How Tos/Tutorials

Category Archives:How Tos/Tutorials

Make: DIY Dixit Game

DIY Dixit Game Tutorial!

Do you want an excuse for you and your family/friends to play around with collage? Have a go at making your own Dixit game!

James Talon, one of our talented Reuse Specialists, created this step-by-step tutorial to guide you along the way. There is an accompanying video that gives you 20 tips for creating surreal collages, plus, we also have kits available in our online store!

Let’s get started!

A completed set of Dixit cards, created by James

What is Dixit?

This is a game that relies solely on having surreal artwork on a deck of cards, so it’s super flexible and fun to make, and even more fun to play! It’s similar to the popular games Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples, but think artwork instead of words. Everyone gets a chance to think outside the box in this really fun game!


What’s the game like?

The goal is to get the most points by the end. Everyone gets dealt a hand of cards which all contain surreal artwork, and players take turns being the storyteller. When it’s the storyteller’s turn, they look at their own hand of cards and pick one for that round. The storyteller gives the other players a hint at what their card might be by either telling a story, making a joke, giving a vague one word clue; whatever they want! All the other players look at their hand and choose a card that they think best matches the clue given that round. Then the cards are anonymously displayed in front of everyone… and it’s time to vote!  Points are assigned based on votes, and winners are the ones who have their cards voted on. Complete details about gameplay mechanics can be found here.


Sounds fun, what do I need to make my own Dixit?


Basic supplies:
  • Sturdy, matching file folders (or anything that would work as the back of the cards, such as empty cereal boxes)
  • Mod podge
  • Brushes (for painting and applying mod podge)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Water cup
  • Rag or paper towels
  • Scissors
  • Plastic wrap
  • Something heavy to press down on drying cards (such as a stack of books)

Ideas for sourcing collage material:
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Children’s books
  • Illustrative art (think of art that’s meant to tell a story or convey something specific, rather than art for the wall)
  • Abstract artwork
  • Vintage magazines
  • National geographic
  • Artistic or vintage photographs
  • Wall paint samples
  • Calendars
  • Sheet music
  • Maps
  • Other 2D stuff!

Optional, but helpful:
  • Other collage tools, such as: punches, flat, non-3D embellishments, mats, and cutting equipment
  • Paper cutter (to trim your file folders evenly into cards)
  • Laminator (makes the cards more durable)


Okay I have the supplies… How do I make the game?


Step 1: Trim the file folders into same size cards

After trimming off the non-rectangular elements of the file folders, I divided them evenly into thirds. You can choose to follow the example below, or pick whatever dimensions you prefer for your cards to be!

You need a minimum of 86 cards for a viable deck, but you can make as many as you want!

I used a paper cutter and some rulers because I wanted my cards to be exactly the same size. You could also look at getting sturdy card stock that’s pre-cut to a certain size if you want! The sturdier the better though, unless you have a laminator!


Step 2: Tear out background ideas

I used all kinds of things (listed above in the collage materials list) so look around your house or visit ACR to find more two-dimensional things that would make for an interesting backdrop!

I put potentials in a folder labeled backgrounds. There’s no need to cut them to size at this point in time, as you’re not even sure you will be using them!


Step 3: Cut out interesting characters

This is the most time-consuming step, but it’s also the most rewarding later on. Imagine trying to build a house out of Legos… if you had to carve every single Lego as you were building it! The same principle applies here.

Me and some friends spent some time cutting out characters before we went about designing our scenes. It was totally worth splitting the days, and we were shocked at how creative the scenes became!

If you’re sure you’re going to use a character, go ahead and finely cut out at least the top portion of its head and shoulders so you can easily compose a scene later. For other potentials, all you need to do is roughly cut it out, because you can always refine it later if you decide to use it.


Step 4: Organize characters and subjects

When you’re making 86 cards, you need a lot of organization to do it efficiently! I suggest setting up some folders with labels. That way, when you’re trying to find something for your frowning horse character to wear on his head, you’ll have a folder of objects you can dig through to find a perfect hat!

Suggested categories include:

    • Small, medium, and large characters (illustrated)
    • Objects
    • Symbols
    • Photographic / real life
    • Stickers


Step 5: Arrange a scene

This is the most playful and fun step! So much potential… Should the smiling dolphin man be dancing in a winter forest..? Or on a giant book! Don’t cancel any ideas just because they don’t make sense… If anything, it will add to the surrealness! 


Step 6: Glue down the scene

This is where it pays to be patient and thorough. Using your brush, carefully apply a small amount of mod podge to the entire front of the card, without getting any glue on the backside (otherwise your card will have a distinguishing mark).

Apply your background and make sure there are no ripples. Let it dry under something flat, like a stack of heavy books wrapped in plastic wrap (so that the cards don’t stick to the books, and peel off when dry).

Keep track of your characters since they will be separated from their background for this brief amount of time. I usually take a photograph before I separate them so I don’t forget any elements, then I put them in their own folder labeled In Progress.

Once your background is flat and dry, it’s much easier to glue down the characters. Again make sure that you completely cover the backside of the character before applying it to the backdrop. Any loose pieces will stick up as you play with this deck. Dry your card the same way as before.

If you don’t plan on doing any painting with acrylic paint, you can go ahead and skip the next step, moving right into Step 8, the final mod podge layer. This way you only dry your cards twice instead of three times.


Step 7: Blend with acrylic paint

To achieve a sense of surrealness to your scenes, it helps to tone down the collage aspect of the cards by blending elements with paint. 


Step 8: Add final mod podge layer

Finish it off with a layer of mod podge on top of the entire card before putting it under the plastic wrapped stack of books to dry for a final time.

When your cards are done, you can also laminate them if you have the opportunity! I recommend leaving the backs plain, without mod podge, but you can experiment on a test card to see what you prefer!

And that’s it! You’re done with the art and creation part. Now it’s time to learn the mechanics of the game so you can play with your friends!

TIP: You can try making one card all the way through with these instructions just to see the process, and then if you want to make a lot of cards more quickly, you can break it down into the big steps as I described above, not moving on before you’ve cut out all the characters for many cards, and so on.



Classroom Maker Space Inspires Reuse and Creativity

A Maker Space Provides Enrichment to Any Learning Environment

Through tinkering and creative exploration, reuse inspires the engineers, designers, architects, and artists of tomorrow. One South Austin teacher is using reuse to inspire bright futures in the lives of her students. Lori Dinsmore, 1st-2nd grade teacher of the Whole Life Learning Center, believes in the power of reuse to foster tangible problem solving and hands on learning for her budding sapphires. 

Ms. Lori’s Maker Space was inspired by the engineering design process, encouraging students to design a solution, test their hypothesis, and improve on their methods. This process supports problem solving skills and critical thinking. Ms. Lori also uses the space to promote explorative creativity among the students through art projects and free build time. “It’s more about the process than the product. We are promoting a growth mindset and teaching the students how to improve through resilience.”

Why did you choose to create a maker space for your classroom?

“My students are very hands on, they like to build and construct things with 3D materials. I’ve watched their interests grow in different engineering projects, like working with clay and building spiderwebs from clothes hangers, and I know they are a group of problem solvers.”

What supplies do you keep in your maker space?

All of the supplies my Maker Space came from Austin Creative Reuse, including the plastic bins and magnetic spice containers used to store materials. Some of the materials I keep on hand include:

  • Index cards
  • Cotton balls
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Paper towel rolls
  • Miscellaneous hardware such as nuts, bolts and washers
  • Wheels 
  • Paper clips 
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Straws
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Plastic cups of various sizes
  • Cupcake/muffin wrappers
  • Plastic silverware
  • Paper plates
  • Shoelaces
  • Tape
  • Wooden dowels
  • Rubber bands
  • Play-doh
  • Glue guns 
  • Glue sticks
  • Plastic lids (found in bucket section of ACR)

I keep it all organized using printable labels similar to these:

Here are some of the projects Ms. Lori’s students have worked on:


Art Project

“Inspired by the book, Snowballs by Lois Elhert, we experimented with using non traditional materials from the maker space to create snowmen designs.”


Free-Build Project

These are not related to a specific engineering challenge. A plan is made for what materials are needed and how the student plans to execute their project, then they visit the maker space and gather the materials they need for their creation. 

The beginnings of a submarine

A water slide

Roller skates

Engineering Challenge

In an engineering challenge, students are introduced to a problem and given the materials to create a solution. Here’s an example of a challenge executed by Ms. Lori’s class:

Example of a completed catapult

Catapult: Make a catapult to test how far you can launch a pom pom 

Materials: Popsicle Sticks, Rubber bands, Pom pom, Plastic spoon, yardstick 

Materials for each group of 2-3 students: • 6 rubber bands • 10 popsicle sticks • 1 plastic spoon • 1 large pom pom (modify with more or less materials to make it easier or more challenging)


  1. Introduce challenge to students. Optional physical science connection: Mini-lesson on stored/potential energy, kinetic energy, simple machine: lever 
  2. Students can work individually, or in groups of 2-3. Students will sketch a plan with their team of their first draft design for their catapult. 
  3. After reviewing design, give students the materials listed above. They can begin building at this point. Teacher can choose time limit for build based on student needs and level of challenge. 
  4. Students test out their catapult and measure the distance using yardsticks. 
  5. After measuring, students go back and work to improve their design to see if they can make it go farther. 
  6. Students present their designs to the class and explain their building process. 
Other ideas for engineering challenges: 
  • Build the tallest tower you can that is able to hold a soup can using only tape and pieces of paper
  • Build a marble run 
  • Create a soda bottle airplane and test out different aerodynamic wing shapes out of cardboard
  • Build a raft that floats out of materials in the maker space, test it out in a tub of water by adding pennies for weight. 

Make: DIY Mini Sensory Board

DIY Mini Sensory Board


Make a mini sensory board for your little ones using extra materials! This simple assemblage can be a fun craft to make with your kids, or a great way to use up those scraps as well as keep those little hands busy. Our Reuse Specialist, Blessing, walks you through the steps below.


  • 1 8”x10” or larger picture frame (w/ removable back)
  • 1 sheet of felt (optional)
  • Glue gun & glue sticks
  • A variety of materials with interesting textures (make sure they’re kid-safe, if making for a small child)


  1. Remove the glass/plastic front of the frame. 
  2. Hot glue the felt sheet to the inner backing of the frame and cut off excess.

3.  Arrange your textured materials on the board; cut to desired shape and size if applicable. If using yarn, cut a strand, tie a knot in the middle, and glue all the knots together on one spot of the board for a fun fur patch.

4.  Hot glue materials into place. Make sure they’re securely glued onto the board. 

5.  Fit the board back into the frame and enjoy!



Start the New Year with Gratitude!

It’s a New Year! Each year we begin fresh and ready to create the lives of our dreams. The process to fulfillment starts first with gratitude. Practicing gratitude regularly in your life will bring happiness, satisfaction, and appreciation for the life you currently live, and improve your outlook on the future.



Help you and your family be grateful this year by starting a gratitude jar or journal. To start a gratitude jar, get any jar you have laying around the house, or get one from, and place it somewhere centrally in your house like the mantle or dining room table. You can decorate the jar with whatever you’d like – this tutorial shows a fun way to create a colorful, glittery jar with your kids. Everyday, write down something you are grateful for and put it in the jar. Watch your wealth of gratitude grow as the year goes on. You can regularly pick notes out of the jar and remind yourself of things you are grateful for.


Similarly, use a journal to write down what you are grateful for each day. Grab a journal from our online store and use it to express gratitude in your life. Use these prompts to get you started. Don’t be afraid to make your own!


Helpful tips:

-Be consistent. Make gratitude a part of your daily routine.

-Be specific. Among the big things, what little things are you grateful for?


Happy New Year!


Make: New Year’s Eve Confetti Cannon

Celebrate NYE in style with this simple, DIY confetti cannon

Supplies: toilet paper tubes, balloons, confetti, tape, scissors, paper, glue

Step 1 – Tie the bottom of the balloon, cut the top, and place on one end of the tube.

Step 2 – Secure the balloon to the tube with tape.

Step 3 – Decorate the tube with colorful paper, stickers, ribbon, or markers.

Step 4 – Fill with a few tablespoons of confetti, pull the balloon, and POP!

Make a Luminary

Happy Winter Solstice!  ❄️
December 21st marks the beginning of winter for the northern hemisphere, as well as the longest night of the year. In 2020, this date also marks the “Great Conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn, in which the two giant planets will align in the sky!  Celebrate this stellar day with this simple DIY Luminary tutorial created by ACR volunteer, Sarah K.  Sarah comes to us through our great partnership with The Junior League of Austin.

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!





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

2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
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