Friday, January 16, 2015

Old Magazines: Reuse and Recycling

After getting so many free magazine subscriptions, I realized they had to go somewhere when I was done reading them for their content.  Over the years, I've developed lots of ways to play with, create from, and recycle magazines, and here is an overview of some of those ways.

Magazines often are printed on a high grade paper with shiny ink.  This is what makes them bad for the environment, as the chemicals and energy used in the processing of paper and making of inks can wreak havoc on an environmental footprint.  These same qualities make them ideal for a variety of visual and artistic uses.
::On the Walls::
1.  Simplest reuse is to take images and articles fit for framing and do just that.  If you see pages you like, whether ads or images from articles, cut out the page, and frame it in vamped up picture frames.

2.  Or, just find images you like and tape them up in a pleasing collage on a barren wall.  Short on ideas? Just google "magazine collage ideas" and look at image results.

3.  Use those images and cut into 6x6 squares.  Using the Japanese Mat folding technique, fold, cut and glue into position for one-of-a-kind wall art.

::In the Craft Bin::
1.  Use larger images as papers in any of your paper craft items- scrapbooking, cardmaking, etc.

2.  Pages of a certain color can be cut into triangles and rolled into beads.

3.  Cut out the images and use in place of stickers - alarm clocks, cute dogs, sea shells, all can be given a second life in cards and layouts.

4.  Use the wonderful fonts used as headings and in ads for titles to embolden a scrapbook page, or go 'ransom note' and collect letters of different fonts and put them together for titles. (Consider plastic baggies or a bead box to store them in, depending on what size you collect.)

5.  Use large sheets cut to a template to create colorful envelopes.

::As Toys::
1.  Home magazines with all kinds of furniture and house items can be used to make a 'paper house' in a notebook.  Cut out 'dolls' for the house from fashion magazines, along with the new doll's wardrobe.  Get creative - make paper pockets to look like wardrobe doors and store the cutout clothes, and cut out cabinet doors to hold paper pots and pans.

2.  Use larger images cut into squares for origami art - the writing on the backside can add a fun layer to the finished folded work.

3.  Glue a large image to a piece of cereal box cardboard and then glue over top to seal.  Cut out the image into shapes or puzzle pieces and create a puzzle for a little one.

4.  You can modge podge images you like onto toys, lunchboxes, notebooks or other items to personalize them at no cost beyond contact paper, glue, or packing tape. 

::As Creative Expressions::
1.  Use the images taken from magazines to complete posters for various causes.  I found cigarette ads and health journal images to create a collage image for anti-smoking, mixing the glamorous pictures with those of cancer cells.  

2.  Create color wheels of images cut out and placed together based on color.

3.  Start an 'emotion' journal, with images that express to the artist a different emotion on each page.

4.  Complete 'Shapes', 'Colors', 'Numbers' or any other concept book using cut out items.

5.  Create stories out of the items cut from magazines.  My sister was a pro at this, creating entertaining image stories on blank pages, with dogs tracking bones, ducks wading through bubbles, and more.

::As Words In the World::
1.  Use packing tape to back a phrase or image from a magazine, and then cover the front with packing tape, leaving 1/2"-1" overlap of sticky.  Stick this on like a bumper sticker.  

2.  Post it in reality.  There are a lot of articles that I've found interesting over the years, and sometimes I cut them out just to hand to a friend.  If I feel it is appropriate, I will post it on the message board at work for others to read while waiting for a ride or the bus.

If you aren't cutting the magazine up, consider the following:
1. Bring your more current editions to a store like Bookman's, which will give you store credit (or a measly amount of cash) for the popular titles.

2.  Sell your mags at a rummage sale.

3.  Donate your mags to the library if they have a Friend's of the Library set up that sells culled books and old magazines.

4.  Donate old mags to a local good will shop, hopefully one that helps with a cause you agree with.

5.  See if a local non-profit company could do with some reading material in their waiting room.  If they can't accept your copies, let them in on the secrets of how to get them for free.

Once you've read, cut and/or mangled your magazines, make sure the remnants get recycled:
1.  Place in a paper recycle bin for your local municipal recycling center.

2.  Drop off to a "Paper Retriever" bin at the school or operation of your choice - they get paid by the pound for the paper they can collect in the bins.

3.  See if your library has a recycle bin for them, as they, too, often recycle broken books and old papers and get paid by the pound.

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