Posts Tagged paper

What to do with all Those Empty Cereal Boxes? Upcycled Greeting Card Tutorial:

… and Rice-a-Roni and mac & cheese and crackers and pasta boxes and granola bars and fruit snack boxes and StoveTop Stuffing and Little Debbie and candy boxes from the movie theater… the list goes on forever.


I recycle everything. We have a huge plastic bin under the counter in our kitchen that we fill almost weekly with glass jars, aluminum cans, plastic jars and bags, various cardboards, etc (we have a separate box for various papers, envelopes, and junk mail).  If a box has nice images and colors on it, I save it. First step, I undo the tops and bottoms of the boxes so they lie flat:

And then I cut off all the flaps from the top and the bottom and the sides, you know, where all the nutritional information is and stuff. These pieces go right back into the recycle bin in the kitchen.

As you can see, the bottom piece of cardboard in the picture above is the light brown reverse side from a cereal box. Some boxes are different on the inside (like that Welch’s fruit snack box, the inside of it is white).

After a little measuring and trial and error, I made myself a template with a piece of plexiglass to trace out the size of the cereal box picture that will go on the front of my greeting card. Before, I was using just a piece of thin plastic, like that from the front of the packaging one of Guacamolly’s toys came in at Xmas, but it ended up being too flimsy and the edges I was tracing weren’t coming out uniformly straight. The plexiglass is way thicker but only about 1/16″ thick. It totally does the trick.

I wrote an “F” on the glass to denote the front of it, just so my tracing would always be uniform on every card I make. Even though the cuts I made in the plexiglass are straight, there’s still a little variation on the front and back.

The reason why I use clear plexiglass is so I can see through it to the box I’m cutting so I can be sure what the design is I’m using for the card. I can move it around to get just the right image I want before I trace it out. Once I decide I like it, I don’t trace it with a pencil or pen- I don’t want to leave markings on the box if I don’t cut straight enough with my scissors later. I use a pointy metal thingy (yes, that *is* the technical term for the instrument, thank you!) that came out of a set of clay-working tools. It leaves a nice little indentation in the cardboard that my scissors follow nicely.

If you have one of those desktop paper-cutter things, it might be a lot easier. In fact, I know it would. I don’t have one, so I just work with what I have. I enjoy doing absolutely everything literally by hand so using scissors to cut them is fine for me. It takes a little longer, and everyone might not have the steadiest hands for doing this kind of work, so by all means use a paper cutter if you have one!

Next I take the neat little rectangle I’ve cut out from the cereal box, attach 4 simple photo corners to it that you can get from any store, craft or otherwise, and glue them down on pre-cut cards. The cards I use are just heavy stock paper that I measure and cut down to the right size to fit whatever envelopes I’m using. I usually measure out the paper to be somewhere around 7 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ and then fold in half to use as a card. I have a huge stack of papers, all different thicknesses, that I’ve accrued over the years from who knows where. I don’t ever throw away anything because I know I’ll use it eventually. So see? I’m totally recycling that way too. It’s in my blood. Or maybe I’m just a hoarder in denial. Whatevs.

Anyway, sometimes I do go to Michaels or the nearest craft store and buy card stock, but I usually have tons laying around the house.

Here’s the finished product:

You don’t just have to use cereal boxes to make upcycled greeting cards. I’ve made them using pages and images from books too. I’ve rescued lots of  books from yard sales and recycle bins. You could use tons of other things too- scrapbook paper, newspaper, magazine pages, old wrapping paper, even old postcards or old greeting cards that have been used but you still love the image on the front. Just cut it up and use it again!

I’ll post another little step by step tutorial one of these days about how to make the envelopes you see in the first few photos of this post. In the meantime, comment on here or email me ( if you have any questions or if I didn’t make anything clear enough here. *I* know what I’m talking about, but sometimes what makes sense to me doesn’t make sense to others :D



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Look what I’ve been working on! Wedding Favors…

Last month, a customer ordered a set of my paperback book ornament sculptures from my Etsy shop. I made them, shipped them off, and left feedback. Pretty normal transaction, right?

paperback book ornament sculptures

Well, she then proceeded to send me a message via Etsy and asked if I would be interested in making a custom order for her of about 100 – 125 of them as wedding favors for her guests at her September 2011 wedding. What? Oh, wow! I was honored and flattered that she wanted MY art in her wedding, her special day. I messaged her back, “Of course! That sounds awesome!”

Fast forward one month and countless emails later… She has paid her deposit on the ornaments and I am in full swing of making 120 of these little bad boys. She has requested 60 sphere-shaped ones and 60 diamond-shaped ones, all with navy ribbon. She’s also had shipped to me 120 beautiful little labels with her and her fiance’s names and the date of the wedding on them, and 120 3x3x3″ one-piece gift boxes so I can individually box each ornament before shipping them to her.

Here’s a picture that I emailed her the other night of two of the ornaments that I’ve made so far so she could see how they looked with the navy ribbon and the raspberry colored labels on them:

wedding favor ornaments

Within the emails going over details and logistics of the favors and the shipping and the customization, I found out  she wasn’t even planning on having any sort of favor at her wedding in the first place until she saw my item in my Etsy shop. The theme of their wedding is “Book of Love” and she just couldn’t resist these once she saw them. I thought that was so cool! She loved my ornaments so much that it prompted her to not only have favors, but also spend even more money on labels and individual boxes for them!

I have lots and lots of work to do before September. 120 ornaments is no small task, you know? BUT, I hope to make this just the *first* of my custom orders for wedding favors… I’m gonna try to publicize these like crazy. What a good market to get in, huh? I’m gonna make sure I request that her wedding photographer get some good pictures of these babies on the tables at her reception so I can put together an awesome portfolio.


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More Quilling!

Good news, friends! I added “buy it now” buttons to each of the pictures of the quilled ornaments in the last post I put up. Spread the word and send your friends on over!

Here’s a link to a listing on my Etsy page as well for a set of 4 quilling ornaments that I made:

Photo of the quilling set for sale in my Etsy shop.

Oh my gosh, I love these things! They’re so pretty and delicate. Actually, they’re not literally delicate. They’re pretty sturdy. The only instance I’ve had of one breaking was when my seven year old picked one up. She had some birthday money and wanted to buy one from me (how cute is that?). I wasn’t looking, but I’m pretty sure she was bending it to see how far it would go before it broke. You know first graders, always testing their limits.

Hey, send me a message or leave a comment and let me know how I can make a special order for you! Want paper of a specific color? Ribbon of a specific color? Want specific shapes? I can make crosses and hearts and cool stuff like that. Lemme know!!

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Quilling Ornaments

Various styles and shapes of quillings that I’ve made. I just added little ribbons to them to give you some ideas of what they can be used for. They’re ideal for little gift embellishments, tree ornaments, window decorations, etc. Once it gets closer to Christmas, I’ll be making some out of scraps of wrapping paper so they’ll be Christmas-y colors. They’ll be perfect for the holidays as ornaments and gifts!

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Simple Folds…

I use about 50 pages at a time for each half of the sculpture, then glue them together at the spine, and fan them out as best as I can. I haven’t been doing it long and none of my folds have been very complicated so far, but I’ll keep at it. I really like the simplicity of these sculptures that I’ve made so far, though.

(Click on the images below to get a much closer up view)

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My First Quills…

I’m not sure what exactly to do with them yet. I love them! I can make ornaments out of them for windows and walls and Christmas trees, etc., or I can use them to decorate cards or frames or… anything, I suppose! They’re pretty, huh?

Made from strips of book paper about half a centimeter in width...

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