Fun Project: Recycling Magazines into Gift Bows

My sister is one of the “greenest” people I know.  When she is giving me a hard time for not recycling the lid from my Starbucks latte, I might say that she is obnoxiously eco-conscious, but 99% of the time I really appreciate and admire her conviction.  I think after living in close proximity to her for the last couple years, Em has worn off on me.  She’s the reason that I finally started remembering to take my reusable shopping bags into the grocery store with me and why I am slowly replacing our cleaning supplies with more environmentally-friendly products.

Emily is also incredibly creative and artistic, and I was impressed last Christmas when she created her own gift bows out of magazine pages.  So last night when we had plans to hang out and I was feeling crafty, I asked if she would show me how to make these bows.  Thus, I have to thank her and give her credit for this.

Warning- this is kind of addictive.  If you’re the kind of person who gets sucked into a novel project and obsesses over it for the next couple days, this warning is for you.

I believe Emily got the idea and instructions from Whole Living.  Somewhere along the way I got it in my head that there is an extra strip of paper required.  I changed the center part a little bit, too, so these are a little different….  I did go back and try to follow the directions exactly.  I like mine better.

All you need:

  • some colorful pages torn from magazines
  • double-sided tape or adhesive dots
  • scissors
  • a ruler
  • a ball-point pen
  • a sturdy box to store your final product (particularly useful if you have cats who might mistake bows for cool new toys)

Why yes, this is a Fruit of the Loom advertisement.  But I promise you, once it is cut up, you’ll never recognize it as underwear.  (Although I told myself the same thing about an Always ad and then the brand logo ended up prominently on top of the bow.)

If the back side (heh- no pun intended) of your page is a lighter color, I suggest using that side to draw your lines.  Vertically, divide the page into ten 3/4-inch strips.

Leave three strips the full length (they should be about 11 inches).  Trim three strips to 10 inches long and three strips to 9 inches long.  Cut two 3 1/2-inch-long pieces from the final strip.  So, to recap you should now have:

  • Three 11-inch strips
  • Three 10-inch strips
  • Three 9-inch strips
  • Two 3.5-inch strips

Start with the little guys (the 3.5 inchers).  Form one strip into a loop, fastening with tape/ adhesive dots, overlapping ends of loop as little as possible (to maximize width of loop).  Insert other strip through loop and fasten ends to form another loop (like chain links).  Use adhesive to anchor the loops so they look like this:

Next, work with the long strips.  Holding the strips with the desired side face-down, twist each end to form a pointy loop, fastening the ends in the center.  The loops should have the desired color facing out.

Starting with the largest strips, layer them, attaching with adhesive.

Finish by placing the double loop in the center.

To make mini bows, adjust to the following measurements:

  • Strips should be 1/2 inch-wide
  • Three 7.25 inch-long strips
  • Three 6.75 inch-long strips
  • Three 6 inch-long strips
  • Two 2.25 inch-long strips



Filed under DIY Projects, Family

9 responses to “Fun Project: Recycling Magazines into Gift Bows

  1. Emily

    That was fun 🙂 They look great!

  2. Bad. Ass. I’m going to start calling you Martha if you don’t watch yourself…

  3. An Unidentified Relative

    I think the origins of this project was our tearing up magazines and pasting photos onto construction paper to make our own stories. Remember “the dog’s holding a crispy [frisbee]!

  4. This is awesome! Can’t wait to try it. I love magazines…and finding ways to use them in other ways. Collages are a huge hobby of mine as are using magazines to make envelopes…perfect timing for the holiday season!

  5. Pingback: Random Moments of Happiness: Days 24-25 | Anything But Academia

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