How to Recycle Paper into Something Useful Again

Got lots of paper cluttering around? Sort out those papers and gather those that are no longer needed. But don’t throw them just yet. Explore these ideas on how to recycle paper – make them useful again. Add color to your home with these DIY projects!

Recycle your papers into something useful again. Here's how!

Do you find yourself with stacks of papers to dispose of? These could be papers your kids submitted for school, work documents, reading material, receipts, flyers, expired coupons, and so many more!

Instead of throwing these papers in the trash right away, why not turn them into something useful again by reusing and recycling?

You might be wondering why you should bother about it when paper is one of the easiest items to recycle. Sure, recycling is good but the process of some recycling centers still takes a lot of energy and sometimes creates emissions and waste. That doesn’t sound good, right?

If you truly care about the environment, it helps to have your own initiative to reuse paper after you are done with it.

To help you start, here is a list of 20 ideas on how to recycle paper at the comforts of your own home!


Oh and if you have kids, get them to help! It’s going to be fun!

Paper mache

This is a very common process when you recycle paper. Paper mache is a composite material that is made out of pieces of paper that have been bound together by an adhesive. You may use glue, wallpaper paste, or starch as adhesive.

You can form this material into anything you want and that will take into a solid form when it is completely dry. Paint and decorate the finished product in whatever way you want!

Some prefer to layer paper strips one after the next when forming something while others prefer to turn it into a clay-like material first for easy sculpting. This will all depend on what type of project you want to do.

Now here are some really cool paper mache projects that you can try!

1. Balloon bowl

Make a fun-looking bowl with paper mache and the project is so easy that even kids can pull it off! (I told you your kids are going to love it!)

You can use these bowls for anything! Paint and decorate them any way you want too!

how to recycle paper - balloon bowl
image from TODAY’S PARENT

2. Cake stand

Here is a paper mache project that is useful for when you have guests over. You can make your own creative cake stand and again, design it in any way you want!

This stand, however, is not only made exclusively for cakes! You can treat it like a pedestal to display anything! I bet you would love to have a few of these scattered around the house!

Just make sure that what you’re putting up there is not too heavy – remember this is still made of recycled paper.

3. Tree stump stool

If you are looking for a furniture to add outdoors, you should check out this DIY project!

Now before you get any idea that you can make your own furniture with paper mache, let me stop you right there! This project is possible only with the help of solid materials such as empty pails and a small piece of wood. This is why it can handle the weight of a person sitting on it.

The paper mache was only used as a covering – which you can paint and design. This is the most time consuming part in this DIY project, but you bet, it’s all worth it when you already have the finished project!

4. Faux cactus

Do you like to have one of those cactus at home but somehow, cactus plants don’t like you – they keep on dying (Ouch).

Don’t worry. Just make a faux cactus!

With this you can get to add some “greens” around your place without having to worry about the care and maintenance. In fact, if you are really good at painting, you may even produce something that looks like the real thing!

5. Figurines

Having figurines on your surfaces do add colors in the room. Plus, they make great conversation pieces! But the thing is, figurines can be expensive.

But when you use paper mache clay to form figurines, well, that changes things!

Now the sky’s the limit! You can have as much as you want and you get a say on how they look and what colors they come in. You do not only get to adorn your house, but because you just recycled papers, you get to save money and Mother Nature too!

Now that’s awesome!

Paper tubes

Another thing to learn on paper recycling is how to make paper tubes for weaving.

Making paper tubes is very easy. You can then use these to weave anything you want!

Many DIYers prefer to use newspaper for this because newspapers make longer tubes. So if you’ve got lots of newspapers at home, here’s how you can recycle those newspapers rather than letting them pile up, untouched in a corner.

You may also do this with smaller-sized papers – just put them together to make a longer tube.

When you are done with your weaving project, spray it with polyurethane to make the newspaper tubes stiff in place. This spray protects the the material too. Then, it is your choice now whether you want to leave it as is or paint and decorate it further!

Check out these cool paper tube weaving projects!

1. Basket organizers

Weave yourself these basket organizers to help your home look neat and tidy all the time!

And since you are making these faux wicker basket organizers yourself, you can easily customize them to fit your shelves!

how to recycle paper - Basket organizers
image from ALEX BEGO

2. Basket with lid

If you prefer storage options with lids, try out this basket with a lid design. It looks very pretty enough to display as is and the lid even comes with a cute handle!

The original tutorial is meant for a toy box but you can copy the design and adjust the dimensions to accommodate your storage needs.

how to recycle paper - Basket with lid
image from TROOM TROOM

3. Sun hat

This one is made out of newspaper paper tubes. When you are done weaving, paint it and then decorate it!

Make a few more and turn them into a decorative piece hanging on the wall!

how to recycle paper - Sun hat
image from PAPER DIY

If it fits you head and you wanna wear it on summer, well, why not?

4. Bird feeder

Here is a unique way to decorate your garden and get more birds to come to visit you without disturbing your plants! Do your own paper-woven bird feeder!

You do not only get to give new life to your place but you also provide food and a place to rest for birds.

5. Fruit tray

The finished product will look like it was made out of rattan or bamboo – imagine how people would react when you tell them it is made out of paper!

Aside from fruit, you can also use this tray to hold decorative pieces, candy, and even flowers.

Paper slats

Another thing you should learn when you recycle papers is how to create paper slats. Here, you fold the paper into slats and glue the paper as you fold.

Always check the thickness of each slat. If it is too thick, it would be hard to coil or maneuver. If you think it should be thinner, simply cut your paper in half lengthwise.

Now if newspapers are preferred for paper tubes, magazines are the go-to option for paper slats. So if you’ve just decluttered magazines, this is a great way to repurpose them!

how to recycle paper - make Paper slats

Here are some projects that you can do with paper slats:

1. Bowls

This is probably one of the most common paper slat crafts you will find online. In this example, the paper slat bowl is made of magazines. See just how colorful it is!

2. Vase

Create a vase from the paper slats. Leave it as is or paint over it and decorate!

image from ART-ROCKS

3. Coaster

Roll the paper slats together to form a coaster. This is again one of the easiest projects to make and it will only take you a few minutes (drying time when sealing is not included).

4. Trivet

Create a trivet to protect surfaces from heat damage. Make them in any size and thickness! Serve food on the table straight from the pot with no worries.

image from SARAHGRAND

5. Frame

Give a plain frame a fancy new look by using rolled paper slats on it. If you choose your magazine pages well, the colors and texture will really pop out!

Paper beads

For the last category in this article, recycle and reuse paper by turning them into paper beads! This is a bit time-consuming compared to the rest of the categories here, but it is a very therapeutic way to spend your free time and believe me, once you get started, it can be very addicting!

You can control how small or big your beads can get and you can even be creative with the shapes if you want. It is up to you if you want to use colored magazine pages and have it as is, or use any paper and paint and design each bead after. Seal the beads with varnish, nail polish, mod podge, or wood hardener.

Here is a list of creative projects you can do with your paper beads:

1. Necklace

This necklace design will make you feel like tribal royalty from an ancient time! The paper beads are made out of brilliant-colored magazine pages and the multi-colors work very well together!

image from NOVICA

2. Earrings

Oh you must not miss this! Look at this boho-chic paper bead earrings design. who would have thought that those colorful beads are made out of paper? (I certainly won’t)

image from NAOI

3. Bracelet

Here’s a very feminine paper beads bracelet design accented with silver beads.

At first glance, I would never think this was made of just paper beads! I kept staring at it, and I’m like are those really made of paper?

4. Bookmark dangle

Restyle your bookmarks with these paper bead bookmark dangles. It looks really cute and even makes it easier for you to pick up where you left off in the book!

Bookmark dangle
image from REFAB DIARIES

5. Bead curtain

Now really, this is a must-have!

Give open doorways a colorful screen by creating this bead curtain. You can even use them as a subtle room divider. (I’m thinking of a beach style theme – this is so perfect!)

Bead curtain
image from REFAB DIARIES

Get those papers out!

I can’t believe I’m hoping you have boxes of papers piled up in your home. I’m into simplifying home life, I know, but this paper recycling projects just really got me hooked! I will never throw a single paper again, ever!

So if you have those piles of papers, get them out, and choose just one project to make. Do it in your free time. Make paper beads during your self-care time – it’s therapeutic really.

Involve your kids. Include these in their crafts projects. Enjoy your time together!

And next time you find yourself with a bunch of papers to get rid of, you know now that the trash bin is not always the best destination for this “trash”.

Looking for more DIY recycling projects? Check these out!

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Don't just throw your papers into the trash. They're very useful at home. Just give yourself time to recycle. Here's how to recycle papers into beautiful and useful crafts!

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