Reduce, Reuse…Up-cycle!

Posted by Danielle

Let’s UP-cycle!!  This is what it means to take recycling to a whole new level.  Did you think it was possible to create a bright and fabulous cuff bracelet out of a paper towel tube?  What about that french fry container? What could we do with that?  I am going to show you just how easy and fun it is to reduce, re-use, recycle…UP-cycle!

I received this fabulous magazine for my birthday called GreenCraft (  It is filled with amazing ideas to reuse and create cool artistic stuff out of recyclable materials.  There are loads of cool projects in there; the first one that caught my eye was artful organizers.  Artful organizers are  made out of empty french fry containers!

Here is what you need along with easy directions:

Empty french fry containers (cleared of all food!)
Gesso (acrylic paint primer)
Paint brushes
colorful acrylic paints of your choice
Ribbons, lace, stamps, buttons, etc
Paper punch

NOTE: When Kelly and Sophia made this craft, they used an egg carton instead, so that’s what you’ll see in the pics–you can use lots of types of cardboard containers for this project!

1. First you will need to prime your fry container by painting it with gesso.  Allow it to dry!

2. After it is completely dry, the fun starts.  Go ahead and decorate and paint your container however you like.  You can paint it and embellish it with ribbons, beads, buttons or whatever you have available.

3. When you are finished, and after it is dry, take a paper punch and punch a hole in the back.

4. Finally, you are able to tack it to a bulletin board (if you like) and fill it with supplies!

Your artful organizer is perfect for holding pencils, pens, post-it notes, etc.  I love anything that helps me get organized and looks nifty!

The next idea that looked easy and fun to me was a lovely cuff bracelet made out of a cardboard paper towel roll.  The next time you empty a roll of paper towels, save that core for jewelry! This is a great way to personalize your style and to make gifts for others.

Here is what you will need and the directions to make this green craft:
Acrylic paint in a variety of colors
Cardboard rolls from paper towel, toilet paper or wrapping paper
Mod Podge (clear sealant you can get at craft stores)
Glitter paint (optional)
Paper punch & Scissors
colorful ribbon

1. First you’ll need to cut a section of the roll.  Cut it as big as you want it to be and cut your section lengthwise so it will fit on your wrist.

2. Paint the section with 3-5 layers of paint.  You can make it as messy or neat as you want, or doesn’t matter!  Allow each layer of paint to dry between coats.  The more layers of paint you use, the more durable your cuff will be.

3. When the front is dry, paint the backside and allow to dry.

4. Coat the front and back with mod podge, using 2 to 4 layers, allowing each layer to dry in between.

5. Let the cuff dry 24 hours (I know, waiting is no fun, but it is worth it!).

6. Use a paper punch to punch holes in each side and add a pretty ribbon through each side to tie on your wrist!

Wasn’t that a fun way to up-cycle?  Did you have any idea that you could make such awesome things with stuff from your recycling bin??  Neither did I!  And now I have a colorful organizer to brighten up my bulletin board (no more rummaging around for pens and pencils!).  I also have a beautiful cuff bracelet to show all of my friends.  I am sure they are going to want to make one, too!  Reduce, reuse, recycle….Up-cycle!!

Happy Family Up-Cycling Everyone!

Aunt Dani

*These ideas were found in GreenCraft Magazine, Autumn 2010 Issue*

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