I'm so glad to see some discussion up here. Thanks for the bubble-wrap idea
I was thinking that a great way to help inspire us would be to share our
favorite tips and techniques. How about a discussion on our favorite
techniques/materials that involve recycling?
Recently I started saving the clear hard plastic packaging that usually
comes with electronics, or food items. For example, I cut out the flat
parts of a box that housed roses, a container for salad greens (which I
think would also make great storage for craft items or even clothes-
provided it was thoroughly cleaned), and even the top to a sushi tray. I
cut out the flat pieces with my not-so-great scissors (but I suppose a craft
knife would work just as well).
I started experimenting with these plastic pieces- which can be used like
acetate. I used Decor-it permanent black ink to stamp a tree onto them and
then used metallic gel markers to color in the interior of the image on the
reverse (as one would do with vellum). It came out quite nice. I plan on
using these in my cards by cutting a hole in the front of the card large
enough to see the image. I figure I could create a background with a sky
and hills of grass on the inside.
I also tried using my heat gun to emboss an image onto the plastic, but
found that the particular plastic I was working with started to shrink like
shrink plastic before my eyes. I suppose that could also work, but I need
to play around with that first.
Oh and here is another of my favorite tips that I read somewhere and used in
a few paper craft projects- using old makeup as a chalking medium. I took
it a step further and used liquid and cake foundation that either was ready
for the trash bin or was the wrong color for me. I took a stenciling brush
(or a cosmetic sponge works well) and used it with a brass stencil for a
great background. It dried quickly to a chalky look. I've even used old
lipstick. I didn't want the oils in the makeup to smear to the touch- so my
favorite way of dealing with that is to buy the cheapest aerosol hairspray
(with no CFCs) you can find and spray the card/project. Now I don't know
what the acidity level is with makeup or hairspray and whether it is
suitable for use with photographs or in scrapbooks, but for cards, it just
worked great. The hairspray sealed in the makeup and gave the card a semi
gloss finish. I have still to experiment to find out other ways to use
these items. I even bought those cheap dollar store eyeshadows that come in
multiple colors (which was a great suggestion I read on the internet) and
with the hairspray it works well in my stamping, dry embossing and
There was an awesome segment on Carol Duvall with Michael Strong, where he
used recycled objects such as the inside shiny part of an empty, cleaned
potato chip bag for one stamping project (as a mirror), mesh screening with
embossing powder for another (background for an embellishment), and even
crushed egg shell with embossing powder. The effects were really grand,
considering that these were items readily available around the home.
Definitely trash to treasure!
Anyone else have any recycling ideas/tips?
You have some really neat ideas in there Doreen!! Lately I have been making
Christmas cards for a swap using the tab from my soda can as a buckle on my
ribbon embellishment...I embossed the tab with 5 layers of clear polysparkle
powder. May be old news to some, but I just recently saw an example and just
had to try it!
I've just found this group and I'm hoping to pick up some tips from you all.
I'm copying everything you write so I can go back and look at your ideas of
what to do, or what not to do.
Being a 63yr old grandmother I need all the help I can get. One of my
granddaughters who is 8yrs old loves to make things so I thought, if I can
learn this technique I can show her or maybe we could learn together.
I'm going to a craft show in a couple of weeks and have put myself down for
a stamp workshop. Pity it's only for an hour but never mind I'm sure to
Keep those tips coming!!
Margaret from England
I probably saw the same idea you did. But holding that darned can tab while
embossing was a bear, so instead painted it with gold paint and put a shiny
finish on it with glossy clear paint. Much easier on the fingers.
Also have used the aluminum circle you rip off the cans of nuts, etc. that
seals inside the can. You can emboss on it with a stencil and use on cards.
Glue 2 together if you want it thicker.
Mike Strong teaches at our local stamp store in San Diego and is a terrific
guy. Loads of fun and great, great ideas!
Also pick up big gift bags 2@ .99 at our local 99c store.....they can be cut
apart and used for backgrounds.
I use the "inbetween" plastic to make shaker and window cards. What I mean
by "inbetween" is...not the stretchy Saran Wrap plastic and not un-bending
acrylic. It's kinda stiff, but if you fold it, it makes a crease. Does
this make sense? I think it's cellophane, but not sure what they really
Also, I bought some rubby lacey kinda placemats from Wal*Mart on clearance
and have brayered over them to leave the imagine on cardstock. VERY nice
AND I can use the actual placemat cut up if I'm wanting more of a layered
Here is a weird one... Get a panty liner (I know, too strange) and stick it
to a disposable plate (I use the "snack" ones that are small). Pour just
enough bleach to soak in, but not leave a puddle then use as a stamp pad.
I've seen bleach used with a paper towel, but this way leaves the image more
clear. Try using a word stamp with both methods and you will see the
Have y'all tried the toilet paper casting? Lay a stamp rubber side up and
put a single sheet of toilet paper on it (1 or 2 ply is fine) then spray
with water. It usually shapes to the image, but if not, kinda pat it in the
grooves without tearing. Put another piece on top and do this again. Do
about 4 pieces (depending on thickness of your toilet paper) then let dry.
Trim it however you want just so it doesn't look like a sheet of toilet
paper! Then stick it to a card. It is VERY hard and will not crush in the
mail, but you may have to pay the extra charge for a thick envelope.
Put rubber bands randomly on your brayer, ink then make some very
interesting background paper.
That's all I can think of right now.
Get yourself some needlenose pliers, or one of those alligator
clips-on-a-stick that jewelers use as a "third hand." Really useful for
embossing small stuff without burning your fingers.
I get a lot of my "craft" supplies at hardware stores. Fishing tackle boxes
are cheaper than craft organizers, they carry a lot of the same adhesives
under different brand names, all kinds of fasteners, etc. etc. Office
supply stores, meanwhile, are a great source of inexpensive tags, tiny
envelopes (sold as coin envelopes), etc. Much cheaper than the craft
Other recyclable craft ideas: Save interesting looking scraps of gift wrap,
old calendars, etc. to cut up for collage and background papers. If you
lose an earring, dismantle the other one into parts that can be used as
embellishments. The net bags that onions, lemons and potatoes come in make
nifty backgrounds - lay them down on your paper, brayer color over the top,
lift them off - and then lay the inked netting down on another blank sheet
for a reverse-image pattern.
Just for starters ...
Pat, did that with the needlenose pliers, but was hard to keep a good grip.
Couldn't do without those needlenose pliers, though. They are so handy.
Saw an idea on line that I have to try..... Get some of those little gold
swivels they use on fishing rods and use them to attach things to the cards.
Also for beads, go to the thrift stores. You can get long rope necklaces
for about a buck that have really great beads and also lots of fun earrings
and funky carved jewelry that make for cheap decorations. Of course, your
dh will look with horror and say "You're not going to wear that, are you?"
I can't wait to try the TP thing. Does the quality of the TP make a
difference? I know that Charmin vs. see through store brand makes a
difference personally, but is there a better or worse quality for this
What about coloring?
Favorite Tip 1:The fishing swivels are great - they come in brass in
lots of sizes and they save you the trouble of trying to get the jump
rings back together and hanging in the right direction. Got some at
Ocean State Job lot and a variety at Walmart.
Tip 2: Best hardware store (or Walmart) item I have is aluminum duct
tape. Cover picture frames, slide holders, matchboxes - leave as is or
stamp with stazon or color the whole item with alcohol ink (Tim Holtz).
Can place punchouts underneath before you add the tape for more
texture. The glue is very sticky on your scissors, so have some goo gone
Tip 3: Make your own stamps - carve a Stadtler eraser in a simple shape
or word (I needed a BOO!),cut up some Home Depot red rubber (for
furnace gaskets) for your own shadow stamps, etch a design in the foam
plates your meat comes in - nice for southwest type designs, glue cord
on a piece of heavy cardboard or use your glue gun to randomly swirl
glue on a heavy cardboard - great background stamps!
Tip 4: Stamp on paper from grocery bags - fabulous Kraft paper which
takes color from both stamps and markers beautifully. Makes some really
Tip 5: Get some leaves from the yard and stamp (use vein side) with ink
or acyric paint.
I don't think it makes a difference, but I don't really know. I use
whatever I have on hand. Since I only use 3 or 4 sheets per image, it
doesn't make sense to me to buy it just to use for this purpose. I don't
use colored TP, but don't think it would matter...probably be interesting to
The net bags mentioned - if you cut them into squares - roughly - the jagged
edges are part of the attraction and glue the piece to card and use as a
background on its own, or "hang" things off the net so it works as a real
fishing net - good one for Grandchildren, who enjoy making paper fish,
starfish etc. Enjoy and keep those great ideas flowing. Brenda
Another idea for the brayer is to use an old onion bag (they orange or red
net like bag ) and place over CS and brayer over it , it leaves a cool
design that almost looks like chicken wire, make great background for farm
cards or fish cards etc...
You can stamp using those non-slip rubber for chair legs. They come in
pack of 4 in hardware shop- round black rubber with design. just stick
to a piece of wood or thick foam and stamp away. Great for background.
SHARE THE PASSION!