Upcycled Crafts: VHS tape Crochet Pen Topper

Many customers admire our crochet rose pen topper. It’s surprising to find out it’s crocheted from VHS tape! Our crafty volunteer Anna made it, and although I don’t have her exact instructions, here’s a tutorial from Instructables on how to make a crochet rose.


Other things we’ve made from VHS tape: a purse.



Can you think of anything to make out of VHS tape? Let us know in the comments and we’ll give it a try.


June 21, 2014 at 7:37 pm 2 comments

Upcycled Crafts: Pop up cards

It’s summer, which means one thing: Summer reading! At Recycled Reads, we’re reading (as always), but we’re crafting for Summer Reading as well. Ruth is busy crafting up grand prizes for the drawing held at the end of Austin Public Library’s Adult Summer Reading Program. Want to participate? Stop by the store, your local branch, or our Virtual Library and pick up a frequent reader card to enter.

Today’s blog will cover the cards that will accompany the grand prizes. They’re pop up card, the pop up portion is a tree, which will eventually feature tidbits about the store, but for now I just wanted to concentrate on the mechanics of popups. Bear with me, these are my first attempts! If you have any pointers, let me know in the comments.



For my tree, I used two separate sections of reused poster paper covered in leaves I cut from damaged books.


Here’s the back of one of the tree sections, which shows the poster paper I used for backing, as well as the tabs that function as the mechanics of the pop up. I inserted these tabs into the card by making slits in the card on either side of the center crease. I inserted the tabs into the slits and glued them in place on the outside of the card.



One of the finished products! The trunk is made from a cardboard coffee cozy.


June 13, 2014 at 10:48 pm Leave a comment

Upcycle Challenge Results

We had a great success at last night’s Upcycle Challenge! If you missed it, here are some examples of what participants created. Special thanks to Blythe from the Re-sourcery, who came out and brought extra supplies and crafty energy.


Cute organizer to keep all your crafting supplies in reach
Cube organizer made from CD inserts
Board books wrapped in fabric scraps become a great desktop container
Another desktop cube from empty CD cases
Briefcase decorated with fabric swatches
Bookshelf with fabric swatch puppy











June 6, 2014 at 10:44 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: Upcycle Challenge

Hey there, folks! Another month is upon us, which means another Upcycle This craft night next week. This month will be a special edition of Upcycle This, more specifically, it will be an Upcycle Challenge co-hosted by Re-Sourcery, who put on an Upcycle Challenge last year with Goodwill. We can’t wait to show you the results next week of what participants come up with! The theme is Get Organized, so if you’ve been meaning to do so, come participate! The fun starts at 5pm on June 5th.

In the mean time, we wanted to show you some pictures of the latest creations on display at the store, including a custom order of planters. Photography credits go to Betsy.


Fancy mail organizer



Woven basket from map paper


Planters from a custom order



Magnet with notepad and pen

May 30, 2014 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: Geek Tree

As many of you that frequent the store know, we have a resident pole tree that we decorate for every season. The pole tree (actually a concrete pole) is decorated to look like a tree using old paper bags and coat hangers. It’s currently geeked out in honor of Austin Public Library’s Geek the Library campaign, which helps to raise awareness about the library, and how it can provide you with resources and information about what ever you “geek” or love to learn about.

At first, we set up a white board and had people write in what they geek. That didn’t take very long to get filled up, so we transferred over each geek onto a piece of poster paper. Betsy then hung up all the pieces of paper on the tree, securing it with a bit of plarn or plastic yarn. So be sure to come in and let us know what you geek so we can add it to the tree!


Our pole tree
I geek cats!

May 18, 2014 at 9:14 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: Mother’s Day and Birthday cards

Since it’s May, we thought holding a workshop on making Mother’s Day cards was fitting. However, as one participant made a birthday card for her dad, we are definitely open to other kinds of holidays! Following are some examples of what was made last Thursday night by our crafters.




This Daddy is going to get a great birthday card.



Pop up cards!


Miss you.


Abstract flowers




Another pop up.


May 4, 2014 at 8:04 pm Leave a comment

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

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