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Eco-Art Crafts Made by You

Holiday Crafts
1. Floating Collage
2. Gift Wrap Ideas

Floating Collage

Recycle! is a hands-on studio located in the Boston Children's Museum. Since 1972 it has provided space, re-usable materials and inspiration for using a vast array of found materials creatively. In 1976 Recycle! gathered a collection of project sheets it developed for instruction into a now classic book, Recyclopedia. Since then Recycle! has, of course, developed myriad new projects but has been too busy to compile Recyclopedia II. However, Recycle! has contributed a project sheet for Floating Collages for this column.

We know people of all ages who have enjoyed making them. These collages may be used as tree ornaments. They look wonderful hanging in windows, worn as pendants and sent as cards. Why not create several and construct a mobile with them?


  • Clear and colored contact paper
  • An assortment of paper (tissue, construction, mylar, origami, wrapping, newsprint); torn movie, baggage and plane tickets; doilies, etc.
  • Array of found objects that can be flattened like leaves, herbs, flowers and ribbon
  • String or yarn
  • Pair of scissors and/or pinking shears
  • Holepuncher
  • Crayons

Determine what you want to do and then cut a shape from the clear contact paper. (Our sample measures 6" tall and is 5" wide at the base and 4" wide at the top.) Peel back a sheet of this shape and lay it sticky-side up on your work surface. Keep the non-sticky back handy because you'll soon need it to "sandwich" your collage.

Color and draw on, punch holes in, and tear shapes from the array of papers and press them gently onto the peeled-back clear contact. Try layering bits of papers, different colors of tissue on top of each other, or layering leaves or bits of ribbon beneath some newsprint or other paper. When collaging, leave space along the edges of your clear contact paper to create a clear border--the space left can be embellished after the collage is "sandwiched" and sealed.

When you are finished sticking down your materials, reseal your collage with the non-sticky clear contact backing. Create a "sandwich" by covering your collage with the backing, and pressing down firmly so the sticky contact paper re-adheres to its backing along along the edges and in any spaces between your collage.

Punch a hole in the top of your collage and thread a long string or piece of yarn through it to wear as a necklace or a 2-1/2"-4" strand for other uses.

Gift Wrap Ideas

Overlooked Gift Wraps
Consider using blueprints, wallpaper scraps, crepe paper, decorative paper napkins and placemats, graph paper, rice paper, children's drawings and burlap to produce attractive effects. When using thicker paper and burlpa, use a glue gun instead of ordinary glue.

Results of an Informal Poll on Wrapping Choices

Use wrapping paper and ribbon saved from last year's gifts.
Steve Kane, Management Consultant

Cut a star or Christmas tree from a sponge, dip it in white paint and stamp on brown wrapping paper. Tie with mailing twine or bold ribbon. For gift tags, cut or tear an abstract shape from the back of a greeting card. Outline the edge with a gold pen (optional). Punch a hole in one end, slip in a piece embroidery floss and tie it to the package.
Julia E. Newhouse, Artist

Use colorful or interesting pages from Spanish or Chinese newspapers. Tie with ribbons left over from last year.
Corey Smigliani, Illustrator

Use newspaper with no ribbons.
Boris Bally, Metalsmith

Use tissue paper to wrap the gift. This project is comfortable to do with book-size presents. Lightly draw the outline of a bell or abstract shape in pencil on the package. Using a gold ballpoint pen, write a brief message (e.g., happy holidays) in capital letters-no more than 1/4" high-inside the bell. Stop lettering when you hit the pencil outline, even if you don't finish the word. You may continue lettering that word or begin with the next word when you start the next line. Continue until the entire shape is filled with letters.
Reena Kazmann, designer

See what you've missed

If you've enjoyed this project, don't miss our crafts archive with projects including:

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