Reclaimed Art: Toilet paper roll wall art

Wall Art From Toilet Paper Rolls

Wall Art From Toilet Paper Rolls

So much of what we end up throwing out or recycling could become something new. Reclaiming materials before they go to the landfill or even get recycled is a much more eco-friendly alternative. In this post, I’ll be showing you how even toilet paper rolls can turn into something beautiful without that much effort.


How to make wall art from toilet paper rolls

What you will need:

What you will need.

Materials and tools you will need.

  1. Toilet paper rolls (the amount will depend on the size of your piece).
  2. Sharp scissors
  3. Clothes pins
  4. Acrylic paints and a palette to mix them
  5. Paint brushes
  6. Ruler
  7. Pencil (and eraser in case you make a mistake)
  8. While glue

Stage 1: Planning

Step 1

Step 1: Decide on shape and design.

You can work with any number of shapes and your design can be as large as you want (also consider that the more rolls you have, the larger it can be).

For this example, we are going to work with leaf shaped toilet paper rolls and a wreath like design (which is a great eco-friendly holiday season decor piece) shown below.

Design Example

Design Example

Stage 2: Prepping

Step 2.1

Step 2.1: Mark cut measurements.

2.1  Grab the ruler, the pencil, and the toilet paper rolls and make 1 inch markings along the length of the toilet paper roll as shown above. You can vary on the size of your markings, but keep in mind that if they are not deep enough, they may not show as much, and if they are too deep, they may not glue together very well (see side view of finished piece below for an example of the 1-inch depth). You can also play with using different depths, if that’s an effect you’re looking for. In these examples, all pieces are the same size.

Depth view

1-inch depth view.

 

Step 2.2

Step 2.2: Draw cut guides.


2.2
 Next, use your ruler and pencil to draw cut guides to help you cut the toilet paper rolls.

Step 2.3

Step 2.3: Cut toilet paper rolls.

2.3 Next, use the scissors to cut the toilet paper rolls along their markings.

 

Step 2.4

Step 2.4: Paint toilet paper roll parts.

2.4 Next is painting, so pick out your acrylic paint colors and paint brush and go for it. Make sure to coat the toilet paper roll piece well and get every little corner. Let dry a little and check to see if you missed any spots. It should look fully coated when you’re done (see example below). It is also helpful to paint the outside first, set it aside to dry, then paint the inside as well (and don’t forget the edges, as they will show the most in a front view). If you want an iron look (which actually looks really good), use a black with a little brown in it. If you’re going for a holiday look, red and greens work well. You can also play with textures and with mixing colors.

Painted example.

Painted example.

 

Stage 3: Assembling

Step 3.1

Step 3.1: Glue pieces together.

3.1 First: make sure to lay out your design to have a sense of how you want the pieces to connect to each other. Then, grab a section of 2-3 pieces and with a brush, apply a small amount of glue to one of the sides touching each other.

Step 3.2

Step 3.2: Clamp glued pieced with clothes pin.

Clamping view from above.

Clamping view from above.

3.2 Immediately after applying glue, use clothes pins to hold pieces together while glue is drying. Wait at least 5 minutes before releasing “clamp”. Continue to repeat steps 3.1 and 3.2 until you finish assembling your design.


That’s it for today!  I hope you enjoy this post and please share your own tips on how to reclaim materials to give them a new life!

Thanks for Your Sustainable Thanks

Do you know what happened in the year 1621? If you guessed the First Thanksgiving, you would be correct! 1621 was witness to a successful harvest season for our pilgrim friends (finally!), and their Gourdswanting to thank their Native American contemporaries who had so graciously taught them how to manage the land and its yields. Today, close to 400 years since, Thanksgiving is still a time to be with family and friends and give thanks for all the good things we have in life. Something to think about this holiday season is how important the earth is to each of us. The oxygen we breathe, the water we drink, the sunshine we need to stay healthy, the snow we ski in, the mountains we hike in, the soil we garden with; all are a valuable part of the earth that we should stop and give thanks for. And what better way to give thanks to the earth this Thanksgiving than by making our Thanksgiving dinners more eco-friendly?! In honor of the earth and in the spirit of thankfulness, I have composed a list of things you can do to say ‘thank you!’ to the environment this holiday season.

First of all, consider buying an organic, free range turkey. Not only are you ensuring that your turkey had a lovely little life outside of a cage, enjoying organic food, but you are also making an investment in the environment: organic farming practices are way less harmful to the earth than standard bird farms. You might even try to buy your organic turkey from a local farmer, thereby purchasing a great tasting, healthy bird for your table, and also racking up the good karma points by supporting local business.

Secondly, and on the same note, why not buy your green beans, pumpkins, cranberries, and sweet potatoes from a farmer’s market? Not only will you be supporting your local food producers, you’ll also be saving fuel and carbon emissions caused by shipping. Can it get better?

Third, if you are having a large gathering over for the holidays and are dreading doing dishes, consider buying compostable disposable plates and cups, instead of Styrofoam and plastic tableware.

These are just a few ideas to get you started on your eco-friendly Thanksgiving dinner. Remember to say ‘thank you!’ to the earth and all the good things that come with it this season, and have a wonderful and safe break!

And finally, because I am an anthropology major and a total nerd, here’s a small list of food typically eaten at this time of year that was domesticated in the Americas: turkey, chocolate, squash, and maize. If you’re eating any of these things over the holidays, think of the Neolithic people domesticating them thousands of years ago, and be sure to thank them too.J

~ Anna Crona

Sustainable Dorm (or Apartment) Room Living

 

Peace Lily

Peace Lily

Are you living in the dorms? Do you want to live more sustainably? Most people that are interested in sustainability and living in the dorms have a hard time being sustainable in their rooms. Living sustainably in your dorm is possible, and very feasible. The following are the top ten ways to live sustainably (or more sustainably) in your dorm room.

1. Reduce your energy consumption. Turn all electronics off and unplug items from the outlet! Anything still plugged in uses a small amount of electricity.

2. Keep your windows closed. As nice as a little breeze is, opening your windows just requires the schools heaters to work harder than they need to work.

Spider Plant

3. Reduce your paper consumption. Double side any printing that you do.

4. Recycle. Provide recycling bins to your suite mates or offer to take recycling from everyone’s rooms and put it in bins outside.

5. Use a water bottle. The Student Union Building no longer sells bottled water. A water bottle refilling station is available in the College Union Building.

6. Shave a minute off your shower time. You will reduce your water consumption by over 700 gallons a year (If you shower every day).

7. Buy a plant for you room. This will clean the air through your room and make the air quality better for all. Good plants to improve air quality include: Peace Lily, Bamboo Palm, English Ivy, Mums, and Spider Plant.

8. Don’t pay to use those dryers. It is dry in Durango hang those garments up and they will be dry in no time.

9. Use CFL’s. Change out those incandescent light bulbs for more efficient longer lasting CFL’s. Don’t forget those bulbs when you leave either they can last up to nine years.

10. Shop at second hand stores. Do you really need those new $100 pair of jeans. Save money and the environment and shop second hand.

There you have it the 10 best ways to be more sustainable in your dorm room. Have other great ideas to be more sustainable if your dorm room? Share them on the Environmental Center Facebook Page.

~ Andrew Stuntz

Environmental Issues the US National Parks are facing today

Experience Glacier National Park

Experience Glacier National Park, Montana

Have you ever been to a National Park in the United States? If not, you sure are missing out on the magnificent, breathtaking views. But, unfortunately, as a repercussion of our bad environmental habits, these National Parks are at severe risk of being destroyed in the future. These habits include: climate change, increases in water demand, air pollution, and adjacent development, just to name a few.

Glacier

Climate change is being perceived through global warming. Glaciers may melt away as they are at Glacier National Park in Montana. Also, fire seasons may grow in length and severity, shifting landscapes.

Water is becoming an issue as increasing human demands shrink supplies on which aquatic species depend.

An example of the air pollution these National Parks are facing is at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Park didn’t get its name for its smog, but it is one of many parks seriously affected by the problem. At Great Smoky, power plant and industrial emissions are blown by winds to the Southern Appalachians and trapped there by the mountains.

Olympic National Park Washington

Adjacent development problems are showing through housing developments and industrial sights, etc.

If we don’t take action soon, not only with the intent to help National Parks, but also the universe, we won’t ever be able to experience the enchanting beauty of these sights again.

What are ways we can help?

  • Reduce your use of petroleum, whether that entails buying an electric car, switching from a gas to electric stove or just walking or riding your bike to your destinations.
  • Say no to bottled water, and start using a canteen or water bottle.
  • Save energy by washing your clothes in cold water instead of hot.

Become active in the fight to prevent the destruction of the National Parks. Also, you can visit http://www.doyourpartparks.org/ to learn more.

~ Cheyenne Caraway