Archive for November, 2013

Upcycled Crafts: How to Make Napkin Rings

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the upcycled crafts blog! This week, we’re doing a tutorial on how to make napkin rings from toilet paper tubes, just in time for the holidays. It’s a fairly simple craft, the most time intensive part is cutting out the design.


Toilet Paper Tube



Step 1:

We made two different napkin rings, one with leaves and one with acorns. You’re welcome to copy ours our come up with your own design. I found it easiest to draw the center band first, then add the leaves or acorns.


Step 2:

Be sure to add some sort of joining mechanism. I made one end in a pointed shape and then put a notch on the other end so the two ends could interlock. The photo below shows the acorn napkin ring in detail.


Step 3:

Once everything’s all cut out, feel free to decorate as you like.



November 22, 2013 at 11:14 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: How to Make a Dreidel

This year, Hanukah is early, and we’re preparing to celebrate by having a dreidel tournament in the store. In honor of that, this week’s craft blog is how to make your own dreidel out of an egg carton. But first, here’s a message from Mindy, our bookstore manager about our upcoming dreidel tournament:

In 1974, my Brooklyn born parents  sent me off from our Connecticut home to attend Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS (aka the Little Apple). I was one of only 17 Jewish kids on campus at the time. I remember waking up on the first morning of Passover to the news that the food service had a special breakfast for the Jewish students. I went to the cafeteria only to discover they were serving bagels. I went to the Director of Food Services and explained that the whole point of Passover was not to leavened bread. She apologized profusely for the error. The upside is that lots of mid-West kids got turned on to a Jewish delicacy.

So when it was brought to my attention that we were holding our inaugural Dreidel Tournament on a Saturday, I was embarrassed by my oversight. Because we want everyone to be able to participate in the Chanukah tradition, we are expanding the event to be held on Sunday, Dec. 1, as well Nov. 30 from 1-5pm. Our hope is that many people will become interested in the dreidel tradition.

Please tell us your “bagel story” in the comments! but before you do, here’s the tutorial for our upcycled egg carton dreidels…



Egg carton

Hot Glue


Thumb tack

Step 1:

Tear off one egg shaped portion of the egg carton. This will be the bottom part of the dreidel.

Step 2:

Tear off one of the pyramid shaped parts that support the lid. This will be the handle by which you spin the dreidel.

Step 3:

Taking the hot glue gun, line the bottom edges of the pyramid with glue, then nest into the egg shaped bottom. You might need to apply more glue to get it to stay in place.

Step  4:

Add the Hebrew letters to each side. For the dreidel, there are four Hebrew letters, Nun, Gimmel , Hei, Shin, which is an acronym for a Hebrew  for “A Great Miracle Happened There” which refers to the miracle of oil lasting for eight days, the reason for celebrating Hanukah.

Step 5:

Hot glue a thumbtack on the bottom if you’d like to have better spinning ability.

November 15, 2013 at 8:56 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: How to Make Plarn Jewelry

Hello there everyone. Today’s blog is the second in our series for Recycling month. We will be making jewelry from plarn, also known as plastic yarn. I chose to crochet a pendant for today’s blog using plarn cut from plastic grocery bags. Don’t know how to make plarn? Here’s a link to one of our first posts that goes over the nitty gritty of plarn making:

Crochet hook
Jewelry post
Jump ring
Paper bead

Step 1:
Take your plarn and start to crochet using chain stitch. Make 15 stitches. Join into a circle. Leave the tail.


Step 2:
Take another color of plarn and crochet about 22 stitches and join into a circle. Join the smaller circle by making a chain stitch with the tails of both the circles. Weave ends into the back of the outer circle.


Step 3:
If you’d like to add a bead in the center of the circle, place a bead on the jewelry post, then weave in the top of the post into the two joined circles until it pokes out the top. Taking the pliers, form the top of the post into a loop. Attach jump ring to closed loop and string onto a cord.


November 9, 2013 at 3:44 am Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: How to Make a Plastic Bottle Flower

Hello everyone, welcome to another edition of our crafting blog. This week starts off our special edition of Upcycled Crafts since November is Recycling Month. We’ll be widening our scope to include upcycled materials that we don’t normally work with, such as plastic. Today we will be using a plastic soda bottle to make flowers!

Plastic Bottle Flower 1


Plastic soda bottle



Hot glue

Twig or pipe cleaner


Step 1:

Cut off bottom half of soda bottle. This bottom portion is what makes up the flower petals. You can try to cut in between the “petals” or just make the outline curved to give the flower shape. Some of the bottles are made of heavy plastic, so it can be difficult to cut!

Step 2:

Make a hole in the center of your flower using either the scissors or an Xacto knife.

Step 3:

Cut a small rectangle out of the paper you have for the stamen, ours measured ½” by 2”. Cut thin strips 1” long, leaving the other 1” intact. Wrap the intact portion around the tip of the twig or pipe cleaner and affix with glue. Curl the strips with scissors. Then, take the pipe cleaner or twig and thread it through the hole you made in step 2.

We put our flower in another plastic bottle filled with dirt, but you’re welcome to display it however you like. Enjoy!

November 1, 2013 at 10:05 pm Leave a comment

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