Potpourri Americana

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Number of posts : 2726
Age : 57
Location : Arizona, USA
Favorite Quote : Beware the deadly donkey falling from the sky You may choose the way you live, my friend But not the way you die
Registration date : 2007-08-11

PostSubject: Newspaper Basket   Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:52 pm


The entire 126-year-old farmhouse I grew up in was insulated with old newspapers, wadded up and stuffed behind the walls and between the studs. My mother, as a girl working at the cosmetics counter of an old-fashioned pharmacy, used to use newspapers—wadded up like rags—to add a streak-free gleam to all of the glass countertops and vitrines she oversaw. When I was a boy, my blue pet parakeet, Pete, used to pass his days upon a swing overlooking a carefully cut circle of financial news that lined the bottom of his cage. Strips of newspaper, a balloon, and a bottle of sticky pink laundry starch were the basis of my very first sculpture (a globose orange jack-o-lantern as I recall and, without question, my greatest artistic accomplishment to date...when I was six). Newspaper was my preferred choice over bubble wrap for many years, and I often used it as wrapping paper, as well.

With such a long history with newspapers, it struck me as odd recently to realize that most of what I did with newspapers these days (besides read them) was bundle them up and deliver them to the curb once a week in anticipation of the 6:00 a.m. recycling truck that comes every Monday to retrieve them.

Sitting at my desk one recent Sunday, with The New York Times before me (and the preceding week's worth of papers in a slouching pile in the corner of my living room), I thought it was time to reacquaint myself with the material. The results, offered here for your review and comment, were neither complicated or difficult to make but the sense of satisfaction was enormous. Is there more fun than to make something? The artist Jasper Johns once described art as, "Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it," and it strikes me that the "doing" part more than the "object" part might be where much of the pleasure comes in.

vhs Find more recycled projects:

• How to Make a Magazine Reed Box
• Crafting with VHS Tapes
• How to Recycle Magazines into Jewelry
• How to "Waste" Paper

In honor of my reacquaintance with newspaper as a material, and as an exercise in defiance on a gray, rainy afternoon, I'm happy to offer this simple newspaper restyle, recycle, and reuse project. Use it as a recycling bin for your daily paper, place it by a back door to hold wet boots and shoes, or fill it with shredded newsprint to make a comfy bed for the family cat or dog. Have fun and Craft on!

A Sunday New York Times, a cup of coffee, and a mid-May downpour that kept me indoors resulted in this spur-of-the-moment recycling project. A scissors, a stapler, some craft glue, and ribbon complete the list of materials needed.

Trim the fold from a section of your paper to release each of the 12-inch x 22-inch individual pages.

Fold each page in half along its length, then into quarters, then into eighths. The resulting strips should be about 1-1/2 inches x 22 inches. You'll need a lot of them (I used 96 for my example), but an average Sunday Times should provide more than enough for such a project.

Start by interweaving the centers of four strips, as shown. If needed, a single staple or a dot of glue can be placed at each overlap to hold it in place.

Continue weaving strips to the dimension of your choice. My basket was ten strips by eight strips (or 15 inches x 12 inches overall).

For the sides of your basket, simply fold all strips upward at 90 degrees and continue weaving. Be sure to keep your strips snugly woven. Patience is your friend at this point.

At the corners, simply bend your side strips and continue weaving along the adjacent edges. Glue or staples are particularly recommended for this first course of side strips to hold things in place.

A detail of my project after two courses of side strips had been added. In my example, nearly four strips—each slightly overlapping the other—were needed to make a single course around all four sides of my basket.

Along the top edge, I added a double-folded strip (e.g., a regular strip folded in half again to give it added thickness). This "strut' added strength to the top rim. Strips protruding from the top edge were simply folded over this strut and glued in place along the inside of the basket.

For decoration, I added a pale blue ribbon along the fourth course of my weaving (right over the top of the newprint strip) and a darker blue ribbon along the top edge.

A detail showing a darker strip of ribbon along the top edge. I adhered this in place using a fabric glue.

Along the inside edge of my basket I added a row of The New York Times banners to cover the ragged ends of the overlapped strip ends from above.

The finished piece offers a pleasing alternative to the ever-present pile of papers that seem to accumulate on my floor between recyling days. With some slight modifications, this might also make a comfy pet bed or a kindling basket for next to a fireplace.
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