Don’t Throw That Away!

by Melleny T.

I love Earth Day, don’t you? I love that for almost 50 years we’ve set aside a day to remind us to care for this planet. I love that it happens in the spring (the best season), when the planet feels so full of hope and growth and possibility. I also love that it gives me the chance to share some books about one of my passions: taking old junk and making it into something new again! You may call it recycling, or upcycling, or found crafting, or turning trash into treasure. Whatever it is, it makes me happy.

As a crafty person, I spend hours looking in books and online for projects incorporating repurposed materials. (You should see the number of Pinterest boards I have dedicated to such craft projects.)

As a librarian, I’ve planned several craft events for teens where they make new creations out of old books, old cans, old toys, and more.

As a recovering hoarder, I pause every time I’m about to toss something in the trash or recycle bin – surely I could use that bottle cap for something, sometime, right? Right?!

So today, on this glorious Earth Day, I’m sharing a small selection of books that will give you ideas for craftily reusing that most ubiquitous of landfill fodder: cardboard. We all have it, and we get more of it every day, from product packaging to Amazon deliveries, so use some of these creative projects to turn it into something practical, beautiful, or just plain fun.

Cat Castles by Carin Oliver

Cat Castles by Carin Oliver

I adore Carin Oliver and hope she is working on craft books for all of the animals. In the meantime, don’t you think Fluffy deserves her own pirate ship, submarine, or food truck? Best of all, this great stuff can all be made from those old boxes gathering spiders in the corner of your garage.


Out of the Box by Jemma Westing

Out of the Box by Jemma Westing

If you’re more into small humans than felines, the cardboard engineering projects in this book will provide endless hours of entertainment. It’s hard to pick a favorite with all the fun games and playthings featured in this book, but I am partial to the rabbit racing game.


51 Things to Make with Cardboard Tubes by Fiona Hayes

51 Things to Make With Cardboard Tubes by Fiona Hayes

Looking for projects on a smaller scale? Save up your cardboard tubes for a couple weeks and enjoy a whirlwind of quick and clever crafts that won’t take up the whole living room. Tiny tractors, goofy eyeglasses, and awesome animals abound in this handy hardback guide. And be sure to check out the other books in the 51 Things series.

You’ll find plenty more creative cardboard crafting ideas in the full list. Now get out there and save the planet, one cat airplane at a time!

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