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Recycled Magazine Crafts

Updated on October 20, 2017
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Lisa Vollrath is a prolific mixed-media artist whose work includes altered books, art journals, collage, gluebooks, and paper 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

Rolled magazine strip pendants.
Rolled magazine strip pendants. | Source

When I worked at, 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, from the lesson at Go Make Something.
Paper beads, from the lesson at Go Make Something. | Source

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:

Christmas Ideas

When your budget is tight, try a few of these to make your holiday dollars go further.


Build yourself a recycled magazine garden with these lessons.

Home Accessories

Magazines can be turned into all sorts of useful items for the home with these lessons.

Office & Business

Give your magazines the business with these how-to instructions for making all sorts of items.

Arty Things

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!

A set of gluebook pages.
A set of gluebook pages. | Source

What Have You Made With Old Magazines?

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    • Motherbynature profile image

      Motherbynature 2 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      This is a nice hub to find. I have kids on summer vacation that I need to entertain. My daughter and I have bouquets of magazine flowers we made last summer. Now we can try some other crafts. Thanks!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      I love to try newspapers and junk brochures for crafts, anymore?

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      thanks for the external links, very useful sites

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 3 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Lots of great ideas. I recently exchanged a bunch of expiring airline miles I wasn't going to use for magazine subscriptions. Many I can exchange for credit at a local bookstore, but they don't take them all, so I'm left with a stack of extras. Now I have some ideas for what to do with them. Love the jewelry.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Not I, but another grandmother I know makes beautiful beads with them and has loads of fun making and stringing them with her grandchildren. In fact, she made bracelets as party favors for a five-year-old's princess birthday party, and they were a hit.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great Lens, I have had one go at making paper earrings and surprisingly after five years they're still ok

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      What an amazing lens for teachers! Thank you! I'll share this one around.

    • profile image

      laurenrich 4 years ago

      This is an awesome lens. I will make many of these crafts from my old magazines. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      ChristyZ 5 years ago

      Terrific craft ideas!

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 5 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      Excellent creative ideas! Thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      ruberduckzilla 5 years ago

      Magazine bags! Magazines are sooo useful.

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      So many crafty ideas and links in this article - even Harmony, the tabby, likes them! Good job and congratulations on making the upcycling/recycling monsterboard!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I also cover picture frames and oatmeal boxes and coffee cans with magazine page reeds.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I make reusable shopping bags with things cut and torn from magazines and junkmail, etc.

    • casquid profile image

      casquid 6 years ago

      Along with my trusty troop of grandchildren (five of them) making decorative boxes for their rooms was too much fun and laughter. They rolled up magazine pages and ridded my home of over 8 magazines in no time flat. I love it! They are eager for the next "project" with Grandma.

    • profile image

      eileen_morey 6 years ago

      What a wonderful, inspiring lens! Very, very, VERY cool ideas!

    • Pennyseeker LM profile image

      Pennyseeker LM 6 years ago

      Very interesting lens!

    • adamfrench profile image

      adamfrench 6 years ago

      Impressive lens, thumbs up

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      What a useful resource! This lens has been blessed on the "I Love That Word" quest and added to my Upcycling Ideas lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Currently in the process of making a wall hanging out of rolled up magazine pages! Turning out great!

    • LadyJasmine LM profile image

      LadyJasmine LM 6 years ago

      Just so you know I enjoyed your lens, so I blessed it and featured it here:

    • Joy Neasley profile image

      Joy Neasley 7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      I have made end tables out of rolled newspapers and a few trays out of old magazines. They turned out greatl

    • noobeegin profile image

      noobeegin 7 years ago

      I remember making paper beads when I was younger. I had forgotten how fun it was. Never thought about using old magazines. I used to know people who would make Christmas trees for table tops with old readers digests.

    • profile image

      ezpostcard 7 years ago

      really cool! i'm gonna try it. thanks for the helpful video.

    • artgoodman lm profile image

      artgoodman lm 7 years ago

      I haven't made anything yet, but I think I might try some of these tips. Thanks for sharing this great post.

    • ICanCook profile image

      ICanCook 7 years ago

      My kitchen table is covered with pictures from magazines. I glue it down, then puts lots of poly-urethane over it to make it hard so that the constant use does not disturb the beautiful pictures.

    • Dee Gallemore profile image

      Dee Gallemore 7 years ago

      This is a must-have resource for craft ideas . . . I will definitely be returning!

    • profile image

      CofCJenny LM 7 years ago

      I love this lens! I actually have my aunt saving all of her magazines for me because I'm always doing random crafts. And there are some fantastic ideas on here that I could use to get that massive mound down to a smaller pile, so thanks for this lens.

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 7 years ago

      I noticed your lens on a previous visit, but I was afraid to stop and read it because I hate to put my magazines in the recycle bin and this would give me another reason not to recycle. Now I am hooked on your ideas for magazine recycling! I will be using this lens for reference in the future and I much prefer your way of recycling. Thank you!

    • ElizaRayner profile image

      Eliza Rayner 7 years ago from Boulder, Colorado

      wow great ideas! Since I am a teacher I do use my extra magazines for projects in class, we always seem to need cut outs of something. I love the paper beads.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I love that you included the 'howto' videos here along with these great recycle it activities. My granddaughter loves making paper beads with me.

    • MisterJeremy profile image

      Jeremy 7 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Nice collection of links. Maybe I'll put some of these ideas into practice with my kids.

    • Jack2205 profile image

      Jack 7 years ago

      I used to make collages with magazines. Blessed.

    • The-Java-Gal profile image

      The-Java-Gal 7 years ago

      Loved all your great ideas. Many years ago my daughter and I did the paper beads from magazines, but I really liked the newspaper idea too. I have bookmarked so I can pick projects to now do with my granddaughter.

    • jp1978 profile image

      jp1978 7 years ago

      My daughter loves making collages.

    • Asinka profile image

      Asinka Fields 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      No but'd give it a try with your ideas :)

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 7 years ago

      We usually clip pictures out of old magazines for school projects. I have made the paper beads too and they were fun. Lots of ideas here.