Reuse and Recycle - Creating Art with Packaging

Reuse and Recycle ... help save our Earth and your pocket by reusing packaging and preloved items to create art, make giftboxes and more.

Packaging, cellophane, acetate, plastic sheets, cardboard, foam, plastic bags, cereal boxes can all be used for die cutting, bases of artist trading cards, journal covers, collage, cutting up for building up 3D layers, as stencils, masks, palettes, wings, making storage and gift boxes.

diecutting birds out of scrap fabric and leftover cardstock

Mix and match all your scraps to create different layers, textures and patterns like I've done with my bird pictured above, cut out using a Tim Holtz Sizzix Bigz Die called "Patchwork Bird".

Remember, Sizzix Bigz Dies together with a Sizzix Big Shot Die Cutting Machine will cut through all kinds of surfaces including thin metal or/and magnetic sheeting, fabrics, acetate, felt, cork, balsa wood sheeting and even sandpaper in small doses!

reuse old pieces of lace for gel printing and monoprinting

Bubblewrap, cardboard, plastic bags are great for gel plate printing ... use the plastic bags to make butterfly prints, scrunch for a marbled look or random texture. Bubblewrap is a great pattern and cardboard can be torn, cut, shaped and split (to get the corrugated inner) for textures, patterns and marking marks.

Other handy textures for gel printing are old curtains as shown above. Lace and fabric from home textiles and clothing can be handy, even if they're torn. 

reusing plastic and paper packaging to create dimensional bees for art   reusing plastic and paper packaging to create dimensional bees for art

Cellophane, cardboard packaging and plastic bags are perfect for wings and creating bees, birds and other creatures. The cellophane bags are great for storing ephemera and die cut pieces, and to cut out as stencils or masks. 

Jars, containers, mugs, bottles are fantastic for storage and using as gift boxes.
To decorate glass, plastic and other non-porous surfaces, use collage (decoupage is a form of collage) and Distress Paints. Apply clear, black or white gesso to use other mediums that don't usually cure on non-porous surfaces, eg Archival and Distress Inks, Distress Spray Stains, watercolour paints and watersoluble crayons.
- Have a mug with a broken handle? Simply smooth off the sharp bits with a flat diamond file (your local hardware shop will have one) or use some air dry clay or papermache to make a new one.

giving life to old ribbons, yarns, wools and plastic packaging twine  giving life to old ribbons, yarns, wools and plastic packaging twine

Fabrics (clothing or scraps), books, magazines, newspapers, jewellery, hairclips, beads, sequins, buttons, and other items are perfect for making art dolls, junk journals, handmade books, collage, sculpture, embellishments and layering effects on mixed media wallart.

For hair or feathers on a mixed media artwork, some ideal preloved materials are yarn and wool, ribbons, cottons and threads, packaging tape, giftwrap ribbon and string. Sometimes I leave them in their natural state and other times I apply gesso and paint.

giving life to old ribbons, yarns, wools and plastic packaging twine   giving life to old ribbons, yarns, wools and plastic packaging twine

So before you throw out the bubbles, plastic and cardboard from your order, ask yourself, how can it be used in Art.

Also, if you don't need the bubblewrap, ask your local businesses if they would love to have it to post their orders!

You can use almost anything and everything to create art. There are dozens if not hundreds of ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose all kinds of things on the internet, Pinterest and Instagram (not just in art, but art is life). Share your ideas, thoughts and creations at Instagram using #reducereuserecycle (lots of ideas there already) or tag me with :)

Have a Happy creative fun arty crafty day!