Joanne O’Connell: 5 Ideas to Recycle Your Old Stationery

Joanne O’Connell: 5 Ideas to Recycle Your Old Stationery

  1. You Will Need:
  2. An empty juice/milk container
  3. Glue
  4. Paint (try and use up old paints here. If you only have a little left in each, you could colour block your bird house or do rainbow stripes. Anything goes!)
  5. Old stationery – find any dried-up pens, broken pencils … I even found a piece of an old ruler for mine, which made the ideal hook and a lovely way to reuse it!
  6. Piece of cardboard – ideally reuse some packaging – for the roof
  7. Twigs

Bird Feeder

What nicer way to repurpose old paint and pens than to create a feeder to welcome songbirds to your garden, windowsill, or balcony?


1. Wash out your carton. Cut a circle to put the bird seed into (you may need an adult to help with this).

2. Paint the carton.

3. Cut out two rectangles from the cardboard, paint, and stick them on for the roof.

4. Decorate your bird feeder, with old broken pens, lids, pencils, and create a welcome sign (we’re not sure birds can read but it looks fun when it’s outside!).

5. Create somewhere for the birds to stand. A few twigs makes the perfect perch.

6. Fill with bird-safe food – check out a website such as the RSPB for the lowdown on what to feed our feathered friends.

7. Hang it outside and get ready for some happy visitors!


  1. You Will Need:
  2. Empty parcel tape/Sellotape rolls (or you could cut an old wrapping paper tube into small sections). The thicker you make them, the deeper your storage space will be.
  3. Glue
  4. Scraps of old magazines, paper, fabric

Mini Organiser

You can really personalise this project, which means it makes a great gift. Is someone in your family into sewing? Fill it with embroidery threads. Got a friend who loves hairstyles? How about popping in a few scrunchies for a present?


1. Glue together the empty rolls of tape into a three or a five, or any shape you like. Leave to dry.

2. Decorate your organiser with scraps of old torn up magazines, or fabric you have at home.

3. Tie a ribbon or piece of string around the top as a hook.

4. Pin it on the wall and fill.

  1. You Will Need:
  2. Old crayons
  3. A muffin/cake baking tray

Crayon Jewels

Stumped for ideas for what to do with the ends of crayons? Don’t send them to landfill. It only take minutes to transform them into decorative ‘jewel’s – and the solid-liquid-solid process makes for a fun science project too!


1. Remove the paper from the crayons

2. Chop the crayons into small pieces. Colour sort them if you want or go for a multicoloured look.

3. Lightly oil your muffin/cake tray so it’s easier to remove the crayon jewels.

4. Fill each mold with crayons (at least an inch high).

5. Melt them in the oven at around 120C (250F, Gas mark ½) for around 15 minutes. Check on them regularly to make sure they’ve melted.

6. Remove from oven and leave to cool (to room temperature) in the tray.

7. Pop them out – with a palette knife if you have one – and enjoy your crayon jewels.


  1. You Will Need:
  2. An empty container (glue pot, paint pot, anything goes)
  3. Old magazines
  4. Broken stationery
  5. Glue

Vase/Stationery Organiser


1. Cut strips of your old magazines, or scraps of wrapping paper.

2. Glue the paper around your container.

3. Decorate with any broken pens or crayons.

4. Varnish/seal with glue to make it glossy and stop the paper getting soggy or wet (optional. If you’re using it to hold pens, you could skip this).

5. Fill with flowers, toothbrushes, stationery, or add some compost and seeds – a homemade plant pot makes a lovely gift for a grandparent, for example.


  1. You Will Need:
  2. Glue
  3. Pieces of old ribbons/string (try and upcycle them from packaging).
  4. Old magazines (illustrations and photos can make cool Instagram-inspired square gift tags) or you could use wrapping paper.
  5. Anything from a craft kit – such as pipe cleaners, glitter, paint, felt shapes, goggle eyes…

Gift Tags

Who doesn’t love a personalised gift tag? It makes a present feel special because it shows the recipient you’ve really thought about them.


1. Just cut out shapes from paper/card, paint, decorate, do mini collages … and attach a ribbon or piece of string. Just remember to leave space to write names and a message!


Beauty and the Bin by Joanne O’Connell

Joanne O’Connell’s debut children’s book – Beauty and the Bin – is a unique and invigorating story following young eco-warrior Laurie.

Laurie’s family are trying to make the world a better place, one homemade bath bomb at a time. But whilst she loves them and wants to help protect the planet, she also wants to be a normal kid who doesn’t fish through the bin for food or ingredients for her homemade beauty recipes.

So when the most popular girl at school wants to team up to sell her homemade beauty creations as part of their school’s ‘Business with a difference’ competition; her two worlds may be about to collide. But with all the attention their business brings, can Laurie stay true to herself and her family’s values?


5 Ideas to Recycle Your Old Stationery by Joanne O’Connell, Author of Beauty and the Bin (Macmillan Children’s Books, 18 February 2021)

Leave a Reply