Archive for April, 2014

Upcycled Crafts: Crane Earrings

Hello everyone,

Here at Recycled Reads, we’re getting ready for Mini Maker Faire 2014, which will be May 3 at the Travis County Expo Center. Our theme this year is Fold a Crane, Make a Wish. Of course, we encourage you to make a wish for our planet, and to think about how you can help the planet. In honor of our theme, we will have crane earrings there at Maker Faire. They are pretty simple to do, especially if you are already familiar with making jewelry. Let’s take a look.




2 pieces of 2” x 2” squares of paper


2 Earring posts


2 Earring hooks




Beads (optional)


Step 1:


Fold an origami crane. You can find the instructions online or check out a book on origami from the library.


Step 2:


Taking a post, thread it through the bottom part of the crane. If you turn the crane over, you will see there is a small opening underneath. Poke the post through the top of the crane. At this point, you can add beads to the post both underneath and above the crane. We put one seed bead underneath and one above.


Step 3:


Using the pliers, make a loop on the post, wrapping the excess wire around the base of the loop. You will use this loop to attach the crane to the earring hook.


Step 4:


Now for attaching the earring hook. Using the pliers, gently pull part of the loop at the base of the hook open, and slip the crane on. Close the loop up again with the pliers.









April 26, 2014 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: Gift wrapping

This morning I had to stop at Walgreens for a quick baby-related errand and noticed something that made me realize how much my thinking has changed since I began working at Recycled Reads. It was a simple enough scene that most people might not even register: I know I barely did! It was a woman leaving the store with a shiny, colorful children’s gift bag stuffed with plenty of red tissue paper. I thought idly, “Last minute stop before the birthday party!” Then, I looked at my son sitting in the car seat next to me and wondered about future birthday party planning, decorating, gift bagging. That sounds like it will be expensive.

Then my thoughts went to sustainability: such shiny, pretty things that will likely be torn and only used once. True, there are many people out there that dutifully gather pretty gift bags and reuse them (I myself do this), and this is good, this is a start. But, what about changing our gift giving ways to begin with? What about maps, newspaper, and comics for wrapping gifts? Not only is it more sustainable, it’s much cheaper. It also looks pretty snazzy, and gives your gift the homemade touch.

So, the moral of the blog is, if you’ve got a birthday party to go to and need a last minute way to wrap your gift, grab some of the comics from the recycling bin, or better yet, stop by Recycled Reads and buy an outdated fold up map to wrap your present.

April 18, 2014 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: Baskets

 We had lots of fun making baskets at last night’s Upcycle This! Not only did we do woven paper baskets from outdated maps, we also made plenty of origami baskets. Many thanks to the Office of Sustainability’s Green Team who was on hand to help us celebrate Earth Month. If you follow this blog, you already know what ardent supporters we are of being environmentally conscious and sustainable.


Here are some examples of what participants made:





April 5, 2014 at 7:55 pm Leave a comment

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