barnwoodDoing your part to help the environment and keep discarded items out of landfills doesn’t have to be simply your civic duty; it can also be a fun and creative way to add interesting decorative touches to your home.

If you find yourself in need of some funky, unique picture frames and have the following items lying around the house, don’t throw them away!

Instead, create some brand new frames to showcase your favorite snapshots.

  • Reclaimed Barn Wood – If you live in a rural area, there’s a strong possibility that you have access to someone who has an old barn on their property. In most cases, property owners who are faced with managing the mess will be happy to donate all the wood you want to reduce the amount they have to dispose of. You can create rustic, charming picture frames by arranging pieces of barn wood into pleasing shapes after cutting the planks down to size.
  • Old Magazines – If you have a box of magazines that you keep meaning to drop off at the recycling center, you can use the contents to create cute and clever picture frames. By rolling strips of magazine paper cut to about three inches wide into tight cylinders and gluing them to the lid of a shoe box, you can make a fun, creative picture frame or two!
  • Glass Bottles and Jars – Adding a few inches of pebbles, sand or other materials to the bottom of a glass jar or bottle will provide support for photographs tucked inside, giving the jars a new use and showcasing your snapshots at the same time.
  • Compact Discs – If you have a stack of CDs that are scratched beyond playability, or if you have a tendency to hold onto the free discs that Internet service providers used to send out as promotional mailers, they don’t have to be resigned to the trash heap. Cutting the discs into small shapes with a pair of tin snips or sturdy scissors makes eye-catching pieces for a mosaic, which you can then glue onto an old frame that’s a bit battered or even a papier-mâché frame from a craft store. Before you start cutting those discs, though, be sure you’re wearing protective eye-wear to prevent any possible shards from flying into your eyes.
  • Wallpaper Scraps – If you’ve recently completed a wallpapering project or still have remnants of left-over rolls lying about from an old project, you can use it to create beautifully patterned, customized picture frames. Simply soak the paper in water to activate the adhesive and paste it over wooden frames. When you’re finished, you’re left with a one-of-a kind frame that’s sure to catch plenty of compliments.
  • Corrugated Cardboard – Packing materials like corrugated cardboard offer a sturdy enough surface to stand up to paint without disintegrating and have an interesting texture, which makes it an ideal craft project for kids. Using a craft knife, cut your cardboard into frame shapes and hand those pieces over to the kids, along with some acrylic paint and glue to attach all the glitter, beads and rhinestones their little heart’s desire to keep them occupied for a rainy afternoon and keep the cardboard out of the trash.
  • Old Books – If you have an old book that’s losing its pages due to disintegrating binding, you can chuck it in the recycling bin and forget about it. Or, you can use it to create a picture frame fit for a bookworm’s retreat. This tutorial will even help you create a frame that doesn’t affect the book’s integrity, so favorites can be re-read when they aren’t displaying favorite snapshots.
  • Puzzle Pieces – When there are children in the house, it’s next to impossible to hold onto every little puzzle piece in the box. Rather than tossing the puzzle out and chalking it up as a loss when pieces go missing, you can create clever picture frames from the remaining ones. Just glue the picture of your choice to a piece of cardboard, then follow with the puzzle pieces around the outside borders. Finish it off by arranging the pieces to your liking and propping the whole structure up on a miniature easel.
  • DVD Cases – With this video tutorial, you can fashion a spinning picture frame that holds three photographs, perfect for a tech-crazy teen’s bedroom.
  • Board Games – Just like puzzle pieces, small board game accessories tend to get lost over time, especially in a household full of kids. Using a craft knife, carefully cut windows into the board, wherever you like. Tape your photos to the back of the board and cut a piece of cork that’s slightly smaller than the game board to create a backing. Using Velcro tabs on the four corners of both pieces, attach the back to the board to create the perfect frame for a family room or kids’ rooms!

These ideas can help you get started, but the sky truly is the limit when you start looking at items you’d like to re-purpose or recycle with a creative and inspired eye.

Try to think outside of the box before tossing something into the garbage to determine whether or not you think it may find life in a new form.

In no time, you’ll be finding new uses for things that have outlived their original usefulness or have been damaged somehow, keeping them out of a landfill and filling your home with items that bear your creative fingerprint instead.

Thanks to Maria Wells


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