Recycled Book Art

book artIf you’re wondering what to do with some of your old (or just plain boring) books, there are lots of ways to recycle them into something else.  One way is by turning your book into a work of art. By cutting, folding and gluing pages, you can create a book mobile (not to be confused with a bookmobile), a decoration for a bookshelf or art to mount on a wall.

Keep in mind that older books may have more brittle paper and can be harder to curve and shape. You may also want to consider the thickness of the book pages — you can layer thin pages (like the ones you find in telephone books) to create see-through effects, while thick pages may be better to create pop-up scenes.

See some beautiful examples at this post on Krrb.

Or watch a video by Brusspup of how to create 3D Paper Steps.


Sweater Sleeve Slippers

Kid makers, you are growing all the time, growing right out of last year’s winter sweaters. Transform those old sweaters into cool new slippers – maker style!

Click here for instructions from the Organized Everyday blog.

Sweater sleeves are a great beginning to make other things (like one of our favorite projects, Sweater Sleeve Leg Warmers). By using the existing cuff and sleeve in your design, it only takes a few adaptations to make something new.

That’s what maker mom Jena did to make darling rainbow striped sweater sleeve slippers. She teaches you how to do it, too, over at her blog, Organized Everyday. Click here or on the photo for full instructions and pictures of each step.

You’ll need these materials:

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Hula Hoop Rag Rug

Hula Hoop Rag Rug. Click here to learn how to make one from Disney FamilyFun!

Here at THE MAKESHOP SHOW™, kid-makers are always telling us how much they love making things out of simple stuff they already have at home. So we couldn’t wait to show share this great project for you to try!

Create your own giant rug out of old t-shirts and your favorite hula hoop with these simple instructions from Disney’s FamilyFun Magazine. Click here to learn how.

We found other ideas for this project over at the blog Sisters Guild, like stitching multiple rugs together, or using a rectangular frame for a rectangular rug! They suggest using hula hoop rag rugs for easy picnics, play mats or spots to kneel on while gardening. Click here to read more. We also think a rug could be a great gift for a birthday, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day!

Get weaving, kid-makers, and don’t forget that we love to see what you’ve made. Send us notes and photos at Stay calm and make on!

© 2012 Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Computer Monitor Cat Bed

Click here to see computer monitor cat beds by AtomicAttic on

Did you just do a double-take, kid makers? It’s an old computer monitor, emptied of its parts and filled instead with a pillow and cat!

This cool reuse idea is catching on in the blogosphere and we found several examples. The coolest are for sale at the Atomic Attic Etsy Store (Etsy is an online marketplace for makers and crafters.)

But it’s always more fun to make one yourself, so click here for instructions!  If you don’t have an old computer monitor or TV at your house, check a nearby thrift store. As CRT monitors are being replaced with newer, slimmer LCD screens, this is a great way to upcycle something old into something useful.

One of the most fun parts of this project … Read more of this post

Giant Wooden Xylophone

Kid makers, we know you love GIANT stuff! So we know you’ll get excited by this easy-to-build xylophone made from giant 2’x4’s. Click here for instructions. Hang it from a favorite tree or your bedroom door – we even built one into a bench here in the MAKESHOP™.  Special thanks to Chris Bandy of Bandy Woodworks and his co-hosts in this episode, Asher and Eden!

SAFETY NOTE: This project involves basic hand tools for woodworking, like saws. Ask an adult to teach you as you build together and always be very careful when using tools of any kind. 

© 2012 Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Plastic Fusion

“Plastic Fusion” creates a colorful new material by ironing plastic grocery bags between protective layers. You can use this process to make all sorts of things like hats, purses, ponchos, bags, belts, bracelets and more. “Fusion” is melting something by applying heat to it. In our newest video, kid makers Amberly and Melvay teach YOU how to fuse plastic with a warm iron to make cool projects.

Download the instructions for this project here: Plastic Fusion Instructions. Send us photos of what you make at And remember, stay calm and make on!

*SAFETY NOTE: Kid makers, this projects involves an iron. Ask an adult for permission or help with that part of Plastic Fusion.

© 2012 Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh