How to Make Your Own Alcohol Inks

Make a Mini Zine

How to make a mini zine using a single piece of paper!

July Artist Spotlight: Lys Santamaria

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, local artist Lys Santamaria transitioned from beadwork to mask making. ACR proudly donated materials towards her goal of making 400 masks for underserved populations in Austin. Thank you for using your talents to make our community better!
How did you start creating art?
I started creating art when I was very little – I’ve always loved using my hands.  My mom taught me how to knit and after that, I would read how-to books on all kinds of subjects from friendship bracelets to origami.  As an adult, I’ve kept it up until I finally quit my government day job to become a full-time Beadwork Artist three years ago.  It’s been a wild and wonderful journey!
How does reuse play a part in your art?  
Austin Creative Reuse has been a wonderful source of inspiration and accessibility.  Often times, art materials are hard to come by or can be pricey.  ACR makes it so that I can experiment with tools or materials that I would never think to use or that don’t make sense for me to purchase at full price.  This gives me the ability to create on a grander scale than I could have originally imagined.  With ACR, I have a wealth of materials available that inspire me to stretch and expand my creativity.  

How has your art adapted during the age of coronavirus?

During coronavirus, I began making and selling masks. I was inspired to pivot my business as all of my sources for income had ended.  I wanted two things: to continue creating and to serve my community using my talents.  Mask making was the answer.  During that time, I was donating a small number of masks to people in need but I wanted to do more.  So, I embarked on a BIG project of making 400 masks to donate to Austin’s underserved communities.    


What inspired you to embark on such an ambitious mask-making project? 

The pandemic was really difficult for me as a small business owner and I went through a lot of tough times and emotions.  I knew I had to change and keep creating to keep myself and my business afloat.  Once I started selling masks, I saw that there was a real need and wondered how I could serve those who could not afford masks.  Thanks to my friends at ACR and a grant from NEST Artisan Guild, I was able to embark on this mask-making project and create change for so many people in need who may not be able to afford reusable masks or do not have access.  My business mission is to create joy using my gifts and this project aligns perfectly with my goals.


Where can we find out more about your art?

My shop and information are at: or on Instagram @lys.artist 


Make a Rainbow Catcher

This simple, repurposed frame is now a superstar rainbow catcher! See how to make it in just a few steps:

Make a Thread Spool Shelf

Check out this simple craft tutorial by one our staff members, Lori! Save those empty thread spools and combine them with a few basic materials to create this adorable, hanging shelf! 


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June Reuse and Rethink Contest: Rube Goldberg Machines


This month, we challenge you to use reused items in your home to create a Rube Goldberg machine! Named after a famous American cartoonist, a Rube Goldberg machine is a machine intentionally designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and overly complicated way. Create a series of simple objects that perform an action, triggering the next action, ultimately resulting in a singular goal. Please see the video below for an example!

June 30th, 2020

– Materials must be reused
– You MUST incorporate a ladle and toilet or paper towel roll in your machine (so we know you made the video!)
– The submissions will be judged on three qualities: creativity, use of reused materials, and functionality of the machine
– Videos can be no longer than 3 minutes
– Submissions must be made on or before the deadline

A free bucket voucher from ACR and a $5 gift card

Please send a video of your machine, your contact info, and a short description of materials used to Winner will be notified and announced on social media!

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June Volunteer Spotlight: Charlene Ansley

Charlene, right

What motivates you to volunteer?
That’s an interesting question.  I guess I’ve never thought about motivation, it’s just something that I do.  In retrospect though, it’s almost always a joyful experience and it gets me out of my own head.
Why ACR?
ACR is the perfect combination for my love of the arts, my compulsive recycling, and my concern for Gaia and her creatures.
How long have you volunteered with ACR?
The first time I volunteered for ACR was a free-stuff-for-educators event that was held in Harley’s back yard (one of the original founders) where supplies were laid out on the grass.  I’m not sure when that was but ACR’s come a long way since then!
Are you more into the arts aspect of ACR or the conservation aspect and why?
Both, I think, but there’s another aspect of ACR that I really appreciate and that is that it’s such a well-managed organization.
Where else have/do you volunteer?
When I lived in Midland and my kids were younger, I volunteered for Meals on Wheels, my church, and the League of Women Voters.  I ended up getting a job in the Texas office of the League when I first moved to Austin.  Then there was a block of several years when I had so many part-time jobs that I didn’t have time to volunteer, but now I’m able to again and mostly volunteer for my neighborhood association and ACR with an occasional green space cleaning gig.
What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering for ACR? 
There are several layers there.  First, the people. The folks associated with ACR, staff, volunteers, and customers are such fun, interesting, good peeps.  I feel like I’ve found my tribe. Then there’s the stuff!  The thrill of finding that amazing treasure in a box of donations or a vintage something or other that brings back memories is intoxicating.  And really, where else could I find the kind of tasks that are a zen meditation for me, like untangling a huge wad of yarn, organizing seashells, sorting marbles, taping scads of bits of ribbon, stamping merchandise tags, and more?
Do you have any interesting or funny stories about something that happened while you were volunteering at ACR?
When the shop first opened there was a barrel full of red plastic 2 lb. coffee containers in the bucket section.  I thought they would never move, but while I was working one evening a kindergarten teacher discovered them and was so excited to have her class make crowns out of them that she bought them all.  Every one. That taught me to avoid rejecting something when sorting that seems too crazy because there’s usually someone who will love it and it will find its home.  I treasure overhearing people make those kinds of discoveries when I’m on the floor.
Thank you, Charlene for all your contributions to ACR! Charlene has been volunteering with us since before we even had a physical center and we can’t imagine ACR without her!


Welcome, Calder!

Austin Creative Reuse is thrilled to welcome Calder Kamin as our newest board member! Calder will be helping us develop strategic partnerships and on special projects. She has jumped right in by supporting our social media and marketing strategies, and advising us on online sales. Calder has been a long time supporter of ACR and a frequent shopper, sourcing materials for her latest artworks. Her work was recently featured on MSN.

Artist, educator and advocate, Calder Kamin transforms trash into beautifully crafted creatures and opportunities to reeducate our cultural perceptions of waste. She’s engaged hundreds of museum visitors through her public workshops and art projects including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The American Museum of Natural History. The i.d.e.a Museum, Utah MOCA, The Contemporary Austin, Women & Their Work and The DoSeum. Kamin starred in an episode of the PBS series Arts In Context and two Disney Channel commercials sharing inspirational messages about creative reuse. She has a background in art administration, higher education and city government providing professional development for artists. A native of Austin, Kamin is the Career Services Manager and Lecturer at the University of Texas, College of Fine Arts. She holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute.

She can be contacted at

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ACR Donates Mask Materials

Despite the center being closed over the past two months, ACR proudly supported efforts to make masks for healthcare workers, the elderly, and other vulnerable members of the community. We donated enough fabric and supplies to make over 1,500 masks, with a retail value of nearly $500! Thank you to Dell Medical School – UT Austin, Covid Rangers, SAIVA, and all the individuals who picked up materials and volunteered their time. We appreciate your work to keep our community healthy!

Reuse and Rethink: Austin Landmarks Edition!

Deadline for submissions: April 30th

While we are all physically distancing at home, we’re bringing back an ACR classic – the Reuse & Rethink Challenge! This month, we challenge you to recreate your favorite Austin mural or landmark from any items (or people) you have in your home.


♻️ All materials must be reused / found in your home.
🎨 The submissions will be judged on three qualities: creativity, workmanship, & use of other reused materials.
 Submissions for the month must be made on or before the deadline.


Submit your work for the opportunity to win a $10 gift card to enjoy at ACR when we reopen! 

Please provide up to 2 photos of your art piece, your contact info and a short description of materials used. Your submission can be emailed to Winner will be notified and announced on social media! 🧡♻️


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