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Go Green! 3 Ways to Recycle Your Old Magazines


Magazine stand
(Image Credit)

Who doesn’t love a good magazine? There is just something so rewarding about going to the campus store or local newsstand after a long week and picking up a few of your favorite glossy indulgences to peruse over the weekend.

However, once we’ve devoured each and every article, studied every fashion and beauty tip, and gushed over our favorite celebrities, we’re left with a bunch of used magazines that take up space and create messy piles no matter how hard we try to organize them.

While throwing our beloved magazines away is one option, here at College Fashion, we believe we can put these treasures to use in ways that are both creative and good for the planet. Here are a few of our favorite ways to recycle old magazines:

1. Dress up a notebook.

Collage of fashion magazines on a notebook
(Image Credit)

We’ve all had those semesters where we get to school and realize we forgot to pick up a notebook during back-to-school shopping. While the campus store is always stocked with these class essentials, school store notebooks often tend to be plain or feature the school name, logo or mascot as the only decorations.

Next semester, why not dig into your old magazine stash to create a personalized notebook cover instead?

To do this, flip through your magazines and cut out pictures, large quotes, and anything else that appeals to you. Lay out your clippings on the notebook cover and arrange them into your desired design. Once all your clippings are in place, glue everything down. Finally, to ensure your notebook will be able to endure the elements (and being shoved in and out of your bag), finish the cover with a layer of clear contact paper, available at most craft and stationary stores.

2. Use as wrapping paper.

Fashion magazine used as wrapping paper
(Image Credit)

What is an awesome gift without some equally awesome wrapping paper? Ready-made wrapping paper is fun, of course, but it can be very expensive and hard to access if your campus isn’t located in a large city or town.

With graduation gift season fast approaching, we think we’ve found the solution: Utilizing our magazine collections to create one-of-a-kind wrapping paper that is both personal and creative.

Look for article spreads that reflect your recipient’s specific tastes. For large presents, lay out the amount of selected pages needed to cover your gift on the floor or a tabletop  and tape them together to achieve a cool patchwork design. For smaller gifts that only require one page, try to choose beauty spreads that feature multiple products scattered on one page. You can even create gift tags and bows for your boxes!

3. Create an inspiration collage.

Inspiration wall collage made from magazines
(Image Credit)

Let’s face it: Most of us buy fashion magazines because we can’t get enough of their high-fashion photo spreads, in-depth tend reports, and beauty tips. They inspire us to try new hairstyles, to pair articles of clothing we wouldn’t normally, and to be the best fashionistas we can possibly be.

So why not utilize everything you love about your favorite publications to create a collage of inspiration or inspiration board for your walls? Get creative. Make a border around your bedroom at home or completely cover a wall of your dorm room.

Another option is to pin photos up on the inside of your closet door. You can also pin up fashion and beauty tips. Rotate new ones in as the seasons change or keep your favorites up all year long!

Your thoughts?

Now that you’ve seen my ideas for how to re-use your old magazines, I want to hear your tips! How do you recycle your favorite glossies? Do you make collages and inspiration boards? Do you have any other ideas for how to recycle magazines? Leave a comment and let us know!

Posted on on April 22, 2011 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , ,

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29 Responses to “Go Green! 3 Ways to Recycle Your Old Magazines”

  1. 1
    April 22nd, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I combine #1 & 3 and put together a “lookbook” of all the styles I like from a magazine, either by outfit or by item (dresses, shoes, accessories, etc) using the Moleskine Style “Passions” journal. Then I actually recycle the magazine.

  2. 2
    April 22nd, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I roll up old magazines and put them in my boots to keep them from slumping over in my closet.

  3. 3
    April 22nd, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I love the idea of using them as wrapping paper! I’ll try that out next time I’m giving a gift :)

  4. 4
    April 22nd, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    I do the same thing as Jenn! And it really comes in handy for those days were nothing in your closet seems appealing to wear. I also use my favorite covers in the front clear pocket of my binders for school-they make great conversation starters(=

  5. 5
    April 22nd, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I donate my month old magazines to the doctors office waiting room. I hate having stacks of old glossies around, plus its green!

  6. 6
    April 22nd, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I’m loving all the Zooey in the collage. Very inspirational indeed.

    I don’t know why I never thought to use as wrapping paper before. Well, I used letters for a gift tag once, but never used for the whole thing. Thanks for the tips!

  7. 7
    April 22nd, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I could never put magazine clippings on my wall. But I’ve been thinking of creating a fashion look book, instead of putting things on my wall, I would put everything neatly into a cute notebook.

    So I guess that would be a combo of # 1 and 3, like jenn first mentioned.

  8. 8
    April 22nd, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Love these ideas. I use them for art and to make inspirational collages. I never thought to use them as wrapping paper!

  9. 9
    April 22nd, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    I Dam really glad that you guys are doing post on helping the environment especailly on Earth day. I also really like these ideas number two is my favourite.

  10. 10
    April 22nd, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I’ve been putting magazine clippings on my walls for years and I love it! Its such as easy way to ‘decorate’ a dorm room or apartment. I love the wrapping paper idea. I can’t wait to try it!

  11. 11
    April 22nd, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Cover only one wall? I covered every wall, and even made collage boards to put behind my desk! :)

  12. 12
    April 22nd, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I love using magazines to make inspiration collages! I think I’ll try using them as gift wrap too.

  13. 13
    April 22nd, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Love the wrapping paper idea!! I’m constantly looking to reuse my old, magazines, but I seem to always buy more than I can use.

    As always thanks for the inspiration!

  14. 14
    April 23rd, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Also, if you have a lot of boots, you can roll magazines up and put them inside the boots to make them stand up! :)

  15. 15
    April 23rd, 2011 at 1:18 am

    My sister and I use magazine photos to make our own envelopes when we write to each other. j\Just tape on pieces of light paper with the addresses so their easily visible. We also write the letters on magazine pages if they are light enough. The envelopes always look really cool and my friends ae always asking where I get them from.

  16. 16
    April 23rd, 2011 at 1:50 am

    I love the wrapping paper idea, and old fashioned newspapers make for wonderful wrapping as well. However, I would stay, cut down on buying the magazines and read fashion blog in stead! :)

  17. 17
    April 23rd, 2011 at 1:50 am

    Nice blog. I just liked the idea.

  18. 18
    April 23rd, 2011 at 2:12 am

    I really love the first idea! I have literally piles of old magazines in my room, some as old as the early 2000’s!

  19. 19
    April 23rd, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Great ideas! I’ve used the collage and notebook ones myself! I sure don’t mind pulling out that chemistry notebook after it’s been newly decorated!

  20. 20
    April 23rd, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Loved this post!! Kelsey’s take on the magazine-photo envelope is awesome!! Can’t wait to try it out!! :-)

  21. 21
    April 23rd, 2011 at 9:36 am

    I give mine to local hospitals, doctors offices etc so other people can enjoy the magazines, and the staff are always grateful to get magazines aimed at younger women instead of readers digest etc.

  22. 22
    April 23rd, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I reallly like the decorating a notebook and wrapping paper idea! I’m definitely going to try that out!

  23. 23
    April 23rd, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I find it sooo painful to throw away my magazines. I have been a fashion magazine addict forever! But I really like the wrapping paper idea! & the envelope idea that Kelsey posted. & I used to decorate notebooks with magazine clippings back in high school.. but I may just have to start again! I forgot how fun it was!

  24. 24
    April 23rd, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I like Jen’s idea! i used to have a little “lookbook” too, but i stopped adding stuff to it. i might start again, but i really don’t like cutting up my magazines. magazines are kind of something i “collect” and i like to go back and reread them months later when i’m just bored, sick in bed, etc. i like to keep them in good condition. but once my collection gets too big or too old i might do some of these ideas.

  25. 25
    April 23rd, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Yay! Another green article!!
    I’ve recently used my old magazines to decorate a box to organize my makeup (Instead of buy an expensive plastic makeup box) This is it:
    Now I’m thinking to use them to decorate a boring shelf I’ve in my bedroom.
    I love the wallpaper-inspiraton collage!

    (Sorry for my english)

  26. 26
    April 24th, 2011 at 11:59 am

    i LOVE this post! i also really like someones idea to roll them up in your boots! for some reason i never thought to stuff them with anything so they dont get all floppy lol :)

  27. 27
    April 25th, 2011 at 7:03 am

    I too, am a self confessed Magazine collector!! As Bekah & Arielle stated, I am guilty of this also – but to the EXTREME!!
    I have magazines in holders, in book cubes, boxes, on, beside and under coffee tables, multiple stacks all over the house, under the bed, in bags… They’re everywhere! Up until Dec 2010 last year, I had mags in PERFECT CONDITION; some from far back as 1996!!!! & they actually looked like they were bought yesterday!
    I hate folding them, NEVER cut into them (others never a problem, mine however never a crease!) Even to the point where when I’m purchasing the magazine, I’ll analyse the condition of them and select a perfectly pristine copy from the display stands! It drives my bf mad & he has threatened to throw them all out, which is why I FINALLY bit the bullet (no joke it almost killed me for real lol..) & got rid of (by way of recycling) MAJORITY of my mags I still had from prior to 2003…
    Having said that, any mags that by chance were ruined ripped or [in all honesty] were duplicates, I most definitely utilised them in ways as listed above…

    1. LOOKBOOK & STYLING HANDBOOK – Over the years (mainly thru TAFE & Uni) we have had the pleasure in creating these! I have been attempting to embark on a new one for the last few weeks which is how I stumbled upon this post! I was just stuck on how to categorise. My original LOOKBOOK consisted of categories for the entire ensemble in general. Majority of the time, it’s the overall look I like of what has been put together, rather than cut up a hot look to arrange by item (jacket, skirt, tees, heels, etc, etc) I sorted by a Relevance vs. Seasonal point. The second was just scrapbooking feel type of LOOKBOOK which I also incorporated with my own personal designs, sketches, hints, tips, etc. This was also a Season by Season case, displayed to honour what was ‘ON-TREND’ at that time.

    2. PERSONALISING NOTEBOOKS – I have been rockin this use for magazines since I was in primary school! My mother would hardly ever (if ever) buy the real expensive, opaque ‘contact’ [otherwise known as book coverings)… U know, the holographic, glittery, patterned or coloured types! My ever so practical Mother would only buy the clear contact rolls – & I HATED IT!! However, it wasn’t long until I was BEGGING my Mother to buy ONLY the Clear Contact rolls & advising her to please get a mix of matte and gloss finishes lol.. I had discovered my creativity :) It started with the A4 sized ‘posters’ of fav male celebs of the moment, to my fav fragrance ads (was totally in love w/ those ROMANCE by Ralph Lauren ads!!), various brands & logos, which then moved into full-blown personalised collages.. a mix of personal pics w/ friends, awesome quotes, killa stickers, brands & logos, fragrance stubs, must-have items (Gucci dog tags, LV Cuffs, different cuts of diamonds, beaches, perfume bottles, even those cartoon/animated like pics e.g. a female holding many shopping bags, etc).
    From school books, to binders, manila folders & [my personal fav] the school diary -I attacked EVERYTHING!! They were such a hit, I ended up having to recreate the look on many a friends’ school notebook ;)

    3. INSIDE BOOTS – A MUST! I’ve only been able to assist FIVE pairs of boots for now (the pre-2003 drop left a few stragglers for this reason alone lol..) but it’s easy, cost effective and works perfectly! Simply roll up the mag and pop into the length of each boot.. Keeps each boot structured, standing tall and in shape. This is perfect for me as [like magazines in general] my wardrobe is specifically categorised and on display. Yes, garment style and type, colour coded, shoe racks & boxes, handbags, belts & scarves, fragrance bottle trays, a sunglass turning rack & an accessory wall.. Sad but true lol..

    4. WALL MONTAGES – Only allowed at my Father’s premises :)
    Think the collages created to cover notebooks only used to create an entire wall as a feature in my bedroom but with different medias/textures/levels, etc..

    5. UTILISE SPACE & DECORATE – I have all my Australian Vogues, Harpers Bazaars’’ & InStyle mags in chronological order filling book cubes/cases/units or lining shelves. As these mags have the consistent white spine w/ minimal colour, etc they actually look great kept together. I’ve filled alternate cubes with the mags & mixed with items such as indoor plants, photo frames, woven baskets, wooden trinket boxes & much loved ornaments (golden ankh, ceramic deity mini statues, glass vases/jars filled with crystals or shells, candles, etc)

    …using for wrapping paper is something I will have to try!

    …donating to thrift stores, local GP/Dentistry waiting rooms & TAFE’s would also ensure in maximising their use & potential, not to mention sharing the LOVE!! ;)

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