Tutorial: Recycling Magazines into Cupcake Toppers

Posted on September 17, 2011 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (2)

Here's the way to make your own cupcake toppers (or cake) and, best of all, no printing or photocopying required. I'm showing floral toppers here but you can choose any smallish illustration or picture you like. For example, my little friend, Sam, made a whole bunch with car pictures - you know where his heart is!! With Halloween coming you'll find lots of great illustrations and pictures you can use for any treats you'll be making (or, like me, buying!!). Enjoy!!

What you will need

  • Magazines, junk mail, old calendars, etc
  • Cereal or other food cardboard boxes (flattened)
  • Wooden toothpicks, skewers, popsicle sticks or short, thin twigs (clean ones, of course)
  • Glue stick or craft glue
  • Clear sticky tape
  • Scissors

How to do it

1. Cut out your pictures, cutting off as much of the background as possible.

2. Glue picture to the printed side of the cardboard with the glue stick.

3. Smooth out any bubbles with your fingers and then cut it out as shown in the photo. 

4. Attach a wooden toothpick or skewer to the back of the cut-out with sticky tape.

5. Use to decorate your cupcakes or cakes.

Tutorial: Upcycled Paper Bowl for Dad

Posted on June 10, 2011 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (3)

A perfect gift for Dad. This fabulous paper bowl is made entirely of recycled cardstock paper - no glue, no staples. It's so elegant you may want to make several. Dad can use it to hold paper clips or other small office supplies; at home, he can toss in his keys and/or his extra coins or just display it proudly on his study desk.

NOTE: Use cardstock that is between 11 to 13 inches. Any bigger than that it becomes too wobbly. Have fun and let me know how yours has turned out.


Step 1 Here's what you will need to make the bowl: cardstock paper (I used some old office supplies), ruler, pencil, one bamboo wood skewer, scissors or Xacto knife, hole punch. That's it!


Step 2 Cut out 5 lengths, each one 1 inch by 11 (or whatever length you have). Cut out two separate pieces about 1-1/2 inches by 2 inches (these are the "anchors" for holding the bowl together).

Step 3 Use the hole punch to make holes at either end of each of the long lengths of paper. Set aside for now.

Step 4 Take one of the smaller pieces you cut out and roll it tightly around the wood skewer. Remove and repeat with the other smaller piece. If your cardstock is thick, you probably won't need the whole piece. Just cut off any surplus.


Step 5 Stack all of the long pieces of cardstock together, ensuring that the holes you punched line up, and then carefully insert one of the rolled anchor pieces you made through the hole. Repeat at the other end. The rolled piece will expand to fill the hole.

Step 6 Carefully fan out the joined pieces from the centre to create the bowl. You're done!

UPDATE: I've created more versions using different paper (e.g., magazine cover, scrap book paper) here.

Editor's Choice Award and Tutorial: Book folding

Posted on October 30, 2009 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (1)

I was thrilled to receive the Suite 101 Editor's Choice Award for my article on how to make a tree angel from milkweed pods and pine cones. With Christmas not too far away, it's not too soon and, probably, a good idea to start on some decorating and gift projects. Being frugal is the mantra for most of us these days and recycling household waste into spectacular gifts is a sensible idea. 

Clearing out my stash of old used books gave me the idea to do something more with them. Last year I recycled books into clocks, book safes, and pictures frames. This year I wanted new recycling ideas. So--ta-dum!--book sculptures by folding book pages.

I didn't just dream this up. I once attended a French artists' show in Paris where Michele Riesenmey exhibited her work along with other artists.   She not only created sculptures from books, but used paper to create amazing balls and wall hangings!  She doesn't have a website, too bad.

Unfortunately, at the time, I did not take many photos of her work but I did do a couple of quick sketches of her books and put my sketch pad away. It was only recently when I started to clean up my book shelves that I came across it. It took me about an hour to figure out how to do the folds from my drawings using my daughter's old books.


I discovered that the pages of old books are very brittle and tear easily.  Anyway, once I finished with one, I experimented with different folds. Strangely enough, it was a very soothing activity. Easy to do while chatting away in the coffee shop, although I did get quite an audience once the book started to fill up with the folded pages.


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