Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Free Fun with Phone Books

I can honestly say that I have never lived in a place where more telephone directories are distributed than in Somerset, Kentucky. It seems as if my driveway becomes home to a bagged phone book, tossed haphazardly from a speeding car at least three or four times a year. As evidenced by my collection of glass jars, plastic grocery sacks, bread ties and straws, I just don't feel right about the thought of tossing the poor phone book into the trash. For one, it has already suffered so much in its short life, narrowly escaping serious injury in the midst of a rough landing on the surface of my concrete driveway. But also, much like a bright eyed child, it has SO much potential! So what do I do? I rescue it and give it new life! Just so you know we're not getting all hoarder crazy here, I only keep a couple of phone books at a time. I actually do put excess ones in the recycle bin (but don't tell their friends).

IDEA #1:  One big advantage of saving a phone book from the trash is the fact that it is essentially FREE craft material! Consider this wreath I made from phone book pages, a pizza box and a wire clothes hanger. For this thrifty wreath, the only things I had to actually purchase were the letters. The letters were less than a dollar each at Hobby Lobby, and I already had the ribbon on hand. I used probably 25 cents worth of ribbon overall. I just love the little areas of yellow peeking out from the rolled pages, don't you? To make this, I taped the lid shut on a clean (yet used) pizza box. I then cut the pages from a phone book, rolled them and hot glued them to the box. For the hanger, I used duct tape to secure it to the back of the wreath, and then hot glued ribbon to the front to conceal it. If you want a totally free wreath, just omit the letters and ribbon!

IDEA #2:  Use as gift wrap! At one time, this may have been considered really cheap and tacky. However, I have been noticing more and more printed scrapbook paper and decorative items that have newspaper and similar print. It has become fashionable to wrap gifts with newspaper and book pages tied up with a pretty burlap or jute bow! Or, you could also cut a pretty flower out of the pages and tape to the top. This is awesome if you are caught suddenly in need of gift wrap and have none OR just want something different and cute.

IDEA #3:  Tissue paper or gift basket filler. You probably saw the gift bags I made using recycled calendars. Instead of the traditional tissue paper, I stuffed these gift bags with phone book pages. They turned out cute and helped to reduce trash can waste created by more and more store-bought tissue paper

IDEA #4: Have you ever gotten caught out someplace and needed to make a call but didn't have the number? If so, you probably called somebody in your family, had them find a phone book, look up the number and wasted several minutes of your day. Why not use one of those extra or old phone books to carry in your vehicle? My husband actually gave me this bright idea a few weeks ago when he asked for one of the phone books from my "craft stash" to keep in his truck. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that the extra phone books could be used books!

I hope you have a blast using some of my ideas or your own awesome ideas for your old phone books. One thing I REALLY want to do next is to figure out how to make paper from old phone books. I'll keep you informed of the results. Have a fun, frugal and fabulous evening from our house to yours!

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