From rags to riches: recycling magazines

Mustered a bit of spring cleaning recently and rounded up a large load of magazines. There was a time when they simply arrived. I must have filled out some survey, somewhere, and soon there weren’t enough hours in a day to peruse my glossys. So, they accumulate. Upon any visit, a guest may find an assortment on the coffee table, a special pile of Dwell’s in my room (of which I’ll never disassemble), a stash in the bath and this catch-all pile in the office.

Stack o mags.

Mostly home magazines, Gadora can’t bear to part with them. Sifting through my stash — sadly, some are still confined to their plastic sheaths — I’ve ripped out some pages for projects I want to emulate, cut up fonts and images for decoupage, and pulled a few sheets for my inspiration board. The rest remain in an ever-growing pile that I refuse to discard.

What to do?

Rather than trash my mags, Gadora may opt for one of the following projects. First up, a trash container made from scrolls of magazine pages. I couldn’t fathom dirtying this receptacle with common rubbish. Mark Montano, author of the Big-Ass Book of Crafts, was the inspiration for Craftster’s trash can. Though not a selling point for this impractical can, “many many hours and many many little paper circles later I have a bathroom trash can”– it is a lovely container.

Craftster’s can.

Gadora adores the work of Woodend Artist, Jacqui Symons. Based in Mossley, Northwest of Manchester, Jacqui creates kinetic origami sculptures. Originally from a community recycling project whereby each participant made a single origami box from found or secondhand paper, each ‘collection’ of the boxes were then made into suspended sculptures. The following image, as featured on Recycling Our Planet.

Hanging by Jacqui Symons.

For a simpler project, How About Orange turned magazine tears into coasters. While Gadora is a BIGGER fan of coasters actually absorbing a beverages’ condensation without sticking to the table, I thought these were worth a mention. Besides, they offer a great how-to for a plenitude of periodicals worth weaving.

How About Orange magazine coasters... offers an informative how-to turn magazines into a decorative bowl. Fearing it’s a fairly tedious project, I still dig the outcome. Knoxville, TN artist Nalaunique allows you to buy one already constructed, on Etsy.

Magazine bowl by Etsy's Nalaunique.

Take your new fangled knowledge on how to transform magazines into something else, and spin them into a funky mirror. Once listed on Urban Outfitters, StyleHive picked up the idea.


Mirror at Urban Outfitters


The Rag & Bone Boutique (super great resource for paper whores, btw) featured a snappy paper wreath, utilizing rolled paper which was then sewn onto a metal metal frame. Given my aversion to Holiday decorating, Gadora likes this twist.


Wreath at Rag & Bone boutique.


For something quite quick, magazine tears can be turned into a lovely headband. Etsy artist JustLiv turned a lively sheet into a girlie hair accessory. These days as my own mane defaults to a bird’s nest, seems apropos. Easy enough, here’s the how-to.


Origami Bird by JustLiv.


And for the pièce de résistance, ArchiTonic featured a service table made from  colorful magazine strips. Designer Stephen Burks created it for Cappellini, 2008.

Stephen Burks for Cappellini

Stacking my rags into a neat pile was easy compared to deciding on how best to reincarnate them, but my mind is teaming with the possibilities. Just hoping it’s not next spring before I get around to it!




5 thoughts on “From rags to riches: recycling magazines

  1. Pingback: origami urban bird

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