DIY: Turn junk mail into art

Taylor Hilsabeck

The U.S. Postal Service handles 100 billion pieces of junk mail each year. The average household in the United States gets around six pieces of junk mail each day. If you take the 2.6 million trees killed each year and convert that into pounds of paper, you get roughly 2 billion pounds. Even if you assume half of that is recycled, you still have 1 billion pounds of paper going into landfills. 

For those of you who do not know, Earth Day is April 22, and Arbor Day is April 27. In the spirit of thinking about the environment, I decided to challenge myself to conjure up a fun way to use all the junk mail and old magazines I have lying around my apartment.

The first project I made was very easy. I simply drew a droplet shape with a black marker on some old junk mail, cut out the pieces, and glued them onto plain paper.


  • A variety a junk mail fliers (the kind made of heavy cardstock work best)
  • A black marker
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Sheets of plain paper
  • Frames


  • Trace droplets onto the junk mail, using areas that have both text and images to add variety.
  • With the scissors, cut out the droplets, making sure to cut outside the black line.
  • Arrange the droplets on a sheet of paper and glue into position.
  • Frame your sheets and voila, a junk mail masterpiece!

The second project is a lot more time consuming but really cool when finished. As I was making the droplet art pieces, I noticed my piles and piles of dusty old magazines. Instead of trashing them, I recycled them to make a trash can.

Coil strips of magazine paper (I found high gloss magazines worked best) and use a hot glue gun to hold the coils together. The bottom part is one big disk of coils with a bead of hot glue filling the center hole.