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Projects Using Recycled Paper

By: Jane Pullen - Updated: 14 Mar 2011 | comments*Discuss
Projects Using Recycled Paper

Recycled paper and card items are a great resource for crafters. With a little creativity, items that would otherwise be discarded can be used in a wide variety of crafts. Recycling paper and card items is a good way to save money while also reducing waste.

Gift Packaging

Items of gift packaging, such as gift wrap, gift bags and boxes, can all be made from recycled paper and card:
  • Gift wrap – make gift wrap from pieces of newspaper or used parcel paper. When decorated with rubber stamps and other embellishments such as glitter glue, stylish gift wrap can be created for a very low cost. If no rubber stamps are to hand then try carving simple stamps from erasers or try potato printing.
  • Gift boxes and bags – gift boxes and bags are easy to make from recycled paper and card. A wide selection of box and bag templates are available on the Internet. These are often for free and can be instantly downloaded. Simply transfer the template onto pieces of used paper or card to make unusual gift boxes and bags. Paper items such as calendars, greeting cards and paper carrier bags are ideal for recycling this way.
  • Gift tags – create gift tags for every occasion by using old greeting cards. Cut a shape from the card and punch a small hole in one edge to make an attractive tag. Use pieces of ribbon or fancy yarn to attach the gift tag.

Handmade Cards

Add items of recycled paper to handmade cards to provide additional interest and texture:
  • Corrugated paper – pieces of corrugated paper torn from the inside of cardboard boxes or packaging are perfect for creating textured paper panels for handmade cards. A dab of paint or ink on the surface will emphasise the texture of the paper.
  • Unusual embellishments – a wide variety of recycled paper embellishments can be added to cards for all occasions. This includes decorative panels cut from gift wrap, card toppers cut from greeting cards and sentiments and greetings cut from newspaper articles.


Decorations and ornaments for any occasion can be made from recycled paper.

  • Paper chains – use pieces of newspaper and pages from magazines to make paper chains. The mix of colours and styles creates an eclectic look.
  • Banners and garlands – cut pennant shapes from recycled paper to make banners and garlands for a variety of occasions. This is simple to vary by cutting different shapes for the banners. Try cutting letters to spell a name or cut the numbers of a special birthday.
  • Paper flowers – paper flowers are attractive decorations. These are easy to make from any light weight paper. Pieces of tissue paper from gift wrapping are ideal for making paper flowers.

Other Projects

  • Papier mache - this is one of the most traditional ways of using recycled paper. Pieces of newspaper and other items of discarded paper are made into a paper pulp which is used to make a variety of items. When pressed over a form, such as a balloon or ball, three dimensional items such as bowls and baskets are easy to make.
  • Paper weaving - weaving strips of paper to make table mats or to create items such as baskets or boxes is a popular folk craft. Newspaper and magazines provide an ideal source of paper for paper weaving because of their size.
  • Jewellery - paper jewellery makes a fun and low cost fashion statement. Rolled paper beads can be made from magazine pages, discarded gift wrap and even newspaper. When coated with varnish these are surprisingly hard wearing and can be combined with other beads to make attractive jewellery. Other items of paper jewellery include paper flower earrings and cuffs made from woven paper.

Using recycled paper in craft projects is a great way to reduce waste while also saving money. It also provides a constant supply of unusual and interesting craft items that add a special finishing touch to a variety of craft projects.

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