Thrifty Tuesday Art Tips - Old Business Cards and Plastic/Paper Grocery Bags

59 great recycling ideas submitted to the September 2008 Brainstorming Recycling Contest by Terry Howard, Martha B., Leslie, Donna Zamora, Susan Marie, Kelsey Jones Evans, Stephen du Toit, Moon Willow, Christine Bell, Pam Yee, Pam Crawford, Donna Hall, Alicia Edwards, Elizabeth and some from yours truly!

Save those old business cards and

  1. blend them together with other paper to make great handmade papers.
  2. Use calligraphy, stamps or tiny cut out word to make a quotation on an old business card and fill a business card holder for instant inspiration.
  3. Use an old business card to add a layer to a collage.
  4. Save those old business cards and alter them like an ATC.
  5. Save those old business cards and paint or glue pretty paper on them, add a name and you have a place card for a dinner party.
  6. Glue two together to make them thicker cut them into inchie size and make inchies.
  7. Save those old business cards and use the reverse side for sentiments on greeting cards.
  8. Wrap business cards in interesting cloth or paper scraps as 3-D embellishments
  9. Decorate with paint, beads, clip art, drawings and use as "found" art or bookmarks.
  10. Paint and cut out shapes with paper punches.
  11. Collage them as art pieces or alter them to become YOUR business card.
  12. Use old business cards like a squeegie when painting backgrounds, etc.
  13. Make a fan book out of old business cards.

Save those tags on new, store bought clothes and

  1. You have a ready made tag for your art, along with the hanger. Start by gessoing or adding a collage background, then proceed to decorate as you would any tag.
  2. Stencil or stamp them, the hanger thingy makes a great way to display small 4x6s, add to make depth, use in a collograph.
  3. Cut up the tags to make Inchies or other small items
  4. Add altered tags to books, pages or cards, gifts
  5. Alter and use as bookmarks or decoupage material in your art.
  6. Use the tags as a template for quilt designs or book inserts
  7. Paint unusual shapes as a base for your new embellishment designs
  8. Save those tags on new, store bought clothes and if they are pretty or have catchy phrases, cool looking fonts you can use them in any collage. If they are big enough you can use them as a base for ATC’s or Moo cards. Some tags are really pretty and need just the right picture or embellishment.
  9. Save those tags on new, store bought clothes and paint, collage, embellish to make ornaments.

Save those plastic shopping bags and

  1. iron them together to create a "fabric". Use at least two or three bags, iron between two craft sheets, allow to cool, and peel. You can sew on them, or just use them as the entire background. If you are in a swap, they are light as air to mail.
  2. Save those plastic shopping bags and mash into wet stuff for texture or dip a wadded one into paint and apply backgrounds.
  3. Cut plastic bags into strips and crochet/knit a shopping bag. Tape one side to your worktable top leaving one side open; handy to scoop trimmings, and other refuse into the bag.
  4. Using two plastic bags, insert one into the other. Tie off the top, trapping air inside, and use as a cushion for packing items to store or mail.
  5. Run an ATC-size chipboard (cut from a cereal box of course) through your Xyron sticker-maker, then wrinkle a piece of the bag and brayer it onto the sticky side of the chipboard. Paint, gesso, ink or use as is.
  6. Save those plastic shopping bags and use to make cool designs by cutting them flat and squishing them into wet paint. Lift when dry.
  7. Weave them into mats to protect a work surface or ease you bottom during those long work sessions or in the football stands during long games.
  8. Save those plastic shopping bags and melt them together with an iron into layered "cloth" to dress scarecrows
  9. Save those plastic shopping bags and make beads out of them. Cut into triangular long strips and wind around a bamboo skewer blast with a heat gun and there ya go!
  10. You can cut them into strips and knit or crochet them into tote bag, purses, or pool side slippers.
  11. Cut into strips braid and make a rug or kneeling pad for gardening.
  12. Save those plastic shopping bags and iron them together and sew them into your newly created art bags/grocery bag/etc as a liner.
  13. Save those plastic shopping bags and crinkle up to use with paint for great backgrounds.
  14. Split them apart and use to cover your work surface to keep it clean.

Save those brown paper grocery bags and

  1. Make mini-books.
  2. Create background papers. Crumple and place in a mixture of glue and water, then remove, wring out, and add bits of mica powder and paint while still wet. Hang to dry. When dry, swipe black or dark colored dye ink over the hills. Iron if you choose.
  3. If you are lucky enough to get brown paper bags with cool pictures on them, cut out the pictures and incorporate in an AB spread or art journal.
  4. Save those brown paper grocery bags and unfold them to make book covers, whole books or just a page or two.
  5. Make envelopes and home-made tags, good for ATCs.
  6. Cut into smaller sizes for Moo cards or inchies.
  7. Tear and collage onto background for ATCs Cut selected words to use on collage, altered books, cards.
  8. Cut brown paper bags into usable sizes and use as you would any paper stock
  9. Fill brown paper bags with a few inches of sand, insert candle, for a lovely outdoor lumineria for parties or holiday decor. Fold the tops down into a cuff to stabilize the top and punch/cut decorative holes if desired.
  10. Save those brown paper grocery bags and spray with Walnut ink. Gives a nice aged look.
  11. Use to protect work surfaces when painting/crafting.
  12. Use them for wrapping when mailing gifts, boxes, etc.
  13. Use them in brown paper mache to create covers for altered books.
  14. Use the paper from brown paper grocery bags for layered and distressed pieces - it's strong!
  15. Use as background paper. It is very versatile and can be painted, inked, chalked, embossed, glued etc.
  16. Brown paper bags make terrific homemade prim style wrapping paper tied up with twine.
  17. You can wet brown paper bags and mold it around items, let it dry and it holds the shape, much like paper mache’.
  18. Tear into pieces and incorporate into a design with other paper and fabric
  19. Make faux leather paper from brown paper bags. Spray it with Perfect Ink Refresher. Crumble it. Spread it out and go over with with an ink pad.
  20. Print on it for wrapping papers of all kinds.
  21. Crumple and spray paint it.
  22. Crumple and web it.
  23. Use brown paper bags as blotters, to cut templates and patterns. Use to cover books.

Happy Arting... see you on Halloween!

I will be in Vancouver this coming Friday and over the weekend watching hubby pound on his drum (he's a tenor drummer in a military pipe band... you know the guys that twirl the sticks GRIN) in the Salute to the Military at the B.C. Lions Football game. Ah he looks so cute in his kilt...and boy you should see him twirl those sticks! I wouldn't want to miss it LOL!