Recycled Book Art

book artIf you’re wondering what to do with some of your old (or just plain boring) books, there are lots of ways to recycle them into something else.  One way is by turning your book into a work of art. By cutting, folding and gluing pages, you can create a book mobile (not to be confused with a bookmobile), a decoration for a bookshelf or art to mount on a wall.

Keep in mind that older books may have more brittle paper and can be harder to curve and shape. You may also want to consider the thickness of the book pages — you can layer thin pages (like the ones you find in telephone books) to create see-through effects, while thick pages may be better to create pop-up scenes.

See some beautiful examples at this post on Krrb.

Or watch a video by Brusspup of how to create 3D Paper Steps.

Vortex Cannon

Vortex Picture1
There may not be many practical reasons to create a cardboard box that shoots rings of dust or fog, except it is F-U-N.

The vortex cannon creates spinning rings of liquid or gas, also known as toroid vortices, and shoots them across the room.  (These are sometimes commonly known as “smoke rings.”)  All you need is a large box, a compass (or you can make your own), scissors, smoke, fog or dust for the rings and about 20-30 minutes, and you’ll be in business!

And it’s not everyday you can make a cannon without threat of injury or pretty major destruction – but one that has enough power to knock over a pyramid of styrofoam cups (as you can see in this video from the URN Science Show).

Download the instructions here:  Vortex Cannon DLC FINAL 2

If you like this project, you can graduate up to more elaborate versions with an adult’s help.

Gumball Machine Fish Tank

No, your eyes are not deceiving you:  that is a goldfish swimming in a gumball machine.

Click here for steps to make this from Instructables.com.

Here at The MAKESHOP Show, we love creative ideas for reusing old things and we know kids do, too. So we’re sharing this project idea for transforming an old gumball machine into a real, usable fish tank! PLUS, these instructions will also teach you the basics for turning other vessels into comfy fish homes.

Click here for the how-to on Instructables.com by maker wold630.

Some important notes on this project:

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Doily Lamp

Click here to learn how to make your own doily lamp.

We love this idea of creating a lampshade out of a balloon, doilies and lots of glue! The simple steps with awesome results make this project perfect even for young kid makers.

Doilies are decorative lace shapes that people put under collectibles and plants to make them look prettier. Lots of people have extra doilies stashed away at home or you can find them easily at thrift stores or yard sales. The design of doilies makes this project more interesting because once the glue sets and the balloon is popped, your lampshade is full of lovely holes for the light to shine through. The light casts designs on your ceiling and walls (making it a cool night light, too). This project is a creative reuse of an existing material, making the best of its design for a new function.

Click here or on the photo for the full instructions for Doily Lamp at the Dose Family blog. Interestingly, though, the instructions aren’t the only thing we love about this post …

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Sweater Sleeve Slippers

Kid makers, you are growing all the time, growing right out of last year’s winter sweaters. Transform those old sweaters into cool new slippers – maker style!

Click here for instructions from the Organized Everyday blog.

Sweater sleeves are a great beginning to make other things (like one of our favorite projects, Sweater Sleeve Leg Warmers). By using the existing cuff and sleeve in your design, it only takes a few adaptations to make something new.

That’s what maker mom Jena did to make darling rainbow striped sweater sleeve slippers. She teaches you how to do it, too, over at her blog, Organized Everyday. Click here or on the photo for full instructions and pictures of each step.

You’ll need these materials:

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Party Pennants

Party pennants decorating the MAKESHOP

Today is the MAKESHOP’s First Birthday! We’ve made things with 250,000 kids, teens and adults this past year. To celebrate, the MAKESHOP™ team and kid makers decorated the shop with fun party pennants and soon we’ll blow out the candles on a giant, light up robot cake.

Party pennants are a simple sewing project perfect for makers just learning to sew. Click here to download our Party Pennant How To. Here’s our step by step instructions so that YOU can make party pennants for your next bash! . . .

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T-shirt Bags

Click here to make this no-sew fringe bag from Tealou and Sweetpea.

On a rainy weekend, nothing is more comfortable  than sitting around at home in your favorite T-shirt and jeans. If you’re like us, kid makers,  you may have a whole collection of clothes that you don’t wear but dont’ want to throw out … especially favorite t-shirts. Whether you outgrew it, it’s stained or it’s just last year’s style, we have the perfect upcycling fix: BAGS!

We all carry a lot of things this time of year, like a book bags for school, grocery bags for apple picking, and of course, trick-or-treat bags for Halloween! Grab your oldest summer tee and start making.

T-shirt Bag Project Ideas:

T-shirt bags are a great example of one of kid-makers favorite types of making: UPCYCLING! What is “upcycling”?

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Upcycled Books

Click here for this secret compartment idea from Better Homes & Gardens.

Look around your house, and you may be surprised to find books that you do not read anymore, or ones that are slightly damaged. As more people start using e-readers, makers are finding creative uses for beautiful old books as objects with new purposes. Grab some old books and try these projects:

  • Sew pages of books to create storage pockets with this easy step-by-step on S. C. Johnson Co.’s blog Family Economics. It’s a unique way to keep track of your favorite photos, movie tickets and valentines!
  • Hollow out a book to create a secret compartment like this one from Better Homes & Gardens’ project ideas site.  Another way to do this is to glue a bunch of book spines to a box and slide it onto your bookshelf between real books, like in this photo. Voila! Your treasures are now safe from your little brother.
  • Make hardcover books into shelves like these examples we found at realsimple.com. They give the term “book shelf” a whole new meaning!
  • Build furniture out of old bookswith simple brackets and hardware.

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Part 2: Sock Stuffed Animals …. That Make Noise!

In this set of 2 posts, we guide you to the info you’ll need to make your own sock animal that actually talks, beeps or sings!  Click here to read Part 1. Now that you have your homemade sock stuffed animal, it’s time for the noisy part!

Make your sock dog honk with circuit bending!

Circuit bending is a popular hack in maker culture. Circuit benders remove the noise-making parts of existing things – like toys – and use them to make their own sounds. Some circuit benders are musicians who use the toy parts like instruments. Others are just interested in repurposing the noises into funny new toys.

Click below to learn how to circuit bend. Keep in mind that you can also simply reuse the sound-maker inside your animal without any changes, if you’d like. Circuit bending is a whole realm of making, so start simple and experiment with more advanced projects as you learn. It’s a good idea to have an adult helper with you for safety when circuit bending.

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Part I: Sock Stuffed Animals …. That Make Noise!

Click here to learn to make a sock dog from Create Studio

Making your own sock stuffed animal is fun and creative. But as kid-makers, we know you like to do things that are SUPER fun and creative! In this set of 2 posts, we’ll guide you to the info you’ll need to make your own sockanimal that actually talks, beeps or sings.

Check out Part II of this project to learn about how to make your sock animal beep, honk or speak using the maker technique of circuit bending …

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