How to Make Three Greeting Cards with Recycled Materialscomments (9) May 5th, 2009
I use recycled materials in my crafting whenever possible and feel happiest when I find ways to use items that would normally get trashed (or thrown in the recycling bin), so I'm happy to show you how to print on grocery bag paper to make greeting cards for this season of celebration! Any normal inkjet printer that can print on 4x6-inch paper will print onto bag paper. Not only is it eco-friendly to reuse your bags, but I also think it looks super cool!
- Paper grocery bags (one bag makes up to 12 4x6 sheets)
- Scissors and/or paper cutter
- Inkjet printer
- Thin cardboard (like cereal boxes) or recycled greeting cards
- Glue stick or two-sided tape (not necessary for the machine-sewn version)
- Your choice of decorating materials (thread, embroidery floss, yarn, ribbon, hole punch, needle, buttons, sewing machine, etc.)
I cut my grocery bag paper down to 4x6-inch sheets for printing-I've tried printing on 8.5x11 sheets, but because there are always creases, bends, and imperfections in the recycled paper, the bigger the sheet is, the more chance of it getting offset, bent, or otherwise messed up in the printer. The 4x6 sheets almost always print up fine, as long as you smooth out bends and creases as much as possible.
|Find more recycling projects:
• How to Recycle Magazines into Jewelry
• Make a Simple Recycled Quilt
• Turn Metal Cans into Hanging Flower Baskets
• Upcycle Your Tin Cans into Stylish Craft Storage
Start by cutting your bags along the corners, so you have two big sheets from the front and back and two narrow sheets from the sides. Most bags are exactly 12 inches across, so if you cut straight along the sides, you should be able to measure and cut right down the middle for two 6-inch strips. Then use your ruler and pencil to measure and mark 4-inch sections-you should have a couple inches left unused, so if one side is more bent/crushed, then don't use that side.
Once you cut up all your sheets, you'll have a stack of usable recycled paper to print on! If some sheets are extra bent up, you can use an iron to smooth them a bit-just set it high, with no steam, and go over the back (no printing) side until it's smooth. (That won't get rid of creases, but it should make them smooth enough to print on.) Load the sheets into your printer just as you would 4x6 photo paper (make sure the blank sides are facing the right way).
As for what to print, as is the case with normal white paper, photos with lots of detail will not look their best printed on non-photo paper. I recommend printing either graphic images (solid colors, clear lines, no/little shading, or small details) or plain text. In the photo below, you can see part of a regular photo I printed, with a dark blue background color, which came out a bit faded and not very sharp. So, I edited that same photo to inverse it (make it the negative image) and raise the contrast, so it's an almost blank background now. Also, I have a photo printer, so photographic images still print out pretty well even on the brown paper; if you have a non-photo printer, you'll probably want to stick to simple graphic images and text only.
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