Monday, December 21, 2009

Recycling magazines into Christmas gift bows

Easy recyled bows and they're festive and pretty too!

I've been wanting to try this project that I found on How About Orange to craft your own gift bows using magazine pages.  I made several using her method of staple and glue, but they came out a bit bulky due to the staple in each layer.  With a little experimentation I found a method that worked for me.

Here's what you'll need for this recycle craft project:
     * Paper cutter or sharp scissors
     * Hole punch
     * Brass plated fastners - You can find these at the office supply store, or even some grocery stores.  I found mine in the school supply section at Albertsons
     * Colorful magazine pages

This is a fastner.  The point is 2 pieces that open up to secure your paper

So the first thing you'll do is choose a colorful page from your magazine.  Garden magazines are good for full pages of color photos, or I found that the ads in other magazines were good sources for color I wanted to use.  For this bow I'll show you with a beer ad.  Don't worry, when the bow is done you'll be suprised it came from this:

Now, trim off the torn edge and set aside for recycling.  Then align your page with the edge of the cutter and cut off a strip.  Repeat until you have 4 strips cut.

Next, rotate your paper so that you are cutting from the short side.  Cut one strip.  This short strip will be the center of your bow.

Now, rotate your paper back to the long side and cut off 4 additional strips.

You should now have 4 long strips, 4 slightly shorter strips and 1 very short strip.  Starting with the shortest strip, form it into a tube where the 2 ends overlap by about 1/2".  Punch a hole in the center where the overlap is like so:

Push the fastner through from the inside of your tube and then pull the 2 ends of the fastner apart just enough to keep the tube from falling off.  Don't tighten it all the way yet because you'll  still be working with it.

Now grab your first shorter strip and fold it in 1/2 to mark the center.

Open your strip back up and you'll see the fold line marking the center.  Now take 1 end and fold it over twisting it to form this:

Make sure your ends overlap here by about 1/2" and punch a hole in the center like this:

Now place the fastner (still attached to your tube) through the hole.

Repeat with all 4 shorter strips rotating each section as you add it to the fastner.

Then do the same with the 4 longer strips and add them to your bow.  When you've added your last strip adjust the fastner to secure.

You can't really see the beer ad anymore, all you have is a beautiful
recycled bow to finish off your holiday packages!

That's all there is to it!  When you're ready to add this to your Christmas gifts, simply add 2 sided tape and attach.  I thought these came out so great I made a whole stack of them to use on my gifts

Pretty in Pink, Purple, Yellow and Green

They're festive in Blue and Turquoise.

But of course my favorite are the GREEN!

Have fun with this project and try experimenting with other papers too.  I think some of my junk mail could make pretty bows, but I already shredded it up and put it in my worm bin.  Next time, I'll be saving some out for this project.  Another good one for Christmas would be those Netflix red envelopes.  No limits, let your imagination run wild!


  1. As a lover of your bags, and a huge recycler and crafter, I keep up with what you're doing. I think these are too cute and a fabulous way to recycle!

  2. Wow, perfect little bows! They came out gorgeous...i'll have to try this some or other time! What a perfect way to recycle used magazines!!! :)

    This craft would be perfect for my Creation Sharing Weekends linky party starting this Friday...pretty please post it there...? :)

    Just in case, here's the link to my party again:

  3. How fun! Words and randomness make them much cooler than store-bought bows. Can't wait to do this with my daughter.


Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear what you think!


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