My parents were born during the Depression and I was brought up frugally. I remember my Mom washing and reusing aluminum foil (which I've also been known to do!) among many other thrifty habits. Our family has always recycled paper, plastic, glass and aluminum and I have the habit of cutting the ends off tubes and plastic bottles to use that last bit of toothpaste or glue or shampoo.
Here are some ideas of recycling and reusing for our craft rooms.
- Paper - Since I am more of a cardmaker than a scrapper, I tend to use more 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Once I have cut into a piece, I will try to get a card base (5 1/2 x 8 1/2) out of the remainder, and/or a card front or ATC base or 4x4". Then the rest will go in the scrap file and I always go to this file first when I need paper before cutting into a "virgin" sheet.
- Packaging - Blister packs can be reused as treat boxes or shaker fronts and the hard plastic makes a great paint palette. Empty ribbon spools can be remade into minibooks or treat boxes (both of which I've posted here previously). The plastic boxes that small punches come in sometimes can be reused as blocks for unmounted stamps or for storage for small items. Empty CD cases are great for unmounted stamp storage. Empty travel-size baby wipe containers (Huggies brand) are the perfect size for storing twelve Twinkling H2Os pots.
- Soda can "pop top tabs" make great buckles for ribbon and can even be embossed any color. I also cut the top and bottom off aluminum cans, cut through the back seam and have a nice size piece of metal for punching, embossing or stamping metal embellishments.
- When foam brushes (the cheap ones with the wooden handle) fall apart, I save the handle for spreading glue or stirring paints.
- Old CDs or credit cards make great disposable paint palettes. Credit cards can be used to apply paints or glue as well. They can also be altered into mini-ATCs or tags.
- Sample paint "chips" can be stamped and added to cards or scrapbook layouts or made into bookmarks.
- Formica samples make cute little tags or luggage tags or several tied together to make a little book.
- Old magazines and phone books make great "glue books." Place your item to be glued on a clean page, apply glue, then turn the page - you will always have clean surface for the next glue project.
- Old books - use the covers for collage bases; save the text pages to add to backgrounds or to use as scrap paper (see #8 above). Paint stripes on a page and cut into scalloped borders.
- Scraps of rubber leftover from cutting apart unmounted stamp sheets can be used as dimensional pop dots. Also, the leftover portion of a sheet of circular pop dots can be cut up and used as well.
- Cough syrup cups can be reused as little paint pots or water pots when painting - a perfect size when just needing a small amount.
- Used dryer sheets are great for swiping your paper before heat embossing. Work just as well as an "embossing buddy" for eliminating stray embossing powder specks. They can also be painted or inked for backgrounds.
- Slice old wine corks and stamp for inexpensive alphabets or embellishments for collages, cards or layouts. Carve the corks to use as small stamps.
- Use the bottom of a Velveeta box or a Pringles chip can to store 6 Rollagraph stamp wheels (the smaller size).
- Save the tiny Silica gel packs that come in most new shoes boxes and add to your embossing powder jars, especially metallic EPs. It will help retard tarnishing and clumping.
That's it for now, just off the top-of-my-head. If you have any tips of your own, please let me know. I hope everyone will consider reusing and recycling to keep even a small amount out of our landfills. Many little baby steps can make a huge impact!