Holiday Crafts

Published on October 25th, 2008 | by Julie Finn

6

Being a Green Goth: Finding the Eco in Papel Picado

Author's photograph of her Papel Picado banner from The ToymakerI happen to like skulls–I’m an existentialist, alright? So just as I used to stock up on black onesies for my babies come October, I tend to utilize Halloween DIY projects as your basic ideas for interior decorating. 

The only hindrance to such madcap skull-crafting is my manifesto, which declares that whenever possible, I utilize recycled materials in my work. Know how many Halloween-ish craft projects there are that purposefully utilize recycled materials? Not many, my friends. That’s why we think outside the box; we take regular craft projects, and we MAKE them be recycled, mwa-ha-ha!

My latest Project O’ Skulls comes from my (healthy) obession with The Toymaker.The Toymaker, or Marilyn Scott-Walters, makes these crazy-awesome things out of cut paper. Cut-paper objects are not only beautiful as objects, but paper as a material is eco-friendly in its bio-degradability, and its fragility and impermanence adds additional depth to its beauty, I think.

But back to the skulls, right? One of the free downloadable objects (for your own personal use, people, NOT for ebay) on The Toymaker’s site is a pattern for four different Papel Picado flags: a cat, an owl, a pumpkin, and, yes, a SKULL. I made this banner straight-up as a Halloween decoration for my girlies, and it came out so awesomely awesome that I started thinking…skulls, huh? I should make a banner just of skulls. And totally hang it in my bedroom. Perhaps over the bed?

Sure, that’s pretty green, I guess–I mean, at least it’s not vinyl skulls that would be off-gassing all over me and my lover as we sleep. But still, do you know what’s way more eco-friendly than nicely biodegradable paper? Yep, RECYCLED paper.

And so the newest decoration crowning the love nest I share with my bemused partner is a banner of skulls cut from an old encyclopedia. What would also be cool to use would be glossy magazine pages, or newspapers. Chinese take-out menus, or your kiddo’s artwork. Recycled wrapping paper. Junk mail.

What unexpected or unusual paper products do you recycle into awesomeness?


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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.



6 Responses to Being a Green Goth: Finding the Eco in Papel Picado

  1. cake says:

    the toymaker rocks, and so does this post (and your skull banner). i want to try making some of her other paper toys with an old road atlas we have lying around, some of the little one’s art, etc. thanks for the tips.

  2. cake says:

    the toymaker rocks, and so does this post (and your skull banner). i want to try making some of her other paper toys with an old road atlas we have lying around, some of the little one’s art, etc. thanks for the tips.

  3. cake says:

    the toymaker rocks, and so does this post (and your skull banner). i want to try making some of her other paper toys with an old road atlas we have lying around, some of the little one’s art, etc. thanks for the tips.

  4. Julie Finn says:

    Ooh, a road atlas would be cool!

    I was also thinking about tinting some of those paper banners, especially–coffee would totally work; I wonder if food coloring would?

  5. Julie Finn says:

    Ooh, a road atlas would be cool!

    I was also thinking about tinting some of those paper banners, especially–coffee would totally work; I wonder if food coloring would?

  6. Julie Finn says:

    Ooh, a road atlas would be cool!

    I was also thinking about tinting some of those paper banners, especially–coffee would totally work; I wonder if food coloring would?

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