how-to: use your pretty magazines to make a festive ball garland

When I am looking for inspiration for a project, I start by looking around my office or house for what I have too much of. What am I preparing to throw out that I could use in a different way? And like many of you, I’m sure, my eye always falls on the gigantic pile of magazines atop nearly every surface in my office. We all love to keep magazines–the layouts, the colors, the ideas and inspiration–even the pretty advertisements are inevitably ripped from their glued spines and pinned to our bulletin boards. But even the most ardent magazine hoarders (I’m looking at you, Mom!) have to clean house once in a while and pick some mags to let go of. Save your favorite pages and give them new life by making my new magazine ball garland.

Materials needed:

  • Sewing machine
  • A magazine or two–I used one with lots of beautiful, brightly-colored pages
  • Scissors

Below I’ve outlined all of the steps in photos–it’s quite intuitive and easy to make your own. Luckily, this isn’t a project that must be done perfectly to be successful!

This is a pretty versatile tutorial–you can use the same technique to make tiny garlands to embellish gifts, big color-coordinated garlands to wrap around your Christmas tree, or just do what I did and make something to liven up your workspace. You don’t have to use just magazines for this project either–here are some other ideas:

  • Use newspaper for a shabby black and white color scheme
  • Fringe the sides of the circles after sewing them–fan them out and fluff the fringe!
  • Cut the paper into different shapes–hearts, squares, flowers…
  • Vary the sizes of the circles from stack to stack as you sew
  • Make this project with other meaningful materials–cut big circles out of old greeting cards, saving the signatures of your loved ones. Reuse old school papers from your college years or artwork from a particularly prolific child in your life.

Make it project and upload your photos to our Princess Lasertron Projects group on Flickr. And if you like this project, you will also love the recycled magazine bouquet featured in the premier issue of Rock N Roll Bride’s new magazine. (Those flowers are next on my list to make and I will definitely share how they turn out!)

My outfit: Dress: Ann Taylor Loft // Jacket: Merona // Tights: Hue // Necklace: Erickson Beamon for Target


Comment View All


2 × three =

26 thoughts on “how-to: use your pretty magazines to make a festive ball garland”

  1. Sarah Sue says:

    I need a sewing machine… Hope Santa pulls through

  2. Nan says:

    Thank you for sharing this great and fun tutorial.

  3. Susanna says:

    This looks like a great project! But I’m not entirely clear on what happens in between each of the magazine-balls… How are they attached to each other? Do you just unwind extra thread and twist it?

  4. Zim says:

    This is awesome…something I’d definitely love to try out ASAP!! Only that I’ll get my mom to sew it manually since we don’t have a sewing machine!! :D

  5. spookyzo says:

    brilliant idea- gorgeous pictures… what is the white contraption on the shelf? A camera? I am intrigued!

    1. yes that’s a fujimax instax camera!

  6. Bonney says:

    How many layer are sewn together? Very cute!!

    1. around ten, I would say? doesn’t have to be exact.

  7. Heidi says:

    Oh My goodness!! I have a sewing machine! I have a HUGE pile of magazines and newspapers! I can do this!!!

  8. Robin says:

    I would never have thought of sewing magazines. It looks amazing. I would love it if you linked it up over at The T-shirt Diaries Upcycling Linky party: http://tinyurl.com/upcycled70

  9. Diane kopke says:

    I made pinwheels out of old maps for my stores windows last summer. I am going to do this project using maps. Thanks ao much!

    1. oh I LOVE that idea! maps would be awesome. we have a lot of maps and globes that I’m bringing into camp so that might be a good idea for me too.

  10. Those are pretty darn cute.

  11. ellene says:

    love this! I’m a well known magazine hoarder and people donate them to my art room, which just feeds my addiction!!!

  12. Ah I love this! Too bad through out my magazines!

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Ooooo! Inspired to FINALLY set up my sewing machine! After the wedding, of course…one week away. Eeeeek!

  14. omg this is so cute! would be a perfect xmas decoration

    1. I know! I’m saving the gold/bright yellow pages from more of my magazines to wrap around my tree.


× one = 5

What would you do with a billion dollars?

Lately Sarah and I were talking about how much a million is, how much a billion is. The most striking thing I read recently that put it into perspective was that a million seconds is about a week and a half, but a billion seconds is nearly 32 years. Sarah asked me, what would I…

2014, in list form.

Wise people always say not to focus on the negative. It turns out that that's good advice, because there's a lot of positive out there. I was in a depressy mood last week depressing to my friend/advisor/midnight oil hero Jason about something I typically depress about, and when we started talking about what was good this year instead of bad, it felt like a much more successful year. Wildly so. Adventurous. Daring. Extraordinary. Fortuitous. And not nearly all work-related. My intention for 2015 is "less surviving, more living," but I sure did squeeze a lot of life out of the past year or so. 2014 is going down in history. Why not make a list? Here's mine.

Know that the next year will surpass all others.

"Oh passion-filled days, all steadfast and young, know that the next year will surpass all others, because it is new, and because it will be filled with moments that will remain unspoken of harsh and light, right along with your steady heart.
When we allow ourselves the sweetness of now, we may have all of the adventures that life has to offer in the coming year—if we are so fortunate as to have one."

Alice Elfie’s Day Off

Alice and I stayed home today so we could start making presents for our family. It's hard to find much time to be together and do any of that between getting off work and bedtime, so we both took a day off! We listened to the Mariah Carey holiday Pandora station all day and had personal pan pizzas delivered for lunch, and ate all the cookies we wanted from a cookie exchange we went to last weekend. Here's what we made, including links!

OOTD: Clothes to covet

Today Alice and I are staying home to work on all of our Christmas gifts together! With my new work schedule, there isn't a lot of time between work and bed to finish any meaningful projects together, so we both took the day off to make and wrap all of our gifts. One thing on my gift list is this outfit. If we don't sell out of my size before the holidays, I'll definitely be buying it from the store. Usually I just buy whatever I want as things come in or order extra for myself, but during the holidays I want to give all of our extra inventory a chance to sell at full price before I snatch it up.
View All