how-to: re-using paper

i love finding ways to recycle paper that are more interesting than putting it in the recycling bin. i use newspaper to wrap presents and clean my windows and mirrors, print documents on the back of old flyers, line my ironing board with scrap paper when i iron on fusible interfacing to keep the sticky interfacing from gooping up my ironing board cover....

one kind of paper that always seemed to me to be begging for a good recycling is packing paper. you know, the thin-ish paper that you would use to wrap up your breakables when you move, or that comes as padding in a package. it's such nice paper, but always so crinkled post-use. i wondered if it could be ironed (without setting fire to my ironing board) and brought back to useability... so when i saw an offer on freecycle for a few boxes full of used packing paper, i jumped at it.

recycled paper tags

i set my iron to medium-low and gave it a shot, and it worked great!

recycled paper tags

the wrinkles weren't completely gone, but it was flat enough to work with, and really i like the way the wrinkles remain and give it texture.

i had an inspiration for its first use, now that it was relatively flat: as wrap tags for my napkins and coasters, which would bundle them together neatly, show off my logo, and identify them all in one fell swoop.

so the next question was: could i run it through my printer? i started by cutting it into printer-appropriate size on my paper cutter.

recycled paper tags

then crossed my fingers and ran it through. and...success! here it is after another trip through the paper cutter:

recycled paper tags

i'll admit, i did have one paper jam out of ten printings. but that's a ratio i can live with. and look how cute my products look in their new outfits:

recycled paper tags

i can think of tons of other uses for ironed used packing paper—flyers, small banners, wrapping paper (in fact, i already wrapped some presents in it this weekend....)—and i'm sure all you crafty people can think of lots more...share 'em in the comments section, please!

- cakehouse