Recycled Material Crafts – Reusing Boxes for Storage
If you think about it, and take a look at your trash and recycling when you are taking it to the curb every week, we use a lot of stuff in a modern lifestyle. Almost everything we buy now is wrapped in some plastic or packaged in a container. While we feel good that we recycle and try to buy items that are packaged in recyclable containers, we still end up with a lot of stuff to recycle.
While we are working on reducing the amount of stuff we have to recycle by buying items that are not packaged, in today’s modern world, that is pretty hard to do. So, we decided to see what we could do on the other end of things, to reuse what we would normally end up throwing into the recycling bin. We started keeping some of the items that we would normally recycle (like cereal boxes, shoe boxes and some plastic containers) to see what we could do with them.
I started looking around and found that there are a bunch of great ideas out there to reuse stuff that is just lying around the house or destined for the recycling bin.
The first thing I realized was that I was going to need more space. When you save boxes and plastic containers, you have to put them somewhere. At first, they started stacking up around our kitchen sink, which I quickly realized would not work. Then, an idea hit me.
I am currently taking a beginners quilting class, so I have had to stock up on fabric, thread, patterns, and lots of other things sowing-related. I realized I was going to need more space for all of those items as well, so we turned our dining room into our living room and our living room is now our craft room. We never used our dining room anyway and with all of my new projects, as well as our daughter’s crafts and books, the living room seemed like a bigger and better choice.
So, now that we had a craft room, I had to figure out how to organize it. I started to take a look at all of the recycling items I had saved. I had some decent boxes in there, so I thought that I could maybe use them to help organize things in the new room. I started poking around online and found a great resource called Sew Many Ways. The site’s creator, Karen, has many cool and easy ideas. One that was great and very relevant to my storage and organization issues was reusing cereal boxes and turning them into book or magazine holders. You can also do this with shoe or other boxes for a variety of storage solutions. Looking at all of the things Karen has done is so inspiring, I actually gave it try.
The first one I tried was creating a book holder out of a cereal box. It is an easy and a fun project that the kids can help with.
- Just take an empty cereal box and mark it using a ruler where you’d like to make the cuts. You can measure like Karen shows you measuring 5″ from the bottom on the short side.
- Next draw a line from the front top left diagonally to the mark you made on the side.
- Flip the box over and mark it on the back. I just drew a straight line with my ruler, thought it looked even and cut it out. You can’t really mess it up.
- Then cut out some scrap book paper (or other material) in approximately the same shape and glue it on. I used a glue stick we had lying around in our daughter’s school supplies to glue it on. It would have been easier to use spray adhesive, but I didn’t have any so I just used what I had.
You can really get creative and have some fun decorating the boxes! If you have left over wrapping paper, old books where the pages are falling out, or newspaper, you can use those to cover your boxes. If you don’t like the look of paper covering, you can use spray paint to paint the box. The only limit is your imagination really.
I used some of my scrap book paper to cover the cereal box. When I was done with the cereal box, I did the same thing to an old shoe box we had in the garage. I let them both dry for 24 hours and then was able to use them to store book and magazines in the craft room.
I found this project to be a great way to reuse materials that would otherwise go into the recycling bin. The boxes are great for organizing things and they add a splash of color and personality as well to our craft room. However, probably best of all, they are a great art project for kids and give them something that they can look at everyday and say “I made that.”
In the time it has taken me to write this, we have also made a pen/pencil holder by decorating soup cans that we cleaned and covered with princess wrapping paper and one with small squares of fabric.
There are literally thousands of ways to reuse and recycle materials that you have lying around the house or destined for the recyling bin. If you have some ideas you’d like to share, please do! We love trying new things and can always use help organizing our craft room.
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