How To Reuse Old Magazines

Diane Hoffmaster
by Diane Hoffmaster

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Are you decluttering the house and looking for creative ways to repurpose old magazines? I know I certainly am! Once a year my daughter comes home with a magazine sales flyer as a fundraiser for the school. I truly detest those fundraisers but feel I need to do my part to help support the school. I, therefore, buy exactly ONE magazine from her every year. But somehow, my name is on some list where I randomly get free magazines in the mail every week. And I now have WAY too many magazines in this house. Upcycling magazines is a great way to declutter your home this month.

There are dozens of ways to reuse old magazines, from crafts and DIY projects to donating them to doctors’ offices and libraries. Of course, not receiving them in the mail at all would be the best way to cut down on the clutter they create. When one arrives in the mail, call and request to be taken off the mailing list if it isn’t a magazine you actually enjoy. But for those you DO want to read, here are a few ways to put those magazine pages to good use.

Can old magazines be recycled?

If you are totally uncrafty and just want to clean out your house, you may ask yourself ‘can magazines be recycled’. Well, yes, they can. People sometimes think that glossy paper can’t be recycled. That may have been true many years ago, but not any longer.

With today’s recycling technology, almost all community recycling programs accept glossy magazines and catalogs for recycling. Recycling magazines is an easy way to declutter, however, it is important to remove any plastic bags that they come in before recycling.

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10 Ways to Repurpose Old Magazines

While I throw a lot of old magazines in the recycle bin, I have started looking for ways to repurpose them. While recycling is great, learning how to repurpose old magazines will reduce your carbon footprint even more. Here are a few green activities I have come up with to keep them out of the recycle bin!

Make a vision board:

Cut out things from old magazine pages that inspire you. Glue them onto a blank vision board. Display this prominently in your office to keep yourself focused on your goals.

Cut out images and use them in crafts.

Flower images from old magazine pages are beautiful to decoupage onto wine bottles, eggshells, wooden furniture, etc. Cut out pictures of animals and food and use them in children’s crafts. Gardening magazines have some particularly beautiful images in them.

Donate them:

Donate used magazines to a charitable organization, a school, a community group, a hospital or a library. Check out DonationTown for more info.

Leave them everywhere you go!

Drop them off at doctors’ offices, nursing homes, the orthodontist, etc. There are many places that have a ‘waiting room’ just waiting for your magazines.

Put them on Freecycle:

People are always looking for free things and magazines have a ton of different uses. Just because you can’t think of a way to use those glossy pages, doesn’t mean others wont want to get crafty with them.

Learn origami:

Use the magazine pages in an origami craft. Make small origami boxes and tuck little gifts inside for the holidays. Get an origami book to help you with the directions.

Create Custom Ceramic Tiles

With just a few supplies (old tiles, glossy pages from a magazine, and some ModPodge) you can create some beautiful custom tiles. Make smaller versions of these and add a small magnet on the back to create beautiful magnets for your refrigerator.

Make a DIY earwig trap for your garden:

I made mine with newspaper but magazine pages will work well too. Check out my post about how to make a DIY earwig trap and turn those glossy magazine pages into pest control for your garden.

Use them as boot shapers:

If you have a pair of boots that refuses to stand up straight, just roll up magazines and insert one inside each boot. You found a great way to repurpose old magazines AND your boots will never fall over again!

Make upcycled magazine beads:

Turn those strips of magazine pages into paper beads. This is a fun recycled craft if you have young kids. Watch the video below for directions.

How to Make Magazine Beads

Make pretty paper beads from recycled magazine scraps. Paper bead jewelry is beautiful, economical, and green. They are also easy o make and incredibly versatile. Watch the video below for an easy step-by-step guide on how to make paper beads from old magazines. Save your old magazines and paper lying around and transform them into something beautiful!

More Recycled Magazine Crafts

There are a TON of crafty people on the internet who have found creative ways to use old magazines in their crafting. Here are just a few that you may want to try:

Magazine Wreath

One creative way to repurpose an old magazine is by turning it into a Magazine Wreath. To make a magazine wreath, first, tear the magazine into strips. Next, fold each strip in half and glue the ends together to form a loop.

Once all of the strips have been glued into loops, begin arranging them into a circle, overlapping the edges as you go. When the wreath is the desired size, secure the loops in place with more glue. Finally, add a ribbon for hanging, and your magazine wreath is complete! This project is a great way to add a personal touch to your home décor while also recycling an old magazine.

Magazine Ornament

A magazine ornament is a fun and easy way to add some personal flair to your holiday decor. And best of all, they’re made from upcycled materials so they’re eco-friendly too!

To make a magazine ornament, start by finding an old magazine that you no longer need. Use a pair of scissors to cut out a shape that you like – a star, a snowflake, or anything else that catches your fancy.

Glue it to a piece of cardboard (an old cereal box works well) and then cut out the shape. Once you have your shape cut out, use a hole puncher to create a small hole near the top.

Next, thread a piece of string or ribbon through the hole and tie it off. Hang your ornament on your tree or anywhere else you’d like to display it!

Easy Magazine Flowers

Get crafty with that stack of magazines! These easy magazine flowers are a great way to recycle old magazines. To make them, simply cut out flower shapes from the magazine pages and glue them onto green paper stems. You can also add leaves if desired.

Once the flowers are assembled, they can be used to decorate cards, scrapbook pages, or any other craft project.

These easy magazine flowers are a fun and easy way to add a personal touch to your projects. Best of all, they’re a great way to recycle those old magazines that you were going to throw away.

Paper Rosette

Paper rosettes are a great way to add a touch of elegance to any event or decor. They are also very easy to make! All you need is an old magazine and some scissors.

To start, cut a strip of paper from the magazine that is about 1 inch wide. Then, accordion fold the strip of paper by folding it back and forth like a fan. Once you have reached the end of the strip, glue or tape the two ends together.

Next, take your Paper Rosette and gently pull it apart so that the folds open up slightly. Then, fluff out the Paper Rosette to give it a full, round shape. And that’s it! Your Paper Rosette is now ready to be hung or displayed.

Paper Dolls

Paper Dolls have been around for centuries, and are a fun way to recycle an old magazine. To make Paper Dolls, start by cutting out a doll shape from a piece of cardboard. This will be your actual doll shape.

Then, use a sharp knife to carefully cut out clothes, shoes, and accessories from the magazine pages.

Next, glue or tape the items onto the Paper Dolls. Once you’re finished, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind Paper Doll that can be used for play or decoration.

How to Stop Getting Magazines in the Mail

Of course, if you don’t stop getting magazines in the mail, you will be looking for more ways to reuse old magazines again next year. So, how do you stop junk mail that you don’t ask for?

Visit Then click one or all four categories — which include credit offers, catalogs, magazine offers, and other mail offers — that you wish to start or stop from each company. You’ll then receive an email link verifying your registration. Do you have any other ways to repurpose old magazines?

Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire and has worked in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging and freelance writing to share this knowledge with others. Learn more about her HERE.

Diane Hoffmaster
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2 of 23 comments
  • Vicki Vicki on Oct 20, 2023

    I'm an art teacher & animal lover/foster/mother of many pets/in a rural area. I cut my address off of gardening/rural magazines & when I go to the vets w/pet, take mags to donate to the waiting room. For yrs as an art teacher I've done lessons/project on barrel-bead making, to make bracelets/necklaces using slick magazine pages. I wear my creations at least weekly to school to show my students. We also make broaches w/magazines. A whole 'nother lesson I've developed w/magazines, too much to explain. Another project we do is using magazine pictures a collage to illustrate ONE WORD....("a picture is worth a thousand words--sad, glad, scared, happy, etc)_...use pictures cut out of magazines to make your classmates "say your word. I also have a fashion lesson that I use magazines for...again, too much to explain. Old magazines are a pure treasure trove for art teachers :)

  • Terry Terry on Dec 16, 2023

    When I was a child my Bible school class made trash cans out of rolled up magazine pages that were then glued to an ice cream barrel. We rolled the magazine pages onto a knitting needle but bamboo skewers would work well too. The ice cream barrels were donated by our local ice cream shops. The tubes were then cut to the length of the container and glued on and covered with varnish (way back then!). Now you could simply spray with some polyurethane—inside and out. That way even the inside can be wiped clean. To finish this off thick white plastic coated clothesline wire cut into 2-3” lengths was looped through alternating tubes on both top and bottom. Ta da! Very elegant looking trash can. My mother used hers for storing her yarn projects.