Author Archives: Jessica Martinez

DIY birdhouses out of recycled materials

Happy Spring!  You can turn almost anything into a birdhouse.  Use a clean empty container and decorate as desired.  Here are some great examples.  Check out ACR for your decorating supplies!


Creative Alternative Valentines

DIY Valentine Bookmarks.

Get your fabric scraps and ribbon here at Austin Creative Reuse!  Click on the photo for the link to instructions.


Deck of love cards

           super cute Valentine's Day gift.. add a few gems or letterpress letters for the cover

Instructions here: Deck of Love/Like cards

Key to my Heart Valentine

Get your keys at ACR, paint them, and glue to your cardstock card.

Image result for DIY key valentine card

Paper Valentine Fortune Cookies

You can find some great scrapbook paper at ACR! Instructions here: Paper Valentine Fortune Cookies!

DIY Crayon Valentines!

Heart Crayon Valentines

ACR has lots of crayons for your crafting needs!  Instructions here: Heart-shaped crayon Valentines    Inexpensive heart mold here: Silicone heart mold

Fabric Heart Valentine Cards

Get your fabric scraps at ACR! Simply cut a heart out of your favorite fabric scraps using pinking shears and glue to cardstock cards.

Image result for diy fabric valentine card      Image result for diy fabric valentine card      Image result for diy fabric heart cards     Image result for diy button heart valentine cards

Button Heart Card

You can find buttons at ACR.  Simply glue buttons in a heart shape on your cardstock card.

Related image      Image result for button heart card       Image result for diy button heart valentine cards

DIY Bottle Cap Valentine Magnets

Reuse those bottle caps!  Click the photos for instructions and free printable templates.

             Valentine's Day Hearts BCI Sheet


Happy Valentine’s Day!



Think Outside the Box Valentines

Here are a few great ideas for Valentine containers this year! Reuse, repurpose, recyle!

Share your ideas with us!

Cute DIY snowman key ornaments



Credit to:

Recycled Key Snowman Ornaments

Makerspace in the Classroom

What is a Makerspace?   

Makerspace provides hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent. A makerspace is not solely a science lab, woodshop, computer lab or art room, but it may contain elements found in all of these familiar spaces.

STEM is a hot topic and this is an easy way to incorporate science, technology, engineering and math in just one area of your classroom!


Items you can find at Austin Creative Reuse!

  • Plastic containers or baskets for storage.
  • Tinkering items in the bucket section.
  • Pencils, markers, paper, rulers, and scissors.
  • Cardboard tubes, glue, and tape.
  • Pipe cleaners, craft sticks, and pom-poms.
  • Plastic/tin lids or containers.
  • Straws, yarn, and feathers.
  • The list is endless and you can always ask parents for donations!

Here are some ideas to set-up your makerspace area!





Tin Can Windchimes







This is a great summer activity you can do with your children! Reduce, recycle and reuse!

  • Choose 4-5 cans that will nest together as a set.
  • Remove the lid and label.
  • Wash and dry them.
  • Using a hammer and nail, poke a hole in the bottom of each.
  • Paint the outside as desired with acrylic paint.  Using a white primer first might help.
  • Beginning with the largest, stack the cans.
  • Measure a length of heavyweight string equal to the height of the cans, plus 3 feet.
  • Knot a wooden ring onto one end of the string.
  • Thread the other end up through the hole in the smallest can.
  • Decide how low you want the can to hang, slide it up the string, tie a big knot, and slide the can down again until it rests on the knot.
  • Add the other cans in the same way, making sure they overlap slightly so they’ll chime.
  • From the excess string, form a hanging loop (about 10 inches long) above the largest can.

Mother’s Day is around the corner!

Here are two great gift ideas using your fabric scraps.  If you don’t have any fabric we have plenty at Austin Creative Reuse!

Braided Art

  1. Choose 3 of your favorite fabric pieces and cut into 3 long strips.
  2. Knot them together at one end then braid. The length of the braid will depend on what you are spelling. You can spell MOM, FAMILY, or mom’s name.
  3. Place on the inside of a frame, a shadow box, or a piece of wood.
  4. Use a hot glue gun to glue down when you have the right placement.

Hand Art

  1. Trace child’s hand on a piece of paper and cut out.
  2. Use this as a template to cut out of your favorite piece of fabric.
  3. Glue to the inside of a frame or mat board.
  4. Cut 2 strips of that fabric, glue to the back and tie a bow at the end and use to hang.

Share your fabric projects with us!

New Board Member

Hello! My name is Jessica and I am new to the board and will be leading the Education Committee.  I have worked in early childhood for 25 years and am the director of The Goddard School in south Austin.  I have co-written Thrifty Teacher’s Guide to Creative Learning Centers, a resource book for preschool teachers. Our book focuses on collecting, reusing, and repurposing items to create inexpensive materials for the classroom.  I have a theory that you can make ANYTHING out of cardboard and/or recycled materials!  Games, activities, pirate ships, costumes, props, etc. You name it, I can make it!

Costumes I made from cardboard and recycled materials!

I look forward to working with Austin Creative Reuse and the education community.

2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Hours: Curbside Pickup, 10am-4pm, Daily
Tel: (512) 375-3041