Make: Multi-Pointed Star Ornaments

Tis the holiday season! Spruce up your space with some reuse crafts!

Follow this tutorial made by ACR volunteer Julie K. to make your own multi-pointed star ornaments! Use paper of different colors, embellish with rhinestones and buttons, make it all your own! And remember, it’s okay to mess up a few times – just pick yourself up and try again!





Volunteer Spotlight: Laura Smith

What motivates you to volunteer?

I have gotten to see more types of materials than I had ever thought were possible. For example, I know how to knit and crochet from my family; now, I see instructions to learn to tat, materials to spin wool, and ideas I never knew were possible.  I would already go to ACR for personal reasons, this just gives me more exposure to other people’s intentions.


Why ACR?

The people who have come to volunteer are talented, and I have gotten to learn from them more than any art degree would imagine.  People need to know this!  There are so many ways to get to know humanity from around the world, and art gives a great introduction


How long have you volunteered with ACR?

I have visited ACR since it began, or, (at least,) tried to!  Initially, I had a very difficult time trying to find the old location, but I did because the volunteer on the phone led me to the tiny, hidden paradise.  I went there for yarn, school supplies, and stuff to use for my classroom.  I finally could officially join the volunteers in 2019, one year after my brain surgery.  I’ve enjoyed it!


Are you more into the arts aspect of ACR or the conservation aspect and why?

I see the conservation aspect as the most important purpose for this nonprofit, (but I also agree with ACR’s philosophy about art.)  Conservation means there is less crap to throw away.  Supplies get overpriced and over packaged, and intentions wind up getting thrown away when someone else could use it.  At least recycling makes supplies available, and affordable.


Where else have/do you volunteer?

I have worked with kids of all ages over the years as a teacher, and I am going through ways to begin concentrating on the students with special needs. 


What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering at ACR?

I love wrapping yarn back into balls, at home, watching Dr. Who from the beginning in the 1960’s to now.  I love sorting things into piles, testing pens and markers, working puzzles to see what pieces are missing.  I enjoy lapidary rock formations, measuring picture frames, and learning the different types of glue.  Shelving means sorting, comparing, and figuring out what fits into a bucket – my favorite place in the store!


Do you have any interesting or funny stories about something that happened while you were volunteering at ACR?

(I literally have a ton)

Gigantic yarn to ‘unravel’

The day a dozen ‘heads’ with no hair were delivered from a cosmetology school


See some of Laura’s work in our Online Reuse Gallery


Baba Yaga

Simple Thanksgiving Reuse Crafts



Thankful Tree

Thanks Banner

Scrap Paper Turkey


Send Gratitude Postcards

Spread gratitude to your family and friends with a custom postcard made from reused materials.

Step 1 – Grab an empty cereal box, Manila folder, or any other sturdy paper product


Step 2 – Cut out a rectangle roughly 4x6inches


Step 3 – Use paper scraps, old photos, or ribbon to cover one side of the card (nothing too heavy though or it will require extra postage!)


Step 4 – Embellish with stickers, buttons, or whatever you’d like. Make it totally unique!


Tada! Almost there!


Step 5 – Use a dark marker or pen to make the address lines and stamp box on the back of the postcard. Finish with a heartfelt note about what you’re thankful for, and send off to your loved ones.

Staff Spotlight: Kat Moulton

Each month, we highlight one of our dedicated ACR staff members so you can get to know the folks behind your favorite reuse center! This month, it’s our Operations and Administrative Coordinator, Kat Moulton. See her favorite picks at the center’s Creation Station, along with a tutorial for making reuse napkin rings to dress up your table this holiday season!



How did you find Austin Creative Reuse?

I don’t remember exactly how I heard about ACR. It could have been on Eventbrite, back when we were doing free Art of Reuse workshops, thanks to a grant from the city. I shopped at the center and attended events prior to working here.


What’s your favorite part about working at ACR?

I love our community! It feels good to be around people who share the same values – everyone is very environmentally conscious, and incredibly creative and talented. I’m constantly inspired by what our staff, volunteers, and other supporters are making. Also, we have the best volunteers! They take ownership of so many processes in the center, and it always amazes me how many hours of their time they contribute. We couldn’t exist without them.


Are you an artist, crafter, or maker? What mediums do you work with?

I would say none of the above, I consider myself an experimenter. I mainly do collage and embroidery, but I also like to try out various mediums by taking workshops and classes, or playing with supplies that come through the center. 


What do you do when you’re not working at ACR?

I like spending time at home with my partner and our two dogs, tending to my garden and many plants, doing puzzles, and playing board games. I also love being outdoors. Growing up, I spent every summer and winter in New Hampshire – hiking, playing in the woods, and learning about plants and animals. The woods and mountains are my happy place – it’s where I can relax and recharge.


What’s the craziest thing you found in donation mountain?

One time, when I was sorting a bag of leather scraps, I came across a face. It looked like it belonged to a skunk or similar type of animal. It still had all its fur, nose, and whiskers intact, plus two little slits where the eyes used to be. It was a little creepy, but I totally bought it.


Reuse Napkin Holder Tutorial


About Kat:

Kat’s love for art and conservation began at an early age when she spent summers crafting, exploring, and gardening at her grandma’s house – a log cabin in the woods! A former disaster relief professional, Kat left her career behind in order to have more time for creative endeavors. She enjoys experimenting with mediums she has never tried before, either on her own or by taking classes and workshops. Kat spends her free time dancing, caring for her many plants, snuggling with her two pups, and going on adventures with her partner.


2020, cotton thread on linen, 2020


I’m Not a Pussy, linoleum block print, 2017


Tune Out, magazine strips, 2018

November Reuse and Rethink Contest: Repurpose a Picture Frame

We all have a stash of picture frames laying around somewhere – frames that have been gifted to you, or handed down from family over the years that may not be quite your style. For this month’s Reuse and Rethink challenge, show us how you would transform a humble picture frame into something completely new!


Submission Criteria:

  •  Materials must be reused
  • The submissions will be judged on three qualities: creativity, workmanship, & use of reused materials
  • Submissions must be made on or before the deadline

Provide at least 2 photos of your piece, your contact info and a short description of materials used, and any social media handles you’d like us to tag if selected as the winner to

Deadline to submit is Saturday, November 30th.


Here are a few examples to get your creativity flowing!

Countertop Charging Station


Serving Tray


Herb Drying Rack


A Craft Piece


Jewelry Hanger

October Reuse and Rethink Contest Winner: Angie S!

In celebration of Halloween, we challenged you to create a costume or costume accessory out of reused materials. We’re delighted to announce our winner, Angie S, who created an “Amazon Warrior” costume out of use Amazon packaging! Our panel of judges were blown away by the creativity, craftsmanship, and the inspired use of materials. Congrats, Angie!


Angie S as an “Amazon Warrior”


Thanks to everyone else for your submissions! We love seeing your work!

Sustainability Spotlight: City of Austin Circular Economy Program


What is the mission of your company or organization?

The City of Austin Circular Economy Program’s mission is to turn Central Texas into the most vibrant circular economy in the United States. In a circular economy, waste is designed out and products and materials stay in productive use in our community. Through a partnership between Austin Resource Recovery and the Economic Development Department, we attract, retain and grow local businesses and non-profits in the circular economy sector. We also support the everyday habits and skills needed to transition to this circular future.


What environmental issues do you address?

Austin has a goal to reach zero waste by 2040, which means keeping 90% of materials out of the landfill. Besides the impact on our landfills, this work also addresses climate change. 45% of carbon emissions reductions needed to reach the UN’s climate change goals must come from how we make and use products and how we produce food. Everyone can take part in this by repairing, reusing, sharing, borrowing, and consuming less. 

And we need businesses and non-profits to provide those services or make those practices possible. We also need companies who are rethinking business models and redesigning products to be easily reused and recycled. That’s why the City of Austin Circular Economy Program works to attract and support business in the circular economy sector. That sector includes recyclers, composters, repair services, thrift stores, rental companies, and other businesses that design out waste. Check out some of the local companies in this sector here.


What eco friendly initiatives does your company or organization uphold?

  • We make it easier for people to repair their broken items instead of throwing them out. We organize Fix-It Clinics and online Fix-It at Home workshops to teach repair skills like sewing and bike maintenance.
  • We make it easier to donate goods and consume responsibly. The Austin Reuse Directory helps you find a local spot to donate, shop second hand, or find a repair or rental service. Our MoveOutATX initiative brings together local organizations to establish donation stations for college students during the annual campus ‘move out’ season. In 2019, MoveOutATX kept 92 tons of material out of the landfill (that’s around 42 school buses full of material).
  • We teach people about the circular economy. In a recent event, journalist Adam Minter showed us behind the scenes of the thrift industry. We regularly host events like this to share stories about circular companies and the global movement to reduce waste.
  • We support circular economy businesses and non-profits, with dedicated economic development staff ready to hear about their business needs and connect them to resources and networks to power their growth.  


How do you hope to make an impact on the Austin community or world at large?

The Circular Economy Program works to support a prosperous future for Austin–one that doesn’t rely on the extraction of natural resources, and that allows all people to thrive. We believe that a just transition to a circular economy can support all aspects of quality of life, to include the preservation and regeneration our city and planet’s natural resources and habitats, and the health and well-being of our residents.


Where can we find out more about your company or organization?

To learn more about the City of Austin Circular Economy Program, visit, sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on local circular economy news, upcoming networking opportunities and events, and business resources. You can also follow Austin Resource Recovery on Facebook.



Staff Spotlight: Barbara Paris

Barbara standing next to the sign she painted for our community fence


We’re adding a new section of inspiration in our center – staff picks! Each month we’ll rotate our valued staff’s favorite items in the store and feature a customized project tutorial with supplies. To go along with the center display, we are spotlighting the staff member so you can get to know the folks who make ACR run on a day-to-day basis. Up first, longtime shift lead and workshop instructor Barbara Paris!


How did you find Austin Creative Reuse?

A friend told me about ACR because I’m an artist. I was blown away at the incredible bargains. I started volunteering right away.


What’s your favorite part about working at ACR?

My favorite thing about working at ACR is the community and people. Both, the people I work with, the volunteers and the customers who are more like friends and it makes me happy every day to see them. The people I’ve met over the past four years are creative, interesting, kind, and all-around beautiful people.


Are you an artist, crafter, or maker? What mediums do you work with?

I am an artist and I have painted since I was very young and could get my fingers on paint. I do a lot of large scale paintings that typically have paper, glass, string beads and more. My two paintings below, Kaboom and Big Bird are made with oil paints and paper. The barrel I made is with acrylic paints, paper, beds, and glaze.


What do you do when you’re not working at ACR?

I teach art. I work in my yard, I love to, play tennis, hang out with my kids, and ride my bike.


What’s the craziest thing you found in donation mountain?

Somebody’s teeth in a little jar. 


Tutorial: A Reuse Menorah

Reuse Menorahs


Nuts and Bolts Menorah



About Barbara:

I discovered ACR in 2016 as a teacher and artist, and I could not believe the variety and affordability that was available to me for my classroom and for my artwork. I quickly began volunteering once a week, and soon after joined the permanent team. As a career, I always felt that teaching was a calling to me, so naturally I brought my passion for education with me as we began forging a path for educators and education. I was born in NYC and raised in New Jersey, and moved to Austin many years ago. I am a mother, and taught in the local public schools after helping to start the children’s museum in New Braunfels and San Antonio, and am also the co-founder of Marmalade Skies, an art studio in Austin. I love working at the center, and love the community and collaboration that is fostered at ACR.


Big Bird


Tortured Heart #3

October Volunteer Spotlight: Ericka Laborde

Each month, we highlight one of the incredible people from our volunteer community. This month, we’re excited to feature Ericka Laborde, who has been helping out regularly in the center the past few months, sorting the mountains of material donations that we receive each week. We appreciate all of Ericka’s contributions and we’re happy to announce that she has recently joined our team as a Reuse Specialist! Be sure to welcome her when you see her around the center!


What motivates you to volunteer? 

I believe we can make a difference by volunteering with causes that we believe in. There are so many ways to make the future brighter for everyone if we just give a little of our time, money, and resources.


Why ACR? 

I really love the community of ACR. The people who work there are so great and the mission statement really speaks to me. Being thoughtful about how we reuse and making sure that we give a second life to items we no longer use anymore is so impactful. I also love knowing that these art supplies and other reuse items can more easily get into the hands of people that may not have had a chance before!


How long have you volunteered with ACR? 

I started volunteering just back in August, but have definitely donated supplies for about 3 years now, since I moved to Austin.


Are you more into the arts aspect of ACR or the conservation aspect and why?

Is this a trick question? Haha. I am very much into both aspects of ACR. I love buying second hand for my crafting projects or just wandering around the store, seeing what new mediums I can try out. I love knowing that I can make something from reusable items, not adding more into the world, but using what has already been made.


Where else have/do you volunteer? 

For right now, I have not volunteered anywhere else, but that will change soon. I am using my volunteer time at ACR as a jumping off point to look into other organizations I can get involved with.


What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering at ACR? 

I love knowing that I’m helping the environment and our community by getting reusable items back into the imaginative minds who shop and work at ACR. I love being able to see all of the different items that get donated to ACR and seeing what people make with them!


Do you have any interesting or funny stories about something that happened while you were volunteering at ACR?

It’s always interesting to see what is being donated in the center! I’m either in awe at the wonderful donations coming through or cracking up at the funny little items that ACR workers find!


2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Center Hours:
Thu/Fri: 10AM - 8PM
Sat: 11AM -8PM
Sun: 12PM - 6PM
Curbside Pickup, 10am-4pm, Daily
Tel: (512) 375-3041