Recycling Old Newspapers to Make Beautiful Crafts

These beautiful pen holders are made from waste newspapers
These beautiful pen holders are made from waste newspapers | Source

Making Crafts from Waste Newspapers

The beautiful pen holders shown in the first picture were made by my 7 year old son for his five teachers on the occasion of Teachers’ Day. These beautiful handmade items were artistically crafted from old newspapers and other waste products converted into beautiful home decoration items by us in which my son took a lead in inspiring the making. The items made are low cost as all the materials used (except colors) were waste products and we made many items in a single day’s effort. The process used was so simple that even my seven year old kid could follow it easily to produce something substantial.

The Inspiration for Recycling Waste Newspapers for Craft Making

In India, 5th September is observed as Teachers’ Day and in almost all schools kids offer gifts to their loving teachers. During the first week itself children start searching for suitable gifts for their teachers and it is almost a job for caring parents to go from shop to shop to find suitable gifts. The most popular gift items since my own childhood have been pens and designer hankies that teacher generally do not mind fondly accepting. After all, it is an expression of gratitude for the invaluable contribution they are making for the nation building. In fact I had purchased a beautiful purse for the class teacher of my son who is in standard II in a government school in India. My son was very sad when his class teacher told the class not to waste hard earned money of parents in buying gifts for teachers. He asked my help in making something beautiful at home so that he can offer it as gifts to his class teacher. I had earlier taught him making use of old card boards for making pen stands and other home decoration items that he wanted to make on his own. This time, he learnt how to reuse old news papers to make beautiful handmade crafts easily and without spending a single penny. The present hub not only discussed the process of making beautiful handmade pen holders as presented in the first picture, but also many other fancy items that can make one’s home beautiful with handmade items.

The raw materials
The raw materials | Source
The binding glue made from flour
The binding glue made from flour | Source
Newspapers cut into pieces of different sizes
Newspapers cut into pieces of different sizes | Source
To make an office bin, I took a plastic bucket and wrapped it with a full newspaper and tied it with strings before applying glue on it.
To make an office bin, I took a plastic bucket and wrapped it with a full newspaper and tied it with strings before applying glue on it. | Source
Making the first layers with glue and pieces of papers
Making the first layers with glue and pieces of papers | Source
Drying the items in sun
Drying the items in sun | Source

Items that can be easily made from waste newspapers

As mentioned earlier, we made some really beautiful pen stands by recycling old newspapers. However, we also made many other items like office bins, flower vase, brush holders of different shapes and sizes with this method of recycling. Anything of any shape can made with this process. In my childhood, I have seen my village artisans in Orissa making beautiful masks for folk dances from this method of recycling of waste papers and torn clothes.

Materials Needed

All one needs to make such crafts are as under.

  1. Old Newspapers
  2. Waste cardboards
  3. Things of different shapes to be used as molds

For the items presented in this hub we have used a small plastic bucket to work as a mold for the dustbin, drinking water glasses to work as molds for pen stands, bowls as mold for making their paper replicas, other utensils of suitable size to work as molds for flower vase and so on. Please note that these molds can be used to make things of identical size. All the five pen stands presented in picture-1 are made with a drinking water glass as the mold.

4. Threads, knives, dry cloth for wiping hands.

5. Wheat flour (maida) 3-4 tablespoon to prepare homemade glue for the purpose.

6. Colours and brushes for painting the items.

Coloring the dried structures
Coloring the dried structures | Source
Water based acrylic colors work best. Once coloring is complete, a final coating with varnish oil would provide a shining appearance as well as extra water proofing.
Water based acrylic colors work best. Once coloring is complete, a final coating with varnish oil would provide a shining appearance as well as extra water proofing. | Source
Items getting dried under a ceiling fan indoors.
Items getting dried under a ceiling fan indoors. | Source

Process of Making the Crafts from Waste Newspapers

STEP-1: Prepare the homemade glue: The glue can be prepared by cooking 3-4 table spoon with around half liter water for 15 minutes. Please note that very thin glue would make better fine finishing with paper products. Let it cool down so that you can apply the glue with your hands.

STEP-2: Cut the newspapers into pieces with a knife. Bigger pieces would make the work easier and quicker; small pieces would make the finishing better. Cut pieces of news papers in different sizes for both the purposes.

STEP-3: Prepare the Mold: Whatever be the shape, wrap the outer side of the mold with a full sized newspaper and tie it with threads as shown in picture below properly so that layers of newspaper pieces can be glued on it easily.

STEP-4: Prepare the Crafts. Apply the glue on the frame prepared with the newspaper tied on the mold and paste pieces of newspaper on it one after another so than several layers of the paper pieces would make a thick coat as per the size of the mold. If the glue prepared is thin enough, the newspaper pieces would soak well and after drying would give strength to the items prepared. After pasting a layer apply glue again on the pasted papers and keep on adding layers till the thickness is appropriate.

STEP-5: Drying and Coloring: Dry the prepared structure in sunlight along with the mold. Once it dries a bit, the structure used as mold can be detached easily and after applying a layer of glue by hand on the inside of the structure let it dry up completely. Once dried, the structure will have the shape of the mold and would be strong enough to remain as a structure without the mold. While preparing the structure, one may apply different tricks to make additional designs on it. As you may notice, the top of the pen stands have more thickness to make them look better.

Coloring and Finishing

As a final step, different colors can be applied to the items prepared to enhance their beauty. Once the color dries up, the whole item can be coated again with a layer of wood polishing solutions or varnish oil to make it glossy and also to make it relatively more water resistance. One may also apply varnish oil or wood polish /shining materials on the colored items to make those a bit waterproof and for having a shining surface.

I hope someone finds this hub useful and interesting. Please feel free to post a comment.

More by this Author


Comments 16 comments

naincy 2 months ago

It is good and interesting. Whosoever had made it had done very best use of waste newspapers. I liked it very much. Keep it up ! and make more beautiful things from waste materials.


purnimamoh1982 profile image

purnimamoh1982 22 months ago Author

Of course you can make different shapes but with a master item that would slip through easily. If the master shape is a concave set, then we need to make it in multiple parts separately and then join all together.


shridevi 22 months ago

it's a very good idea to use old paper . can we make different shapes ?


purnimamoh1982 profile image

purnimamoh1982 2 years ago Author

Dear Mallika,

Thanks for your comment. Its easy, but has to be planned before pasting the glued papers. Kindly look at the fifth photo from the start. What I did was, I wrapped a newspaper around the actual plastic mold and tied it with a thread; on which the glued papers are pasted. So after the work is over, i let it dry for a while so that the glued papers get the form and dry from outside. Then I slid the plastic bin easily. the inside part has to be glued for a finishing touch after the structure dries up completely.


Mallika 2 years ago

Its awesome !! Just one thing, How do you take off the mold, since the newspaper is glued in and out... Kindly help!


nellie 2 years ago

I have tried making baskets out of newspaper but have been worried about how to give the colour extra protection from water.and the varnish tip was really helpful.thanks.


aditi 3 years ago

its just wow . i will also try at home .


Jaya Sanghita profile image

Jaya Sanghita 3 years ago from Kolkata

Simple and beautiful!


purnimamoh1982 profile image

purnimamoh1982 3 years ago Author

Dear PenHitsTheFan,

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Please keep me in loop when you undertake acitvities with children. My son and me shall be glad to join you online. It will be a great learning for both of us to do things together being thousands miles away.


PenHitsTheFan profile image

PenHitsTheFan 3 years ago from Home

That's a great way to use up old papers. I might try it next time the nieces and nephew come for a visit.


ash khan 3 years ago

its nice


Dipi 4 years ago

It was really helpful.


purnimamoh1982 profile image

purnimamoh1982 4 years ago Author

Dear alancaster149, thanks a lot for so inspiring words of appreciation. It has occurred several times to me. But its not just making things through artisan skills, its also about entrepreneurship that requires skills in organisation building and management. That is a tough nut. Thanks a lot for the lovely note.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Commendable. India's got a reputation for being the recycling centre in many respects. This is another aspect that hasn't yet been covered, giftwares. Maybe you should go into exporting recycled paperwares? It's a thought worth considering. Thumbs up, interesting and useful.


purnimamoh1982 profile image

purnimamoh1982 4 years ago Author

Hello thundermama, thanks a lot for the comment. My son really likes the process not because of the beauty of the final product, but probably for the messy process of dealing with a lot of paper cuttings, gluing and so on.


Thundermama profile image

Thundermama 4 years ago from Canada

What a lovely craft idea. So simple and beautiful and lots of messy fun for children. I will definitely be giving this a try. Great pictures.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working