Category Archives: reuse magazines

St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Mosaic

This project is simple enough for even very little hands, although, you might need to draw out the rainbow strips in which they are to fill.

For a more tile-like look use thin cardboard which is thicker than tiles made from regular paper.

For more information on paper mosaics see my post: Recycle Your Cereal Boxes and More Into Pretty Paper Mosaics

Recycle Your Cereal Boxes and More Into Pretty Paper Mosaics

You probably have all the supplies you will need for this project right in your recycle bin. Cereal boxes and salvaged note book covers become art when cut into pieces and cleverly arranged.

How to tips:

Design your mosaic and sketch it lightly on a stiff piece of paper. I use foam board pieces and mat board scraps from a framing shop. These scrapes would otherwise be wasted. Call around to see what might be donated to you.

Save scrap paper (such as colored handouts form school, phone book covers, magazine pages…) or thin cardboard (such as cereal boxes, crackers and other food boxes, non-food boxes, notebook and coloring book covers…).

Cut the boxes in strips ½ inch thick. Focus on the parts with the most pure color. I like to use a paper cutter. More advanced students might want thinner strips in order to achieve finer details.

Here I have organized the scraps by setting ice cream containers into Clementine boxes.

Artists will cut up the strips to make their own mosaic tiles. It isn’t necessary to cut all the pieces in squares. Sometimes you will need more of a triangular shape to fill the space. Besides, you want to have a broken tile look.

Work one area at a time. Fill in the areas by gluing your “tiles” on one by one. Paste works well and is environmentally friendly. Glue sticks work nice but create a lot of plastic waste. If using white glue, I recommend using an old paint brush to apply the glue.

When done and the glue/ paste is dry, apply a layer of Modge Podge or an equivalent product.

*The butterfly mosaic above was a collaborative effort by young artists whose ages ranged from 6 to 11.

To see an example of a paper mosaic made from recycled thin cardboard such as cereal boxes, see my post: St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Mosaic

MYO Butterfly Metamorphosis Observatory Out Of A Cardboard Box

Fill the holes with screen. If you are lucky you will have some screen salvaged from a screen door or window. You could buy screen new but why? It is better to make use of something on its way to a landfill.metamorphosis observatory

You can easily make a beautiful Metamorphosis Observatory. It’s a safe place to care for a caterpillar and a great way for you to watch their amazing transformation. I made this one many years ago and it has fostered lots of caterpillars over the years.

black swallowtail butterfly

How to:
Find a cardboard box. I think I used the box my blender came in. Use a ruler to mark a border around all the edges. I used the width of the ruler Instead of doing a lot of measuring.
Use a box cutter or exacto knife (careful!) to make a hole in four sides (not the top and bottom).
Find butterfly and flower pictures from last year’s seed catalogs or unwanted magazines etc…
Paste on pictures coving the whole exterior of the box.
I applied varnish (optional) on the inside and the outside of the box so it would last longer.

Fill the holes with screen. If you are lucky you will have some screen salvaged from a screen door or window. You could buy screen new but why? It is better to make use of something on its way to a landfill.

When you find an interesting caterpillar chomping on a plant, put it along with some of the plant, into the Metamorphosis Observatory. To keep the plant fresher, put the stems into a container of water. Replace the plant until the caterpillar is satisfied and begins its transformation. We found that it was necessary to cover the water with plastic to keep the wondering caterpillars safe.
Or place the branch with a found chrysalis on it into the box.
Once your caterpillar have come out of its chrysalis, give it time and space to let its wings expand and then be sure to let it go. This box was not meant to house the butterfly.

Swallowtail butterfly on child's arm
She’s full of wonder.

monarch butterfly emerges
A monarch emerges from its chrysalis.

Special Valentine Message Magnets Made From Salvaged Materials

Send a Valentine message to someone special in your heart. This sweet gift will be a constant reminder of your love.
How-to:
A. Cut letters from magazines. You will find a great variety of fonts in all sorts of colors. Go searching for just the right ones. You may want to find all the letters in the same color or you might want the letters to be as varied as possible. Cut out the letters and make sure they fit on the tiles.

B. I used the tiles from a salvaged My First Rummikub game which was missing some of the pieces. Paste a letter on the front of each tile.

C. The magnets I used are promotional flat flexible magnets. (Promotional flat flexible magnets are often given out by businesses for promotional reasons, are usually business card size and are easy to cut.) This is a perfect use for those unsolicited magnets. Use scissors to cut a piece large enough to cover the back of the tile and glue it there.

See my other post for additional ideas and uses for tile magnets including using them as a teaching aid.

MYO Magazine Letter Magnets

Magazine letter magnets are perfect for teaching. Use with a child that needs to learn their ABC’s or with a beginner reader. He or she will have fun playing around with these tiles and showing you what words they can spell. Pretty soon they will be making whole sentences!

Use on the refrigerator or on a magnetic cookie sheet.

Note: not for the very young; tiles may be a choking hazard.

Teens and preteens will enjoy leaving messages or sayings for others to read. Or they can make sets of tiles with their friends’ names and gift them. Magazine letter magnets will personalize your friend’s locker.

How-to:

A. Cut letters from magazines. You will find a great variety of fonts in all sorts of colors. Go searching for just the right ones. You may want to find all the letters in the same color or you might want the letters to be as varied as possible. Cut out the letters and make sure they fit on the tiles.

B. I used the tiles from a salvaged My First Rummikub game which was missing some of the pieces. Paste a letter on the front of each tile.

C. The magnets I used are promotional flat flexible magnets. (Promotional flat flexible magnets are often given out by businesses for promotional reasons, are ususally business card size and are easy to cut.) This is a perfect use for those unsolicited magnets. Use scissors to cut a piece large enough to cover the back of the tile and glue it there.

You might also be interested in seeing a related post: Special Valentine Message Magnets Made From Salvaged Materials.