Using recycled materials for scrapbooking is “green” so we feel good about reducing the need for conventional waste disposal. It is cost effective because we are saving money by using what we already have, and both challenging and fun because it is interesting to see what we can do with items we would otherwise trash or throw in the recycle bin. Here are 3 suggestions:
1. Product Packaging
There are too many brands to name, but there are many scrapbook vendors that have beautiful packaging, too cute to just throw away, so I recycle it. Here are some super cute examples below:
Both of these are the packaging from some Prima flowers I purchased. I recycle these packaging cards by matting photos or using them as unique page elements on layouts or using them as pages or dividers in mini albums. If you like the shape you can save them to use as stencils as well.
Another cute Prima packaging item. This held Prima flowers also. Just peel off the label in the back and clip on the dotted line. Rather than mat a photo and risk covering up the words, you can just punch holes in it to put it directly in your mini album, use it as a unique page element on a 12 x 12 layout or use it as a cute tag in an album.
Another way to recycle packaging is to cut out something from the packaging that is a preview of what is inside. In the below example, in the second picture, you can see that the medium and small flag tags can be cut out neatly, providing you with two chipboard tags.
Cereal boxes are pretty easy to recycle because we always need chipboard and at times chipboard can be expensive. (If you want to see 3 more money saving ideas, check out my Scrapbooking on a Budget post). Why not recycle products that you have finished using, or ask friends or family to “recycle” their product packages with you. I use them for pages when I am making smaller albums, album covers, embellishments, stencils and altered items. Below is a project I started to organize my greeting cards.
The idea here is to cover the box then create dividers with labels for greeting card types (thank you, birthday, etc.).
Okay, sometimes you come across product packaging that is not so commonplace. I recently purchased some new throws and they came tied in a plain white silk ribbon. Naturally I have to add that to my ribbon stash.
2. Broken or Lost Jewelry
I am mainly referring to costume jewelry here. I have lost countless earrings and thought “what do I do with one earring?” and they are always a favorite pair, a pair I wear a lot. Well, you can use “partnerless” earrings as charms for mini albums or they make beautiful and unique 3D elements in shadow boxes.
If you have a necklace or bracelet that has a missing or broken clasp or has snapped in a place that makes it impossible to repair, use them as closures for scrapbook albums. Pull them apart further and use them as one-of-a-kind embellishments.
In the first picture below, I had a pretty set of silver filigree earrings and lost one and I loved them so much I couldn’t bring myself to throw the remaining earring way. Well, now it will be a cute charm or dangle for one of my albums. In the second picture, two of the accents fell out of one of the earrings. Not wanting to wear them mismatched, I have decided to just relegate them to the charm/dangle stash as well.
3. Old Books
My husband was nice enough to remove the insides of these old books and now they are all ready for crafts. These can be used to make activity books for kids (especially on road trips) by adding sturdy plastic or wooden handles and then (if you are handy with a sewing machine), covering the inside with fabric, then stitching pockets for carrying crayons, markers, colored pencils…
Don’t worry if sewing is not your craft. These can be used to make mini albums. There are a number of great binding tutorials available. Also, the pages make great vintage accents when inked and distressed for scrapbooking projects. I even use the pages to make flowers and mat photos.
Product packaging, repurposed jewelry, and old books are just a few of the recycled items you can use to add a unique flare to your scrapbook projects. Happy crafting!