Craft Critique Earth Day Celebration

Welcome to our Craft Critique Earth Day Celebration. And yes, we know today isn’t Earth Day (it’s Wednesday) but we have some other stuff planned for the rest of the week(hint hint..giveaways), so we thought we would celebrate today.

Our reporters came up with lots of great ideas for green crafting projects. We hope they inspire you. And as an extra treat, we have a giveaway. Kristin from Meanbean bags has generously donated one of her cute bags. Here’s a little more about her great company.

Meanbean Bags are fun, unique little bags that are eco-conscious to boot. Most bags are made from recycled fabric samples from a local interior decorating company. In addition, shipping materials are from a local business as well. We strive to keep everything as earth-friendly as possible, while still offering a quality, stylish product. On the occasion that a bag is not made from a recycled fabric, it is purchased at a local supplier. We believe supporting local business is a big part of being “green”, and do so every chance we can.

We are proud to support Blood Water:Mission, a charity that provides clean water to those in need around the world, by building wells that can continue to provide this neccessity for the long term. Just $1.00 will provide one person with clean, healthy drinking water for a full year. You can learn more at

Meanbean Bags strive to keep our footprint as small as possible, while making a big impact.

Leave us a comment with a link back to your green crafting creations, or let us know your ideas to be entered for the drawing. We will also be posting our Earth Day Carnival today with some of the ideas our readers shared, and they are entered in the carnival, too.
So here are the ideas from our reporters. Enjoy!!

Monkeyin’ Around by Lexi Daly

I save lots of little things to recycle into my crafting, so I was excited about contributing to this Earth Day article. The hard part was figuring out what to reuse and what to make! Everyone seemed to enjoy my redo of the clear pillow box in my Meyer Imports Glass Glitter review, so I thought about creating another–those are great little recycleables. I also have a stash of used ribbon, buttons, and other types of packaging. But then, the little bag of forgotten Paul Frank tags from the pajamas I gave the girlies for Christmas caught my eye and I couldn’t wait to transform them into gift tags. They’re already so colorful and Julius is such a cute focal image, that it didn’t take much. On the front: a banner over the original title and a party hat to set the tone. On the back: more party stamping with space to sign it, layered on a scallop circle to cover the product information and big enough to be seen from the front. Easy, peasy! The tags now have a second life and both of my girls can’t wait to use them on gifts–Happy Birthday *and* Happy Earth Day!

Little Notebook by Taylor Usry
Hello everyone! I made this sweet little notebook using a seriously cheap notepad I got while out school supply shopping. They put all the funky colors on clearance, so I snapped them up! They are really fun and easy to make – all you have to do is unwind the wire from the top, decorate the cover however you wish, and then put it back together. And scraps of paper work great, because of the notebooks small size. I love this paper so much I didn’t want to do stamps – it seems nice and earthy enough to me! I’m planning to use it in my purse so I have something to jot down notes on it.

Recycling Tip from Sara McKenzie

Before you recycle those catalogues and magazines, use them as a work surface for your crafting. Open up a page, and lay your project on top. Slather on the glue, or add adhesive willy-nilly, without a care about going beyond the edges. Pick up your project, turn the page, and VOILA!!, you have a fresh, clean, dry surface that won’t spread glue where you don’t want it. Keep turning to a fresh page every time you apply glue or adhesive. When you have turned the last page, THEN you can throw it in the recycling bin.

Paint Chip Bookmark by Heather Strenzwilk

I am always on the lookout for items to recycle and reuse. Not only does it help the environment, but it helps my budget too! We are in the process of repainting our home so we have amassed a collection of paint samples. I was excited when I saw this project on Jessica Jones’ blog. What a practical way to use an item that we had laying around the house. I wanted to keep the integrity of the paint chip so I left the markings visible, added some stickers, threaded some fibers through a hole at the top. I couldn’t exactly match their rounded corners, so I purposely created different angles for the opposite corners. This would also be a great project to make with your kids.

Packaging re-use projects by Jessica Ripley

Always be on the look out for packaging supplies or tags as possible embellishments. Manufacturers create them to be attractive to catch our eye, and some scrapbooking supply packaging is even acid free. (If you aren’t sure however and concerned about this, always use an archival spray prior to using packaging on your projects). Some designers, such as Jenni Bowlin, even design their packaging with re-usability in mind!

Some ideas for re-using packaging include:

– Cut out design elements like flowers, birds, or the mini-pictures of each patterned paper in a pack.

– Draw lines with a ruler to create journaling tags for scrapbooking layouts

– As a “structural” element. For example, mount a photo or paper on the chipboard backing of old packaging to add depth on a project or layout.

– Cut out letters or words to add to journaling or your alphabet stash.

On this layout (The Sweetheart), the title is actually the tag taken from a pair of Old Navy jeans. (I may have bought them just for that).

Once you begin to look at the packaging your purchase as part of the value of a product, not only will you be doing something wonderful for the planet, but growing both your creative skills and wallet at the same time.

Upcycled Necklace by Francie Horton

Do you ever see the piles of junk jewelry at thrift stores or tag sales and just know there’s a project hidden there? Or maybe Grandma passed down her costume jewelry and you’d like a way to wear it without looking like you’re off to bingo night? With just a few inexpensive “silver” jewelry findings I gave a string of vintage freshwater pearls a fresh modern twist. First of all, silver spacer beads between every few pearls make a big difference. The ribbon tie at the back allows me to adjust the length and color to suit my outfit. But the real kick in this project is the silver wings. I found these on etsy. I just searched under “jewelry findings”. Then I drilled a small hole at the top and bottom and attached them with jump rings. It’s all strung on simple beading cord. The cord and jewelry bits are from a major chain art and hobby store. For under $5, including the $2 for the pearls, I have a one-of-a-kind necklace and I can feel good about upcycling a little piece of my world.

Supply Swap by Rachel Johnson

How many stacks and containers of excess supplies do you have in your craft area right now? Tons, right? Now is the time to start using your stockpiles creatively! After all, crafting is all about expressing your creativity — not just buying the latest stuff at the craft store. In addition to being fun and entertaining, swapping your left-over and unused supplies can help replenish your craft supply stash by trading things you do not need for new-to-you supplies from others. Organizing a supply swap event with your local crafty friends in honor of Earth Day is an obvious way to start exchanging unused items, but you can also get a bit more creative with your supply swapping. The photo above is of a “De-stash Whimsey Jar” I created for a organized group postal mail swap. I recycled an old jar by adding a label and ribbon, then I filled it full of random trinkets, embellishments, buttons, brads, and doodads that I had not been able to use in any of my craft projects. The purpose of the swap was to use only items you already had on hand to create a fun package of “new” supplies for your swap partner. You can find mail swaps like these hosted on blogs and crafty websites. It feels good to know unused supplies will find a new home, plus you receive a lovely package in the mail!

Clothing Save by Amanda Talbert

I think that more people keeping the words Reduce, Reuse, Recycle in mind in their daily lives could make a difference in the long run. With those three words in mind I decided to save some clothes on the way to the trash bin at my house. Having two elementary aged children we go through a lot of clothes at my house due to growth and/or due to kid stains. I bet we aren’t the only people who have this problem. For this project I decided to use a dress that both my kids grew out of but still love to bring a shirt with a stain on it back to life. I cut out a portion of the pattern on the bright colorful dress and embroidered it right over the big red candy stain that I couldn’t get out of the new t-shirt that had only been worn once before being ruined. Pretty embroidery floss, a few beads and sequins from my craft junk box, and my daughter has a t-shirt that is better than ever. Now I’ll have to go through the box of clothes they have grown out of to see what other fun things I can come up with. Happy Earth Day!

Blister Pack Embellishments by Stephanie Wheeler

I will admit, I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to recycling. It started in college, and now everyone knows me as the girl who pulls bottles and cans out of the trash in hopes of saving them from a lifetime in a landfill. Naturally, this obsession with reducing, reusing and recycling translates over into my favorite hobby; scrapbooking and card making. I attempt to reuse or repurpose much of what comes into my home, and that includes the peskiest of the pesky non-recyclables: plastic. Everything I buy comes in those annoying blister packs, and they can’t be recycled (at least in my area), so what is a girl to do? Simple: Cuttlebug it. After a quick run through the Cuttlebug, the once useless plastic is now a lovely embellishment for a quick card or a sweet addition to a layout. This embossed piece can be sanded, painted, stitched or stapled – you can also cut out shapes and letters to use in your crafting. And the best part is, you’re saving them from ending up in a big pile of trash. So happy Earth Day, and happy crafting green.

Cuttlebug Storage by Katie Renz

Years ago, I was enamored with the fact that Crisco Shortening created cubes to bake with versus gooping it out of the tubs. I’ve always thought the plastic tubs that they came in were so cute, but until now, I always tossed them (recycled them if they had the right code of course). Well, I realized that my Cuttlebug single die cuts and embossing folders fit perfectly inside them. All I did was add some pretty paper, stamped a bit and of course added some Flower Soft and I was able to reuse something that fit right into my craft room.

Ok, so there are more wonderful ideas from our reporters, but I’m attempting not to make the longest post ever. So check back later today to see more great ideas and the Earth Day Carnival, and don’t forget to leave your ideas in the comments to win that fabulous Meanbean bag!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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12 Responses to Craft Critique Earth Day Celebration

  1. Avatar
    rachel johnson April 20, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    So many great ideas! Earth Day is going to be Up-cycle Craft Day at my house.

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    myonlysunshine April 20, 2009 at 10:16 am #

    Wow, I love the new ideas to use with my CuddleBug, thanks Ladies. I’m off to pull out my Crisco containers right now.

  3. Avatar
    Jenn April 20, 2009 at 11:35 am #

    These are fab projects! 🙂

  4. Avatar
    Elizabeth *^..^* April 20, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    My latest photographed recycled item is made from cat food cans. I’ll have to take pics of the recycled glass Alfredo jar I made last night and share that too. For now here is the link to the cat food can.

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    ~kelly marie~ April 20, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    I like to cut flowers out of old magazines. They look so cool, and it’s a way to use your magazines before recycling them!

  6. Avatar
    Lavimom April 20, 2009 at 2:02 pm #

    What fantastic ideas!!! I am going to copy the cuttlebug storage out of Crisco container – right now!!!
    Thanks for a chance to win the giveaway.

  7. Avatar
    chinamomxtwo April 20, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    We have several pen and pencil holders around the house that are old tin cans from who knows what… But what I do the most is save all my scraps of paper and use them on cards and layouts….I hoard the paper anyhow, so it pains me not to use it ALL! 🙂
    Thx for the chance to win–these bags are adorable!

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    Erica Hettwer April 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm #

    I’m going to use the embellishment box from Making Memories Animal Crackers Ella line as a shadow box for some of my daughters hospital mementos. It’s green and pink! 😉

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    Anonymous April 20, 2009 at 4:48 pm #

    I love all the ways everyone has come up with doing “GREEN” projects. I too have been trying to be more “GREEN”.

    Gail H.

  10. Avatar
    Rebecca Ednie April 20, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    When I get blister style packaging, I save the plastic shells for paint pots or water dishes for watercolourinh and cleaning my paint brushes. I saved a Prima journalling page box, cute white with black dots, and all I will have to recover is the front middle section where the product info/company name was! I use plastic packaging for shaker box windows. I use chipboard from scrapbooking paper as a desk protector/scratch pad for notes.

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    SueB April 20, 2009 at 6:50 pm #

    I recently used the clear plastic pail some tins were packaged in to stuff with baby onesies, decorated it and it made for a cute presentation for a baby shower gift.

    Here’s a link to a recycled card for my DH’s birthday and some addt’l recycling ideas:

  12. Avatar
    Jess April 21, 2009 at 9:39 am #

    Wonderful ideas!