10 Creative Ways to Reuse with a Laser Cutter

10 Creative Reuse Ideas for Laser Cutting

 

If you thought creative reuse couldn’t be hi-tech, think again! This is Amy from Maker Mama back with 10 ways to reuse with a laser cutter. Don’t have access to a laser cutter? Well you’re in luck, because local hackerspace, 10BitWorks, is raising funds to bring one to their space–and if you donate at the Maker Track level, you can use it, too! Now on to all the awesome things you can create with this snazzy tool:

 

engraved-wood-notebook

1. Laser Engraved Recycled Notebook

Put your scrap wood to use as a a notebook with a fancy cover.

mirror-feather

 2. Turn old mirrors into pretty Mirrored Feathers.

cork-state-wall-art

 3. Cork State Wall Art

Cut out your favorite state and color them up with your enormous cork stash.

cardboard-desk-lamp

 4. Cardboard Desk Lamp

Step-by-step tutorial on how to design and create your own desk lamp with cardboard (and how to have the cool desk at work).

laser-cut-record

 

5. Record Clock

Turn a thrifted record into a work of art–and smile in delight whenever you check the time!

t-shirt

 6. Wear your laser-cutting skills on your sleeve with a Laser Cut T-Shirt.

chandelier

 7. Decorate your space on the cheap with a Cardboard Chandelier.

beautiful-laser-cut-business-card

8. Turn your recycled material of choice into custom-cut Business Cards

shadow-puppet

 9. Use some thin cardboard and a little bit of paint to be the best kids-gift-giver ever with your own Shadow Puppets.

wine glasses

10. And kick back after a long day of making awesome laser-cut things with a cool drink from your Laser Engraved Recycled Wine Glasses.

I’m amazed at all the possibilities a laser cutter brings and am checking out 10BitWorks’ fundraising campaign now! What would you make if you had access to this amazing machine?

Want more creative inspiration? Follow Maker Mama on Pinterest and check out my tutorial gallery!

10 Creative Reuse Ideas for Halloween

Creative Reuse Halloween

This is Amy from Maker Mama back with 10 awesome creative reuse ideas for Halloween. Halloween is one of the best times of the year to get crafty, and I know you don’t want to have the same costume or decor as your neighbor, right? Check out these original ideas for inspiration.

Read More

Guest Post: 4th Annual Fine Arts Fair Recap!

Laura Carter

Laura Carter

Laura Carter is a writer, blogger, social media maven and nonprofit aficionada. She spent six years at the San Antonio Area Foundation and her blog “Beyond Paychecks” ran online bi-weekly at the San Antonio Current from 2010-2013. Carter recently retired as Communications Director at Providence Catholic School. In addition, to serving on spare parts advisory committee, she works with Blessed Sacrament Academy on Mission Road, is a member of the TEDxSanAntonio communications committee and contributes to the community journalism project NOWCastSA.

They arrived early with tote bags, suitcases, wagons and crates. Teachers from every school district and many private schools in the San Antonio area came to Wonderland of the Americas Mall on August 1st for the spare parts 4th annual materials giveaway and Fine Arts Fair. Chatting in line with fellow teachers, they anticipated grabbing up free, and often unique, supplies and materials for use in elementary, middle and high school art classes.  

Nimitz Middle School art educator Eric Cavazos. Photo courtesy Laura Carter.

Nimitz Middle School art teacher Eric Cavazos. Photo courtesy Laura Carter.

Some teachers come with a shopping list, like brushes, markers, paints and other items not in their school’s budget. Others come with an open mind about the possibilities. “I’m always on the look out for the unusual stuff,” said Eric Cavazos, art teacher at Nimitz Middle School. “Getting materials from spare parts annual giveaway changed the way I approach my lesson plans. The ‘not every day’ materials are a starting point for integrating into new and edgy art projects that the kids really get excited about.” 

Each year, the community donates items that otherwise might be thrown out as trash, or just recycled in mass. Magazines, toilet paper rolls, fabric pieces, half spools of thread, tiles, office supplies, old costume jewelry, even trophies and other seemingly odd items make it to the tables. Items are sorted for easier access and on event day, the race is on!

Several of the teachers I spoke with like to use this “trash” in the classrooms to make a point.  “Most of these students

Southwest Prepatory school art teacher Dedra Espinoza. Photo courtesy Laura Carter.

Southwest Preparatory school art teacher Dedra Espinoza. Photo courtesy Laura Carter.

have grown up in a ‘disposable’ society,” said Dedra Espinoza, teacher at Southwest Preparatory.  “Our art projects often include a lesson on  ecological basics–where do these items come from, where they go when they are thrown away and how does that impacts the environment. Then they get creative turning the items into something useful.” 

But wait! The annual event isn’t the only way spare parts works with San Antonio educators and the general public to further the concept of creative reuse. Members of the spare parts team hold workshops for teachers throughout the year. There are events open to the public geared to educate and create using specific materials. My favorite this year was the “Take it apart and make art” workshop in collaboration with 10bitworks which approached the topic of e-waste in the most creative way.  

MINI ART MUSEUM, Amy Johnson aka Maker Mama & Gabriela Santiago (Museum Co-Founder). Photo courtesy Joey Lopez.

MINI ART MUSEUM, Amy Johnson aka Maker Mama & Gabriela Santiago (Museum Co-Founder). Photo courtesy Joey Lopez.

Plus, the spare parts MINI ART MUSEUM opened with two new exhibitions: Charted Territories and E-Waste Everlasting. the traveling museum even comes with a mini gift shop, magnifying glasses and can come to your school, event or business. Make a date with the MINI ART MUSEUM today by contacting sparepartstudio@gmail.com.

Mary Elizabeth Cantú, founder and director follows up the event with this comment: “This year we were, again, able to

Dezarre Boone, spare parts' 4th Annual Fine Arts Fair volunteer Volunteer Coordinator. Photo courtesy spare parts.

Dezarre Boone, spare parts’ 4th Annual Fine Arts Fair volunteer Volunteer Coordinator. Photo courtesy spare parts.

deliver materials and supplies to 100 PreK-12 grade teachers across San Antonio who will utilize these donations to bring more opportunities for art and creativity in their classrooms. In all, 10,000 students will be served this school year because of our efforts. Thank you to all the volunteers and donors who made our 4th Fine Arts Fair successful. A very, very special thanks goes to Dezarre Boone and the Boone Family for all their hard work.” “Our goal is to turn spare parts into a full-time organization that offers education programs focused on creative reuse and accepts/delivers materials to the creative community year round. Please email us to help us achieve this mission.”

Guest Post: How spare parts saved me from my trashy habits

Laura Carter

Laura Carter

Laura Carter is a writer, blogger, social media maven and nonprofit aficionada. She spent six years at the San Antonio Area Foundation and her blog “Beyond Paychecks” ran online bi-weekly at the San Antonio Current from 2010-2013. Carter recently retired as Communications Director at Providence Catholic School. In addition, to serving on spare parts advisory committee, she works with Blessed Sacrament Academy on Mission Road, is a member of the TEDxSanAntonio communications committee and contributes to the community journalism project NOWCastSA.


It’s no secret, I am a huge fan of the organization spare parts, and its founder/director Mary Elizabeth Cantú. I first met Mary in January of 2012 at a social media workshop. With a degree in elementary education from Mount Holyoke College, she is a smart, talented young woman with a passion for art, education, environment and collaboration. 


Not being artsy crafty in anyway, the spare parts basic message by artist Aaron Kramer–“Trash is the failure of imagination”–intrigued me. My take away–stop throwing away stuff that can be reused, repurposed or given a new life through art by the creativeness of artists and/or students in the classroom. 

After realizing our throw-away society holds many hidden resources, and just about anything can have a second life, I began making changes in the way I viewed prospective trash. I no longer threw anything away without first evaluating its possibility to become something useful. Now, I don’t mean garbage, like food stuff or the things in the cat litter box. I’m talking about all kinds of paper, boxes, glass and plastic containers, old art or sewing supplies, toilet paper or paper towel rolls and many other items we toss without giving a second thought. 

Kitchen Island

Kitchen Island. Photo thanks to Laura Carter.

Before I buy a new household item such as drawer organizers, I looked at things I had around the house and found that shoebox lids make great tool and utensil trays. As much as possible, I reuse glass and plastic containers. Toothbrush holder–an old vase. My husband, who I’ve always deemed a hoarder of sorts, is ecstatic I nag him less about the garage full of all matter of ‘things saved to use later’. And, I love this kitchen island (left) he made from an old dresser with tiles and drawer knobs from the Habitat store, and garage sale stained glass panels. 

Trying to stay environmentally-friendly when we do purchase new items, we give pause to consider can the packaging be recycled. Is the container reusable or even biodegradable? We use only reusable bags for groceries and don’t purchase water in individual plastic bottles. We  buy water from the Windmill kiosks and fill reusable bottles at home. Paper towels were replaced by cloth towels. Milk cartons make good plant starter containers. I learned to make a natural cleaner from vinegar, liquid dish soap and baking soda. 

Anything that looks promising but, I can’t figure out how to use, is saved for the annual spare parts materials giveaway for San Antonio teachers. Over the years, hundreds of teachers have taken boxes of seemingly dead supplies to be resurrected by their students into fun, creative art work.

 

Art educator Anika Blanco. Photo thanks to Chris Castillo.

Art educator Anika Blanco. Photo thanks to Chris Castillo.

Coincidentally this year’s giveaway is coming up on Friday, August 1st from 10:00am to 2:00pm at the Wonderland Mall of the Americas. A Fine Arts Fair in conjunction with the giveaway will provide family-friendly arts information and projects.

There is an opportunity to volunteer for this fun and worthwhile organization to help receive and sort donations at Wonderland Mall of the Americas on July 29 and 31 from 1:00pm to 6:00pm. Bring some stuff and stay a while to help.

Mary is an artist, educator, inspiration and innovator. She changes the way we view trash  through spare parts‘ campaigns and educational workshops. If each of us changes our habits even a little we can make a difference.

Fine Arts Fair – August 1, 2014

Designed by Robert Tatum & John Mata

Designed by Robert Tatum & John Mata

7/10/2014 IMPORTANT UPDATE: Online teachers registration is closed. We have registered 100 teachers for the materials & supplies giveaway portion of the Fine Arts Fair IN RECORD TIME. Teachers may register onsite at 9:30am on August 1 for $15 as there might be spots available from registrants who decide not to attend.

Another option: from 12:30-1:30pm all materials & supplies must go! Everyone including the general public is welcome to take all they’d like on August 1 from 12:30-1:30pm.

The need to support the creative community, especially our PreK-12 grade educators, is overwhelming. Spare Parts is a volunteer effort & it’s primary goal is to become a full-time organization. Please donate to our efforts today. Your gift is tax deductible.

 

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE – August 1, 2014 spare parts 4th Annual Fine Arts Fair at Wonderland of the Americas

On Friday, August 1, 2014 from 10am-2pm at Wonderland of the Americas, PreK-12 grade teachers & the public will celebrate arts education & the environment at the 4th annual Fine Arts Fair. The public is invited to participate in the Fine Arts Fair activities including: enjoy music, engage in art activities, visit the award-winning spare parts MINI ART MUSEUM, take a picture with Spurs Jesus & support local artists as they sell their arts & crafts.

“We are so excited to be hosting this event once again,” said Victoria Hernandez, Marketing Director for Wonderland of the Americas. “We believe fostering arts and creativity in children and teenagers is essential for the growth and advancement of our community, which is why we love working with spare parts and supporting their cause.”

San Antonio-based artist, Robert Tatum will be creating easels partly from found objects on site & hold kids finger painting sessions funded by the non-profit Art Star Academy. Art Star Academy is a non-profit, a subsidiary of SAFILM. Donations to Art Star Academy were made possible through the sales partnership of Tatum Originals’ Pray for Spurs products & Spurs Jesus products sold over the Spurs post season run. Spurs Jesus will also be available for photos with teachers, students & the public. “This effort is to give back to the community,” said Tatum.

Teachers will have access to materials & supplies collected by spare parts from donations by numerous business, organizations & individuals. Teachers must register online for the materials/supplies giveaway & the deadline is July 21 although they may register on site August 1. Register below.

Organizations may also setup an information table. Register below.

Artists & vendors who utilize at least 80% reusable, repurposed or recycled materials are invited to sell their work or items at the August 1 Fine Arts Fair or organizations that support the arts & the environment are also encouraged to participate. Please email sparepartstudio@gmail.com to learn more about this opportunity. The deadline is July 21.

Materials & supplies donations will be accepted beginning July 21 at Wonderland of the Americas. Click below for more information.

 

artist & vendor registration
Volunteer Sign Up

organization registration

donation information

 

spare parts fine arts fair sponsors

 

 

Subscribe

Join our email list to receive spare parts news & updates. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Sustain

Donate now!