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What to do with old mail order catalogs

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catalog gift tags
Gift tags from old catalogs
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Creative ways to enjoy old mail order catalogs by reusing and recycling

I don’t know about you, but I love catalogs. Receiving what others call ‘junk mail’ on the regular letter carrier’s day off is always fun for me. The only problem is trying to figure out what to do with all of that paper. I think about all of those trees that gave their lives to make the paper that created those catalogs and I just know I have to re-purpose them.

Now that we have Pinterest, it makes it a little easier to find those fun ways to re-purpose my catalogs. Some are a little strange or time-consuming, so I found a few that are easy and practical for anyone who wants to re-purpose, rather than toss out, their old mail order catalogs.

Make a magazine box

This idea makes use not only of your catalogs, but also of a cardboard box that might otherwise find its way into a landfill. While this did not link to explicit directions for a decorated magazine box, I came up with simple directions by looking at similar projects.

All you have to do is roll colorful catalog pages over a half-inch wooden dowel or similar item. It is best to coat the page in white craft glue before you begin rolling. When you have a cylinder, run a little more glue along the seam, then let dry.

Glue the dry paper cylinder to a wooden or cardboard box using a hot glue gun. Paint a thick layer of white glue over the finished project after each cylinder is fastened securely to the box and the hot glue has dried.

Gift tags

How often do we buy those tacky stickers when we need to wrap our Christmas gifts? Tying one of these unique up-cycled gift tags to any package or taping one on to a gift box sounds like a great way to use old mail order catalogs, especially those with pretty or fancy images.

Punch out a shape from all of the best-looking pages of your catalog. When this is finished, print out repeated images of with ‘To’ and ‘From’ on a solid color of cardstock. The cardstock will give the tag more body and reduce tearing.

All you have to do is make sure the shape you punch matches the printed side. A good way to do this is to print the page first, then adhere the entire page on the bag of one of your catalog pages. Then punch your tags all at once. It is best to use a heavy-duty bunch that can cut through several pages at once.

Weave a mobile

Weaving a mobile from strips of recycled catalogs is time-consuming and probably best suited to the true crafter.

Cut catalog pages into uniform strips 1/2 inch think. They should all be about 5 or 6 inches long, depending on how big you want your individual stars to turn out. Weave the centers of eight strips, four one direction and four the other, to form simple stars.

Cut the ends at an angle to add visual interest. When complete, punch small holes at the top of each star, run some fishing line or thing string through each hole and hang in mobile formation from sticks you find in your backyard or from dowels. You can even use coat hangers.

Re-purposing something you would otherwise toss is popular these days. The next to you find a stash of old mail order catalogs, try one of these ideas and make something new and useful. Can you hear it? I think I heard that tree in front of your house say, “Thank you.”


Pinterest: Arts and Crafts catalog projects

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