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A unique mix of crafts, nature, homeschooling…life.

about green crafting

I’ve been wanting to write up something about green crafting, and what better time than for Earth Day? Let’s take the time today to plant some seeds, pun intended. Here’s a break down of some of those catchy green phrases and just what they can mean to us crafters.
Repurpose/Upcycle/Reuse, the crafter’s trinity. 

Repurposing, aka Upcycling, aka Reusing is the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value. This is hugely popular in the crafting world and I’ve featured a lot of projects that are made from other things. It’s become my happy place. Whether it’s making a scrapbook out of something unexpected, like a memory card ormemory-card1 rescuing the obscure for a waste bin and making something beautiful, or at least useful, again, I’m all over it. I do it and I don’t realize it.

I keep plastic packaging for any number of things. I use them to paint and stamp chipboard and letters. To do this, I put adhesive down and then lay down my chipboard. When it’s dry, the chipboard peels off without tearing.

I also use the packaging for journaling. I have ruined so many layouts because of my journaling. I started to practice on the plastic packages and then I could figure out where I wanted to put it. Then I ended up just laying down the plastic down on the layout. Perfect journaling, perfect placement every time. I’ve also stamped on the plastic with staz-on for a quick, make your own transparency. I’ve even stuck a piece down on paper and ran it through the printer to make my own rubons. That’s four uses for packaging that would have just gone in the garbage.

Thrift is good, too. It’s no surprise that I’m a big fan of hitting the thrift stores for cast aside goodies. (I love some old lady trash.) I find little goodies that I can use to make my crafts personal and unique. But I’m also inspired by the things I find. Most of my ideas come from old designs. I deconstruct and rework them and make it my own. It’s like solving a puzzle to me, and I really enjoy doing it.

If I can make use of something old rather than buying new, I will. I’m saving it from the landfill and saving money. And since I’m also a bit of a packrat, I’ve recently started taking stuff to donate with me every time I go shopping. Call it crafting karma.Recycling is the process of taking a product at the end of its useful life and using all or part of it to make another product. We can easily identify if a product is made with recycled materials because of the nifty little symbol. (I don’t have any tattoos but if I were to get one, the recycle symbol would be in my top of the list.) 

Recycle, of course.

Recycled products can turn up in unexpected places. I discovered felt made from recycled plastic bottles. It comes in a huge variety of colors and is a reasonably priced alternative to synthetic felt.

And then there’s Handmade 

Ah, handmade. Be still my heart. Most of all, handmade is fun. I’ve done handmade for years because I’m cheap and I like things that are unique. But, alas, I am preaching to the choir because you wouldn’t be here unless you like handmade, too.

Handmade is cool, so cool in fact, that many chain stores are knocking off the handmade look for fashion and home decor. But don’t be fooled, buy true handmade and read labels.

Here are a few of my favorite handmade projects.


Lace Flowers

Use for embellishments on scrapbook pages or on sewing projects. These easy flowers are made from a small amount of ribbon or lace and take no time at all.


Felt and fabric flowers

Talk about your versatile designs, these adorable flowers can be as big or little as you want and made out of just about anything your handmade heart desires.


Crochet Cup Cozy

This little project does double duty as a handmade gift and green idea for reducing the use of those little cardboard cup holders.

My Green Crafting Tips 

I find that if I articulate something, it’s easier for me to remember, you know? Here’s a little list of things I came up with to help me be a bit more conscious about the crafty choices I make.

– Buy two sided paper. A little more expensive, but less than buying two sheets. Also uses less resources to manufacture.

– Repurpose packaging. I’ve learned to look at the packaging as a product as well. You are paying for it, you might as well use it.

– Reduce your consumption. I’m a consumer of many things I don’t need. I’ve learned to stop myself and ask if I will really use it before I make a purchase. Do I really need new rubber stamps? Honestly, I can’t afford to just collect and neither can the Earth.

– Reuse. Search for vintage and second hand. Swap, trade, buy at yard sales. Look to books, magazines, ephemera for background and pattern papers. Save ribbon and trims from gifts and packaging. There’s so much excess out there. Save a little to reuse.

– Make your own crap. Play with making my decorative papers using stamps, ink, whatever. Some of the best ideas come from this sort of fun.

– Ditch the packaging and buy in bulk. Many stores are offering this as an option but a few companies like Creative Cafe and now Queen and Company are offering bulk lines.

– Pay attention to what products are made of, and where they are made. Being aware of what and how we consume will probably have the biggest impact. I feel empowered when I vote with my dollars.


I can’t wait to hear your tips and ideas. Let’s try and make ever day a little more crafty, a lot more creative, and greener, lots and lots of green!


  1. Debbie

    I keep the cover of the paper stacks I purchase and cut die cuts from the pattern sample imagines. I’m not sure the covers are acid free so I don’t place these directly on my photos on my scrapbook pages. The cardboard back covers make great light weight chipboard…so I cut those up too!

  2. MissKoolAid

    Alright, I’ll try to keep it simple.

    Old CDs : paint palettes, decorative ornaments (when covers in paint, paper, glitter and with a hole punched with my trusty Crop-a-dile.)

    Cardboard from boxes, paper pads, etc: they become book covers for my handmade journals, I use them to make my own chipboard shapes, stencils, etc.

    Plastic bags and fabric leftovers: stuffing for small handmade softies, stuffed animals, etc.

    There’s tons of other stuff but that’s all I can think of right now.

    That felt looks great. And I will definitely try your plastic packaging tips.


  3. alteredgeisha

    Use the cardboard packaging box that your 12×12 papers arrived in to make the base for a layout. Simply cut to size, distress the edges and decorate. Each box makes 2!! PERFECT and ECO FRIENDLY!!

  4. Andrea C.

    Oh I ALWAYS try and reuse trash on my layouts. I cut out the smaps from old jeans and use them as the center of a flower, I cut out cool patterns from bags that I get while out shopping, and I love to salvage the ribbon and string from presents that other people just want to throw away. Yay for trash and junk!!!!!


  5. sannika

    I punch ghost shapes out of plastic packaging.

    Some clothes have ribbon for keeping them straight on the hangers. I use the ribbon for example to make small ribbon flowers

    I love felt! The giveaway is wonderful and thank you for info on Felt-o-rama. Is the eco-felt soft and nice to touch? I hope I win!

  6. Norma Kennedy

    I know that Paper Trunk uses recylcled packaging and Prima has started on some of their products.

    My tip is to reuse ones packaging that embellishments come in for projects and or storage.

    Try hybrid scrapping/projects. Will cut back on paper purchased and used.


  7. Leslie

    GREAT article!! I am constantly saving stuff to repurpose it for crafting. I save clothing tags, bits of ribbon, , coffee sleeves, packaging materials, security envelopes, bottles and jars — all in the name of crafting. But it does have a higher purpose, I guess! Being “green”!

  8. Danielle

    Mine are fairly simple concepts & many people already do it, but a reminder of the benefits doesn’t hurt either :nerd: –

    I’ve loved reading some of your tips & the :heart: :heart: :heart: memory card album is so divine. I might see about making one for the teachers at the end of the year. :dance:


  9. Kitty

    I reuse, recycle and upcycle a lot – withouth really thinking about it. It’s just who I am. A couple of weeks ago I was thrilled when finding out that I can use egg-packaging for seedlings to be and a “planter” made from newspaper for bigger seeds ( Yesterday, on Earth day, I refashioned a promotional T-shirt: (Sorry, the blog is mostly in Slovenian :-)) )
    Greetings from Slovenia, Kitty

So, what do you think ?