A DIY shelf made from recycled boxes, holding art supplies and booksHappy New Year! The holiday season always seems to be a whirlwind, and there’s always stuff leftover: gift wrapping, boxes, bottles, decorations, and maybe a well-meaning gift that will sit in storage until you feel less guilty about throwing it out. I try to recycle and reuse as much as possible throughout the year, but I am overwhelmed by the volume of waste I encounter during the holidays. This year, I wanted to try to get a little more creative with the leftovers I had collected. 

Craft Supplies Organizer 

Cardboard boxes hold a strange magic in my head. When I was younger and I’d walk past a really big cardboard box, my mind would whirl with the possibilities of what I could turn that box into a castle with a drawbridge, a rocketship, even a dollhouse once. 

With the pile of cardboard boxes sitting in my garage from the holidays waiting to be recycled, I started thinking about all of those possibilities again, though less fantastical ones (unfortunately). I was looking for a way to organize my art supplies. Currently, I keep everything in one overflowing bin — it’s a disaster. I wanted to try to make an organizer myself. I used two large boxes for the main parts, cut up a third one to make supports and dividers, and used two Kleenex boxes to make a little drawer on the side. I covered them all in decorative paper to make it look nicer. It fits all of my supplies perfectly, and looks crafty to match! 

If you have ideas about how to repurpose your holiday waste, or if you need some inspiration, join us on Tuesday, January 18, at 7 p.m. Until then, take a peek at these eco-friendly tutorials, movies, and books! 

Upcycles to try on CreativeBug

How to Mend Clothing by Cal Patch

This year, learn how to mend and darn your own clothes with the help of expert sewist Cal Patch. Follow along as she demonstrates her favourite techniques for mending and darning knits and woven fabrics using crochet on both flat and curved surfaces. Get creative with your mending! 

Sew an Artist Smock

Give a new life to the old dress shirt in the back of your closet! Taught by Faith Hale, you’ll learn how to upcycle a dress shirt into an artist’s smock to be admired. 

Stash-Busting Ornaments CBTV Live

Use leftover yarn from your stash to make a faux yarn ball wreath and a felt Christmas tree for next year! 

Films to watch on Kanopy

Landfill Harmonic — “Following the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical group that plays instruments made entirely out of garbage. When their story goes viral, the orchestra is catapulted into the global spotlight. Under the guidance of idealistic music director Favio Chavez, the orchestra must navigate a strange new world of arenas and sold-out concerts.

However, when a natural disaster strikes their country, Favio must find a way to keep the orchestra intact and provide a source of hope for their town. The film is a testament to the transformative power of music and the resilience of the human spirit.”

The Cardboard Bernini — “ ‘The Cardboard Bernini’ examines the work and life of artist James Grashow as he spends 4 years building a giant cardboard fountain inspired by the work of the famous baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. James Grashow is an artist who has made — among many other things — giant 15-foot tall fighting men, an anthropomorphized city, and an ocean using paper mache, fabric, chicken wire and cardboard. More recently, he has begun making sculptures entirely out of corrugated cardboard and twist ties.”

Books to read about upcycling

Eco-Craft: Recycle, Recraft, Restyle by Susan Wasinger

Eco-Chic Home

This Old House

Building with Secondhand Stuff


Upcycling Celebrations

Awesome Projects from Unexpected Places

Vintage Crafts

Rescue, Restore, Redecorate

Knit Green

Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself

Guerilla Furniture Design: How to Build lean, Modern Furniture with Salvaged Materials

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