This past summer I read The Zero Waste Lifestyle by Amy Korst. I love to read but for those of you that don't- this is a quick, short read and a complete eye-opener to what our waste-habits are doing to this world. She also had some really neat ideas to help cut back on your trash output. Since reading this book, I have been trying to reuse and even upcycle what would normally be trash and/or recycling. I even created a way to reuse the endless forest of empty toilet paper rolls that are forever sprouting on the top of my toilet tanks (because no one in my family seems to know where the recycling bin is).
It turns out empty toilet paper rolls make a perfect shell for a loot bag container. Just add some paint, sparkly tissue paper and curled ribbon and you have what looks like a large piece of candy that houses the real deal inside.
- Start off with the empty toilet paper rolls, two colors of paint of your choosing, a straight edge paint brush, craft paper or newspaper to cover your workspace and masking tape.
- Wrap a piece of masking tape around the very middle of the roll so the ends overlap.
- Make two more masking tape rings on either side of the first one, leaving the width of masking tape of space between each ring.
- Paint the exposed roll in the color of your choice. Take off the tape as soon as either side of the tape has been painted. If you wait until the whole roll has been painted then the paint will come off when the tape does. Found that out the hard way (a few times) then it finally sunk in to take the tape off before starting the next level.
- Once all the masking tape has been removed do any touch ups to your first paint color and let dry completely. You could use painters tape but I didn't have any narrow enough for this project and I wanted to make these from items already on hand. For the second color use a straight edge brush and carefully paint along the first color on the roll. A steady hand is a plus but the straight edge brush will help keep you straight... enough. Again, let dry completely before going to the next step.
The suckers are from Glee Gum and are just like blow pops but without the artificial colors! Whole Foods has them.
- Stack the candy on the tissue paper so that it will be able to fit into the toilet paper roll. Tightly roll the tissue paper up and gently push it into the toilet paper roll so that you have even amounts of extra tissue paper coming out both ends of the toilet paper roll. I had to give a couple of hard wiggles and shoves but it all ended up fitting. Tightly tie the ends of the tissue paper with ribbon, close to the toilet paper roll. Curl the ribbon and cut off any excess tissue paper. You want the end result looking like a wrapped piece of candy.
- Using lettered stamps and an ink pad, stamp each child's name onto the roll.
And now you have a cute, unique and upcycled loot bag! Reducing and reusing is rewarding on so many different levels: environmental, personal and economical. Before you throw out- think about what else it could be. You might just amaze yourself.