Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday Tutorial -- Recycle with flair: Turn your newspaper into a stylish vase

Here's a wonderful use for what would usually end up in your trash.  I love finding alternative ways to use newspapers, so this is just the ticket.  I hope you like it and I hope you try this for yourself.  It certainly gives a really pretty outcome from such a lowly start, don't you think?

Rescue some of last week's copies of The Oregonian from your recycling bin and transform them into a beautiful piece of home decor. All you need are a few simple materials and a little time.

 Assorted newspaper pages, color or black-and-white
Two bamboo skewers
Glue stick
Small cardboard box
Glass vase that fits inside the box
Tacky craft glue
Sharp, strong scissors
Clear polyurethane spray sealer, gloss finish

Make newspaper reeds
Tear or cut each newspaper or ad circular page along its folds (both the spine and where the paper folds in half). You should end up with pieces that are roughly 10 to 11 inches square; they can be a little larger or smaller than that, and a rectangular shape works as well as the square.
2. Place one piece of newspaper on your work surface. The side of the page you want to show on the finished reed should be facing down. Place a bamboo skewer on the bottom right corner of the paper at about a 45-degree angle.
3. Beginning at the corner, roll the paper snugly around the skewer. As you roll, gently pull the end of the skewer out of the reed a little, so it doesn't get lost inside as you're rolling it. (If your skewer does disappear inside the reed, not to worry -- use the second skewer to poke it out.)
4. When you've rolled about half of the sheet around the skewer, stop for a moment and apply glue stick along the two edges of the paper that are still showing. Then, continue rolling the rest of the paper. Make sure the last corner of the paper is securely glued down. Remove the skewer.
5. Repeat this process to make enough reeds to cover your box.

Make the vase
Cut away the top and bottom flaps of the box, so it's open on the top and bottom. You'll be covering the outside of the box with reeds.
2. Place the box on some newspaper to protect your work surface. Apply a generous amount of tacky craft glue along one corner of the box.
3. Take one reed and cut it straight across, about 2 inches from one end, with scissors. Gently press the reed into the glue, placing the cut end at the bottom edge of the box, flush with your work surface. The rest of the reed will extend above the top edge of the box; you'll cut it later.
4. Apply more glue to the box and repeat Step 3 until one side of the box is covered with reeds. Let the glue dry about 30 minutes.
5. Once the glue is dry, use a pair of sharp scissors to trim away the ends of the reeds so they're flush with the top edge of the box.
6. Repeat Steps 3 to 5 to cover the other three sides of the box.
7. Cut eight reeds to match the width of the box. Glue these along the top edge of the vase, two per side. You may need to trim them a little to fit. Let the glue dry.
8. Apply two to three coats of clear polyurethane sealer to the inside and outside of the finished vase, letting the varnish dry thoroughly between coats.
9. Slip a glass vase into the cardboard one and fill it with flowers.

You can use newsprint pages or glossy ad circulars for this project, or a mixture of both. (I used ad circulars.) The number of reeds you'll need for your vase will be determined by the size of the box you use. The 6-by-6-by-6-inch box pictured here required about 120 reeds.

-- Portland freelance crafter and writer Diane Gilleland

You can visit her blog at


Bianna said...

I like this vase!

Artistic Diva said...

I like it too. Maybe we can try this!