Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to Turn Trash into Art

If you're a crafter or artist you were probably drawn to reading this for a couple of different reasons. First, using items or re-purposing items to use as part of your art can save you a lot of money. It also fosters your creativity. Finally, it's a great way to be friendly to the environment while doing what you love--creating art or your craft. Some of what you can use is limited by the type of art you create, but here are five ways you can use items that may normally end up in the trash.

1. Cards you receive. When you receive a greeting card or gift card with pretty pictures, embellishments, ribbons and more, look at these items and think about how they can be reused. I take apart greeting cards like there is no tomorrow and store the pieces in my craft stuff. When I create my own handmade greeting cards, I use these items to make my own creations.

2. Gifts you receive. Take the ribbons, bows and gift tags from gifts you receive and apply it to your next art project. Again, if you receive ornately decorated gifts, this is free material that becomes part of your next painting, sculpture or handmade card.

3. Clothing tags. Some clothing tags contain string instead of a plastic tag. Some clothing tags are made of high quality card stock. These are but two of the pieces you can re-purpose rather than throw away.

4. Junk mail. I recently received a beautiful invitation from one of the car manufacturers. It arrived in a beautiful vellum envelope. I filed the envelope away for future use. Later, I pulled it out and cut the envelope into pieces that I used in layers on one of my greeting cards. Some companies get very creative with their direct mail pieces. Stop looking at it as junk mail and put on your creative glasses to see how you can reuse the pieces it contains.

5. Item packaging. The same holds true for packaging items and products you buy come in. For example, I recently bought a new blanket for one of the beds in my home. The blanket came in a plastic zipper cover and the blanket was held together with a pretty ribbon. I used the plastic zipper bag to hold some of my craft supplies and filed the ribbon away for use at a later date.

Before you throw anything away, think about how you may be able to reuse it. If you can find a way to use it in your art or craft project, it's like getting supplies for free. It also helps you leave less of a carbon footprint on the environment. Finally, it gets your creative juices flowing!