A castoff carton might not be the first thing you think of when you hear “crafting supply.” But it should be! Those juice and dairy containers often are made of Tetra Pak: A plastic-coated paperboard that’s sturdy enough to stand up to liquids and freezer burn alike. So why not your kids’ collections – or spare cash? To boot, it’s a great way to repurpose the stuff, if your southeast Michigan community doesn’t happen to offer carton recycling. Whip up your own basket or wallet with these directions.
Ice Cream Carton Basket
“Recyclo-weave” a cool container to stash your kids’ art supplies or knickknacks. This simple three-stepper is from Recyclo-Gami, in which veteran kids’ food and craft editor/maker Laurie Goldrich Wolf upcycles household castoffs into 40 cool creations. We betcha melt for this classic.
- Round, empty ice cream carton (cleaned and dried)
- Scraps of fabric, ribbon, foil or any other sturdy, colorful scrap material
- Cut the carton sides into vertical slices – right to the bottom. Cut your scrap material into strips 1/2″ to 1″ wide. Figure the strip lengths by wrapping each around the carton until it overlaps by a 1/2 to 1 inch, and cut off the excess.
- On the inside of the carton, tape the end of a scrap strip to the backside of a slice of the carton. Weave the strip around the container, first going under a slice of the carton, then over another slice – under, over, etc. When you get back to the beginning, tape the end to the inside and cut off any excess.
- Repeat with a second strip, this time first going over a slice of the carton, then under (so the strips alternate). Keep weaving with new strips until you’ve reached the top. Secure the carton slices from the inside with a piece of tape that wraps around the entire interior of the top (hint: colored tape looks best!).
Tetra Pak Wallet
For almost 60 years, Sweden-based Tetra Pak has made kick-butt food packaging. Well, turns out one of its most iconic products, the Tetra Brik, easily morphs into a cool customizable coin purse (and odds are good you already have one in the fridge). Crafty bloggers dish plenty of variations, but here are the basics.
- 1 32-oz. (1 quart) Tetra Brik box* (commonly used for soy milks, juices, broths and pre-made soups)
- Colorful masking or duct tape
- Self-adhesive hook-and-loop fastener (like Velcro)
- Magazine clippings or stickers (optional)
- Water-based sealer (like Mod Podge) or packing tape (optional)
- *See purple wallet. You can also modify a half-gallon milk/juice carton, like the red one.
- Rinse out and shake-dry the box. Release its folded top and bottom flaps. Flatten it by pushing down on the front, carefully squashing out and creasing the sides.
- Use scissors to cut off the top and bottom, along the horizontal crease lines. This is also a good time to clean the inside (try a spray, to avoid over-soaking).
- Find the box’s vertical seam, where it was glued together (it’s on one of the box’s “big” sides). This’ll be the inside of your wallet. Have it facing up.
- From the bottom, fold up about one-third of the box. With scissors, cut off the following parts of this “third”: the upward-facing seam piece, and the two sides. Do not cut off the “front” flap (i.e., the part touching your work surface).
- Reinforce the rough edges, sides and folds with masking or duct tape. Use a bit thinner tape to get that “edging” effect, or just cover any surfaces you desire.
- Fold the other one-third of the box up, so it’s touching the middle third. You’ve now got a familiar tri-fold wallet shape.
- The sides are currently squished “out.” Tuck them in, and press down.
- Press the two main sections together (i.e., not the flap part) and connect them with a staple or two.
- Stick the self-adhesive hook-and-loop fastener to the inside of the top flap and the portion of wallet it folds down to, creating a closure.
- Add flourish with stickers or by affixing clippings with a sealer or packing tape.
Get pumped up! Learn how to turn a carton into a wallet with this MetroParent.com DIY video.