Using Recycled Materials on Cards

Have you every thought to use Recycled Materials on your cards before? This month over at Happy Little Stampers, the challenge is just that – Recycle. This one threw me. Yes, I could come up with lots of 3D projects, and that was where my head kept going…but I wanted to challenge myself to a card. So what do you use? Well, you can use anything that your recycling!

HLS Mixed Media challenge July 2016

I’m currently living in Germany – and recycling is a MAJOR thing here. SO big, that it’s the #2 country in the world for diverting 62% of its trash from landfills – second only to Austria which diverts 63% of all trash. And it’s no joke over here – our recycling calendar is insane – almost all garbage is separated. (And in case you were wondering where the US stacks up…34% – toward the end of the middle pack)

So, I thought it was appropriate that I add my fair share on this project. With the exception of my card base, and one tiny die cut, all my materials (paper) used on this project are…yup, you guessed it – recycled!


Be sure to stop by this month’s guest designer – Stephanie Lanzalotto’s blog as well as the other design team members blogs.

Recycled Birthday Butterfly Tutorial

My card front is made of something we ALL have plenty of – a torn up box from Amazon. The base of my painting is the corrugated inside of the box. I tore it so you can see a little more of the texture and character. In order to have the paint really grab onto my cardboard without sinking into it, I first covered it with some clear gesso.

To make the piece lighter, remove one of the slick sides that cover the corrugated part – I used that for the greeting…yup – that’s not card stock – it’s recycled cardboard!


For the butterflies, I used a page from an old book. I definitely wanted to have some discoloration on the pages. If you don’t want to break apart a book, try newspaper!

  • Tear a piece of the box the size you want and remove one of the slick sides for later.
  • Paint some clear gesso onto your recycled cardboard piece.

Recycled Materials in Cards

  • Cover your cardboard in a few coats of white acrylic paint – this will become the background for your painting.
  • While your white is drying (I sped mine up a bit with a heat tool), stamp your butterfly from the HLS Butterfly Birthday set in Ground Espresso onto a page from an old book.
  • Layer your stamped butterfly over a piece of espresso card stock and another piece from the book – die cut at once.
  • Curl up the card stock and stamped layers a bit. Attach to each other using mini glue dots at the butterfly body.
  • Separate the top and middle layer with a foam dot cut in half. This will help to pop up those top wings.


  • Once your white is dry, add some pink flowers by thickly applying some acrylic paint with a rounded brush. To get the texture, just keep dabbing in a push down motion and move to another area. I left it rather thick so that it would give the appearance of petals.
  • Add stems with a little sap green mixed with Burnt Umber for an olive green look. I needed to use a smaller brush to keep the stems from being too thick.
  • Allow your flowers to dry – I used a heat tool a little, and then allowed the flowers to dry over several hours. Once dry, they had a shiny appearance.

Painted Mixed Media Flowers - Recycled

  • Stamp your greeting (HLS Doodled Flowers) using Ground Espresso Distress Ink onto the back piece of card board that you separated from the center & front. I used the slick side as the reverse had the imprint from the corrugated part.
  • Immediately dip your greeting into clear embossing powder and heat set. To see how I use distress inks with embossing powders and other embossing techniques – click here for a great video tutorial.
  • Tear closely around your greeting and adhere to your project using Multi Medium Matte or glue (be sure your stems are dry!)

Happy Little Stampers Mixed Media Challenge - Recycled

  • Smoosh a versamark pad through the Patina stencil by Penny Black so that creates a border on your card base. I didn’t want to add too many layers, as the recycled cardboard was heavy enough.
  • Add clear embossing powder and heat set.
  • Adhere your cardboard card front to the card base using glue on the ridges.
  • Go over your stamped butterfly image with a Spectrum Noir glitter pen & Attach to your painted base using foam dots.

Patina Stencil - Penny Black - Recycle

So what do you think? I bet you think twice about throwing out that Amazon box next time…lol! The best part about this Mixed Media card is that the recycled cardboard has such great texture! And to think I usually use it just to add lines with acrylic paints! Thanks for joining me today, I hope I inspired you in some way to use some recycled materials on your cards. I can’t WAIT to see what you come up with.

Join us over at Happy Little Stampers Mixed Media Challenge – now it’s your turn.

Go get those fingers inky –


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Recycled Pieces into Beauty


Not every project works out.  Do you have that same experience too?  There are often lots of left over pieces.  I used to save it all, and I’m happy to say that I have outgrown that!  But, every now and then, I have a few pieces that I just can’t throw away just yet.

I’ve participated a few times in a new challenge put together by Virginia Lu.  It’s Virginia’s View and this month the challenge was about Tags and Scraplings.  The catch – you have to use a recycled item on your project.  Today’s project is completely made out of pieces that I chose not to use, or were literally in my waste basket (the black strips…lol).

Virginias View June 2014

I’ll be honest – Virginia put together an interesting challenge this month.  Actually, each month they are interesting!  This is one of those challenge blogs that on the 1st – one of the first things I do is go and check out what she’s throwing our way.  I read it and went, huh?  Okay, not my thing and I moved on.  But I decided to go back, and try something that made me uncomfortable.  I read through and thought, why not?  So over to my “left over and junk scraps/not used pieces” I went and here is what I found:


The only non-junk pieces on this tag are the rhinestones, ribbon and black butterfly!  Even the dimensionals are from the outside border that I don’t always use…lol!  The two pieces that I pulled out of the trash for this project were the flower (and the black strips – those were hanging out at the bottom of my little scrap garbage bag on my desk.  I keep scraps up to about 1” x 3”.  Other than the 1/2” x 11” pieces, all else gets tossed.  So here are the details for todays tag.

Creative Tips –

  • Sometimes going with imperfection can be a good thing.  The main focal point on today’s tag is the Dahlia flower in Cherry Cobbler.  It was originally thrown out because the right and bottom side was stamped a little blurred.  But it’s not that bad – I’m just a perfectionist…that’s why it didn’t make the cut the first time!


  • The Love word is cut out of watercolor paper that’s been watercolored with island indigo and smoky slate.  As has the light blue butterfly – can you believe that was done with island indigo?
  • The Basic Grey background was that size, and was run through the big shot with the Lacy Brocade embossing folder by Stampin’ Up!  The texture is the perfect touch for the background.


  • Since the tag is rather large, breaking the color up was the obvious choice for me.  Since I didn’t have any left over string, I pulled out little strips that were at the bottom of my garbage scrap bag.  Criss-cross them to make the appearance of wrapped ribbon,
  • Cut a background that’s a little wider (1/16th on the left, right and bottom).  Run it through the big shot with the largest top edge of the Deco Labels Framelits to form the top of your tag.  Punch a hole with a 1/8” hole punch.


  • Pop your flower and butterflies up with dimensionals.  The butterfly wings are popped up on the edges to simulate flight.


  • Glue the love down using multi purpose glue.
  • Add Rhinestones to the butterflies and a white ribbon to complete the color pop.

I have to admit, this tag turned out much better than I possibly expected.  And who would have thought something so cute could be made from scrapped pieces?  Well thanks Virginia, I learned to definitely save a few more pieces and go into that stash a little more often!


Hope you enjoyed this.  So what scrapped pieces do you have?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

Creatively Yours –


PS – stop by tomorrow for my new 1+ 2 = 3 series – one stamp + two colors = three looks!