Archive for the ‘Earth-Friendly’ Category

Bingo Books – part 3 (papers)

Thursday, March 26th, 2009


Next step, papers! I decided to use a large selection of papers for the pages inside of the Bingo Books. I like the eclectic look, and a mixture of papers are fun to sketch on. These are the papers that I chose and where I found them:

1. Lemon paper – This 100% recycled paper is a mixture of tree free agricultural by-products and post consumer paper waste. Purchased online from EcoPaper.

2. Cigar paper – Like the lemon paper, this is also 100% recycled. Purchased online from EcoPaper.

3. Strathmore Sketch premium recycled paper- Nice quality sketch paper, made with 30% post consumer waste. Purchased from Dick Blick (also available in most art and craft stores).

4. Primary writing tablet paper – This is like notebook paper, but the ruling is large for kids to practice their lettering. I had this notebook lying around, but I imagine that this paper is available in any school supply store.

5. Grid paper – I love the Ampad Gold Fibre Planning Pads. They have grid paper on the front, and ruled paper on the back of each page. I purchased this at Staples (also available at most office supply stores).

6. Ruled paper – I have so much ruled paper left over from school! I guess I should have taken more notes.

7. Green bar dot matrix paper – This is the old style techie paper used in dot matrix printers. It is available on Ebay.

8. Old paper – I inherited a giant bag of this when a friend moved.

9. Computer printouts – After using both sides of leftover computer printouts, they can then be recycled one more time into sketch paper.

10. Sheet music – Damaged music books make pretty papers. I found these at a second-hand store.

11. Discarded library book pages – Even if the covers are falling off of a book, the pages may be in perfectly good condition. Keep an eye out for free books being discarded at your local library. The cute illustrations inspire me when I find them tucked into my sketch books.

Brought to you by the letter S

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009




This is a book that I created as a gift for someone. I really like how it turned out. The covers are made from discarded library books, and the pages are a mix of old book pages, drawing paper, grid paper, ruled paper and papers that I printed designs onto myself. I discovered that a ribbon will easily slip between the covers and the block of pages to create a closure tie. For the ribbon, I used white bias tape and machine-stitched a pattern onto it with red thread.

Papers on the Cheap

Monday, August 4th, 2008


How about papers? There are thousands of fantastic papers available for purchase, but what if you want to save a little money? Here are a few of my favorite sources for interesting papers.

1. Old Business Cards – These are great for tiny books

2. Scraps from personal projects, such as Print Gocco leftovers – Save those prints that turned out “bad”, they may make great book pages. Use your own illustrations and drawings to make your book projects perfectly unique.

3. Computer Printouts – Print your own patterns and ruled papers in fun colors.

4. Old Games – Look for games that are full of fun colors and interesting illustrations. Game boards make great book covers and extras such as play money make fun pages.

5. Discarded Library Books – Most libraries regularly give away old books for free. Use the old covers to use as new books covers, and use the pages and end sheets as inside pages. You might even come across an envelope and due date card, which would be great to reuse as a pocket for your own project.

6. Record Covers – Use this card stock weight paper for book covers or for single sheet inside pages.

7. Everyday Use Papers – I discovered these amazing embossed papers in the kitchen section at my grocery store… they are disposable place mats. Keep an eye out for utility papers that have unique colors or textures. Some other possibilities include butcher paper, brown craft paper, tea bags and coffee filters.

8. Playing Cards – A good way to reuse incomplete or old decks.

9. Sheet Music

10. Instructions – These cool illustrations are from an origami kit.

11. Old Calendar and Planner Pages

12. Office Supplies – Look for unique envelopes, forms and ruled pages.

13. Vintage Papers – Keep an eye out at the second hand store for interesting papers. This came from an old craft book for kids.

14. Origami – Pretty patterns at a pretty price.

15. Old Postcards and Cards – This is a good way to reuse papers that you may otherwise throw away.

16. School Supplies – Look for a variety of ruled and grid papers.

Mini Recycle Bin Books

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008



This is a great little book project to use up card stock weight paper scraps. As I accumulated my own collection of postcards, Print Gocco project leftovers, business cards and other various papers, I came up with this idea to turn them into something wonderful! I have been in need of a little “flash card” style book for memorizing Bible verses and foreign language words (I’m attempting to learn Swedish) and this little book fit the bill. I have a selection of these little books available for purchase on Etsy, and am also including basic instructions below for you to make your own, if you like.

Materials and Tools:

leftover book cover

miscellaneous card stock weight papers

cutting mat

metal ruler

box cutter (heavy-duty knife) and/or x-acto knife

hole punch


1. The first step is to cut your pages to size using the metal ruler and x-acto knife. I chose to make my pages the size of a business card (2″ x 3 1/2″). I suggest about 50 pages per book if you are using a 1″ book ring.

2. Use the heavy-duty knife and metal ruler to cut your front and back covers. The height of the covers will the be same as the inside pages, but the right edge should extend about 1/8″ beyond the pages. So, my cover is 2″ x 3 5/8″.

3. Create a template by punching a hole in the upper left corner of an extra page, about 1/4″ from the top and 1/4″ from the left side. Use this template to help you punch your holes in the same spot for the rest of the pages. You can use either a hand held hole punch or a hammer and punch for this step.

4. Use the page template for placing a hole in the covers as well. I suggest using a hammer and punch on a cutting mat for this step.

5. Thread the covers and pages onto the metal book ring, and voilá! You’re done!

Super Orange Sketchbook

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

This is a recent project that I created for a friend who is a designer and artist. The cover is upcycled from a discarded children’s encyclopedia and the straps from a secondhand belt. The pages are sewn onto straps for the binding. I always find this binding to be a bit of a challenge, but it looks great when finished. I made sure to fill it with plenty of goodies… papers selected from old books, papers I printed myself, envelopes and a variety of other papers.







Here are a few ‘behind the scenes’ images of the creation of this book:




Santa Monica Festival

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

This past weekend Ben and I set up our very first booth with our wares at a local festival. We researched and prepared ourselves as much as we could, and the results were great! We had a fantastic time, met many wonderful people and even sold a few items. At the bottom of this post I am including a few of the things that worked best for us. Thanks to everyone who made it out to see us! We hope to see you again next year!






We were on a tight budget, so we bought very few new things and were creative with what we had around our apartment for our displays:

1.We found a set of hinged closet doors by an alley dumpster, which we painted gray and used to display our original art and framed prints.

2. To display giclée prints and drawings, we strung a clothesline and hung a selection of prepackaged prints with bulldog clips. After thinking way too hard about a way to display prints standing up on the table, we discovered a few boards that we had in the garage and assembled them together to make a trough. We painted it to match the large back panels. We used inexpensive office wire baskets to hold multiple prints in front of the standing display.

3. To display smaller collages, we used a vintage file box that we already had.

4. We found a collection of small wood boxes at Goodwill, which were perfect for displaying books and postcard sets.

5. Ben and I discovered a free business card promotion through our favorite green printer at and were able to order professionally printed business cards for the event. I designed mine to double as a blank tag, which we used as price labels for all of our items.

6. For a tablecloth, I hemmed a huge piece of cotton canvas, which we can always cut apart to stretch for new paintings later!

7. I painted a colorful canvas banner to hang on the front of the table, which we now proudly display in our studio.

These are some other tips that we discovered during our research that really worked for us:

1. Accepting credit cards is a very good idea! We purchased a knucklebuster (the thing that slides over a card to make a carbon copy receipt) and used ProPay over the internet to run the numbers. We were fortunate enough to have internet service at the park, so we could run the cards right then and there on Ben’s laptop.

2. The festival was “zero waste” and forbid plastic shopping bags. I discovered a great selection of sustainable bamboo and 100% recycled paper gift bags, as well as recycled content tissue papers at Dunwoody Booth Packaging. These worked great to pack up framed artwork and books. Since we already had them, I used large manila envelopes as flat bags for the prints.

3. Free chocolates make people happy! (including myself)

4. Visible pricing is important.

5. We found that displaying a framed version of a print helps people envision what their print could look like. Also, some people prefer to purchase a framed print to save them the trouble of having it done themselves. We did our own framing and ordered our framing supplies from American Frame.

6. People (including kids) will manhandle your products. Good thing we didn’t have any delicate items! Each of our prints was prepackaged in a clear bag to prevent sticky fingers from ruining them. We ordered our bags at

We had such a good time and hope to do this again, so if you have any other ideas or tips, please add them! We’ll give them a try next time.

Happy Belated Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008


I’ve been working on a selection of earth-friendly goodies lately. In order to reduce my large collection of paper, linen thread and book cover scraps left over from other projects, I created a new group of “Recycle Bin Books”. Each one is completely different. They make me think of little patchwork quilts. A few are currently available for sale on Etsy, with more to be posted throughout May.

Another attempt at recycling studio scraps culminated in a series of mini collages. I had several screen printed tags left over from a previous project and thought long and hard about how to recycle them without actually dumping them in the recycle bin. This project turned out to be extremely healthy for me, as I wasn’t concerned about how they turned out. I just went for it and had a great time cutting, gluing, drawing and writing little phrases. Of course, some of them turned out terrible, but others I like quite a bit. A selection of the better ones are posted online here.

Please feel free to post links to some of the eco-friendly projects that you are working on lately! I’m always interesed in new ideas and love to see what others are creating.





ReadyMade : Issue 32

Sunday, January 20th, 2008


Yep. The newest issue of ReadyMade will soon appear on newsstands, so it’s about time I write a little bit about my contribution to their previous issue (Dec. 2007 / Jan. 2008), which is still available, if you are interested. Better late than never!

As usual, ReadyMade published a fantastic issue, including a selection of ideas for making your own holiday gifts. The ideas center around materials: paper, wood, plastic, fabric and metal. I contributed an idea to the paper section on how to make a note card set from repurposed materials.

Below are step-by-step instructions for how to make your own set of these note cards from file folders and other papers that you may already have.


You will need these materials and tools:

• Hanging file folders

• Miscellaneous papers (sheet music, ruled paper, graph paper, etc.)

• Glue stick

• Thick rubber band

• Ruler

• Olfa / X-acto knife

• Bone folder (optional)

• Paper clips

1. One regular file folder makes two cards. Open up a folder and cut it perpendicular to the center fold at 4 1/4 in. to the left of the fold. The center fold will serve as the fold for the cards. Cut the rest of the folder down to 11 in. x 12 3/4 in., then cut that in half lengthwise to form two 5 1/2 in. x 12 3/4 in. rectangles. Fold each piece into a tri-fold.


2. You can use any design on the front of the card. I chose monograms, so I printed out a large letter, paper clipped it to the center panel, and cut it out to create a hole.


3. Choose a paper to show through the cutout, and cut it down to the size of the center panel. Glue it under the hole, then fold the right (front) panel and glue it down to the back side of the center panel.


4. Carefully open up a standard A-2 envelope (4 3/8 in. x 5 3/4 in.) and paper clip it to your paper of choice.

5. Use the original envelope as a guide to cut your paper in the same shape.


6. Fold the new envelope paper along the original envelope’s folds.

7. Glue the bottom flap to the side flaps to complete your envelope.


8. Repeat until you have a set of cards and envelopes.

9. Wrap up your set with a rubber band and use one of the leftover cutout letters as a gift tag.


Wednesday, December 5th, 2007


Today I used favorite fabric scraps and images from vintage magazines to create a series of little buttons/pins to include with books purchased from my Etsy shop. I’m tempted to keep a few of these for myself!

Sifting Through the Recycle Bin

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007


Here I am again, pulling things from the recycle bin! I couldn’t resist these materials, though. The brown book, which I named Ecopak, is created from a paper tray used to hold produce from the grocery store. My favorite part is how the pages are cut different sizes to fit inside. The blue book is made from an interesting piece of packaging foam, enhanced with an illustration of an oil rig. Fitting, since that’s where this foam’s life began.

Ecopak sold already, but the oil rig book and another book similar to it are still available through Etsy.