How to Make a Gift Bow

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)


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 2

Image 3

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 4

Image 5

Image 5

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

Bow kits


Reusing Old Pill Bottles

Sometimes, we can’t get passed the iodine color and plain medicinal look of these prescription pill bottles and thus we throw them away. But wait!…hold on to those bottles because we may be able to remedy this problem and provide you with some creative ways to reuse these and other medicinal “type” bottles that you and your kids will love!

Whether you are looking for a way keep kids entertained in the upcoming holiday months, or are looking for a great new look for your living room lighting, here are some clever reuses for pill bottles that I’ll bet you haven’t thought of:

Great light fixture created with pallet wood and old pill bottles

Great light fixture created with pallet wood and old pill bottles

Make your own Rainbow Crayons using an old pill bottle!

Make your own Rainbow Crayons using an old pill bottle!

Snowman Craft Ornament using a pill bottle and pipe cleaners

Snowman Craft Ornament using a pill bottle and pipe cleaners








Before reusing these pill bottles, remember to take off the stickers and wash the container out thoroughly with soap and water. If you are having a tough time getting off the

stickers, soak them in hot soapy water first.

there are also many more ways that you can utilize these handy little bottles that don’t require anything more than putting something else inside to help with storage and organization. Who couldn’t use a bit more of that!

-Pin holders for Sewing

-Band-Aid Holder

-Bead Storage

-Ear-bud headphones/ wires storage ( so they don’t get tangled!)

-Bird Seed holder when going to the park, kids can feed the birds

-When traveling, your travel size toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner will fit nicely in a large pill container and this keeps thing neat in your suit case.

-Diaper Bag Condensing-If you need to take some moist wipes with you for your baby’s diaper change, you can roll a few up and carry it in a pill bottle. It will stay moist.




Trash Makeover Challenge

Texas Campaign for the Environment is throwing an exciting party to celebrate 22 years of protecting our air, water, land and health with a Trash Makeover Challenge on Saturday, October 19, 2013 at Ironwood Hall, 505 East 7th Street / Austin, TX 78701.

The Trash Makeover Challenge will include a runway fashion show, a fabulous silent auction and tasty delectables by Austin chefs. The Trash Makeover will be a Zero Waste event – at least 90% of discards will be reused, recycled or composted.

Fashion Challenge: The fabulous Tina Sparkles leads our Fashion Challenge that will feature clothing made from recycled materials.
Silent Auction: The silent auction will include items made from recycled materials and will include many of the designs created for the fashion challenge. Chef Challenge: Austin chefs will be challenged to show “what green really means in cuisine,” judged by a panel of food experts.

Tickets can be purchases on-line at


Some words from Tina Sparkles about the inspiration for her Systems Supernova Computer Wire Dress (2011):

In the summer of 2010, as an experiment and art project of sorts, I made a dress out of old computer wires; it pretty much took the whole summer to complete the dress, which I named Systems Supernova. Part of the experiment included doing a bit of research about e-waste. The dress explores the concept of systems thinking as it relates to our ecosystem. Each computer wire is situated in a closed loop system that interacts with all the other systems within the dress. Movement within one system influences other parts of the whole.

Systems Supernova Dress by Tina Sparkles (photo by Andrew Sterling)

Systems Supernova Dress by Tina Sparkles (photo by Andrew Sterling)


It all started out when I got a knock on my door from someone at Texas Campaign for the Environment. They were going door to door with a petition to get a new standard in place requiring computer and other electronics manufacturers in Texas to take back their products for recycling. Thankfully, the measure passed and now companies like Dell must offer a free recycling program for their customers.

Since I recently upgraded from a Dell to a Macbook, I was really excited about this news, so I checked out Dell’s website for info on the recycling program. I was particularly interested in knowing what they do with the computers once they take them back for recycling – like how are they recycled and where, especially since I had heard about “fake” electronics recycling programs where companies say they recycle your old electronics, but in reality they just collect them and sell them as a commodity to developing countries.

This sounds like it might be fine and good to have people re-use our old and outdated products instead of sending them to a landfill, but actually, many of the products are obsolete and unusable, so what actually happens is that workers in places like China and Nigeria are stripping the electronics of their precious metals and other valuable resources by hand in their homes without any safety precautions.

The problem with this whole scenario is that the electronics contain lots of toxic elements like lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, polyvinyl chlorides and flame retardants. What’s worse is that to extract the metals, the parts are openly burned, thereby releasing into the air one of the most dangerous toxins of all, dioxin. Studies have been conducted on the children, water, soil and air in the towns that do this type of work and the news is not good – our electronics are poisoning people and the environment! Ugh. So, I did some more research to find out what is being done about this problem and what we can do to make sure this doesn’t continue.

I want to thank Texas Campaign for the Environment for inspiring me to take on Electronic Waste and inspiring my Systems Supernova Dress! I am so glad to be a part of the Trash Makeover Challenge on Saturday, September 24th at 7 PM @ Highland Mall, where a former clothing store will be transformed into a fashion runway and recycling will be the theme of the night.

You can learn so much more about e-waste and landfill initiatives and accomplishments by Texas Campaign for the Environment at

Whole Foods Market Volunteer Week

We were lucky enough to be selected as a nonprofit participating in Whole Foods Market’s Global Office Volunteer Week! We had lots of participation and were able to create 62 teacher kits to make maracas, made and organize new business cards, cut out fabric letters for fabric banners, and created Austin Creative Reuse signs.

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Thank you to everyone who came out to help us!

September 2013 Board Meeting

September 10, 2013 at 7pm
Directors Present: Harley, Rebecca, Katy, Cindy, Leslie, Kaci

Yard Sale – Take 2!

We still have lots of materials available, including leftover fabric from our fabric sale, so we’ll be holding one more yard sale on September 28th!

Educators Material Drive

We’re tentatively scheduling our next Educators Material Drive for mid-October! We’re still nailing down the location and some of the final details, but we’re really excited to offer this event to educators this fall!

Thanks to Carole and April of Fabricker! 

Our Fabric Sale was a huge success thanks so much to our fantastic volunteer, Carole, and April at Fabricker!

Examples of Reuse Found Around Austin

A couple of extra special, dynamite examples of re-use in Austin include this Thelma and Louise style outdoor couch. The attachment of the vintage car doors to a simple re-used lumber settee, is seamless and delightful! You can take it for a spin at the Moontower Saloon down on South Manchaca.


The folks at Vuka Co-op have a great space for learning, connecting, experimenting, networking, and general creativity. These up-ended, rooted chandeliers are all over their space and pretty much made my jaw drop.

They are located at 411 W. Monroe, check out all of their offerings at:



Austin Creative Reuse is Seeking an Intern!

Do you have a passion for art, reuse or the environment? Do you want to learn more about start-ups and how to create a business?

About the Internship
Austin Creative Reuse (ACR) is seeking two interns to work 15-20 hours per week.

We are looking for team-members who are ready to use their creativity, innovation, enthusiasm and skills to help move ACR forward.

This is an unpaid internship but can count towards school credit and is a great resume builder and opportunity to gain valuable experience.

You’ll have the chance to see what it takes for a non-profit organization to go from an idea on paper to a sustainable community organization!

We offer super-flexible hours seven days a week. You will work remotely most of the time, but must be located in the Austin area. We’ll have regular in-person meetings to check in and offer help and guidance where needed.

Responsibilities may include:
Support start-up operations by tracking and analyzing key performance metrics.
Develop frameworks for policies concerning personnel, operations and sustainability.
Coordinate a marketing brand development project.
Assist with the opening of a retail location.
Coordinate an online giving campaign.
Coordinate collection of materials for ACR.
Attend events hosted by ACR that build awareness in the community.
Create internal and external communications that excite audiences about ACR.

● Well-organized and detail-oriented.
● Strong written, oral, and visual communication skills.
● Able to work both independently and as part of a team.
● Familiarity working with Google Drive, Trello or other task management tools.

You must have access to a computer and the Internet.

About Austin Creative Reuse
Austin Creative Reuse is a nonprofit organization that collects, sells, and distributes donated reusable materials. We’re giving materials a second life! We are currently working towards opening a public community and retail space.

How to apply
Email your cover letter and resume to

Ubiquitous Cardboard Art


Ubiquitous cardboard.  It’s so functional, neutral and satisfyingly semi-structural.  It fulfils as both a 2-D and a 3-D material and can be used both as a maquette and as finished product.

While it is not ideal for a long-term outdoor sculpture, this artist is able to explore many surfaces, planes and angles beautifully with this material.  A front yard of a house in south Austin is the perfect place for a cardboard sculpture garden.


Usually scissors or a utility blade are all that’s needed to cut most cardboard.  Well, the new hot cutter on the block is the laser.

Here is the laser cutter at Austin’s Tech Shop in Round Rock at work on some custom thank you cards I designed and cut out of cereal boxes.
The laser is also used in Agi Miagi’s corrugated lighting collection.  Agustina Rodriguez is the principal designer there and has a real eye and passion for re-purposing.  The cardboard in these fixtures act as a pathway for the glow to escape, and really ups the ante on this humble material


Another unknown designer uses the edge of the cardboard as the diffuser, focusing the light and our attention to the internal cell structure of the cardboard.  This almost creates a “plywood” with the cardboard, which enhances its structure as well as its possibilities with your imagination.


Reusing Circuits and Old Computer Components

As technology advances, and new electronics/computers arise, we are left to wonder, what else can these very specific parts be used for? Things like the circuits behind cell phones, and keyboards, or even an old mouse. Circuit components like relays and resistors (the colorful electronic stuff that comes up off the green surface) can be cut off and reused as well.

Here some people have found very creative and interesting ways to reuse these materials! But before you go delving into a circuit board, just a word to the wise: Please wear gloves (for lead purposes) and you may want to invest in a pair of electrical needle nosed wire cutters (home improvement store) for cutting off components from a circuit board that will be flush (cut right down to the green surface without leaving sharp points). Other than that, let’s have a ball!



Component Bugs

make small bugs out of circuit relays/ resistors/ etc!


or how about a wallet made from a keyboard circuit!

August 2013 Board Meeting

August 13, 2013 at 7pm
Directors Present: Harley, Rebecca, Angela, Katy, Cindy, Leslie

Summer Yard Sale

Our Summer Yard Sale in July was a complete succuess! We had 175 visitors and raised over $1,000 for Austin Creative Reuse. Even more importantly for Rebecca, we were able to clear out a bunch of material in her garage.

Austin Creative Reuse Summer Yard Sale

Austin Creative Reuse Summer Yard Sale

ReuseConex is coming to Austin in 2014!

We’re really excited to announce that  ReuseConex, the International Reuse Conference & Expo, will be coming to Austin in 2014! Austin Creative Reuse is serving on the Hosting Committee, helping with planning and promotion.

August Craft Meetup Canceled

The first day of school is the same night as our Craft Night, so we’ve canceled it for August. We will resume in September!

Tentative Upcoming Dates

Sept. 23 – Educators Material Drive + Craft Meetup – Location TBD
Oct. 13 – Tentative date for Educators Material Drive

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