April 28, 2008

how-to: re-using paper

i love finding ways to recycle paper that are more interesting than putting it in the recycling bin. i use newspaper to wrap presents and clean my windows and mirrors, print documents on the back of old flyers, line my ironing board with scrap paper when i iron on fusible interfacing to keep the sticky interfacing from gooping up my ironing board cover....

one kind of paper that always seemed to me to be begging for a good recycling is packing paper. you know, the thin-ish paper that you would use to wrap up your breakables when you move, or that comes as padding in a package. it's such nice paper, but always so crinkled post-use. i wondered if it could be ironed (without setting fire to my ironing board) and brought back to useability... so when i saw an offer on freecycle for a few boxes full of used packing paper, i jumped at it.

recycled paper tags

i set my iron to medium-low and gave it a shot, and it worked great!

recycled paper tags

the wrinkles weren't completely gone, but it was flat enough to work with, and really i like the way the wrinkles remain and give it texture.

i had an inspiration for its first use, now that it was relatively flat: as wrap tags for my napkins and coasters, which would bundle them together neatly, show off my logo, and identify them all in one fell swoop.

so the next question was: could i run it through my printer? i started by cutting it into printer-appropriate size on my paper cutter.

recycled paper tags

then crossed my fingers and ran it through. and...success! here it is after another trip through the paper cutter:

recycled paper tags

i'll admit, i did have one paper jam out of ten printings. but that's a ratio i can live with. and look how cute my products look in their new outfits:

recycled paper tags

i can think of tons of other uses for ironed used packing paper—flyers, small banners, wrapping paper (in fact, i already wrapped some presents in it this weekend....)—and i'm sure all you crafty people can think of lots more...share 'em in the comments section, please!

- cakehouse


bungaloe said...

i love this, it looks so nice!
i save my paper bags to wrap presents in & to wrap my etsy orders to people. i have been trying out ironing plastic bags to make "plastic fabric" but i dont know what i am going to do with it yet.

KimmChi said...

Wow! That's awesome - they look great - that gives me an idea to fuse plastic bags, and use that for my packaging ties hmmmmmm

lisa said...

that is fabulous! i love it!

MaryAnne LoVerme said...

great ideas!

Carol said...

Cool idea! I am fusing plastic grocery bags to use as shipping envelopes.

cakehouse said...

thanks, guys! i can't wait to start experimenting with fusing plastic bags---i've been waiting till the warmer weather so i can open the windows while i iron....:)

Pseudoangela said...

Once I printed 2 copies of an essay only to find that the computers I used didn't have the 'Yogh' character installed, so I had about 70 pages of useless office paper, printed on one side. I don't have a printer at home, and the computing lab doesn't want to recycle it for re-printing, so I took it home. I made a Christmas wreath out of some of them, and folded some paper lotuses. But the best use I've put them to is stamping flowers on one side in red, and wrapping Christmas gifts with them.

I thought of selling copies of my essay, but realized that no one would be interested in medieval Scottish humorous verse!