DIY Gift Ideas from Recycled Items - Leaf'd

DIY Gift Ideas from Recycled Items

by Bridgitte Rodguez
Need gift ideas? Instead of throwing out your old cards, calendars or magazines- give them new life as unique gifts! Ever break a plate or a glass?  Don’t throw the pieces away, use them to create a beautiful mosaic art piece!


If you’re overly sentimental you probably have boxes full of old greeting cards – cards you have received for birthdays, thank yous, Christmas, Valentines, Easter, etc. It can be tough to just throw them out, but instead of doing that, you can turn them into new cards and pass along the sentiment to someone else. Most cards are perfectly good on the front, with only writing on the inside. The front can easily stand alone and be turned into a new card. First cut off the fronts of all your cards and then paste them onto the front of a folded piece of construction paper and voila a perfect card is born! You can then write whatever message you want on the inside. As you continue to receive cards your selection for creating new cards will replenish itself. You’ll be saving money and the environment!


Another recycled paper project involves using old calendars or similar paper items with pictures- magazines or even books. Do you feel guilty throwing your old calendars into the recycle bin? Sometimes the pictures are just too nice to throw away and no longer be enjoyed. So instead of getting rid of them, turn them into something new. This is where decoupage comes in- a technique where you decorate an object by gluing paper onto it and adding paint, typically a clear coat, on top. Cut out the pictures you like and decoupage them onto existing items you have or have purchased from a thrift store. For example, you can spruce up old metal bookends by spray painting them and decoupaging them using pictures cut out from a calendar. Now you have something not only functional but attractive as well. Decoupage works for all kinds of items. Another example is to use pictures from an art book to cover a wooden room divider. The actual technique of decoupaging is fairly simple. You just need three items: paper- any paper; it can be magazines, calendars, books, postcards, etc., – glue and some type of paint- clear typically works best, especially if you want to be able to see the pictures underneath. Glue the pictures onto the item, and then cover with the clear paint. Decoupage has been around forever; sometimes we just need a reminder of  how easy and fun it is to do. You can decoupage just about anything and create one of a kind, personalized gifts.


Beyond using paper- other materials like ceramics or glass can be turned into unique gifts as well. Everyone has broken a glass or plate by accident.  Rather than throwing those pieces away you can use them to create a myriad of mosaic projects. One of my favorite pieces I created was born out of a back of the door mirror that fell off and shattered. I used the pieces of the mirror to decorate a hanging shelf. Creating mosaics is actually easier than it looks. Much like decoupage , pretty much anything can be turned into a mosaic. You also only need three items. Number one: broken glass, ceramics, you could even use rocks or shells.  Number two: glue (make sure you use the appropriate glue for the material), and number three: grout. First step is to arrange your items onto the object, next glue them into place and then finally grout them. Now anytime you break something you can save the pieces for future mosaic projects!
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