We 🧡 Educators!

ACR and educators go together like the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a school lunchbox. With everything from low cost supplies for the classroom, tutorials for hands-on reuse STEM activities and networking with other eco-minded educators, we help educators get the supplies, support and community that they need to make every school year the best one yet. See the flyer linked below for more info on all the unique programs ACR offers for educators – be sure to share what you learn with your favorite teachers, too!


ACR Educators Programs


July Reuse & Rethink Winner: Jen Blair!

This month, we challenged you to make the most creative use of wood architectural samples. After lots of deliberation over the great submissions, the judges have decided that Jen Blair is the winner!

Jen’s doggone cute earrings are made using ACR wood samples and pin backs, and laser cut with a glowforge at a community creative space called Co-Lab. The dogs make us smile and the reuse warms our hearts!



It was a tough decision to make due to all of the incredible submissions made this month! We are inspired by all of the participants and their creations!


Make: DIY Kaleidoscope

In this multi-dimensional tutorial from ACR staff member, Ericka, we’ll show you how to make a cool kaleidoscope out of materials you may already have lying around the house! Little ones should have adult supervision when making their creation.




  • Old CDs or DVDs
  • Cardstock or Craft Foam
  • Ruler
  • Pen, Pencil, or Marker
  • Scissors and/or Utility Knife
  • Tape
  • Glue Gun
  • Optional:
    • Thumb Tack
    • Dowel, Pencil, or Chopstick
    • Clear Plastic Lid
    • Colorful Embellishments





  1. Take your CDs and slowly cut in half, some CDs are a little more brittle and may break, get a few extra CDs just in case! Then draw two parallel lines on the CD that are 1 inch apart. slowly cut along the lines. You will do this step three times!



  1. Tape your three cut CD pieces and fold them into a triangle! As you can see, our kaleidoscope has pointy edges. On to the next step!



  1. To add a little barrier between the CDs and our face, we’ll make a cylinder to go around our mirror triangles. Grab your foam or cardstock and plug in your glue gun! You will then place your CD pieces in the foam and measure out a 1/8th inch barrier on each side of the kaleidoscope and mark with a pen or sharpie. Then measure 5 inches from the edge of your foam. Cut out the rectangle. Your rectangle should measure 5 inches by 4 5/8th inches.



  1. Take your glue gun and lay some glue onto the long edge of the CD triangle, then press it near the edge of your foam sheet. Roll your CD triangle until you get to the edge of your foam. Glue the edge down! You’re basically done with your kaleidoscope. Look through the kaleidoscope, so fun!



These next steps are extra! Just to add a little more color to your kaleidoscope.


  1. Take a pencil, chopstick, or dowel and cut it down (here’s where you can use a box cutter) to be only an inch longer than your kaleidoscope. If using a pencil, don’t cut off the eraser side!



6. Take a plastic lid and poke a hole into the center with a tack. Grab your colorful objects and get to gluing! Don’t place any objects on the hole you made, we’ll be using this later! The more items you put onto your lid, the more colorful, so fill it up.



7. Place the tack through the lid and then push the tack into your chopstick, dowel, or pencil (if using a pencil, stick through the eraser.



8. Tape your stick onto the side of your kaleidoscope, near the top and the bottom. Wrap a couple times for extra security and use cute tape to make it festive!


Staff Spotlight: Ericka Laborde



How did you find Austin Creative Reuse?

Right when I moved to Austin, I began looking up cool places to go! Being from a small town, it’s amazing to see all of the different places bigger cities have to offer. As I searched for thrift shops, ACR popped up and the rest is history! I began shopping there, started volunteering, and eventually got hired.

 What’s your favorite part about working at ACR?

I love the people who make up ACR. We have such a variety of amazing artists and thinkers, whether it be my co-workers, volunteers, donors, or the customers. I love to see so many people get together to talk about reuse and art, two very important things in my life.

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

I’d say all the above! I get interested in so many different forms of art making, which makes working at ACR so amazing. I get inspired every day I go into work. I love to work with glass, many different types of fiber arts, sewing, and printing. I honestly feel like the list could go on and on.


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

When I’m not working at ACR, I like to play video and board games! I used to frequent Pinballz a lot before the pandemic and hopefully will be able to do so again soon. I also enjoy creating art in my free time and hanging with my two cats, partner, and the mini jungle of plants I accumulated over the year.

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

When sorting, I personally love coming across the weirder items that we get, such as teeth and bones. I also love looking through old vintage children’s books. Those illustrations always make me happy!


Ericka’s Bio:
Ericka has never met an art medium that they don’t like, so they’re always drawn to trying new things out! That’s how they came across ACR. A second hand art supply store? Can it get any better? They have a BFA in Art Education and conservation of the environment. In their spare time they like browsing through thrift stores, reading/listening to books, creating art, and watching their shelves mysteriously get more plants on them.

You can find more of their art at @rickamade


Sustainability Spotlight: UT Surplus REuse Store

At Austin Creative Reuse, we’re about more than just arts and crafts. We promote like-minded organizations to reduce overlap, increase awareness of city resources, and make it as easy as possible for our community to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!


This month, we are highlighting fellow reusers at the UT Surplus Property – a department of the University of Texas at Austin, that collects university items no longer being used and finds them a new home. Crews pick up items every day on campus that have been sent to the surplus warehouse via a work order system. Third party movers are even enlisted throughout the year to bring items from large projects. UT Surplus Property then transfers the items to other organizations within the university system, public schools, and qualified assistance organizations.


Through good stewardship, UT Surplus Property promotes a sustainable campus and community and supports the university’s conservation goals. “A typical year would experience approximately 500 tons of material flowing through Surplus,” says Resource Recovery Manager, Robert Moddrell. He adds, “Surplus Property represents 9% of the total waste weight from all streams on campus including donation, sales, recycle, compost and landfill.” 


Through development work with student interns, the operation has reached Zero Waste with a 92% diversion rate! “Student Interns have been involved since the beginning [in 2017], participating in evaluation, data accumulation, business plan development, store setup, and stocking and operating the store each week,” says Moddrell.



Our purpose is to repurpose.

All UT faculty and staff are invited to visit the Surplus Property warehouse at Building 45 to shop for items that can be taken back to campus for departmental use, encouraging re-circulation within the campus. The warehouse is open Fridays from 8AM-12PM and 1PM-4PM, no appointment is necessary for visits by UT faculty or staff. Students wishing to visit the warehouse must be accompanied by a faculty or staff member and are only permitted to use items for needs relevant to university departments.


The Surplus REuse Store is open to the public and operates using a sustainable model focused on recovering, repurposing, and reselling university assets, including furniture, athletic apparel and equipment, office supplies, antique items, fixtures, and more. The majority of the surplus items such as furniture and vehicles are sold through a weekly online auction process. 


There are also opportunities for public schools and qualified assistance organizations to select items such as office supplies, desks, chairs, bookcases, file cabinets, computers, monitors and keyboards to use for their designated purpose. Interested parties are welcome to contact them at


The Surplus REuse Store is open Thursdays 3pm to 7pm and Saturdays 8am to 12pm, and  is located at PRC Building 30: 3300 Read Granberry Trl, Austin, TX 78758.


Reuse on the Runway: A Night of Fashion, Costume, and Drag

Austin Creative Reuse (ACR) is holding our first ever Reuse on the Runway on October 22nd! This will be a community fashion show for creators including: fashion, cosplay, Halloween costumes, historical costumes, fantasy or other genre costumes, drag, and more! We want to offer an inclusive, no judgment environment to show off your outfits and costumes, and to walk the runway as a model.


The application deadline is August 15 for designers and models. For designers, we have an initial limit of 3 looks per designer, with a potential for more depending on the number of applications we receive. We want everyone to be able to participate, the only reason we will not accept a designer is because we have limited time for the show.


No modeling experience is expected of anyone. Designers are encouraged to model outfits or costumes themselves, or have friends be your models. The show will be in blocks by category, so if you have 3 cosplay looks, there will not be time to change during that block of the show so you will need models. There will be a short break between categories, so if you have looks in different categories there may be time to model it all yourself.


Model applications are for anyone who is interested in being a model but not being a designer to match with designers who need models. It will be between designers and models to arrange things like test fittings


ACR will host the runway inside of the fenced-in side lot, and will invite the public to support our local reuse artist community. Backstage will be inside the center. All areas, including the runway, will be ADA compliant. If you have any other accessibility questions or concerns, please let us know how we can help.


Where: 2005 Wheless Lane, Austin TX 78723


Fees: Reuse on the Runway will be free to participate. Guest admission will be by donation. Stay tuned for VIP and sponsorship opportunities!


Requirements: All looks shown in the fashion show must incorporate some element of reuse. Participants must be able to attend the rehearsal on October 15.


To apply: The application for designers and models has closed. Missed out? Consider volunteering!



Creative Cache Educator’s Program


Connecting educators of all types with creative materials that inspire reuse in the classroom!

Creative Cache is a “pay what you can” program to support local educators, teachers and non-profit organizations.  Making creative materials affordable is an important tenet of Austin Creative Reuse.  We want to ensure that income limits and budgets are not barriers to creativity and that all people and all programs have access to creative materials.  

ACR processes thousands of pounds of donations every week from mainstream materials like markers, artist paper pads, fabric and yarn to more obscure materials like wooden architectural samples, colored 3 inch plastic dots, fabric samples and slide carousels.  

All of the materials in our center are intentionally priced low, but we would like to make that budget go a little bit further for our educator friends.  You can now shop our overstock items using a pay what you can model.  We will give you a list of the materials included in the program, you will tell us how many units of each you would like, we will fulfill your request as our inventory allows, give you a value for the materials, and you can make a donation to the organization in the amount that fits your program’s budget.  

Bringing the value back into discarded materials takes a lot of work.  ACR utilizes thousands of volunteer hours every year to ensure that our costs are kept low, allowing us to offer materials at an affordable price.  However, success is more than financial for us.  While we have a need to cover our costs to keep doing what we’re doing, diverting valuable materials from the landfill is what this is all about! 

Thanks for helping us make reuse dreams come true!


No luck getting a donation appointment? Here are some other ways you can donate your creative materials to ACR or share them locally!

The past year has been doozy!  It’s been 16 months since we moved into our new home in Windsor Park and 15 ½ months since we made the difficult decision to close our doors to the public for the first time during the pandemic.  Over the last year, we have sought to be adaptable and responsive and to find innovative ways to keep creative materials in the hands of the Austin community during a time when creative expression was sorely needed.  We prioritized finding new ways to safely accept donations and to keep usable materials out of the landfill despite having far fewer volunteers in the center and extremely limited ways to move materials out the door.


Bringing the value back into previously loved arts and crafts materials takes many hands, and throughout the pandemic, we haven’t always had enough.  We rely heavily on volunteers to work alongside our paid staff members – this allows us to handle many types of items that other thrift stores can’t and to keep our prices low, keeping creativity accessible.

We know many of you have frustration with our current donation appointment model.  We hear you and we feel it, too.  Until the time comes when we can fully swing open our doors and accept all the thousands of pounds of amazing materials that we know you have, we would love to offer up some solutions that may help

  1. Large donation appointments.  If you have more than a trunk full of materials to donate (at least 6 bags or boxes), we invite you to schedule a large donation by emailing us at
  2. Pool your donations!  If you don’t have enough to qualify for a large donation yourself, you can pool your donations with friends, family, neighbors or co-workers and then email us to schedule a large donation.  Or, you can even go one step further and host a community donation drive.  We’ve got all the resources you need and can potentially even help with transport.  You can find all the details here
  3. Share with your neighbors.  We would love to accept your donations, but if our limitations make that impossible right now, we still think the most important thing is that your no longer needed materials stay out of the landfill!  We encourage you to try rehoming them in your neighborhood Buy Nothing Project or a neighborhood listserv. You never know – you might have a crafty neighbor on the block who is ready to learn something new!


It’s been a challenging year, but we’ll continue to move forward the way we always have – hand-in-hand with our community. Please hang in there with us while we continue to work hard to inspire creativity, cultivate community and make reuse dreams come true. 


Material Donation Drives


Community donation drives are back!  One way you can help support your favorite creative reuse center (and clear out all those donations you’ve been saving for an ACR donation appointment) is by hosting a mini donation drive in your neighborhood, at your child’s school, at your workplace or anywhere else you connect to people.

Hosting a drive is simple – you choose the collection location, date and time, advertise the collection to your network and then drop the materials off to ACR. Your collection keeps usable materials out of the landfill and keeps our center stocked with accessible creative materials for everyone in our community!

Here is additional information about what we can and cannot accept, and best practices when hosting a drive!



Volunteer Spotlight: Goodwill Internship Program

This Summer, we are excited to collaborate with Goodwill Central Texas and their Summer Youth Employment and Summer Earn and Learn Programs. These programs provide students across a wide range of abilities with opportunities to develop their work readiness skills and earn paid work experience. Austin Creative Reuse is the lucky host of 2 cohorts this summer through these programs. During their 5-week internship, the interns will learn critical job skills like organization, discernment, and patience through tasks such as sorting writing instruments, pricing frames, or organizing paper. Some have chosen to work at the center and are provided a job coach to work alongside them, while others are working from their home.

Goodwill intern Juan Carlos has spent 5 weeks with Austin Creative Reuse, doing some of his favorite tasks like stamping, rolling ties, securing yarn, and removing metal from file folders. He says these tasks helped him learn patience, an important skill in many job industries. Although Juan Carlos’ time at Austin Creative Reuse has ended, he is walking away more confident with his skills and with a greater understanding of reusing and its impact on the environment. 



We are happy to have a new cohort this month, including interns Janae and Luna. Janae is excited to be helpful and work in a creative environment. Through this experience, they hope to learn how to be open to others and ultimately to have fun. Luna is looking forward to working with others in a team environment, as well as surrounding herself with crafty people and materials! 



More information on Goodwill’s internship programs can be found on their website.

2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Tel: (512) 375-3041