Whew, breathe a sign of relief! The busy season of making presents, baking gingerbread, gluttonous snacking, preparing orders, stamping, taping, wrapping, giving, and on and on has mellowed out, and it’s time to sail into another year. Sometimes the holidays have a way of generating a lot of pretty paper that’s just destined for the recycling bin.
This week’s How-Tuesday features two projects for giving that gift wrap a second chance. Learn how to spin paper yarn with Laila Grainawi from LaiGrai, and make a lamp with the help of Diane Gilleland (a.k.a. Sister Diane) from CraftyPod (if you haven’t already, be sure to check out her podcasts) and Kristin Roach from Craft Leftovers. Read on, recyclers!
Greeting Card Lamp
If you have a lot of colorful greeting cards lying around, why not cut them up and turn them into a cool piece of home decor? This project is a fun way to customize a plain lamp shade, and you can easily change the colors as your mood changes.
This project is inspired by Card. Paper. Ribbon, an ebook of craft projects we published together in early 2010. The ebook has even more creative ways you can use torn gift wrap, used greeting cards, and kinked-up curling ribbon. You’d be surprised at all the useful things you can make from these leftovers! You can score your own copy of Card. Paper. Ribbon right here on Etsy. You can even buy the ebook and make another craft project with the guidance of one of these tutorials.
- Old greeting cards
- Paper cutter
- Christmas ornament hooks (or 24 gauge craft wire)
- Tacky glue
- 1/8” hole punch
- Package of 11 mm jump rings
- Needle nose pliers (optional)
- Super glue
Two Notes on Greeting Cards:
What’s great about this project is, you’ll be cutting your cards into 1” squares, and that size tends to obscure most holiday-specific graphics. I like to group my old cards according to their main color family, and then combine the colors according to the room I’m crafting for.
Remember, glitter dulls blades. If your greeting cards have any glitter on them, this can be hard on your paper cutter blade. It you’re using glittery cards, you might want to keep a fresh blade on hand, just in case.
1. Cut off the front panels of your cards. Then, cut each front panel into 1” strips.
2. On the back of these strips, measure and draw a pencil line down the center, lengthwise. (These lines will be a guide for punching holes in a moment.)
3. Now, cut each strip into 1” squares. The number you’ll need depends entirely on the size of your
lampshade. The small shade I made here took 88 squares.
4. Take a tree ornament hook and bend the top around so it looks like this. The loop at the bottom should be flat against your work surface while the main hook faces upward. (Or, cut a 2” length of craft wire and bend it into this shape.)
5. Place the bottom loop of the hook between two card squares and glue them together with tacky glue. Place the squares under a heavy book while the glue dries.
6. Use a 1/8” hole punch to make a tiny hole in the top and bottom of each square. Use the lines you drew in Step 1 as a guide for centering your punches, and keep them no more than 1/8” away from the edges of each square.
7. Arrange your squares in rows, placing the colors and patterns as you like them. Take one jump ring and twist it open a little, as shown here. (Note: the 11mm jump rings we’re using here are large enough to open and close with your fingers, but you might find it easier to use a pair of needle-nose pliers.)
8. String two squares on this open ring, facing back to back. Twist the ring closed again.
9. Keep adding squares in this manner until the strand is as long as you want.
10. If you’d like, you can put a tiny drop of super glue over the opening-point in each jump ring. This will seal the ring so that the squares won’t slip off later.
11. Punch a hole in the center bottom of the hook piece you made in step 5, and attach it to the top of the finished strand with another jump ring. (Note: The hook should be pointing down when the piece is attached to the strand, as shown here.)
12. To attach the strand to a lamp shade, simply hang it over the top. Pinch the hook to tighten it around the shade. You can make as many or as few strands as you like, depending on the look you want. You can also make them long enough to dangle below the shade, or the same length as the shade — it’s up to you!
Wrapping Paper Yarn
Project by Laila Grainawi, from the beautiful, fibrous shop, laigrai.
Let’s admit it, the holidays come with a certain amount of waste. But, those torn wrapping paper bits don’t have to end up in the trash bin. Gather them up, plus a spinning wheel (or a drop spindle), a cone of yarn, some wool, and your hands.
In this particular tutorial, we are going to corespin the paper around a thread. (Corespun yarn is made by wrapping fibers around an inner fiber.) Essentially, this takes some of the stress off the paper to enmesh together and form a strong enough bond to support the twist needed to make yarn.
Cone yarn and blue-faced Leicester wool roving
How to corespin a wrapping paper yarn:
Please reference this video I have created, if you need help with steps 2 through 6.
1. Salvage your wrapping paper remains by tearing them into strips about 5 inches long.
2. Thread and tie your cone yarn onto your spinning device (wheel or spindle).
3. Draft out your fibers and corespin a little bit of the wool, by letting the fibers wrap on perpendicularly to the core.
4. Split the wool and insert a section of torn wrapping paper.
5. Let the wrapping paper wind onto the cone yarn, creating spirals of paper.
6. Tuck in the ends of the paper by securing it in place with some more wool.
7. Repeat steps 4-6 until you have a sizable amount of wrapping paper yarn.
8. Now, use your new yarn to drape around as a festive garland, knit a New Year’s party hat with it, or with a couple wraps, it’s your new favorite necklace!
What are your gift wrap recycling ideas? Share with us in the comments below!