Author Archives: Jen Mack

25 Days of Giving – Day 20

Ideas for Repurposing Holiday Cards

Holiday Cards are so beautiful and have great sentiments – It’s a mixed bag, it’s sad to pitch them, but they can quickly pile up.  The projects below might give you a reason to hang on to the memories for longer than one season.

For an earth friendly alternative to sending cards, you might consider sending e-cards, especially if you have a long list to send out.

For a special few, however, try making your chirstmas cardscards using reuse materials for that whimsical touch. You can use scrap paper, old Christmas cards, wrapping paper, even old photos to give it a personal touch.





For these or any craft inspirations in the 24 Days of Giving series, please drop a line or send a photo to let us know how they worked for you.



25 Days of Giving – Day 19

Ways to Repurpose Picture Frames

You know how “necessity is the mother of (creative) invention”? Well this post is in response to a large donation of picture frames we got in yesterday.  I heard the buzz of conversation around “Where are we going to put all those…” and thought I’d do my part and find inspiration.

It’s great to find projects that combine beauty and functionality – these provide both with most being multi-purpose as well.

The project cost should be low, especially if you shop ACR for supplies.

If you’re inspired to create one of these, tag us on Facebook with photos of your projects. Enjoy!




25 Days of Giving – Day 18


What Do I Do With… Toys?

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If your child outgrows their toys quickly, don’t throw them away! You can make another child happy by donating them. You can donate used toys to traditional thrift stores and charities, however, due to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), not all thrift stores and charities will be able to accept used toys donations.

Here are some local, alternative places that will accept used toys:

  • Toybrary provides a positive, clean, welcoming environment in which children, parents, and teachers can interact and learn. (7817 Rockwood, Ste 101, Austin, TX 78757)
  • Any Baby Can improves the lives of children by strengthening them and their families through education, therapy and family support services. (6207 Sheridan Avenue Austin, TX 78723)
  • Legacy of Hope is dedicated to serving families of children with special needs. You can call toll free 866-HOPEATX or email them to set up a donation drop-off time.
  • The Stuffed Animal Rescue Foundation is dedicated to the well-being of abandoned, outgrown, or neglected stuffed animals by finding permanent and/or foster homes for rescued stuffed animals. Email them for more information.
  • Safe Place strives to end sexual and domestic violence. Be sure to check their wish list to see what they need. (1401 Grove Blvd. Austin, TX 78741)
  • Blue Santa is committed to provide toys and food for families in need during the Holiday Season. You can donate toys year round at the Austin Police Operation Blue Santa’s Warehouse at: 4101 South Industrial Drive, Suite 260, Austin, TX 78744

Additionally, Austin Creative Reuse also accepts board games and puzzles!

Here are some helpful tips before donating toys:

  • Wipe toys down
  • Make sure toys are not broken
  • If you are donating toys with multiple pieces/parts, keep them together in plastic bags or tape boxes together so that they don’t get lost

25 Days of Giving – Day 17

Great Gift Wrap Ideas for the Reuse-y Types

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It’s Holiday Time which means we are thinking about gift wrap this week.  So often, after the big gift exchange, we are overwhelmed with the piles of paper and ribbon, all of which just heads out to the land fill (or to the recycle bin if your lucky).  Why not challenge yourself wrap with an eye for reuse this year.  Here’s some ideas for a Reuse-y Holiday!

  • Use reusable containers like gift bags, holiday tins or sturdy gift boxes.
  • If you received a bag at the store when you purchased the gift, use that paper or plastic to wrap it.
  • Use old scarves, cloth napkins or fabric scraps for an infinitely reusable gift wrap
  • Look for “reuse” gift wrap around your house, such as newspaper, maps, magazines, wallpaper samples, or grocery bags
  • Use yarn or kitchen twine to tie up your package
  • Make gift tags our of cereal boxes or other boxes
  • Any container can become a gift bag just by adding a bow or glueing a bit of holiday paper
  • Make a gift box out of cereal box (Look for our tutorial on how to do it in our treasure box blog post)

And most importantly!

  • After the big unwrap, do not be ashamed to gather up all the gift bags, gift boxes and ribbon to use next year. It’s like giving the earth a big ‘ol gift just from you!

Here’s a small sample of our reuse wrappers.



25 Days of Giving – Day 16

How to Make a Gift Bow

by in How Tos/Tutorials

Make a Bow from ReuseCan you believe we’ve been buying expensive predictable bows, when we could have been remaking almost any image into one of a kind little gift?


  • Magazines, Map, any paper that is 10 ½ inches long
  • Scissors
  • Tape, glue or staples

Step 1. Cut 9 strips of paper, ¾” wide and 10 ½” long. Leave three pieces just as they are (10 1/2” long).  Cut 1 inch off of 3 of the pieces (now 9 1/2” long).  Cut 2 inches off of 2 of the pieces (now 81/2”long).  Cut the final piece to 3 ½” long. (Image 1)


Step 2. Bend the 3 ½” strip into a circle.  Secure with double sided tape, a staple, glue, glue dots, etc.  With all other strips fold both ends to the middle, twist the ends in opposite directions to create a loop at each end. Secure. (image 2 and image 3)

Image 2

Image 3

Step 3. Take the longest three pieces and place them on top of each other with equal space in between.  Secure.  Do the same with the middle 3 pieces and secure.  Attach the two smallest pieces together.  (image 4 and Image 5)

Image 4

Image 5

Step 4: Attach the 3 layers of bow together and secure the circle to the top.

Bow kits


25 Days of Giving – Day 15

Part of the holiday giving season typically includes mailing gifts to far-away friends and family.  Consider reuse materials for your shipping this year.  Austin Creative Reuse might have all the supplies you need!  We have padded mailers, bubble wrap, bubble pack, shipping popcorn, tubes, labels, and boxes – all at great prices too.


If you’re feeling industrious, you can even make your own envelopes using cereal boxes.  Here’s a quick and easy tutorial

cereal box envelopes                   envelop mailer 2


To take it a step further, think about getting into zero-waste shipping.  Set up an area for the shipping supplies you receive, and use them next time you need to send something out.  Padded envelopes, for example, can be relabeled and even turned inside out to extend their life. Bubble wrap and shipping popcorn will make it through multiple mailings too.

Liesl Clark from Trash suggests starting a tradition of encouraging recipients to  reuse by writing a message with your mail-out.

heart 3

And of course, if you find you’ve ended up with more supplies than you need or don’t have the space at home, you can bring them to ACR. We’ll keep the shipping life cycle going!


25 Days of Giving – Day 14

Whatcha gonna do with old hanging files that have been hanging around your office for too long?

Well, if you are Austin Creative Reuse, do a bit of cutting, then folding followed by a liberal application of glue and glitter. Wha-la, you have the perfect holiday decoration.


Check this link for templates (or just make your own) and instructions on folding.

Here’s a Austin Creative Reuse idea for creating your own custom gift box.  These gift boxes are so cute they are sure to repurposed into treasure boxes to hold all favorite things.  Click on the links below to find detailed instructions.

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ACR Record Album Box Tutorial (1)

ACR Treasure Box Tutorial (1)


25 Days of Giving – Day 13

Here is the third part of  DIY reuse gift ideas –  gifts for kids ranging from babies to teens. I have to say it was challenging by nature of the age range, but probably the most fun putting together.

Austin Creative Reuse has quite a few of these materials, so please visit us for your supplies. Also I added in 2 items we have for sale ready made at the center.

Enjoy and please let us know how it goes!


25 Days of Giving – Day 12

Today’s ideas are great DIY reuse gifts for him.  I hope seeing these photos will be a springboard for fun creative variations. If you try one, please send pictures…

Tomorrow will be gifts for kids…

25 Days of Reuse – Day 11

I’d like to spend the next few days sharing DIY gift ideas with reuse materials. There are so many incredible choices, I ended up breaking them into separate posts.


All of these ideas are fairly quick, easy, and inexpensive. I tried also to pick gifts that will be beautiful as well as functional.  


Austin Creative Reuse carries quite a few of these materials, but if not, I’m sure most all can be found in local thrift stores, or possibly in far corners of your closet! 


Part 1 is Gifts for Her-

Tomorrow will be Great Gifts for Him…

2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Center Hours:
Thu/Fri: 10AM - 4PM
Sat: 11AM -6PM
Sun: 12PM - 6PM
Curbside Pickup, 10am-4pm, Daily
Tel: (512) 375-3041