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Don’t Trash Those Mags!

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We’ve got nine ways to reuse your old magazines.


If you’re a magazine junkie, it’s easy to let copies pile up. Sure, they’re 100 percent recyclable (and accepted by most curbside programs), but instead of putting them in the recycling bin, why not find a good way to reuse or repurpose them? Those bright colors, that glossy paper, that gorgeous photography can likely find new life in a project or a craft. Old copies might even be new reading material to someone.

Use these ideas to give your old mags new life, rather than simply recycling them.

  1. Pass them along. Swap magazines with family members or friends (maybe even consider sharing or coordinating subscriptions so that you don’t duplicate the titles you receive). Also, shelters, senior centers, and hospitals would welcome reading material for their residents or patients. You can even ask your doctor’s or dentist’s office if they would like your back issues for their waiting rooms. If you’re donating magazines, be sure to remove the mailing label with your name and address.
  2. Donate them to an art teacher. School art teachers or craft centers are always looking for materials to use for projects. The best magazines for kids’ projects are food, home furnishings, travel, or fashion magazines. It’s a good idea to leaf through them first to make sure there isn’t anything inappropriate inside.
  3. Make paper beads. Turn colorful, glossy paper into beautiful jewelry by rolling strips of magazine paper into beads. Mzuribeads, a Ugandan company that makes fair-trade jewelry, has a tutorial on how to do it.
  4. Turn them into furniture. If you’ve got a really big stack of magazines (Say, from that lifetime subscription of National Geographic that you got as a graduation gift), you could turn them into a pretty cool piece of furniture, such as a shelf or a stool.
  5. Use them for packing material. Rip out magazine pages and either crumple them or run them through the shredder to turn them into packing material. Shredded magazine pages also make colorful filler for gift baskets or gift boxes.
  6. Inspire your kids. Cooking, fashion, and home furnishings magazines can help kids to dream up worlds of their own. They can use room scenes from home furnishings magazines or catalogs as the backdrop in a dollhouse, or clip fashion outfits to make a style scrapbook. Of course, there are also a ton of crafts that they can do with magazine pages.
  7. Weave a cute wristlet. A poster on Craftster was inspired by woven gum-wrapper crafts to make a little wrist purse by weaving together strips of magazines and adding a zipper and a wrist strap. Imagine the options you could create using different combinations of page colors!
  8. Learn origami. Magazine paper, since it holds a crease, is a good medium to make origami art. One easy idea: make origami boxes to use for organizing office supplies.
  9. Wrap a gift. A gorgeous landscape spread from a travel magazine, or a food-magazine photo of a beautifully decorated cake, would make lovely giftwrap for a small gift, like a jewelry box. You can use a different colored piece of magazine paper to make a bow.

How do you like to repurpose your magazines? Offer up your ideas in the comments below.

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About the Author
Jessica Harlan
Jessica Harlan

I love finding new ways to green my family's life as painlessly as possible, and sharing those ideas with folks who want to do the same.

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  • Lucy T. 10 months ago
    Get crafty:
    http://www.hometalk.com/21448039/upcycled-magazine-paper-catch-all-bowls

    Warning!: this hometalk site is addicting! Get comfy, then click on BROWSE
  • Bea R. 10 months ago
    Take them to the library where they have a free box for others to read.
  • Lori Y. 11 months ago
    seems like more clutter.
  • Jeniffer L. 1 year ago
    Very good
  • Andrea S. 1 year ago
    Nice pictures (or even the words themselves, if the type is large enough) are great for decoupage projects. Lots of thrift store or dollar store items can be spruced up this way!
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