Archive for October, 2013

Upcycled Crafts: Book Page Ghosts

Happy Friday!

Betsy here with a quick and spooky craft: Book Page Ghosts!

These little ghosts can be made one by one to hang out and surprise your friends and family, or can be strung together as a ghoulish garland.

As always, if you don’t have a damaged book lying around, try to use something recycled—newspaper or old tissue paper work well for this craft!Image



Twine/dental floss/string—your choice!


Marker for decorations


Let’s get to it:

  1. For standard book sized ghosts, grab two pages and tear one in half
  2. Have a piece of string ready, and maybe an extra set of hands (small hands love this craft but will need help with the tying!)
  3. Crumple the half page and wrap it with the full page, forming a ghostly head and a ghostly body. All of your ghosts will look different!
  4. Tie your string around its neck to secure the ghostly form. Give it a bow or tie a simple square not and leave the “arms” long so you can tie multiple arms together for the garland.
  5. If you want to give your ghost facial features, find the “face” side of your ghost and decorate away.



October 25, 2013 at 4:22 pm 1 comment

Upcycled Crafts: Prep Work

Hello everyone! In today’s blog, I wanted to focus on our resident crafter, Ruth. Whenever we have custom orders, such as the lilies we featured a few blogs back, Ruth is the go to person. Since a lot of our programs and outreach events also feature crafting, Ruth and myself do plenty of prep work to make sure things go smoothly at the event. In the past week, we have recently been preparing for an origami workshop for 75 people. The particular piece of origami that we will be teaching is an origami box by Tadashi Mori that features an elegant flower on the top of it.


Since part of our mission is to promote the idea of upcycling, we’ve had to hand cut all the origami paper from old books, maps and music paper. This didn’t take as long as you’d think! Here is a picture of Ruth gathering potential origami paper from damaged kids’ books.


And here’s another photo of some of the sets that have already been cut out.


I mostly wanted to blog about Ruth to show everyone the amount of prep work that can go into one of our outreach events and programs, illustrating our true dedication to the cause. Sure, it would definitely save a lot of time to go buy pre cut origami paper, but we want to stick to our strong beliefs of trying our best to repurpose books. Besides, it’s a great feeling to see the looks on people’s faces when they search through our paper, wanting to find their favorite children’s book character or hometown on a map to use for origami. It’s just another perk of working at Recycled Reads!

October 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: Favorite Resources

I’ve spent the past few weeks going over the craft blogs that we’ve posted in preparation for our blog to be moved to the Austin Public Library website. We’re excited about the move and will keep you posted about when it will actually happen. As for my going back through the craft blogs, I noticed that we’ve had the craft blog up and going for almost a year already! I am happy it’s continuing to be a part of the Recycled Reads blog and hope to bring you more upcycling ideas in the future. Today though, I wanted to put on my librarian hat and give you some recommendations of craft books and resources that we have used in the past for craft inspiration. We hope that you can also be inspired by them. If you have any upcycled craft resources of your own that you’d like to share, please tell us about it in the comments.

Brown Bag Ideas from Many Cultures by Irene Tejeda

This is a great little book that really does cover many different cultures and their artwork. The medium of choice is paper bags, and they are used to make such diverse crafts as Mexican folk paintings, African tribal beads and Indian Mirror Vests.

New Crafts: Cardboard by Emma Hardy

The projects in this book are pretty impressive, from a table made out of corrugated cardboard to cardboard ornaments, this books has been pretty inspirational. In fact, I used it recently for my blog about how to make a cardboard box.


This book was put out by a magazine of the same name, and it features DIY interior decorating projects involving upcycled materials such as plastic utensils, phone books and pallets. I encountered it awhile back, and it served as an introduction to the concept of upcycling for me, and has served as inspiration ever since.

Austin Public Library Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center Database

Follow this link and scroll down to Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center. You can access PDFs for all kinds of craft tutorials as long as you have an Austin Public Library card. I’ve found information on crocheting, knitting and origami on this helpful resource.

October 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: Cardboard Box

Hello everyone! Our blog today shows you how to make a box out of cardboard. This can be very useful if you want a box of a certain size, especially smaller ones for your desk. It turns out, the possibilities of crafting with cardboard are endless, as illustrated by a book we encountered here, called New Crafts: Cardboard by Emma Hardy. Today’s blog is based on one of the projects in this book. In the book, blank corrugated cardboard was used, but we decided to use cardboard cut from a laundry detergent box. Have fun with this and let us know how it goes!




Box cutter or Xacto knife

Hot glue

Step 1:

Determine what size box you would like to make. Our box is 7 inches long by 4 inches wide and 3 inches tall. Keep these measurements in mind when you draw out the template below.

Cardboard box 5

Step 2:

Using the box cutter, cut out the outline of the template. Once the template is cut out from the rest of the cardboard, use the box cutter to lightly score the lines on the inside of the template.  Don’t cut all the way through, just enough so that the cardboard will fold.

Step 3:

Begin folding along these scored lines carefully. Once all the lines are folded, you can see the structure of the box coming together. Now’s the time to get out the hot glue! Apply a small amount to the angles tabs one at a time. You will have to hold the tab in place for a minute or so after you apply the glue.

Cardboard box 3

Step 4:

Do the same to all 4 corners and you’re done!

Cardboard box 2.

October 5, 2013 at 3:17 am Leave a comment

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