Recycled craft ideas for old calendars and catalogs

Wedding planning means lots of visits to crafty stationery stores, so last week I made my first trip to the new Paper Source in Brooklyn. Swoon! The invitation suites were gorgeous, yes, but what really caught my eye was this awesome desk calendar, made from recycled paper bags and on sale for 75% off.

I brought it home and tore away August through March (it’s the full academic year), not knowing what to do with all that paper but sure I’d come up with something.

Then, in what I thought was a totally unrelated move, I signed up for the store’s ReNew, ReUse, ReCreate event held last Thursday. Imagine my surprise when I showed up and found out we’d be making crafts out of those exact old calendar pages!

Calendar crafts: envelopes and gift tags
Using Paper Source’s nifty templates and a double-stick tape runner, we learned how to make envelopes — complete with “lick and stick” glue for a professional-looking seal. (Watch a how-to video here.)

Then we used the leftover scraps to create cute little hang tags for gifts. My favorite part was lining the envelopes with colorful catalog pages; there’s a template for that, too!

(Wedding aside: Until now I was totally against envelopes with liners for my invitations. It seemed like such a waste of pointless — albeit pretty — extra paper. But now, I’m totally inspired. Maybe I can find some creative paper source to reuse as liner. Pages from an old book? Magazines? Wrapping paper?)

Anyway, I’m really glad I saved those calendar pages. I even found more great ways to use them on Paper Source’s blog!

Catalog crafts: Organizers and box toppers
We also made a few cool things out of Paper Source’s catalogs from last season. First we tore one-inch strips of paper using the edge of a metal ruler, then folded those strips lengthwise four times. Those long skinny strips got rolled into tiny spirals and then glued to the top of a cardboard jewelry box — instant decoration!

Then we took a new, full catalog and folded each page — first in half (in toward the center) and then corners down (again, in toward the center). This created a nice little paper organizer with pockets for receipts, bills, or business cards!

The Paper Source catalogs were fun to work with because they’re so colorful, but both ideas would work really well with magazines, too.

Paper Source hosts lots of these cool DIY craft events throughout the year; check their website to find a location with classes near you. Give these projects a try, and let me know how they turn out — or post your own recycled craft ideas in the comments. Bonus points if they’re wedding-appropriate!

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About Amanda MacMillan

Amanda MacMillan is a health and environmental writer whose work has appeared in Prevention, Health, Whole Living, and National Geographic's The Green Guide. She lives in Brooklyn and is currently chronicling the process of planning her wedding while making sustainable, healthy, and budget-friendly choices on her blog, Lean Green Bride.