I’m really passionate about our planet and doing my bit for the environment. You don’t have to be a full blown eco warrior hippie to make a difference, but if we all make an effort then little by little I truly believe that together we can change the world.

Personally I find that by making little changes here and there and adapting greener habits I’m slowly changing my ways for the better, and hopefully I can pass these onto my children and influence those around me.

As we know recycling is good for the planet and good for your pocket. The more you can re-use the less crap that will end up in land fill. Every little bit counts. Even if you only get one more use out of something before it is thrown away, that’s one less thing you had to buy and therefore one less thing thrown out

So this post is a list of items I like to collect and re-use in an attempt to lower my waste, and save money In the studio. There’s the obvious things of course that creatives will pounce on but these ideas are looking more at everyday rubbish as opposed to the once in a while treasures we come across. It’s good to get yourself into the habit of viewing all rubbish with open eyes, you can find some real gems and save them from becoming trash.

Such as..

Jars – Ok this one might be a little obvious, but what I’m talking about in particular are the kind with glass lids. I (sometimes) purchase certain brands by the packaging they come in – if I can reuse it then it’s a bonus. I haven’t thrown one of these coffee jars out in years. They come in so handy. Just remove the labels and they’re great to store materials, use as a water jar for cleaning brushes, use in a project, contain gifts and so on.

Deodorant 4

Plastic/Paint palettes – Don’t ever spend your hard earned money on a piece of plastic crap to put paint on. Humans throw out pieces of plastic crap every day. Use those instead. I like to collect plastic lids, meat trays, any plastic trays used for fruit/veg (all though I avoid when I can sometimes you can’t help it) jars with lids etc.


Scrap paper #1 – Off cuts, interesting textures or patterns, gift cards, pictures, keep it all in a folder of sorts and re-use it. Great for scrapbooking, art journals, mixed media art, stationary and kids projects.


I remember my Nan used to keep her Christmas cards each year and when I stayed with her and Pop I loved going through them to cut out the pictures and paste onto paper. Imagine getting your kids to make a heap of Christmas cards or tags with last years left overs? Win win!

Scrap paper #2 – The actual scrap scrap. Use the backside. I make A4 sketch pads using scrap paper from work with old invoices/order forms etc. Anything that can be flipped over and used for sketching ideas or writing notes – gold. I use a big fat bulldog clip to keep it all together.

Old hand towels/tea towels – Cleaning/wiping/drying your brushes and just general artsy mess. To be honest I’m currently using my sons old (but certainly clean!) cloth nappies.

Blotting paper sheet – I like to use a piece of blank paper to wipe my brush on and test colours. Often these little strips of paper turn out quite interesting with an array of colours and strokes. These used to be thrown away but recently I have been turning them into gift tags, cards, bookmarks or simply putting them into my scrap paper folder for another use.

Broken Jewelry – Never discard old jewelry without picking it apart and collecting the useful pieces first. Charms, beads, chains, you name it. Collect it.


Packaging – Boxes, bubble wrap and tissue paper in particular. If I sell something and need to post it I like to re-use packaging materials rather than buy them. So I keep a nice collection of materials stashed away. Pretty gift boxes are really great for this too!

Fairy Parcel3

Well there’s 8 things that I collect to re-use regularly that perhaps you hadn’t thought of.. or maybe you have. I’d love to hear more ideas so please add yours into the comments below!

3 Comments on “Recycling Ideas for the Art Studio

  1. Im the same way. Here’s a list of stuff I never throw out and always scoop up when I see at at thriftstores:
    -plain sheets for textile projects
    -teddy bears for endless supply of stuffing for forms and fill
    -lace, doilies, twine and ribbon
    -hardware (hinges, drawer-pulls, handles and knobs)
    -wood scraps from broken furniture
    (I have so many wooden chair dowels!)
    -greeting cards and wrapping paper! Some as old as 40 years from the thrift store! They come in handy for personalizing gifts and paper crafting

    • Great ideas! Thanks for sharing, wooden chair dowels now they sound interesting! Funny how some things people wouldn’t look twice at but you can see the potential 🙂