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Junk Mail Crafts: How to Make Unique Projects With Recycled Paper

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

junk-mail-arts-crafts-recycle-unique-paper-projects

When I saw a question about crafts to make with junk mail, I knew that I wanted to start researching this right away. If you enjoy making crafts with paper and/or recycled materials, this is a great, inexpensive option. Most people get a wide variety of junk mail every week, including lots of colorful ads and catalogs that, with just a little imagination and time, can be turned into great art. Instead of pitching this mail, start saving it. Before you know it, you'll have tons of new art materials. Happy creating!

Unless it is indicated otherwise, all ideas and tutorials are for personal use only. Please respect artist copyrights and contact artists directly to work out agreements for selling products. Thank you!

junk-mail-arts-crafts-recycle-unique-paper-projects

Stationery Products: Envelopes, Journals/Notebooks, Bookmarks

Stationery products are one of the most popular ways to recycle junk mail. You can turn your mail into envelopes, journals and notebooks, bookmarks, and more. Consider using colorful catalog pages to create greeting cards with matching envelopes or clip inspiring words to make bookmarks.

junk-mail-arts-crafts-recycle-unique-paper-projects

Wall Art

There are a wide variety of junk mail wall art projects out there, with everything from simple projects that take less than an hour to large hangings that can take months to complete. I have included a variety of photos and links so that you can get a sense of the spectrum. There really is no limit to what you can do, but don't be afraid to put together simple projects, too.

Pick up some canvases for your wall art from Amazon.

junk-mail-arts-crafts-recycle-unique-paper-projects
Donna made this collage out of magazines, but you could easily apply this concept to junk mail.

Donna made this collage out of magazines, but you could easily apply this concept to junk mail.

junk-mail-arts-crafts-recycle-unique-paper-projects

Flowers and Trees

If you spend any significant time browsing Pinterest and/or reading craft blogs, you have most likely come across a number of paper flower tutorials. Almost any paper or fabric flower tutorial will work well with thin junk mail. Just make sure that you can fold your paper appropriately.

Simply Simple JUNK MAIL FLOWERS by Connie Stewart

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Decorations: Wreaths, Snowflakes, Box Chains, Paper Stars, Banners/Bunting

All of these home décor ideas are so colorful and fun that no one will ever guess that you created them from junk mail. Look for colors that will coordinate for specific holidays or simply have fun picking pieces in your favorite shades that will be great year round decorations.

junk-mail-arts-crafts-recycle-unique-paper-projects

Paper Beads and Jewelry

You can use just about any piece of thin junk mail to create paper beads. Check out the link below for a great selection of paper bead tutorials and resources. I have included photos here of jewelry made exclusively from junk mail as well as photos of jewelry made from other papers. Most people use their paper beads to make bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, but the possibilities are endless.

junk-mail-arts-crafts-recycle-unique-paper-projects

Gift Bags and Bows

Personally I am really cheap when it comes to gift wrapping because I know that most of the wrapping will get thrown away. Any time I can save money with my wrapping, I am excited. Making your own gift bags or boxes and making your own bows are great ways to cut down on gift wrapping expenses and are fun, too. If you create high quality materials, the recipients may be able to reuse them, cutting down on a future expense for them.

How to: make a bow for gift wrap out of scrap paper

junk-mail-arts-crafts-recycle-unique-paper-projects
junk-mail-arts-crafts-recycle-unique-paper-projects

Clock

How creative is this? If you've made any kind of craft project that involves rolling paper, you will be familiar with this concept. Unlike many of the projects here, this one does involve purchasing a few specific supplies, of course including the clock mechanism, and completing some simple sewing. It is still not a very expensive or time consuming project and is truly one of a kind.

junk-mail-arts-crafts-recycle-unique-paper-projects

Portraits

For those who are more ambitious with their junk mail, consider making a realistic depiction of a face with junk mail. I am always in awe of people who can achieve this effect with photos and am pretty wowed by the junk mail effect, too. It takes time and patience to collect mail in the right color palette and then assemble everything successfully, but the effort is well worth it.

junk-mail-arts-crafts-recycle-unique-paper-projects

Just About Any Other Paper Project Imaginable

While there a lot of craft ideas out there designed specifically for junk mail, you can take just about any paper project and substitute junk mail. Consider popular scrapbook paper crafts, such as coasters, picture frames, paper wreaths, and magnets. Whenever I have been interested in taking on a new paper project, I have found no shortage of free tutorials online. Search Google and/or Pinterest for your idea and have fun with your junk mail.

junk-mail-arts-crafts-recycle-unique-paper-projects

Do you enjoy making crafts out of recycled materials? Check this out!

Comments

noner on February 25, 2019:

I've made a bag out of junk mail, a few gift bows, and countless paper beads. I love recycled crafts.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 01, 2012:

Thanks Suzie! Have fun with your junk mail.

Suzie ONeill from Lost in La La Land on May 01, 2012:

Great ideas! I always recyle the junk mail that arrives at my house but this hub gives me some construcive ideas for putting all that paper to use! Thanks!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 28, 2012:

Thanks Deb! If you click through to the link, you can see some more up close pictures of it.

storybeader on April 27, 2012:

I love all the things that you found. The wall art was so neat! I need the get a larger view of that! {:-D

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 26, 2012:

Thanks so much Edi!

Edi on April 26, 2012:

Very cool! Love the mosaics...both the flower and the portraits!

And the different styles of beads