Category Archives: reuse paper printed material

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

Playing Pretend: Reuse For Non-Working Or Outdated Electronics

play pretend with not working computer parts

Is it really necessary to buy plastic versions of the things we have? Children want to play with your cell phone or type on the computer because they see you do it. Pass down your non-working or outdated electronics. Playing pretend is great fun for boys and girls alike.

My kids and their friends were always happy to play with an old cell phone, broken computer key board, even a non functioning remote control. Reusing these hand-me downs can entertain little ones who may not be ready to use the real thing yet. Children might want to play Office. Furthermore, if the kids are into theatre, then reuse these things as props.

play Laptop Notebook Computer

This is my daughter’s version of a laptop notebook computer she made a few years ago.

The above play computer is made from reusing non-working computer parts. The monitor was made from a cardboard try. Any magazine picture can be put on it for the wallpaper. The toolbar and other features can be drawn on by hand.

Use good parental judgment. Some items would not be safe to play with. Also, I’m not suggesting these items be given to very young children.

Like Two Peas In A Pot Valentine Craft: A Plant Your Own Peas Kit

Two Peas Valentine Gift Craft

Make one for mom/ Dad/ Grandparents … My daughter gave out one for each of her classmates one year.

Two Peas In A Pot Valentive Gift

[This is a craft project that I developed a few years ago and I’m just now getting around to sharing –Best, Hester Jane]

Here is a child’s Valentine gift that does not include candy.

How To:

Collect empty milk or juice cartons; the kind kids get at school with their lunches. Then wash them out.

Cut out pictures of pea plants from old seed catalogs and paste them onto the outside of the milk carton/pot.

Add dry potting soil and drop in two pea seeds. Alternatively you can place the pea seeds in a mini envelope/ Valentine card.

Staple the top closed.

Save straws (optional) if doing this project for home. Don’t waste a new straw; reuse a straw that would otherwise be on its way to a landfill. The straw becomes a support as the pea plant grows taller.

Print Valentines or design your own.

Valentines for juice cartons

Valentines for milk cartons or seed envelopes

Make Your Own Envelopes From Salvaged Paper

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If you take a piece of standard lined notebook paper and fold it in half then fold it in half again the other way, it will fit nicely into this 4 x 6 inches envelope.

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You can buy an envelope stencil or you can make your own. Just find a pre-used envelope and use it as a stencil. Better yet use that envelope to make your own stencil out of an old file folder or a piece of plastic. I used an ex-ray from when my husband broke his elbow; I knew I’d find a use for them someday.

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On envelopes that are too dark to write directly on, you can apply sticker labels.

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To eliminate the need for stickers, I like to cut a window in the envelope with an X-acto knife. Children should use scissors. Place your letter inside the envelope and write the address on the back of your letter where it shows out the window.

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A. Cute cat envelope was made from an old calender.
B. Frog envelope was made from a used Ranger Rick Magazine.
C. Jungle envelope was made from a damaged book called Animaze! by W. Madgwick.
D. Farmer envelope was made from a book that was falling apart (Meet Jack Appleknocker by A. Sundgaard).
E. Crocodile gift tag envelope is made from a page in a book called Lyle Finds His Mother by B. Waber.
F. Beautiful Fish envelopes were made by my children out of a book they got at a yard sale: Cayman Underwater Paradise by Pitcairn and Paul.
G. Boat envelope was made from a Baby Einstein Book that was well worn. The image is of a Van Gogh painting called Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

How 2: Easy cat envelope Cut your paper 9 ½ inches x 6 inches. Make your first fold at line b (see image above). The distance between a and b should be 4 inches. After you have made your first fold, you will need to add a small line of glue alone the two sides (or use a glue stick). The flap of the envelope (c to d) needs to be folded down. Easy.

Other envelopes Trace your stencil onto a piece of funny/ beautiful/ cute/ wacky/ or trendy piece of re-claimed paper. Save interesting paper to be used for this purpose. Use Salvaged, damaged, and/or vintage books, fashion magazines, catalogs, calendars, old posters, whatever. Be aware of where on the envelope the image will be. Fold. Use a small amount of glue to adhere it together.