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Craft Materials

How to make your own arts and crafts material

Now, we give you some examples of how to use household material in arts and crafts in a way you may never have thought of before. Here, are some ideas how you can reuse these shreds in an appropriate way before you consider to throw them away.

Some ideas

Paper shreds

  • Do you have a paper shredder at home?
  • Do you mainly use it to just shred your sensitive documents?
  • And do you just put these shreds in the paper recycling bin?

Store your potatoes (bought or tilled) in paper shreds

Your paper shreds are an excellent material to store your potatoes in. Just take one of your old cardboard boxes, or you use the container where you normally store your potatoes in. Empty your potatoes from the box and put a layer of shredded paper on the bottom. Now, you add a first layer of potato tubers sparsely and evenly on the layer of shreds. Next, you fill a second layer of shredded paper in which you place a new set of tubers. You repeat this process until the container is filled.

The paper shreds create a dry environment around your potatoes. This protective paper layer slows down the germination of the eyes of the tubers, because they aren’t allowed to start to ‘sweat.’

This way you can keep your potatoes stored much longer than on average, and certainly much longer when you tend to keep them in the plastic aerated bag you buy ‘m in.

Use your household scraps creatively

Whether you buy or till potatoes doesn’t matter we recommend this way of storing your tubers, as it also provides a way to use your household scraps creatively.

And regarding you shred your paper anyway, it only takes a little time to fill your potato container in this inventive way.

Grind your paper shreds even further down to pulp

You can also use paper shreds and even further grind them down in a bucket with some water, with the help of a simple paint mixer. After the grinding of the paper into pulp, what you produce needs to be squeezed, so the water it contains drains out. Now let the paper pulp dry. When it is dry you can use it as it is, or you can further grind it in a cheap blender. The fluff you produce can be used in several ways.

Paper shreds as compost material

Your now fine shredded paper pulp is also an excellent carbon addition to your compost heap. The carbon material will increase the temperature of your compost heap. Hence it will fortify the process of decomposition of organic material.

When you use a tumbler composter adding this material will significantly enhance the quality of your compost. We at WONDERHOUSE recommend its use in this way to produce a cheap and healthy soil with which your garden will generate more yield. By recycling your paper this way you will indeed improve your contribution to your lower waste footprint.

Paper shreds as flocking material

You can also use the fine paper pulp as scatter material for modelling or other purpose. The easiest way, is when you color it just after you made the pulp. Preferably with some of your old residue paints. Let it dry and give it a last dry grind to make it into a fine scatter material.

When modeling dioramas we use this scatter to resemble soils, bushes, trees and grasses.

The obvious advantage of this readily available material, is that it comes to you dirt cheap. Of course, you can also purchase scatter material, but its price tag may astound you.

Here, we invite you to consider the fun of creating your own modeling stuff. Only a little effort of your is needed. However, the most of your effort will go into your patience to let pulp properly dry.

Another advantage is that there’s no limitations on what kind of color you can use on this scatter.

Just let your imagination fly away and you’ll produce in no time a wonderful flock or scatter material. A decorative craft material with which you can decorate and color the objects you made, make a fluffy layer on cards, maybe even build your first Christmas diorama with.

Paper shreds as addition to papercrete and sculpting material

Another way you can use the fine paper pulp is to add it to plaster of Paris or modeling plaster or cement. Although these mixes are also readily available, they can be easily made for any do it yourself project. Whether you want to make papercrete plant pots or stones, or produce a cheap alternative for sculpting products, this is an excellent way you can make such products yourself.

Your paper pulp mixed in with the plaster gives it extra body and generates a bit of reenforcement.

You can make a lot of things of this kind of material. Use it to make your own nik-naks, decorative bowls, beads and balls, as a base material for modeling dioramas. In fact you can use it for anything you can imagine. Here are some swatches of our experiments. In thin layers we made some demos what kind of individual textures can be easily achieved with this DIY sculpting material.

Paper shreds in paper mache

You can also use both the coarse paper pulp and the finer one in paper mache. In a similar way you can use the sculpting mixture. Bonded with PVA* wood glue, starch or wallpaper glue you can make anything you can imagine with this paper pulp.

*Polyvinyl acetate (PVA, PVAc, poly(ethenyl ethanoate)), commonly known as wood glue, white glue, carpenter’s glue, school glue, or Elmer’s glue in the US, is a widely available adhesive used for porous materials like wood, paper, and cloth.

Sponge flocking material

As a kid you may have stood in wonder in front of the Christmas display windows and marveled at the dioramas. The trees used in those displays are often made of sponge material. You can easily make this flocking material yourself by cutting them up with a pair of scissors and putting them in an old or cheap blender. This is an excellent way to make use of the old sponges you would otherwise throw away. A little coloring will give your flock the distinctive feel you like your trees to have. Any season is possible, any of your fantasy trees may come to life with your homemade flock.

Popsicle sticks

 Whatever the source of your wooden popsicle sticks, coffee stirrers or used match sticks. You too tend to use them only once, shortly after the intended use they’re mostly thrown away.

Where some of you may reuse these wooden sticks to make their own popsicles after a deep cleanse, we use the wood mainly in modeling or to create little packaging boxes for our jewelry and niknaks.

Here are some examples of how we used match sticks, coffee stirrers and popsicle sticks for our models. This cheap material is readily available which you can put to good use. For example, with these sticks you can make the model of the shed you always wanted to build next to your house. Or, just as good, you can make a model for the fun of it.


Dried plant roots

 This year we did a deep dig in our garden. While doing so, we took out a lot of debris and old plant roots. A lot of those roots from deep rooting weeds. To get a fresh start in our garden we took ‘m out. The obvious thought is to get rid of ‘m. Which we didn’t, we let them dry, so they won’t sprout anymore. We selected the nice looking ones to use in our modelling.

You can use the remainder of these dry roots as mulch in your garden. Mulch is an excellent way to prevent weeds from taking over your planters.

What you also can look for in plant roots is branched ones. Those form an excellent base to make your deciduous model trees with. Either in their green spring or summer colors, or their autumn browns, or bald for the winter. Whatever your imagination tells you, you want the tree to look like. This otherwise useless material can be formed into your wonderful model trees, which really call on your memories and inspiration.

Old pens and straws

Pens and straws are things we often discard when we’ve used them. However, when talking about modeling, they form excellent material to make pipes or gutters. Your imagination is key here. You want to make a model gutter? Or a model pipeline? Just think how much material you would otherwise throw away, which you can put to good use in your modeling.


Used soda or beer cans

Your cans normally find their way to the garbage bin or recycling when you emptied them.

The aluminum sheet of which a can consists is also an excellent material which you can use as craft material.

When you cut off the smooth part of the cans, you can simply flatten it between some heavy objects, or with some het from your iron.

In our modeling we tend to use this thin metal sheeting for road signs, billboards, and we make corrugated sheets with it. In a different how to we show you how me made our jig to make corrugated sheets for our modeling.

You can also use your old cans to cover boxes or pen holders to give them an industrial look. Or just for the metallic look of the objects you imagined.

Of course these are just a few examples, in our blog content you can expect more info on the use of junk as craft material.