Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Recycling crafts - paper reed box

Box covered with paper reeds
(One awed Easter bunny.)

I had an old IKEA cardboard box in our living room in which I kept yards and yards of fabric. It is actually a magic box - I'm amazed how much fabric fits in this thing. Over the years it has become a bit unsightly and bend out of shape. So I wanted to make it pretty and sturdy again using a technique I always wanted to try - by covering it with paper reeds.
I'm not going to lie - it takes a long time (about five weeks on and off). I also had to press down the sides with books while working, that also took some time. But I'm more than happy with the result. It is so sturdy now, you could almost use it as a small side table (after I glued on all the reeds I generously covered the whole thing with modpodge).

Making paper reeds is addictive. I caught myself staring at magazine ads or catalogue pages thinking "Wow, that would make a pretty patterned/coloured reed!" ...and almost had to bodily restrain myself from tearing out the pages right there and then.
I also made a picture frame, but I will show that one off another time.

If you would like to make your own, I did a little search and found this brilliant tutorial over at CraftStylish.

Paper reeds!

I would just add a few tipps from my own experience as the manufacturer of hundreds and hundreds of paper reeds:

* Before you start rolling, fold the corner over the skewer, than roll up the page (I find this much easier and the skewer doesn't slide out accidentally.)

* It's a bit more difficult, but I'd recommend to start rolling from the torn edge of the page - the reed will look much neater.

* Don't use a gluestick, or this craft will be very expensive and not very...green. Trust me. I went through several glue sticks till I figured out a solution... Instead, use white craft glue and only slide it ever so slightly over the edges with the tip of the bottle. Really - only use very, very little...so little that you can hardly see it.

* Old catalogues or junk mail work best. The paper used for glossy magazines is usually too thick.

* When you glue them to your box and you need to cover a large area, do yourself a favour and cover the area with white glue (spread with a wide brush) and take a whole handful of reeds and throw them on. Then quickly move them into the desired position. DON'T stick them on reed by reed or you might go nuts.

Well - have fun!

P.S.: If you don't have the time but would like a box (and do some good), check out the products by Dixie at the beautiful Swedish online shop Cosas. "Dixie assists the non-profit humanitarian organization Hand in Hand in their various projects to help themselves in developing countries."


fräulein herz said...

Uuuuuh - looks great. Weeks of rolling paper reeds have finally paid off!


Anke said...

It's a meditative, no-brainer craft. You can roll A LOT of reeds during one episode of GNTM! :)

P aus H said...

You crazy, crazy crafter...

Anke said...

Yup, that's what they call me. :)

soisses said...

hey, das sieht fantastisch aus... und nach viel arbeit ;-) toll!

Anke said...

Danke! :) Es hat lange gedauert, hat aber wirklich richtig Spaß gemacht.

Nauli said...

Looks awsome! So your work was worth it!

Nena said...

Wow! That's cool!

Anke said...

Thanks Nauli and Nena (any relation to the singer?)! :)

Anonymous said...

I totally share your addiction to reed-making. Magazines are so full of gorgeous colors and textures. I have been "reeding" for almost 3 years and have found that my judgment about which edge to have showing on the reed has improved a lot since I started. Also, my reeds are much more "evenly shaped" now. (When I started, they were more flute-shaped). I have covered a smaller box with a lid for a graduation gift and then a cardboard oatmeal container and photo frame (all using reeds that were color related). It is really a fun craft. If only there were more hours in a day to do more!