Maga-trash: recycling magazines into a trash can

I don’t know about you, but every month we get several catalogs from companies we ordered one item from three years ago, and “magazines” that we barely read (I’m looking at you, AAA Magazine). I feel bad chucking them, but after a few clock variations, I was stumped on how else to use them up.

Actually, I wasn’t totally stumped. I wanted to recycle them into a trash can for our studio/guest room, but struggled to come up with a way to make it that wouldn’t be totally time-consuming.

woven magazine trash can

I finally figured it out: woven strips made from old catalog pages, set at 45° angles, let you make a woven piece infinitely long, which you can then join the ends of to make the sides of a somewhat stable trash can.

Woven magazine strips

Here’s the short version of how to do this:

  1. Pull out the staples from an old catalog or magazine
  2. Cut along the fold line, leaving several dozen individual pages.
  3. Fold each piece in half, lengthwise, 4 times, or until each strip is 1/4″-1/2″ wide
  4. Weave the strips together at a 45° tilt, lining up the bottom edges of the strips along a table edge or other straight edge.
  5. When the woven piece is long enough to suit you, paper clip the ends of the woven mat together so that the last pieces stay in place
  6. Bring the ends of the woven mat together to make a full circle and weave the ends in together (this sounds complicated, and it is, but I found that using lots of paperclips help keep the pieces in place until they’re all woven in)
  7. Fold two more strips of paper, into 1″ wide strips.
  8. Tuck the edges of your circle into the crease of these wide strips
  9. Staple generously around the perimeter
  10. Add a trash bag!

trash can made from recycled magazines

I left the bottom of my magazine-turned-trash-can open, because this will mainly hold paper scraps and bits of thread, so there’s no danger of anything leaking. If you wanted to add a bottom, you could use the same weaving technique, and fold the ends up around the sides before you staple on the bottom rim.

recycled maga-trash, top view

Turning trash into trash! Any other ideas for ways to use old magazines and catalogs?

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