallet we did, now we put the trim on the tops and edges. Cut two 8” long by 1” strips and glue them onto the bottom and top edges. Make sure ½” of the strip is on the front and the other ½” is folded over on the backside to give it an even look.


Step 6:

Now to seal the sides, making the wallet functional. Take two more strips, 1” wide by 3” long. Folding the wallet in half, glue the strips on both sides so that the billfold is formed. Fold the wallet in half again, this time lengthwise, and you’re ready to use your wallet!


July 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm 1 comment

Poetic Praise for Libraries

About two decades ago, I started facilitating a writing group called Writing From the Heart at the then North Loop Branch Library (that branch is now the Yarborough Branch in the former Americana Theater). In fact, the group still meets; it is now called 15 Minutes of Fame and they meet at the Twin Oaks Library.
One of the truly gifted writers I met back then is an Austin treasure: Thom the World Poet. I recently crossed paths with Thom at a local poetry open mic. He gifted the following poem to us and has given me permission to share it on this blog with all our fellow library fans. Enjoy!

Reading is a love of knowledge, as represented by books
extended via access to computers, clean community spaces
to gather as individuals, as clubs, groups,
we, as communities value these spaces.
They are our resource if we have no computer
or cannot afford a DVD rental or CD to hear.
Their format has changed as our needs grow deeper and
budget cuts have stolen hours of access and librarians’ wages.
One must be as devoted as a monk to pursue a career in librarianship in 2013.
Yet, still we migrate and pilgrimage, books in hand, towards that space we see as secular
where thoughts and words and deed reside between covers
were we might once again discover a treasure
some gem of written or virtual meditation
that might restore all of us (including our mother libraries) to former glories.

July 10, 2013 at 9:42 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: Magazine Coil Vases

Happy Friday everyone! Today’s upcycled craft will demonstrate how to prepare strips of magazine or book paper to make into vases, coasters and boxes. Once you get enough strips, you just keep coiling and applying glue as you go to keep the object stable. Interested in joining in on this craft in person? We’re teaming up with the folks at the Ruiz Branch for Adult Craft Night on Monday, July 8th at 6:30pm to do this craft. Hope to see you there!



Magazine or Book Paper

Scissors or Paper cutter

Step 1:

Cut your paper into strips measuring 4″ wide by however long the piece of paper is to begin with. Fold in half.


Step 2:

Fold paper in half again, gluing it together so it doesn’t come apart.


Step 3:

Fold paper in half a third time, and unfold it. Fold up the edge that is raw to the center crease just made.


Step 4:

Fold the edge you just folded in the last step over itself until it reaches the far edge of the paper.  Add glue in between layers and press into place.

Step 5:

Begin coiling the strips together, attaching them end to end with glue.


July 5, 2013 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment

Celebrate Independence Day by Exercising Your Right to Vote

Today is the 4th of July…and the bookstore is closed. What better way to celebrate our nation’s birthday than by voting? After all, today is about Independence and we are a truly independent used bookstore. Between now on July 22, you can vote for Recycled Reads in the annual Austin Chronicle Best of Poll ( as your favorite local bookstore, favorite bookstore for kids or even as (in the spirit of the Star Spangle Banner) your favorite Loose Cannon. Please follow the rules of the polls and only vote once (I know you love us, but no stuffing the ballot box).

We appreciate the support you give to Recycled Reads and the Austin Public Library. Have a happy and safe 4th of July and we’ll see you at the store tomorrow.blogphoto(2)

July 4, 2013 at 1:58 pm Leave a comment

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