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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tutorial 1--Junk Mail Basket

I get far too much junk mail.  I used to think that if I put a piece of junk mail into the recycling bin, it would get recycled into a brand new piece of junk mail.  Since then, I've learned that this is not true.  Only about 60% of, say, newsprint, can actually be turned into new newsprint.  The other 40% really does become junk.  I don't have the numbers for glossy paper from catalogs.

I was looking for something in which to store my little odds and ends like my staple, paper clips, etc, and decided to make an eco-friendly basket out of junk mail.  I used a catalog that I didn't want.

Making a Basket out of Junk Mail

Unwanted catalog or magazine
Optional--stapler, tape, or glue

Time to Make
2 hours

Step 1)  Dig a catalog or magazine out of your wastebasket.  The one I dug up was 8 inches by 10.5 inches.  It doesn't really matter how big the catalog is if you are not picky about the size of the basket.

Step 2)  Tear 9 pages of similar thickness and size from the catalog.

Step 3)  Tear each of the 9 pages into half lengthwise.  It's not necessary to use scissors.  Just crease and tear.

Step 4)  Fold up half an inch along the length of one strip.

Step 5)  Continue folding up half an inch lengthwise until you have a strip that is about half an inch by 10.5 inches (or whatever the length of your catalog was).

Step 6)  Unfold two of the last folds you made.  Refold along the creases you've already made in Step 4, starting from the opposite edge.  The purpose is to hide the raw edges of the catalog  within the strip.

Step 7)  Repeat Steps 4 to 6 for each of the remaining strips.

Step 8)  Place 6 of the strips vertically.  This will be the beginning of the base of the basket.

Step 9)  Weave 6 strips horizontally, going up and down the vertical strips.  Leave small gaps (about 1/8th of an inch) between the vertical strips.  Likewise, leave the small gaps between the horizontal strips.  The gaps will make weaving easier.  After you have woven about 3 of the horizontal strips, the strips will no longer come apart as easily.  See, no hands in the following picture.  The bottom of the basket is done.

Step 10) Now we will start forming the sides of the basket.  Fold each of the 12 strips upright where the square base ends.  This results in each strip having 2 folds.  By using your hands to hold the strips upright, you can see roughly what the basket will look like when complete.

Tip:  Place a ruler along one edge of the square base and fold the 6 strips that are along the base, using the ruler as a guide.

Step 11)  Now pick 2 of the unused strips.  Each row of the sides will be formed with 2 strips.  Fold 2 strips as shown.  The placement of the folds coincide with the length of each side of the square base.  Note that the 2 strips have been folded in such a way that they share 2 corners.  This will lock the square in place so it doesn't come apart.

Step 12)  Place the overlapping part of one strip inside the other so that you get a square.  If your catalog was too short to allow 2 corners to overlap, then you can either use more strips to form the sides or use staples, tape or glue.

Tip:  If your catalog was too short to allow 2 corners to overlap, then you can either use more strips to form the sides, or use staples, tape or glue to prevent the square from coming apart.

Step 13)  Weave the strips sticking out of the base (from Step 9) over and under this square.

Step 14)  Repeat Steps 11 to 13.

Step 15)  Repeat Steps 11 and 12.  This strip will form the top edge of the basket (I'll call this strip the top square).

Step 16)  The strips from the base will be sticking up above the top edge.  Fold each strip over the top square.  Tuck each of those strips under the top square.  If the strip is too long to tuck neatly, trim the strip first.

Tip:  Do Step 16 for the overlapping corners (from step 12) last.

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