Archive for December, 2013

Upcycled Crafts: Reusing Calendars

New Year’s crafts, anyone? As you know, we here at Recycled Reads are all about reuse. And what does everyone need to reuse at the end of the year? Calendars! There are plenty things to do with old calendars. I used them at an outreach event recently as collage material for decorating magnets. Our store calendar for 2014 is actually a 2012 calendar Ruth went through and changed the dates to match 2014.
For this blog, however, Mindy suggested I decorate a box with my old calendar in order to store keepsakes from 2013 in. It’s a pretty simple exercise in creativity, all you need is glue, an old calendar, scissors, a box, and your imagination. Below are some photos of my finished product. Feel free to send us photos of your creation. Happy New year!




December 20, 2013 at 9:09 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: The Downside of Upcycling

For today’s blog I’d like to focus on something that comes up a lot in any kind of crafting, but is especially pertinent in upcycling: the leftovers. Whether it’s the end of a busy craft night or a single piece of work that we’ve been crafting, there are always leftover crafting materials to contend with, sometimes even the project itself has to be dealt with. A recent example we’ve encountered at the store was a tree we made for Mini Maker Faire this year. Ruth found a real tree branch and we laboriously cut out paper leaves, paper grass and rocks from paper pulp. Everyone was tasked with bringing in real rocks to decorate it, and we diligently foraged for rocks worthy of our tree. And all our hard work paid off! The tree was a hit at Maker faire, and we proudly displayed “him” in the store afterwards.

A few months later, we noticed little holes along the trunk of our tree.  After further inspection, I saw small, neat piles of what looked like sawdust on top of our paper grass at the base of the tree. Some sort of bug had infested our precious tree! We were torn – we didn’t want to say goodbye to the tree, but we didn’t want to keep it because of the possibility of termites. What to do?
We were concerned and puzzled about what to do at this point, because the entire idea of upcycling revolves around reusing materials that might otherwise go into the landfill. Even though the tree had bugs residing in it, we still had to dispose of it responsibly. As I said before, this is an issue we are confronted with time and again after craft programs, where there are leftover scraps of paper, plastic and cardboard. With little scraps, it’s easy to scoop them up and put them in the recycling bin. Recycling the tree wasn’t an option.


PaperTree11 Current state of our tree.

At the moment, we still haven’t decided the fate of our little tree. We did take off the leaves and pulp rocks to reuse in another project, however the branch and grass still remain. So all you crafters out there, please be conscious of what you use, and where it may end up if your crafting goes awry. To us here at Recycled Reads, it’s just another part of living an environmentally conscious way of life.

December 14, 2013 at 11:39 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: How to Make a New Year’s Hat

For today’s craft blog, we decided to get a jump on New Year’s and prepare some upcycled party hats to ring in the new year. This design is taken from a great resource for crafting, Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts book. Here is our upcycled spin on Ms. Stewart’s clever craft.






Hole Punch


Plastic bag

Step 1:

Cut out two circles. Our circles measured 7” across. Overlap these two circles about a third of the way across. Glue together.

Step 2:

Once dry, form circles into a cone shape and glue in place, overlapping the circles again. Be sure to leave a small hole in the top for the plastic yarn tassel.

Step 3:

Punch two holes near the base on either side of the hat. Thread the string through, measuring so that it will fit your head.

Step 4:

Now for the tassel: make about 2 feet worth of plastic yarn. Don’t know how to make it? Refer to our blog on how to make plarn:

Now that you’ve made the plarn, wrap it around your fingers several times. Holding these loops together at one end, take the scissors and snip through the loop.


You now have a handful of individual strands of plarn. Take one strand and tie the rest together in the middle.


Holding it by the knot you just made, you can see the beginning of a tassel. Thread it through the top of your hat, affixing in place with some tape, if needed. Fluff tassel to your taste.

December 6, 2013 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: How to Make a Cardboard Ornament

Hello there, hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! Today we’ll be gearing up for the holidays by making cardboard ornaments. With these, you can be as simple or detailed as you like. At our store craft demo of this craft, we had plenty of little crafters who successfully made some of their very own ornaments.







Step 1:

Cut out the shape you want your ornament to be in. Then cut out another identical shape. Cut a thick notch halfway through each shape, so you can join them together.


Step 2:

Decorate as you like, and making a hole, string the twine through.


December 3, 2013 at 11:07 pm Leave a comment

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