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Junk Mail Crafts: How to Make Unique Projects With Recycled Paper

Updated on July 4, 2016
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

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When I saw a question about crafts to make with junk mail, I knew that I wanted to start researching this right away. If you enjoy making crafts with paper and/or recycled materials, this is a great, inexpensive option. Most people get a wide variety of junk mail every week, including lots of colorful ads and catalogs that, with just a little imagination and time, can be turned into great art. Instead of pitching this mail, start saving it. Before you know it, you'll have tons of new art materials. Happy creating!

Unless it is indicated otherwise, all ideas and tutorials are for personal use only. Please respect artist copyrights and contact artists directly to work out agreements for selling products. Thank you!

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This is a really creative way to reuse old security envelopes.
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This is a really creative way to reuse old security envelopes.
This is a really creative way to reuse old security envelopes. | Source
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Stationery Products: Envelopes, Journals/Notebooks, Bookmarks

Stationery products are one of the most popular ways to recycle junk mail. You can turn your mail into envelopes, journals and notebooks, bookmarks, and more. Consider using colorful catalog pages to create greeting cards with matching envelopes or clip inspiring words to make bookmarks.

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This piece is 8 ft x 5 ft and includes about 40,000 pieces of junk mail.
This piece is 8 ft x 5 ft and includes about 40,000 pieces of junk mail.
This piece is 8 ft x 5 ft and includes about 40,000 pieces of junk mail. | Source
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Wall Art

There are a wide variety of junk mail wall art projects out there, with everything from simple projects that take less than an hour to large hangings that can take months to complete. I have included a variety of photos and links so that you can get a sense of the spectrum. There really is no limit to what you can do, but don't be afraid to put together simple projects, too.

Pick up some canvases for your wall art from Amazon.

Donna made this collage out of magazines, but you could easily apply this concept to junk mail.
Donna made this collage out of magazines, but you could easily apply this concept to junk mail. | Source
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http://alittlehut.blogspot.com/2007/08/recycled-project-no-6-junk-mail-trees.html - link no longer active
http://alittlehut.blogspot.com/2007/08/recycled-project-no-6-junk-mail-trees.html - link no longer active
http://alittlehut.blogspot.com/2007/08/recycled-project-no-6-junk-mail-trees.html - link no longer active
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Flowers and Trees

If you spend any significant time browsing Pinterest and/or reading craft blogs, you have most likely come across a number of paper flower tutorials. Almost any paper or fabric flower tutorial will work well with thin junk mail. Just make sure that you can fold your paper appropriately.

Simply Simple JUNK MAIL FLOWERS by Connie Stewart

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Can you believe that this is made out of junk mail? Alisa is so creative.
Can you believe that this is made out of junk mail? Alisa is so creative.
Can you believe that this is made out of junk mail? Alisa is so creative. | Source
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Decorations: Wreaths, Snowflakes, Box Chains, Paper Stars, Banners/Bunting

All of these home décor ideas are so colorful and fun that no one will ever guess that you created them from junk mail. Look for colors that will coordinate for specific holidays or simply have fun picking pieces in your favorite shades that will be great year round decorations.

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Paper Beads and Jewelry

You can use just about any piece of thin junk mail to create paper beads. Check out the link below for a great selection of paper bead tutorials and resources. I have included photos here of jewelry made exclusively from junk mail as well as photos of jewelry made from other papers. Most people use their paper beads to make bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, but the possibilities are endless.

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Gift Bags and Bows

Personally I am really cheap when it comes to gift wrapping because I know that most of the wrapping will get thrown away. Any time I can save money with my wrapping, I am excited. Making your own gift bags or boxes and making your own bows are great ways to cut down on gift wrapping expenses and are fun, too. If you create high quality materials, the recipients may be able to reuse them, cutting down on a future expense for them.

How to: make a bow for gift wrap out of scrap paper

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Clock

How creative is this? If you've made any kind of craft project that involves rolling paper, you will be familiar with this concept. Unlike many of the projects here, this one does involve purchasing a few specific supplies, of course including the clock mechanism, and completing some simple sewing. It is still not a very expensive or time consuming project and is truly one of a kind.

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Portraits

For those who are more ambitious with their junk mail, consider making a realistic depiction of a face with junk mail. I am always in awe of people who can achieve this effect with photos and am pretty wowed by the junk mail effect, too. It takes time and patience to collect mail in the right color palette and then assemble everything successfully, but the effort is well worth it.

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http://www.junkmailgems.com/index.html - link no longer active
http://www.junkmailgems.com/index.html - link no longer active
http://www.junkmailgems.com/index.html - link no longer active
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Just About Any Other Paper Project Imaginable

While there a lot of craft ideas out there designed specifically for junk mail, you can take just about any paper project and substitute junk mail. Consider popular scrapbook paper crafts, such as coasters, picture frames, paper wreaths, and magnets. Whenever I have been interested in taking on a new paper project, I have found no shortage of free tutorials online. Search Google and/or Pinterest for your idea and have fun with your junk mail.

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Oh yeah. Turning something annoying into something beautiful is exciting! Thanks for putting these links on recycling paper products together for us!

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Beautiful hub! You are so creative, as your name states. I always enjoy reading and learning from you. voted up and useful! Take care, Kelley

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      RTalloni, yes for sure!

      Kelley, thanks so much!

    • marlynpumphrey profile image

      Marlyn Munoz 5 years ago from Honolulu, HI

      I LOVE THIS HUB!! Lord knows my mail box is always loaded with junk mail especially a whole bunch of magazines that I swear I never subscribed too.. I am definitely going to try something with my junk mail instead of just filling up my trash can.

    • profile image

      Kathy 5 years ago

      Wow! Amazing what you can make out of all that junk mail! Cool!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      marlyn, thanks! It is the same with our mail box. We get a lot more junk mail than real mail and that does include magazines and catalogs we will never read. It's nice to reuse it when you can. Have fun with your junk mail!

      Kathy, yes, for sure!

    • Peter Allison profile image

      Peter Allison 5 years ago from Alameda, CA

      Very cool ideas (and of course the execution is awesome too) thanks for posting!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much Peter!

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Rose,

      I think this is my favorite of all your Hubs.

      I'm going to start looking at junk mail in a new light after reading this. What absolutely fantastic ideas you've presented!

      Thanks for pubishing this article.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Daisy! The response so far has already been fantastic, so I think that you're not alone with that sentiment.

      After viewing so many great junk mail projects, I won't look at my mail the same way either.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      I love your hubs. You always inspire me to recycle something else into an awesome looking craft. I'm going to start collecting stuff for the clock. That just looks awesome!

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Wow, this is SO cool! Thank you! I've been thinking about trying something along these lines and now I feel pushed to actually do it instead of just thinking. Voted up and fanned.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I love the clock! It's awesome! I don't get as much junk mail as I use to or else I would give it a try. These are all great ideas. Way to go Rose!!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Wow! Who would have guessed that you could make so many beautiful things out of junk mail? I love the ideas for beads and the journals! The collage of 40,000 pieces of junk mail is amazing...I'd love to see this in person.

      Voted up across the board! and pinned!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      This hub is amazing! I never would have thought so many attractive items could be made with junk mail. The clock is great, but so are many of the other items. Up and awesome!

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wow - I never imagined there could be so many ideas for making things out of junk mail! Great hub - I will be sharing this one!

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      Hi Rose, I love crafts like this that use up things that may normally end up in the trash.. All of these ideas are great! I'm really wanting to try the layered flower one that I saw in the first video, so cute!

    • kittyjj profile image

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Wow, great tips on how to use junk mails. I used to just recycle them. Now I think I will save them for my kids to do some fun projects you've suggested here. I love the tree and the gift bag. Thanks for sharing.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Daughter Of Maat, thanks! Have fun with your clock!

      CR Rookwood, good luck with it!

      Linda, I bet that you could find someone to give you some junk mail if you really feel inspired.

      Stephanie, for sure! It would be amazing to see the 40,000 piece collage in person.

      Pamela, thanks! I am blown away by so many of these finds, too.

      savingkathy, thanks for sharing this!

      Jamie, yes, me too! It's awesome to find a new use for these items. You would do an awesome job with the flowers.

      kittyjj, that's great! Have fun with your kids. :)

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      I love these ideas! I'm always trying to find ways to repurpose things. I love the flowers; they would great to use instead of bows when wrapping presents. I will pin this and definitely will revisit it for future projects.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Deb! You're right that the flowers would be a great addition to presents instead of bows.

    • Rhelena profile image

      Rhelena 5 years ago

      Some of these are really neat!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thank you!

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

      Man I love these ideas! I always know I'm going to find something here that's going to make me save more "junk" as my husband would call it! I think that maybe we'll have to make some of those awesome paper flowers to go in the plastic bottle vases that my kids made. This would be a perfect craft for my students. Thanks for the great ideas!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I do not need any excuses to save more "junk" for art projects either. At least junk mail doesn't take up a lot of space. You can start a file folder or magazine rack for it. Paper flowers would be great for the bottle vases! You're right that they would make a great classroom craft project, too.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Now that's the way to recycle! My first thought was for use in a classroom but I see cardelean has already mentioned that. This is very creative with material always available.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks tillsontitan! You and Cara are both right that many of these projects would be great for the classroom. It's always wonderful when you can put together great crafts with inexpensive materials.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Aah you always come up with the best ideas that get me so inspired to craft. Sadly I am not nearly as good at getting my ideas out :) But I still enjoy looking at the neat stuff other people make

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Ardie! I try. I'm frequently humbled by all of the amazing creative ideas out there, but I'm doing what I can to share my own thoughts and promote the other great ideas that I come across.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 5 years ago from Indonesia

      I have a lot of junk mail and now I know what to do to make use of them. Thank you for these great ideas which can be very beneficial for environment cleanliness.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I love the idea of creating things from junk, and some of this stuff was just beautiful! I especially like the star at the top of the page as well as the clock. These would be great to make with the kids during the summer.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      agusfanani, that's great! Have fun with your junk mail.

      Dolores, me too! It's really amazing what people can create from seemingly ugly or boring objects. You're right that many of these projects would be great to make with kids during the summer.

    • profile image

      Edi 5 years ago

      Very cool! Love the mosaics...both the flower and the portraits!

      And the different styles of beads are cool too!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much Edi!

    • profile image

      storybeader 5 years ago

      I love all the things that you found. The wall art was so neat! I need the get a larger view of that! {:-D

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Deb! If you click through to the link, you can see some more up close pictures of it.

    • Suzie ONeill profile image

      Suzie ONeill 5 years ago from Lost in La La Land

      Great ideas! I always recyle the junk mail that arrives at my house but this hub gives me some construcive ideas for putting all that paper to use! Thanks!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Suzie! Have fun with your junk mail.

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