Sunday, January 10, 2010

Art marks

As I promised in my previous post, here's an idea for how to recycle the artwork and photographs of smaller desk calendars.

old desk calendars
The easiest is to turn them into bookmarks. The handiest width for bookmarks is about two inches so that usually means having to crop the artwork first. In cropping, try to follow the photographer's Rule of Thirds (click the link for a tutorial). Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule; in cropping my 2008 desk calendar (these photos are from the middle of last year), I was limited by the height of the images. This is how I decided to crop two of the paintings; many of the sheets gave me two bookmarks rather than one.

cropping the images of old desk calendars
After cutting all of the sheets, I punch a single hole near the top and add a ribbon (or yarn). As much as I can, I try to match the colors in the images, but since I only work with what I have on hand (and many of these ribbons are scraps from the packaging of gifts given to us), it's not always possible. My all-purpose ribbon for those instances is a narrow, gold gauze ribbon.

bookmarks made out of old desk calendars
If you have no need for so many bookmarks, then just give them away to family, friends and colleagues who you know to be avid readers. Even consider giving them to your local library, with instructions to give one each to the next several people who take out books. You'll be making some people happy and you would have done a small part in helping reduce environmental waste.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Artsy drawers

It's the first day of the new year and if you're like me, you have several 2009 calendars to dispose of. Before chucking them all in the garbage or recycling bins, first see if you can re-use them.

Calendars of all sizes made of paper stock (not cardboard), as long as one side is blank and the paper is not too thin that the print shows through, can be used as note/memo paper. Just cut them into squares or rectangles in the size of your choice. This is best done with a paper cutter or an X-acto knife with a steel ruler and cutting mat; but lacking either, scissors will do, though it will take longer.

The bigger wall calendars that are made of card stock, especially the ones with paintings, photographs and illustrations, make for great drawer and cabinet liners. I use them everywhere, from clothes drawers and the closet we use to store toiletry products to our kitchen cabinets.

old calendars used as drawer liners
Lay the loose sheets down on the drawer bottom, making sure that each piece overlaps with the others. When you are satisfied with both the coverage and the placement of your favorite designs, keep the sheets together with adhesive tape. Pay special attention to the corners—you don't want to accidentally tear the sheet out while getting something near the bottom of the drawer.

These liners may not be as pretty as the big drawer liners you can buy at home centers, but they're more eco-friendly and much sturdier, being able to withstand several years' use as long as there are no accidental spills from food and bath products. And chances are, you will always have replacement sheets every year at no extra cost.

Next, how to re-use smaller card stock desk calendars.