Nothing is Useless

Used wrapping papers.Pile of rags. Fused light bulbs. Run-out-of-ink pens. Used tea bags. Card board boxes. The heap is just getting bigger and bigger. What to do with all these? Of course you are not going to keep in your room. Throw it away!

“When I heard the list, I started to think about new creative ideas of making interesting things out of them!” said G D Nimanthi, a first year student of AUW, when asked what comes up in her mind hearing all that stuff mentioned above. “They are like my friends, I never consider them as garbage,” she added.

Every day we find out useless scrap things from our household. Sometime, we don’t want to throw them away, but we can’t make any use of them as well. You may already know some techniques of recycling things. Now, let’s be more creative about recycling and decorate our household as well as our lives. Here are some methods of making interesting things with waste materials.

Paper Weight

If you have a fused light bulb and a bunch of pens that have no ink, it can give you a colorful smooth-surfaced half-sphere paper weight. Take out the metal part of the bulb, which is called screw thread. Now hold the bulb on a burner or a candle and keep the side up from where you took out the metal part. Be careful so that you don’t burn yourself. Put pen inside it one by one. Then heat it till all the pens get melt and take the shape of the round part of the bulb. Now put it in a cool place and let it become hard. When it becomes hard properly, break the bulb. Now your unique paper weight is ready which will help you to organize your papers.

Pencil holder 

Often we buy different products that we get in cardboard boxes. We usually throw them away, but you won’t throw in any more. Here is a process to make decorative
pencil holders for you study desk and manage your pencils, pens, markers and so on.

Take a cardboard box and cut out the upper side. Now wrap it with used colorful wrapping papers or coloring papers. You can also wrap with plain paper and decorate with colors, sequin, or laces. If the box is not suitable for a pencil holder, still you can follow the process and use it as a decorative box to keep your small
possessions, such as—eraser, sharpener, clip, and so on.

Pencil holder

Now here is another process of making pencil holders, described by Nimanthi. She makes it with toilet papers’ rolls. Yes, rolls that we normally toss away after using the toilet tissue. To make this, at first, take some scrap papers and tear those into pieces. Then put them into water. When the pieces become totally soaked with water, stick them on the rolls and cover. Then leave the rolls under sun to dry. After getting dry, beautify it as your wish. Then put another square or circular piece of cardboard under it and stick with glue. Your handmade pencil is ready to enhance the beauty of your study desk!

pencil holder from tissue paper roll

Photo Frame

The big cartons sometimes take a lot of space in our household and we don’t always use them. Let’s use them and make photo frame that will hold the picture of our near and dear ones. This are made from bigger cartons that we get mainly when we buy home appliances. For this we need to cut out three rectangular or square pieces of cardboard of same size from the carton. Take the first piece from the three and cut out a smaller rectangular or square piece leaving a space of one inch.
Now it will look like a window frame.

Then take the second piece and follow the same direction. In this second piece, you have to cut out one side of the rectangular or square piece. So, it will have only three sides. Now, take the third piece of the cardboards and stick the second piece with it. Then take the first window-shaped piece and attach a transparent piece of plastic of the same size with it. After that, stick the first piece with the second piece.

3 pcs of rectangle

Make sure that you have glued the side where you have attached the plastic. Now decorate the one-inch space of the frame according to your wish. Next, cut out a long piece of cardboard and fold into two. Afterward, stick one fold with the back side of the frame. It will help your frame to stand.

photo frame

Greeting Cards

Almost all of us have made cards in our life at one point or the other. Here is an interesting way to give your card an antique look with the help of used tea bags, provided by Nimanthi again. She requests her senior students not to throw away used tea bags. She collects them all and put them again in a cup of hot water. Soon the water takes the color of tea. Then take a piece of paper and paint it with the water through a paint brush. After becoming dry, the paper will give an antique look. Paste the paper on your card and make it look like a historical script, which will amaze your friends.

These are some cool stuff that we can make with waste materials mainly we get from stationary items. But these are not the only waste materials we make every day. Sometimes, our cupboard gets loaded with unnecessary clothes and rags. If the clothes are in good condition, we may donate to others, but what if their condition is too bad to even donate? So, here is some process to recycle those rags in an appealing way.


Can’t find anything to keep your cell phone, pen drive, key ring, or coins? Here is a simple way to make pouches with rags presented by a Vietnamese student of AUW. At first, take an adequate size of rag and wash it. When it becomes dry, sew the borders and its open ends to make a cylindrical shape. While sewing the end, keep one inch free. Take another circular size of rag bigger than the circumference of the cylindrical piece and sew it with the end which doesn’t have the free one inch. Now fold the end by one inch and sew again. It will leave a tube like hole in which you have to insert a rope or ribbon. This will help to close the pouch and make a knot. Now decorate the pouch with interesting patterns or beads and keep your tiny stuff inside and be organized.


Personalized hairclips and bands

Can’t find a matching clip or hair band to wear with your favorite dress? Well, make it by yourself! Here is an idea given by the same Vietnamese student through which you can design your hairclips and hair bands by yourself.

For hairclips, you have to make the cover first. Cut out a pair of cloth a bit bigger than the clip. At one piece of the pair, incise at one corner a centimeter or so from where you can insert the upper side of the clip. Now sew the pair together and insert the clip from the incision.

Hair Clips

Afterwards, cut out another pair of clothe in the shape of anything you like; for example, butterfly, star, flower, or kitty. Now sew the pair keeping a space unstitched.
Through that space, insert cotton or small pieces of rag and sew the opening. If you want, you can decorate the piece by stitching or drawing with glittering pen. Next, just sew the decorative piece with the clip and your self-designed clip is ready! You can also sew the piece with a rubber band and make it more attractive.

Hair band

Personalized tee-shirts

Your towel has become old and it’s time to throw it away and buy a new one. Wait, don’t throw it. Cut out interesting shapes out of it, such as—your zodiac sign, your favorite fruit, kitty, or any interesting saying. Now sew it with your tee-shirt. Keep the color contrast in mind so that the patchwork becomes visible. For example, if the piece of your towel is of light color than it’s better to sew it with a dark colored tee-shirt. Now enjoy your customized funky


Paper weight, pencil holder, photo frame, pouch, hairclips, and hair bands are some interesting stuff we can made out of garbage. These are only some examples; you can always create your own ideas. Making things by own self is always interesting and it renders a special satisfaction. It is also easy when the materials are available in our households. Moreover, being creative in recycling can help to get rid of the unnecessary thing in your room and get something even more interesting out of it.

Nimanthi, whom I have mentioned before, says, “I used to make handicrafts when I was in my home, but when I came here, I couldn’t for lack of materials. This lacking triggered me to use waste materials.” So, recycling things in an interesting way mostly provides you pleasure rather than cost you something.

So, what will you do with your garbage now?

(Photo Courtesy: Google Image)


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