Crafty by Nature

Crafty by Nature

How to Make a Magazine Reed Box

comments (39) May 14th, 2016     

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Sister_Diane Diane Gilleland, contributor
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Tightly rolled magazine pages make gorgeous reeds, which you can use to cover all kinds of things.
You can use ad pages, article pages, or text pages to make your reeds. All those graphics will blend into lovely, subtle colors and patterns.
Heres a simpler magazine reed project: covered picture frames.
Tightly rolled magazine pages make gorgeous reeds, which you can use to cover all kinds of things.

Tightly rolled magazine pages make gorgeous reeds, which you can use to cover all kinds of things.

Photo: Diane Gilleland
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I'm getting fairly obsessed with magazine reeds these days. They're such a great way to make crafty use of those old magazines you have lying around. Once you've glued the reeds to a surface and sealed them, you have a project that's extremely sturdy, colorful, and beautifully recycled.

What you'll need:

  • Magazine pages
  • Two bamboo skewers (the narrowest ones you can find)
  • Glue stick (see note below)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Aleene's Tacky Glue
  • Moist towel
  • Sharp, strong scissors
  • Small box
  • Mod Podge and brush
A note on glues: For this project, you'll want a glue stick that sticks strongly and isn't too wet. I'm a big fan of Aleene's Tacky Glue Sticks. Similarly, I love good, old Aleene's Tacky Glue for the gluing phase of this project-it sets up quickly, so the magazine reeds won't slide around on your project.

Incidentally, you'll end up with a lot of glue on your fingers during this project! Keep a moist towel nearby for clean-ups.

Tear out magazine pages. Fold them in half lengthwise.

Part 1: Make a Magazine Reed
First, tear out a pile of magazine pages. You don't have to worry about the torn edges being too clean-they'll be hidden when you roll up the reeds. If you have a particular color scheme in mind for your project, then make sure the pages you tear out contain large amounts of these colors. You can use ad pages, article pages-all that matters is the predominant colors.

Fold each page in half lengthwise, as shown. If you have a torn edge, just line it up with the straight edge as best you can.

Cut the page in half. Position a bamboo skewer as shown.


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posted in: recycled, recycled magazines, magazine

Comments (39)

LadyJaneAnne writes: This a great project. It caught my eye and I couldn't wait to get started. I took it in a different direction by covering the top, drawer front and bottom shelf of a bedside table. I applied about five coats of mod podge and it's almost indestructible! Thanks so much.

Posted: 5:39 pm on February 7th
1129design writes: thank your for your tutorial! here what I made out of it:
Posted: 10:04 am on October 5th
KimsIdleHands writes: THis is a fabulous idea! Since we are all crafters, instead of using a piece of reed to cover the center of the box, how about a pony bead? It could also add a bit of color.

Posted: 8:58 am on May 20th
aitken writes: wonderful! and what an excellent idea of recycling!
Posted: 10:22 am on May 17th
Toffy writes: EXCELLENT....I am going to go out to my trash can and pull out the 18" stack of junk magazines and do this craft. I am at least going to add it to my stack of to do's. I know it has been around a long long time but is also one of the forgotten crafts. Thanks for putting it back into circulation and taking the time to give wonderful detailed instructions. Great way to recycle. I think I will roll and roll the reeds one day and set aside the stacks. Then grab almost anything I can to do the designing on. Shoot they have glue that sticks to metal now so God help me...I wonder what the hallway would look like with paper reeds on it....?? Or the bathroom trashcan, or the fireplace ash bucket. Sure would look better than it does now.
Well written my Dear. Kudos
Posted: 1:06 pm on December 26th
JohnWLennon writes: I am a paper addict. I'm in my 50's and still collect paper dolls. Now I will have a big box to keep them in decorated with paper! Just think of how extra special gift giving will be at Christmas time when red and green and golds will be used! Top off with some glitter, maybe some artificial holly. Or scrapbook materials to make a special box for a birthday boy or girl. The possibilities are endless, I could just go on and on......
Posted: 1:31 pm on June 8th
preciousLove writes: i really admire this craft...
i wanna try this at home...^_^
Posted: 8:46 pm on May 19th
mizruth writes: Picture this: two pieces of same-size cardboard, with a square cut out for a picture, leave one end open to slide it in, a ribbon hanger, and viola, a perfect Father's Day present for the kids to make. Thanks for the inspiration!
Posted: 1:23 pm on May 18th
beaderonboard writes: What a great idea, and a good way to recycle old magazines and junk mail.
You have inspired me to do more recyling.
You can be sure I will be looking through the house to see what I can recycle and make new by covering it with paper reeds.
Thank you for sharing.
Posted: 1:28 pm on April 28th
mushtodo writes: This is a great idea. I think I will share this at Open Doors.
This is a program for youth and adults with disabilities and FASD. Myself included.
Better yet, I'll teach it to them. Then we'll send you pictures. Keep looking tho. This may take a few months to arrange.
Posted: 4:34 am on April 28th
applewench writes: You can cover the entire box. While the box is still blank, put the lid on and draw a line around the bottome of the lid. This will serve as a guideline to stop the design on the bottom so that the lid will still fit. I like to be creative with the bottoms for example adding a large bead or small marble to all four corners so the box sits off the table. I too have made the jewelry and like this added concept. As for the grandmother and woodworking, I don't have any of the publications you mention but all the homestores in our are: Home Depot, Lowes, even local ones Spenard Builders Supply offer free childrens classes and even provide the supplies. Also I have almost completely stopped buying crochet patterns. If I see something I like, then I search on the internet in the free patterns and almost always find something very close or similar. Perhaps the same is true of the kind of projects you are wanting.
I really love all the recycle and reuse ideas of late.
Posted: 4:08 pm on April 27th
lizander writes: I love the way the magazine reeds look and have admired such items in stores. Would like to cover boxes.....please correct me if I'm wrong, but it would seem that only the lids can be covered since it would no longer be a fit if the bottom were covered as well. Do you suggest painting the bottom part? Covering it with fabric? Other ideas? Thanks.
Posted: 1:21 pm on April 27th
WiggySister writes: Love, love, love this! I also make paper beads out of the pages.
Posted: 9:00 am on April 27th
aege8th writes: I made large beads this way and am make "beaded curtains" from them. I think they'd be fun and funky to add a visual block to my laundry room.
Posted: 12:12 am on April 27th
eveh writes: I lvoe working with paper. I think I will try this using my old garden catalogues.
Posted: 12:31 am on April 26th
Earthwood writes: Will someone please recycle their woodworking books and plans and craft books to me? I am raising my grandson and have to cut all the corners I can, but I want to have fun with it. Woodworking books and or patterns would be greatly appreciated as I have a small woodworking shop that I am trying to support us with. THANK YOU!!!!! write me at [email protected] I appreciate any help :)
Posted: 5:28 pm on April 25th
BluePlum writes: I make beads out of magazines, but this is a new concept that I will want to try.Very cool!
Posted: 3:18 pm on April 25th
AKUA writes: You say REEDS I say BEADS! This is akin making paper beads and these Reed/
Beads can be used for jewelry, curtains, room dividers and more!
Posted: 2:27 pm on April 25th
gingermama writes: I do a lot of reducing (Lost 100 pounds!) recyling almost everything, remake what I can and I also compost and garden. This book sounds like just the book for me.I really need some style in my life. Thanks for considering me.
Posted: 11:32 am on April 25th
grits222 writes: I do crafts with Seniors with various levels of dementia.
They love working with magazines. I think they would enjoy making simple projects with these reeds. Thanks
Posted: 10:12 am on April 25th
imapicklepinpal writes: Wow, thanks for the tutorial. I know what i'm using my magazines for now.
Posted: 9:11 am on April 25th
pauleena writes: How wonderful this is. I am a magazine enthusiast and this is a great way to recycle. It opens a whole new world for me. It is all I am going to be thinking of for days, I know it.
This is the best craft I have seen in a while.
Posted: 3:32 am on April 25th
deladybex writes: i saw this and said this is Nice! I have not done paper crafts for a while now and have planty of magazines with lots color in them. I will have fun with the grandaughters with this one!1 thanks!! deLadybex
Posted: 3:08 am on April 25th
BusyHands writes: Neat-o! I used to make beads from magazine pages using a similar technique but starting with a long isosceles triangle and rolling from the bottom of the triangle using a toothpick. In fact, I did this in the '70s when I was a small child. Just goes to show you that good craft ideas come around again and again.

Posted: 9:12 pm on April 22nd
paperrain writes: this is beyond cool. I have SO many magazines. And what a great gift!!

Posted: 7:26 pm on April 22nd
Sister_Diane writes: NancyWard, sure thing - thank you for linking to the tutorial on your blog!
Posted: 5:42 pm on April 22nd
NancyWard writes: Hi!

Today I posted an entry on my blog with a link to this tutorial.

Would you let me knw if that's OK?


Nancy Ward
Posted: 10:22 am on April 21st
lej619 writes: this is sooo awesome!
thanks for sharing!
Posted: 1:15 pm on April 20th
Ruth939 writes: What a great way to recycle.
Posted: 2:52 pm on April 19th
Paws2 writes: I wish there where more hours in the day so I could do every single idea that I see on this site!...but since there isn't I will have to be selective and this will definitly be one of those projects!! Thanks so much for the ideas and great instructions!
Posted: 8:02 am on April 19th
Sister_Diane writes: annquill, you're so right - I use old Martha Stewarts all the time for reeds - they make such beautiful ones!

Thank you, everyone, for the nice comments! Hope you have fun reed-making!
Posted: 10:08 am on April 18th
VINTAGE2GLAM writes: This is a great project and simple easy to follow instructions. I am a middle school art teacher and I am always looking for new projects to challenge my students. They will love this. Thanks so much. Can't wait to try it myself.
Posted: 9:55 am on April 18th
VINTAGE2GLAM writes: This is a great project and simple easy to follow instructions. I am a middle school art teacher and I am always looking for new projects to challenge my students. They will love this. Thanks so much. Can't to try it myself.
Posted: 9:55 am on April 18th
annquill writes: So neat - thanks! Great instructions too. I'm happy I've saved stacks and stacks of Martha Stewart Living - the heavy, glossy paper will be perfect for this sort of project.
Posted: 9:29 am on April 18th
ElleCsews writes: Fantastic! Can't wait to try it. I'm thinking of using chinese newspaper?
Posted: 9:14 am on April 18th
croqzine writes: I saw this and said "Diane does it again!!"
Posted: 12:14 am on April 18th
garnetnm writes: As soon as I saw this I thought "wall art." I've been looking for some way to use the colorful pages of magazines. Thanks.
Posted: 10:16 pm on April 17th
Jeff_Rudell writes: Gorgeous! Easy to do! And too clever by half! I love it.
Posted: 5:57 pm on April 17th
LindaPermann writes: whoa, this is amazing Diane! especially when you keep color in mind as you place them!
Posted: 12:18 pm on April 17th
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