One person's old news can be another's person art form.
October 13, 2008 11:21 AM   Subscribe

Perhaps in your non-Metafilter time or during the occasional power outtage you indulge in that charmingly antiquated past-time of reading a newspaper made out of actual paper. But, once you've read it, you're left with blackened hands and the necessity for putting that fragment of a dead tree somewhere or other. Aside from putting it in the recycling bin, which is responsible but kind of obvious (and therefore would not necessitate a MeFi FPP) what can you do? One option is to make handmade paper. If you're an outdoors type, you could make organic flower pots, some kites, or a dory. If you're more of a fashionista or home decorator, you could make a purse or a bead necklace, weave a basket or placemats, or make a bird. If you're a spinster, you could make some newspaper yarn as student Greetje van Tiem did for her Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show. The yarn can be woven into carpets, curtains and upholstery. Here's a tutorial on how to make the yarn. Then there's always papier maché.

Besides the classic pinata, you could make a water buffalo, Halloween items (Boo!), a box, a bowl, a piggy bank (you can use the Wall Street Journal for that one), John Lennon, Hugh Laurie, or any of the items in this papier maché resource site's endless artist's galleries. There's too much there for me to offer any kind of representative sample, but I do feel strangely drawn to this piece. Here are lists containing 10, 20, 80 more uses for old newspapers. But if you've got a crossword puzzle fiend like my mother around, just make sure she gets a chance to do the puzzle before you begin crafting, or you might get guilted, disowned and/or spanked.
posted by orange swan (27 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
I make mine into beautiful, beautiful fire.
posted by Artw at 11:26 AM on October 13, 2008


Some people use them to clean glass.

Might be in the lists, but not checking 130 links to see.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:29 AM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Funny sorta-derailish...

Was watching Extreme Home Makeover this weekend, and they stopped to point out that the spray-in insulation going into the new home was a new type made from recycled newspaper. They were all back-patting about being so green and shit.

Wait a sec, I thought. Fiberglass insulation is made from sand (sand!) and recycled glass, not trees. Roll-in fiberglass insulation is a better insulator than spray-in cellulose, so it's greener, anyway. Roll-in fiberglass is safe. It's cheaper. And newspaper-based insulation has to be chemically treated so it doesn't get eaten by termites.

WTF, Ty Pennington???
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:36 AM on October 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


A giant papier mache Ent by Kim Graham.
posted by stavrogin at 11:39 AM on October 13, 2008 [3 favorites]




Besides all these friendly options, you can also use newspapers to make a weapon suitable for soccer hooliganism! Good or evil, take your choice.
posted by barnacles at 12:12 PM on October 13, 2008


I read 3 newspapers every day. How else am I going to read the news, comics and sports while I eat out for lunch? Also, I have a parrot.
posted by UseyurBrain at 12:15 PM on October 13, 2008


Oh those papier maché skulls are great. Partial instructions for them here.
posted by bwanabetty at 12:23 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't forget to make a nice hat to keep the goop out of your hair.
posted by Floydd at 12:32 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I read 3 newspapers every day.

What are you, Sarah Palin?
posted by Artw at 12:34 PM on October 13, 2008


As a paper art/craft fan, I really enjoyed your post, orange swan. Thank you.

Papier-mâché made in Kashmir is truly beautiful. Here's a video showing how it's made, using newspaper, hand pounded, rice water to hold it together, thin layer of plaster and then hand painted, freehand. And it's so cheap for small works of art.
posted by nickyskye at 12:42 PM on October 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


You can also make any newsprint into a temporary tattoo with a little oil of wintergreen!
posted by phunniemee at 12:44 PM on October 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ps, that boat of your dory link made of papier-mâché is incredible and so is the yarn made of newspaper. wow.
posted by nickyskye at 12:44 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Perhaps in your non-Metafilter time

My what?
posted by homunculus at 12:49 PM on October 13, 2008 [6 favorites]


I recently made this newspaper hut for some serious winnage with a bunch'o'kids.

Also, rolling them like that lets you make crowns, swords and so on very easily.
Rather disconcerting when your 4 year old knight tries to stab you as you dub them mind.
posted by Iteki at 12:50 PM on October 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


good stuff, orange swan

I like that waste basket made with the 60 leaves of newsprint.

The eighty-item list hit a few thuds
>38. use to raise height of child at table.
>39. use as a stepstool.
Do they mean a paper mache stepstool or a bundle of old papers? Either way, sounds like an invitation to add 81 "Splints help the immobilization process.... A rolled up newspaper or magazine [...] may be used to provide stabilization." Be careful out there!
posted by philfromhavelock at 12:57 PM on October 13, 2008


Wait a sec, I thought. Fiberglass insulation is made from sand (sand!) and recycled glass, not trees. Roll-in fiberglass insulation is a better insulator than spray-in cellulose, so it's greener, anyway. Roll-in fiberglass is safe. It's cheaper. And newspaper-based insulation has to be chemically treated so it doesn't get eaten by termites.


Fiberglass has a lot more embodied energy than cellulose. Fiberglass is a nearly all new material, while cellulose is 75% recycled. Cellulose is treated with borax to act as a fire retardant. Some fiberglass off-gasses formaldehyde. Fiberglass fibers are a possible carcinogen. Fiberglass uses 8 times more energy per unit of R-value to produce than cellulose does. I'd have to say that cellulose is definitely "greener" than fiberglass.

Is cellulose a better insulator? Generally speaking, yes, because wood fibers are superior to air/fiberglass in resistance to conduction. But in practice, efficiency depends hugely on the installation. Blown in fiberglass can lose R-value if there's a difference in temperature between the attic and living space. Both types of blown-in settle; cellulose more so, though settled cellulose retains an R-value of 3 while settled fiberglass is 2.5. Proper blown in insulation is considered to be more insulating than batts. Cellulose is definitely more problematic if it gets wet.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:31 PM on October 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


You could just make a whole house!
posted by Gungho at 1:33 PM on October 13, 2008


Do you have chopsticks in your hair by any chance?
posted by Zambrano at 1:38 PM on October 13, 2008


Perhaps in your non-Metafilter time

What?

or during the occasional power outtage

Is that a threat? YOU STAY AWAY FROM MY INTERNETS.
posted by graventy at 1:44 PM on October 13, 2008


You could caulk a flood wall.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:57 PM on October 13, 2008


don't forget the greatest papier mache skeletons of them all: the skeleton krewe! apologies if someone else has linked this already.
posted by msconduct at 1:57 PM on October 13, 2008


Ok, on the paper amazingness theme. This is such fun.

Some years ago this expanding paper chair video came out. It still astonishes me.

A nicely designed recycled cardboard chair.

And this cool thing, Bloxes: Modular Cardboard Furniture, Pretty elegant: Creativity with Cardboard.

Whoa, The Cardboard House designed by Stutchbury and Pape and Fed Ex box furniture.
posted by nickyskye at 3:33 PM on October 13, 2008


I gave up on newspapers forever this past Wednesday, when my local paper's above the fold frontpage headline was "An Economical Debate."
posted by Caduceus at 4:37 PM on October 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


tmt;dc
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:16 PM on October 13, 2008


Just the other day when I was reading my newspaper, sitting by the whale oil lamp, listening to the victrola and sipping a cup of consommé and brandy, I started to wonder what I was going to do with the blasted pile of old papers. Seriously though, very cool and crafty, up to your usual standards.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:57 AM on October 14, 2008


Oddly enough I just subscribed to a newspaper for the first time, last week.

For some reason I had always assumed it was a lot more expensive than it is. (Perhaps the prices have gone down, or have just not increased over time? Seems like my parents were always complaining about it all through my childhood, and I just assumed it was expensive.) But a year's worth of daily papers, delivered to my door, are less than what some magazines charge for monthly issues.

We were joking that if you roll them up into logs and burned them for heat, they're probably cheaper per BTU than firewood.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:42 AM on October 14, 2008


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