Tag Archives: reuse

Must Make Monday – Cardboard

Last week I spotlighted some great tutorials for upcycling your vintage sheets. Now let’s look at your recycling bin for all the cardboard you’ve been tossing and see all the cool things we can make.

LIEr from ikat bag gives a wonderfully detailed tutorial on how to use cardboard as a building material. She then goes on to list 3 dozen different toy ideas to make once you’re ready, the boomerang and car are included. Terrific!

maya*made has some really great cardboard tutorials, too. Check out her cardboard easel and milk carton art caddy, (I’ll have to put that book on my look for list!), and her children’s table and chairs made from her own design.

Robert Maher, whom you may recognize from such greats at MaherDrygoods.com and the Junior Society, has done these wonderful crafts for Cuties mandarin oranges. This doll bed is adorable and now I wish I’d saved more of my Cuties boxes. Next year!

Joel Henriques of madebyjoel is another one of my favorite crafty gentlemen and he does lots of cool cardboard toys, like these cat and dog box pull toys and this imaginative marionette.

If you are still looking for more things to do to reduce that cardboard pile by reusing it into something fantastic, especially for your kiddos, check out The Crafty Crow‘s cardboard section. Pretty grand! Enjoy and try not to get a paper cut, will ya!


Make Make Monday – Vintage Sheets Upcycled

To start my Scrappy April off right, I did a little research on one of my favorite materials to see upcycled – vintage sheets. There’s some seriously pretty fabrics in these links, folks. I have a small collection of sheets and pillowcases in my own stash and I just might have to try one or two of these tutorials. If you’ve done any, I’d love to see pictures.

And now… On with our show!

Get Your Martha On shows a better way than just eating in bed to use your sheet as a napkin.

Check the sidebar for all 4 weeks of the “On The Edge” sew along over at You Go Girl. This would be a great project to either make your own pillowcase from vintage sheets or just pretty up an old pillowcase.

Oh, Fransson gives us a pretty way to organize our projects with the Workbasket tutorial. These would be great picnic baskets, too!

Design Sponge posted blogger and etsy shop owner Katherine Jalaty’s folder tutorial. What every crafty business needs for keeping all those pesky receipts neat and pretty.

My five year old has been yearning for a nightgown. gingercake‘s pillowcase nightgown might just be what she gets. I would imagine the cotton would feel SO comfortable. Perfect for summer or you could use flannel ones for winter!

Instead of bringing a book to bed, Emmmy Lizzzy show how to bring a bed to books with this clever tutorial for covering wall shelves with vintage sheets.

Author of Sewing Green, Betz White gives us a shoe bag tutorial using vintage sheets. So practical for traveling or even just keeping your nice shoes from getting banged up in the closet.

The Vintage Sheet Blog has a ton of great tutorials like this market tote one. They are also have a vintage sheet FQs giveaway open until April 7. Hurry, before it becomes just a thing in the past!

Your Tip for Tuesday: Lee Merideth

I’m so excited to have Lee Merideth of do stuff! and leethal fame here to talk to us about which thrift store items she recommends upcycling into craft materials. She also drops a LOT of awesome project ideas and tutorials our way. Thanks so much, Lee!



I have a huge stash of assorted thrifted things in my craft studio, since I try to use recycled materials in my crafting whenever possible, and usually when inspiration strikes I want to get started right away! Having these piles of recycled fabrics and other materials right there not only means I rarely have to make a trip to the craft store when I want to start a new project, but it also tends to bring something special to the project – by limiting myself to using these thrifted items I have on hand, my creations often become something they never would have had I shopped for project-specific materials at the fabric store instead. Some things I like to stock up on at thrift stores:

-Sweaters! This is my number one category of craft stash – I unravel sweaters to recycle the yarn, I felt wool sweaters to use the felt, and I convert cotton (or otherwise non-felted) sweaters into new clothes or other projects. I choose my sweaters based on fiber content (essential when looking to felt, important for unraveling too, especially if planning to dye), color, feel, etc, depending on my plans for each one.


-T-shirts! My favorite material for sewing projects, t-shirt fabric is soft and versatile. I use tees in all kinds of projects, from huge t-shirt quilts (well I’ve only made one of those, but it’s awesome!), to clothes like skirts/shirts/dresses, to small projects like headbands and cuffs, or tee scraps as applique. I choose my thrift buys based on color, image, softness, and size (but often the color and image are great enough that size doesn’t matter, I’ll find something to use it for).

-Sheets! This includes both full size bed sheets and pillowcases – there are so many things you can use sheet fabric for, if you see a pattern or color that grabs your eye, get it! You can use full sheets and pillowcases both for big-ish projects like skirts, bags, etc (I even did a roundup of tons of different pillowcase projects) and I love to have them around for smaller uses, like patches, applique, or other embellishments. When choosing sheets to buy, just pick the fabrics you love!

-Clothes! Other clothes besides tees and sweaters can be great for fabric also, like sweatshirts, jeans, pants, skirts, tops, and shirts. I only buy these when the fabric is great, or if I have a specific project in mind and I know what I need. I like having several sweatshirts and jeans on hand though, as these can be great fabrics to work with.

-Ties! Neck ties are a fantastic craft supply, as you can see in the roundup of tie projects I did awhile back, so I always grab cheap ones in good patterns when I find them. Several can be combined into a big project, or if you find one you really love you can make it into something special – I love using leftover bits for little appliques!

-Books! I absolutely love the imagery in a lot of old science books from the 60’s and 70’s, as well as some old cookbooks, and of course there are the craft books! I’m sure to have some of these on hand for whenever I need some good imagery – I use them on cards, for CD sleeves, in decoupage projects… I’m not a big paper crafter, but it’s often useful to have my book stash!


-Jewelry! My favorite kind of beads are recycled beads, so I always take a peek at the jewelry section to see if there are any cool looking beads on bracelets or necklaces that I can take apart. I don’t do tons of beadwork, but I do make myself earrings for fun, and I make beaded stitch markers for knitting, so I love having a stash of recycled beads for when the mood hits me.

-Craft Supplies! Have to include this – not all thrift stores have a decent selection, but sometimes I’ll come across bags of buttons, yarn, thread… and if you’re into vintage sewing patterns, those are super common! So always take a look and grab what you think you’d want to use in future projects!


Need more Lee? Show your support and check out her handspun yarn, cuff patterns, and cuff kits before you run off to empty your local thrift shop and start crafting like crazy.