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Uses for Junk Mail

Category Reusing
Uses for Junk Mail, Mailbox Full of Junk Mail
We get so much junk mail on a daily basis that sometimes all you can do is recycle it. However, there are other things that can be done with these unsolicited mailings. This is a guide about uses for junk mail.
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By 7 found this helpful
October 30, 2009

I cut the envelope open with a letter opener (unless the flap can easily be opened without cutting). Uses: store coupons, to do lists, store receipts.

If it has see through window on back, with plastic then when I am done with the envelope, I cut that out with border to use for crafts. Put 2 back to back and put a fortune cookie paper inside. Glue 3 sides then fill with confetti or glitter. Seal 4th side = gift tag.

Use the inside and outside to write lists, etc. If it has flap reuse for mailing or see above. The insides: find and cut out my address-use as return label on mailings with glue stick. There is normally an extra envelope or 2 use them! Colorful paper gets saved for crafts; confetti, paper punches and shredded for packaging gifts.

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If there is plain paper with a blank side it gets saved for lists or writing on. Any images that can be saved for collage get saved, too. If you have to store anything fragile save the unusable paper and scrunch for protection. Anything else unusable gets recycled!

By Caeridwen from Kent, OH

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October 31, 20090 found this helpful

This is a good idea, I also give return envelopes to my kids to play office or postal carrier with, and they love them.

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November 1, 20090 found this helpful

Use the plastic windows on the envelopes for picture frames. put a magnet on the back and put your child's picture in it and hang it on the refrigerator! it will keep the picture clean!

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November 1, 20090 found this helpful

Good idea and the back of blank paper can be used in the printer for non important printing.

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November 1, 20090 found this helpful

My dad saves the security envelopes for me (printed design normally black or blue inside) & gives me a bundle of them every so often. I save mine too & from those I cut long slender triangles to roll paper beads.

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November 1, 20090 found this helpful

I too save junk mail and reuse the blank space for everything. I make grocery lists, scrap paper stacks for beside my phone, daily lists, etc.

My latest use for the influx of paper that comes into our home, including newspapers, finished crossword puzzle books, fast -food drink carriers,etc., is as cat litter. The cat hated it at first, then decided that recycling paper wasn't that bad. It's saving me at least $10 a month.

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November 13, 20090 found this helpful

There are about 2,760 search results "for thriftyfun junk mail" on google but handmade paper beads made from security envelopes & also pendants will always top my list ! http://www.goog  elopes+craftzine

Both ideas are awesome. Neither of the ideas are mine. Other uses (just scanning down the results page include): napkin rings,and a tiny house! I love to look at craft ideas & projects! It really starts my heart pumping!

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November 13, 20090 found this helpful

Great ideas folks. All junk mail with a return envelope in it.It is always taped neatly to a solid house brick (which is wrapped in news paper), and put back in the post, an idea broadcast on radio once. They pay extra postage.

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By 3 found this helpful
August 12, 2009

I take all the junk mail and newspapers that come to our home and shred it and use it for mulch in my garden. It is very colorful and works great. I will run it through the shredder or let my grandkids cut the paper up. They have a really good time cutting and spreading. The paper helps keep the grass down, but be sure to water well so the mulch will stay in place.

By Mariyn from Lewisburg, TN

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August 17, 20090 found this helpful

I also do this but find that after several waterings the shredded paper melds together and becomes stiff. What can I do to remedy this?

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August 17, 20090 found this helpful

I also do this but find that after several waterings the shredded paper melds together and becomes stiff. What can I do to remedy this?

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August 17, 20090 found this helpful

I thought of using just shredded newspaper, but was afraid it would dry out between waterings and wind up all over the yard. We have water usage restrictions in our area because of drought. So, I do use it un-shredded under mulch and as cookiesky mentioned, it does meld together, which I don't necessarily think is a bad thing. It works great as a weed barrier and keeps the earth underneath nice and moist. Lots of earthworms, too.

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August 17, 20090 found this helpful

This is brilliant. is it ok 2 put the colored ads in there as well? or should I just use the newspapers? TIA. dru

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August 17, 20090 found this helpful

OMG! And all this time I've been bagging up my shredded papers and putting them in the trash! No more! And I love Frausnow's part about putting mulch on top of it! Guess what I'll be doing in the morning!

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September 9, 20100 found this helpful

I use this under regular mulch. I was always told not to use the colored print but only the black and white but now they say it is safe to use either because most ink is soy based. When starting a new flower garden, I have used both newspaper and cardboard but of course newspaper breaks down faster. On top of that I have used shredded leaves, compost and mulch. I rarely had to weed anything even after 5 years. I just re-apply mulch and if the mulch has broken down a lot, I start all over again with the newspaper, leaves, mulch. They call this lasagna gardening.

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May 13, 20042 found this helpful

I save envelopes junk mail comes in and use it to stash my coupons and shopping list when heading to the grocery store.

By Becki in Indiana

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May 13, 20040 found this helpful

I USE THE ENVELOPES THE BANK GIVES ME AT THAT BANK THRU THE DRIVE-IN, FOR MY COUPONS IN THE COUPON FILE BOX AND ALSO FOR THE ROAD TRIP TO THE MKTS.ETC...AND RECYCLE ALL THE PAPERS ANYWAY !!! I PICK EXCEPTS FROM HERE TO INC. IN MY WEEKLY NEWSLETTER, " THE-HOOTERVILLE-CULTURAL-SOCIETY-OWNER@YAHOOGROUPS.COM

"Bill"

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October 27, 20040 found this helpful

Scrap (Scratch) Paper

I am truly amazed that people will use store-bought paper for scrap paper! I have a never-ending stash of scrap paper made entirely from one-sided junk mail, used envelopes, etc. I use these to jot down notes, make out grocery lists, etc.

By Leann D

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 28, 20040 found this helpful

I love turning old Greeting cards into postcards. My friends and famiy know not to write on the inside (that the cover picture is on).

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 3, 20050 found this helpful

Another good junk mail source is the coupons-in-an-envelope mailers - just use the reverse side of the coupons. What's nice about these is since they are already envelope size, your list will fit in most coupon organizers.

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By 4 found this helpful
July 1, 2014

I've mentioned this before but methinks my tip is too cheap and easy for most people to accept.

Inspect your junk mail. If there is/are one third blank sheets cut and save them. You'll soon have way many more than you'll need.

Use a spring clip to hold them in a pad. Use both sides of the pad. When more than half of one page is used up, move the spring clip to the other end.

Source: I'm too cheap to buy Sticky Pads. They are way too expensive!

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By 4 found this helpful
December 7, 2010

If you are like 98% of all Americans, you get mail you would rather not receive (and I'm not talking about bills - who wants those). Here are a couple suggestions of things to use that unwanted mail for.

The most obvious, is to use old mail to start a fire with if you have a wood stove or fireplace. Just don't burn mail with plastic return labels (the plastic melts and makes a mess).

If you get mail with envelopes for response you can use them in two ways. One is helpful: reuse the envelopes to mail others. For envelopes of odd size or with "windows" you can either cover the windows with a mailing label and use them anyway. The other option is to keep them to organize. I keep my receipts every month to keep track of how I spend my money. I make an envelope for a particular month and put the receipts in it as I get them. If you have to keep seperate receipts for company reimbursement you can mark one for a month and put the company name on it.

Another thing to do (if you have a mischievous streak like my dad) when you get envelopes with return postage already on them, is to take the junk mail and mail it to the place who provided you with a postage paid envelope. Another option would be to fill it with something personal: your opinion of unsolicited mail, a Bible verse or two, poetry, or be imaginative and send something that will really get noticed (like a dead roach or some other bug). The thing is the company that supplied you with the postage paid envelope still has to pay for it no matter what you send them. Maybe if enough people sent them junk back, they would stop harassing people with their junk.

Another thrifty tip, if you get a package of any size you can reuse it by taping it back together. You just have to make sure the original mailing label has been removed or blacked out with a magic marker. And by "original mailing label" I mean any labels: return address, send to address and post office labels/postage stickers.

By suntydt from Tazewell, TN

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December 7, 20100 found this helpful

I have also taken unsolicited junk mail, stuffed it back in the envelope & mailed it back to the company that sent it, if I've already asked them to remove me from their list & they haven't. I know people who also take junk mail & send it to other companies who send them junk mail!

Sending something else like a "dead roach or some other bug" is just asking for major trouble though. I would think you could be arrested & prosecuted, not to mention lawsuits from the company and the poor employee who was unfortunate enough to open the envelope! I wouldn't suggest anyone try it.

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January 9, 20110 found this helpful

Some where there is an address you can write to concerning junk mail. Sorry, I don't have it. Maybe one of the readers might? Good luck.

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By 1 found this helpful
September 25, 2008

I always date mark my cans when I bring them home so I know to use them on time. More and more, labels are too slippery to write on and I hate the smell of markers

putting date on can

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By 8 found this helpful
June 7, 2011

I use the unprinted side of paper from ads, bills, and other letters received to copy and print grocery and drug store coupons. Paper that hasn't been printed on either side is saved for important correspondence.

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By 1 found this helpful
May 3, 2006

The first thing I do upon receiving my AARP magazine is tear out those pesky mail-in reply cards that make the magazine difficult to handle, but before pitching them, I check for blanks. Since I do not regularly stock postcards, these are a handy substitute for business-related needs.

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By 2 found this helpful
June 16, 2008

Before I throw out the junk mail that comes through the post (in the recycling bin of course) I cut out the address.

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By 1 found this helpful
September 15, 2011

If it is blank on the other side I use it as scrap paper to write on. If not blank, I put it my recycle bin.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 30, 2012

Many of our ads and coupons come in envelopes. Many of the slips of paper inside are printed on only one side! They are all cut the same size, so I pull them out, staple them in the corner and viola a nice tablet!

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
September 13, 2011

I want to use junk mail as printer paper. I was wondering if anyone has an idea of a way to fade the writing on junk mail so that I can print something else on it and be able to read it. I would prefer not to use chemicals.

By Comral

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February 18, 20050 found this helpful

Ideas for using junk mail in a productive way. Post your ideas!

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

February 4, 20110 found this helpful

Ideas for using junk mail in a productive way. Post your ideas!

Answers:

Uses for Junk Mail

Every time there is junk mail, I keep all the return envelopes and the papers. I will

use the blank side of the paper as shopping lists. Then I put all my coupons that I

will be using that week plus the shopping list into the envelope. That way, I never buy

more than I have to and at the same time save money on the items that I will be buying.

Hope this helps people stay organize and save money at the same time.

By Wendy (09/12/2004)

By profile=ver1000140">ThriftyFun

Uses for Junk Mail

I have a two year old daughter that loves to color and after I sort the mail I let her

use the junk mail papers to color her little heart out. (09/13/2004)

By profile=thr276344">MrsKris007

Uses for Junk Mail

If there are nice colors in the paper, you can use it for colored papers to make

greeting cards, cut flower petals, etc.

You can use the return envelopes to keep seeds in. I used to store seeds in various

little plastic containers, but they're a lot more compact in envelopes. Put them in a

box, label the tops, and you have a filing system for seeds.

Use pieces of junk mail to do gluing or painting on. Saves cleanup and your

desktop.

Use nice pictures or colored designs that are on catalog covers. You can make

envelopes out of these. Fold and glue. Use white labels for your addresses. Sometimes

my friends laugh at me for this one. But hey, it makes them laugh!

(09/13/2004)

By Jayne

Uses for Junk Mail

I have a little mailbox for my 2 1/2 year old. When junk mail comes in for those kids

book clubs or magazines (they often have a sticker or two in them) or anything colorful,

I sneak it in her mailbox. She has a blast going to check in her playroom if she has

mail, and she has fun looking at the pictures, finding stickers, opening envelopes, etc.

(09/13/2004)

By Val

Uses for Junk Mail

If you really hate unsolicited junk mail and object to the amount of trees being cut

down to make something that is immediately consigned to the bin, (and if you're feeling

evil!), you can wrap a brick in brown paper and attach the reply paid envelop to it and

post it back to them, at great cost! If you aren't feeling quite so evil(!), and have

no use for the junk mail, request to be taken off their mailing list and save the

world's finite resources.

Regards.

(09/13/2004)

By Jo

Bodey

Uses for Junk Mail

I reuse the envelopes for everything as well, both personally and professionally. When I

was a teacher I asked the parents to send them in and I explained that they were a

budget savings. They didn't mind saving them for me or getting notes in them from me.

I tear pages out of catalogs and us them instead of toilet paper to wrap those "monthly

items" before tossing them. I got this idea from my mom. She got tired of all the T.P.

being used up since she had two daughter in the house!

I use colorful magazine pages to make envelopes. Just open a pre-made envelope to use as

a pattern and trace and glue. Instant envelope!

I am sure I have more ideas, but can't think of them right now!

(09/19/2004)

By Deanna

Uses for Junk Mail

I have an extensive cardboard plate and statue collection. I just glue the pretty

pictures onto cardboard. I put an ornament hook through a small hole and sometimes cover

them with clear contact paper and foil on the back. The plastic foil (Mylar?) that

covers tubs of cottage cheese or lines some snack bags is great for this, also the

aluminum foil tops on some nut cans, they even have a tab on them to punch the hole

through and sometimes are interesting textures, too.

I also open out the snack bags and hang them where they will reflect colored lights

at holiday time. It makes more sparkle and if my cats knock them down nobody gets hurt.

However I just got an idea I may have to try. Open a wire hanger, bend it into a

ring, squiggle up the Mylar and run it onto the hanger to make a sparkly wreath then

twist hanger back together. Oh yeah, I do have to try that. The Mylar has colored print

on the outside and silver on the inside. It's aching to be used by the crafty.

(09/21/2004)

By Linne

Uses for Junk Mail

A great use for shiny junk mail is to make paper beads. Cut one inch strips of the paper

(or however long you want the bead to be) and start wrapping the short end around a

pencil or a wooden skewer. Glue the last half inch or so. Give it a few seconds to set

then slide it off the pencil/skewer.

If you have a neighbor who sells Avon beg them for their expired books. Go through

their trash if you have to. They make the prettiest beads! I've made who-knows-how-many

beads. It takes just a little practice to get where you can make beads from a whole

sheet of shiny junk mail. Since they are former wood they have a nice little weight to

them and are not as fragile as one might think they would be. When you get enough beads

of the colors you like, you can make beaded curtains for doorways or windows, or just a

hanging for the wall. A great rainy day hobby.

Shiny food ads: cut the food out and glue it onto a big piece of cardboard or wood

and make a collage for the kitchen.

Cut out interesting parts for kids to make collages. (09/26/2004)

By Elaine in

AR

Uses for Junk Mail

All I can say is I have no patience for junk mail! I hate it! I recommend sending any

junk mail back to the sender in their own self addressed stamped envelope, this way they

spend the money on their own junk! See how they like getting junk mail!

Haa Haa Haaa! (10/04/2004)

By profile=thr101540">SimplySimple

Uses for Junk Mail

I have a junk mail cutting and sorting session every once in a while. I have a lot of

deco hole punches so I use a lot of it right then and there. I put the shapes I punch

out in cigarette cellophane sometimes and secure with a small piece of tape. Some of my

favorite shapes I put in pill bottles until I have enough of what I want. If the paper

is sturdy enough I string some of them with a bead in between and chain stitch a nice

gift tie or use them to drape or dangle off the rear view mirror in my car.

I save the canceled stamps off of junk mail and give to a lady who's church sends

them to a mission to do things with.

I often cut the glue strip off and save to use as labels on my pill bottles of shapes

and when in a real pinch, I reuse large envelopes. Just moisten the glue strips and

cover over the original mail info or use stickers.

I keep a boot box handy for the scrap paper I save and add to it regularly, (thinking

of the movie Water World when a little paper to them is a "big deal" to have !) I have

saved so much junk mail scrap I have given several pounds of it to a friend with kids,

most of it is very clean. I usually trim away the writing; it's easier to pick from when

it's cleaned up.

I packed it tightly into zippered curtain bags: the nice kind that seems to have a

dozen or more uses!

Making me wonder now if as a regular person in no position over others, if I would be

able to successfully organize and carry out a junk mail drive. Some of the cig mail has

some really pretty paper, stuff I don't see everyday, so it would make sense to me, that

even if you don't smoke, to get on the mailing list for just the paper and then give the

coupons to a friend or leave them for someone to find at the store!

Sorry if you're offended on behalf of the trees. You can also cut the corners off the

envelopes and use them to mark pages.

Last night I realized after I posted this a new use for those book club, CD club, and

other kinds of stickers used for mail order, like Yves Rocher. I used my small flower

hole punch and cut out several flowers to use on mail and some bigger size frogs from a

place on the sticker sheet. I stuck one on my pc. I love it. Also if you have old thin

magnets sent by advertisers, if you get rough you can punch out hole punch magnets to

better suit you! I made a whole sack full one day out of magnets that weren't pretty
(10/05/2004)

By profile=thr138787">melody_yesterday

Uses for Junk Mail

Do you get a lot of white envelopes coming through your post box? Well don't throw them

away, cut them up and use to write your shopping lists on.

By Maria UK

Editor's Note: Or you can keep the envelopes together and put your coupons in the

them. (10/10/2004)

By profile=ver1000140">ThriftyFun

Uses for Junk Mail

Use for card making and other crafts. Often papers have nice patterns or colours and

letters can be cut out for wording. I use the envelopes to post my own mail by sticking

labels on. (10/11/2004)

By 2steps

Uses for Junk Mail

Two things:

  1. Carefully open the glued seams. Turn the envelope inside out and re-glue. Presto! A

    new envelope!

  2. Keep the kids busy making Noah's Ark animals. Use the bottom fold as the spine. Cut

    out legs and trunk. Use another envelope to cut the head, and cut a slit in the trunk to

    slip the head into. Lots of rainy day fun!

(10/13/2004)

By Coreen

Uses for Junk Mail

IMPORTANT! My daughter just got diagnosed with lead poisoning and after eliminating all

other possible theories, I was told by her docs that giving a child who puts paper in

their mouth ANY glossed or color print flyer, ads, magazines, or papers can give her

lead poisoning. The process that is used to color them contains lead. I hope that this

will help another parent from the current worry we are feeling. (10/13/2004)

By Suzanne

S.

Uses for Junk Mail

My husband uses envelopes, etc. as scrap paper. I line the birds cage with larger

advertisements. (10/27/2004)

By spelch

Uses for Junk Mail

I take the junk mail I receive and separate it into colors. Then I take my blender (I

have one specifically for this) add some torn paper and water. It doesn't really matter

how much water. You just have to make sure that it has a liquid consistency. I then

take the mush and place it into a cookie cutter that has a back. You know the ones that

are sort of difficult to make cookies with, but have great details. After making sure

all your nooks and crannies are filled with the paper-liquid, press with fingers to

remove the water and ensure paper completely filling all of the surfaces. Let dry. They

must be completely dry before removing the paper from the mold. It usually takes a day

or so unless you place in a very warm place. I have used the oven for drying, but used

metal molds. I don't really know if you can use the plastic molds in the ovens. I put

the temp on the lowest possible setting. Anyhow, after removing your dry mold you can

paint or just leave plain. I use old makeup for rosey red cheeks, white eye shadow for

Frosty's coloring. Then poke a hole in the top using a needle and hang by a string or

ribbon. These make great gift tags, ornaments, or just Christmas decorations. They can

be as simple or extravagant as you want. (10/29/2004)

By Melissa

Uses for Junk Mail

I keep all the 8.5 by 11 sheets that are only printed on one side and put them in the

"bad paper" pile next to the computer printer, since one side is still good for printing

things that will be used only around the house. (01/22/2005)

By Allison

Uses for Junk Mail

If you have toddlers or pre-schoolers, they love getting mail! They can play post

office, or just enjoy opening them up. My sons love the "credit cards" for carrying

around in their wallets! (01/26/2005)

By Jill

Uses for Junk Mail

I was at a school meeting the other night and one of the speakers suggested that you

give the junk mail to your kids to read. It helps build up the areas that they need

help in, gives them new words to use, and keeps them busy. Let them read while you make

dinner. (01/27/2005)

By JMRoss

Junk Mail for the Kids

Keep some junk mail around for your children to play "post office" with or to just draw

or write on.

By Robin (02/07/2005)

By profile=ver1000140">ThriftyFun

Uses for Junk Mail

After removing anything that contains personal info, I save all junk mail and newspapers

in a large box right near the backdoor. Those papers are thickly layered under mulch

as a weed barrier which actually breaks down and become compost over a season. Next

season, simply place another thick layer on top of the old mulch and then new mulch.

It saves on water, reduces weeds, and makes good soil for your planting beds. You can also use

the paper layers between vegetable garden rows. Water well to prevent blowing around at

first. (02/14/2005)

By Rosie

Here's Some Things I Do With My Junk Mail

Any stickers that come with the mail such as the ones that want you to choose a credit

card photo, I put in a stack for my grandson to play with. He loves stickers. The

envelope I write grocery lists or to do lists or things to check out on the internet. I

keep them in a stack next to where I sit. Any of the other regular paper that is non

slick goes into our fireplace. All the rest into the trash. Unless there is a photo of

something I can use for making cards or decorating packages. It really saves on the

trash.

By RoseMary (02/18/2005)

By profile=ver1000140">ThriftyFun

Uses for Junk Mail

I too make beads out of the Avon catalogs. The colors are bright. I catalog the beads

by the most showing color. I use the pattern that goes from big to tiny that looks like

a very long triangle and much smaller. I take out the staples and cut the beads the

entire long length of the paper. Most of the time I go from 1/4" to a point and I use a

toothpick to wrap it around. I also glue the last half inch or so. I don't wait until

it dries because I always take a piece of candle wax and rub the toothpick first or use

cornstarch. Just so the bead doesn't have a hard time coming off. I also make beads

using a strip of the paper that is the same size beginning to end. I seal them and

string them on a piece of thin wire to dry. Do as many coats as you like. There is a

Triple Thick Crystal Clear Glaze by Krylon that works really well also. I have taken

junk mail and done the same thing. If you are into it, you can also make square beads

by layering it with a toothpick in the middle. Don't forget to prime the toothpick

first. If it is uneven you can sand it down.

I also put the junk mail pages in the blender with water and Aleene's OK to Wash It

glue. After I have taken most of the glued water off I put a blown up balloon in an

empty can upside down and layer the pulp on it to cover the bottom and sides to the

depth I want. I then set it aside to dry. Be patient. If I want, I paint it and seal

it. Because it has the Aleene's glue in it, it holds together quite well and self

sealed, but just a little. I use the end creation for bird feeders, plants, etc.

I print out water release decals on my printer and add them if I want. I wasn't

aware of the lead content until the posted alert. You would be amazed at how durable it

is. I suppose you could use any glue you have or no glue. I have made shingles for

milk carton bird houses, bricks, jewelry, etc. I am going to try and make a dog house

this summer using a plaster of Paris mold and making it look like an igloo. The mold I

have has six sides and I think it will be fun. If you use the screen you use to make

paper, only making it much thicker, letting it dry in sheets, you can use it for

birdhouses and small items rather than using wood. Just remember to seal it. Use your

imagination. The use is endless. I could go on forever with ideas for junk mail.

Actually instead of calling it junk mail, it should be called a crafter's delight.
I am going to check on the lead content. Thanks for letting me ramble on.

(02/19/2005)

By Jacqueline

Laura

Uses for Junk Mail

I stamp all my junk mail with my "special" stamp and drop it back into a mailbox near my

work. It reads: DECEASED - Return to Sender. It seems to work.

I decide to drop the stamped mail back into a mailbox other than my own because I didn't

want to confuse my maillady!

But I like the ideas about sending their junk mail back to them in the return envelope

;) I wonder how heavy I can make one? (02/24/2005)

By Jonathan

Uses for Junk Mail

We have a paper shredder in our home office, so I just shred all of out junk mail and

use it as bedding for my pet Bandicoot! He loves it and it's so much cheaper than buying

proper bedding from the pet store! Plus it makes me laugh that all that annoying junk

mail is getting used as a toilet!

I'm sure this would work just as well with any other similar pets: rats, ferrets,

chinchillas, etc.

(05/11/2005)

By Valerie S, Watford UK

Uses for Junk Mail

All the junk mail, the advertisements from newspapers and the newspapers are given to

the vet, who uses it to line the cages of his animal patients. (03/29/2006)

By Carol

Uses for Junk Mail

I use junk mail as the base ingredient for my rocket engines. The glossy color section

are the best. They make a great fireworks display! (05/23/2008)

By Barry

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