I began my “Yellow Pages Project” last week after seeing a depressingly large bin of new phone books at our local post office.
As we live in a community with few or no recycling resources, I wanted to come up with creative ways to re-use last year’s phone books, to keep them out of the landfill and to tap into a massive source of free paper!
My first stop for inspirational input was the Etsy Community Forums. It’s a fabulous brain-trust of creative artists! I posted my quest in the Techniques & Materials forum, which Etsy members can follow here.
(If you’re not already an Etsy member, go join right now.
It’s free, of course.)
Here are some of the ideas submitted by Etsy artists, linked to their Etsy profiles by way of a “thank you”! (I’ve lightly edited some of the comments for clarity & brevity.)
- thecyclingartist: make envelopes with the pages
- urbanwoodswalker : Yellow pages are cool. But the color will fade; the inks and the paper itself are very poor quality. I have made sculptural baskets ... but I use adhesives and UV spray varnish coatings to make them permanent. Still, never leave any item made with this kind of paper out in strong prolonged light.
- Skinonskinbeautiful : I make paper out of the yellow pages, color bleeds into what mix you have and makes pretty pale yellow, looks ancient.
- dmriceart : papier mache is easy to make & use; paper pages are great for collage backgrounds, painted with an opaque paint so some of the lettering shows, but not all! If you glue pages together, you can actually make paper thick enough to form small boxes (see Internet Resources, below). Scrunch and use for 3-D artsy flowers, with a bit of bright paint, and a button middle. Roll, and flatten, then make cool little woven baskets. Sit on them, and feel tall? (That is what we used them for, growing up!)
- TheTinyFig : origami?
- crochetgal : I've been rolling yarn from paper lately … it’s a fun but messy process!
Cleaning Supplies & Studio Props
- Use as 'rags' for paint cleanup (thecyclingartist)
- Use them to clean mirrors or windows, with vinegar (dwhitecreations, crochetgal, laksaware)
- MadisonHouseDesigns : I was just reading in Best Friends magazine (from a large animal sanctuary in Utah, bestfriends.org) that they use old phone books for their rescued birds, who like to dig their beaks into them. There may be an animal shelter in your area that could put them to good use. :)
- akuadesigns : I use them to press leaves and flowers. It's so wonderful in the winter to find all these great dried flowers from the summer.
- WhiteDragonPaper : I use mine to drill into with my Dremel. It's good soft protection so I don't drill through my book covers and into my floor or the ground or anything. (I also use them for papier mache projects and recycled paper bowls.)
Most of these resources on the net use newspapers, but yellow pages paper will work, too!
- How to Make a Box from Rolled Paper & Cardboard (YouTube Video)
- Similar Paper-Box-Making Videos
- The Recycled Newspaper photo group on Flickr, and several more Flickr photo groups including recycled newspaper works of art (suggested by urbanwoodswalker)
- How to Make a Recycled Yellow Pages Card Holder (suggested by wiggle)
Project & photo from GreenUpgrader
Thanks to every Etsy-an who contributed to the Yellow Pages Project. Keep those bright ideas flowing! You can post your comments & links here, or share them on the Etsy Forum thread.