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Recycled Magazine Crafts
Are you wondering what to do with that leaning tower of magazines that's threatening to topple over at any moment? Look no further!
There are oodles of ways to reuse your magazines, and turn them into something wonderful. Or something useful. Or, at the very least, something that won't cause bodily harm.
Here are just a few...
Rolled Sushi Pendants
When I worked at Michaels.com, I had a print of Kandinsky’s Farbstudie Quadrate hanging behind my desk. The whole office referred to that print at The Sushi. These pendants look just like the images in that print, and they’re very easy to make.
To make your sushi pendants, you’ll need:
- Magazine pages. Choose pages with contrasting colors. For one sample, I chose ads that were lavender, orange, green, and black. For another, I chose a bright yellow, green, red and black. I think it’s the black around the outside that gives these that sushi look.
- A glue stick.
- Some liquid varnish or sealer. I used a matte sealer from DecoArt, but something like Diamond Glaze would also be fine.
- Screw eyes, from the hardware store. Get the smallest size they have.
- An awl.
- Narrow masking tape.
- A paper cutter, or a ruler.
- A bamboo skewer.
- Plastic wrap or waxed paper.
Here are the pages I used to make the samples on this page. They’re pretty bright!
Cut each page into 2 inch strips. It’s OK if some undesirable colors creep onto the edges, because the folding will hide it shortly.
Fold each strip in half, to create a one inch wide piece.
Unfold the strips, and fold the cut edges inward against that first fold.
Refold on the original fold line, and now you have strips that are just 1/2" wide.
Start with the color you want at the center of your sushi, and begin rolling. I usually do the first bit of rolling around a bamboo skewer.
Roll the whole first strip to form the center of the pendant. Apply a bit of glue to the end when you get there, and press it against the roll.
My glued ends always seem to pop up, so I use a tiny piece of masking tape to hold them down. Make it really narrow, and it won’t show as your continue rolling over it.
Apply a bit of glue to the end of the next strip you want to use, press it onto the roll and continue wrapping in the same direction. Don’t worry about overlapping the edges of the strips to accurately. They really don’t show.
Wrap tightly, and try to keep the roll relatively flat on top and bottom. I like to hold the roll firmly top and bottom between my fingers, and wrap. Keep adding strips and colors, ending with black.
When you’ve wrapped all your strips, and the pendant is the size you want it, apply glue to the end and stick it down to the roll. Don’t tape this last piece. If it pops up, you can tie it with string.
Place the sushi on a piece of plastic or waxed paper. Pat it to flatten the folded edges against the table.
Pour a little sealer onto the roll, and spread it over the whole top with a brush. Give it a good, even coat.
Working quickly, spread the sealer over the sides of the roll.
While it’s still wet, lift the sushi off the waxed paper, and flip it over. Some of the sealer has probably leaked through it to the surface---just plunk it right into that.
Brush the second side with sealer. I found I really didn’t have to pour out any more---what was on my brush and had leaked through to the other side was enough. Let the whole thing dry for a few hours until it’s hard.
Poke a small hole in the edge of the finished sushi, centering it. I usually do this right over the cut edge of the last strip.
Push the tip of the screw eye into the hole, and twist. If this hurts your fingers, hold the screw eye with a pair of pliers. Screw the eye into the sushi until jus the round eye is pressed against the top of the pendant. If you wish, apply a little glue to the last bit of the screw to hold it in place permanently.
This project originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of The Monthly Muse.
More Jewelry & Beads
Old magazines can easily be recycled into many other types of new jewelry. Making magazine beads and jewelry is a cost-effective way to spice up your wardrobe. Only you will have to know you did it with old magazines!
- Paper Beads at PaperBeads.org
Here's an entire blog dedicated to paper beads! This site is filled with lots of ideas and how-to information, including a long list of step-by-step tutorials.
- Making Paper Beads at Go Make Something
My article at Go Make Something shows a basic paper bead technique. This is a good one for mixed-media and rubber stamping enthusiasts, because it uses supplies you probably already have.
- How to Make Dangly Earrings with Magazine Pages
A super-simple method of making earrings.
- How-To Recycle Junk Mail into Paper Beads
A more pulpy, paper mache approach to making beads.
- Recycled Magazine Jewelry at Especially Heather
This step by step lesson shows you how to create pendants using the rolled sushi method, like those shown below.
Gift Packaging, Bags & Bows
Using magazine pages to spruce up your gifts is very simple. Magazines can be turned into creative, interesting bows, bags, and boxes, without requiring more than a pair of scissors, and some tape or glue. Next time you're in a pinch for some gift wrap, give one of these easy lessons a whirl:
- Magazine Bows from Second Chance Studio
This step-by-step lesson shows you how to turn magazine pages into classic gift bows, using scissors, tape, and a stapler.
- Gift Bows Tutorial from Craftster
This quick lesson posted on the Craftster message board shows how to make a bow using a brad to hold magazine loops together.
- How to Make a Magazine Reed Box from Craft Stylish
Rolled magazine reeds are used to decorate a plain box in this lesson.
- Magazine Box Tutorial
A step-by-step photo set showing how to build a box from scratch, using magazine pages.
When your budget is tight, try a few of these to make your holiday dollars go further.
- Magazine Christmas Trees From Martha Stewart
The classic, folded-page Christmas tree, from Martha Steward. Transform old magazines into glittered table-top trees with this easy, and kid-friendly, step-by-step process.
- Recycled Magazine Ornaments
This quick step-by-step at Cut Out and Keep shows how to make a sort of quilled star-shaped ornament from magazine strips.
- Paper Bead Christmas Ornament
Make a bead star with these instructions.
Build yourself a recycled magazine garden with these lessons.
Magazines can be turned into all sorts of useful items for the home with these lessons.
- Recycled Magazine Baskets at How About Orange
This handy lesson shows how to weave magazine strips into baskets.
- Magazine Bowls at Cut Out and Keep
A quick step-by-step lesson, with photos below of dozens of examples made by community members.
- How to Make a Magazine Bowl and Coasters
This lesson has clear, crisp photos showing how to make a magazine bowl that's a little taller, plus a set of matching coasters.
Office & Business
Give your magazines the business with these how-to instructions for making all sorts of items.
One of my favorite ways to use old magazines is in artwork. Magazine collage and gluebooks will use up lots of magazine pages very quickly. Be forewarned: starting a collage journal or gluebook can be addicting!