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


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  • Sarah Sue

    I need a sewing machine… Hope Santa pulls through

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  • Nan

    Thank you for sharing this great and fun tutorial.

  • Susanna

    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?

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  • Zim

    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

  • http://Oddydoodle.wordpress.com spookyzo

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

    • http://princesslasertron.com Princess Lasertron

      yes that’s a fujimax instax camera!

  • Bonney

    How many layer are sewn together? Very cute!!

    • http://princesslasertron.com Princess Lasertron

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

  • http://www.flowerstudio.im Heidi

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

    • http://princesslasertron.com Princess Lasertron

      yes you can!!

  • http://www.thetshirtdiaries.com Robin

    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

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  • http://Facebook/squandrygoods Diane kopke

    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!

    • http://princesslasertron.com Princess Lasertron

      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.

  • http://www.birdhouseinteriors.com jess@birdhouse

    Those are pretty darn cute.

  • ellene

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

  • http://inezgill.com Courtney Gill Zurcher

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

  • http://makebelieve.virb.com Elizabeth

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

  • http://www.rocknrollbride.com kat – rocknrollbride

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

    • http://princesslasertron.com Princess Lasertron

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

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when you want to work as remotely as possible: traveling for business

A: Travel is important to me because it helps my morale. It recharges my spirit. Every month or two? I like to get away as often as I can…probably sometimes to the annoyance of my business partner and coworkers. It’s always important to me to find something to work on wherever I go–a reason to make it worth my while from a business perspective–but there are some places I go just to ONLY work.

OOTD: Office Hours

This summer instead of having our 4-year-old Alice go to her school’s summer program, Dave and I decided to get a nanny. Her name is Kylie and she’s been WONDERFUL over the past two months! I really wish we could keep her all year and just have Alice in this hybrid coparenting-learning-field tripping-coming to the office situation, but I’m not sure I’m up for all the coordination it would take. I’m definitely considering it because I’ve never seen Alice so engaged and happy–she plays all day, does art and science camps and activities all over town, and gets lots of time outside, which leads to nice early bedtimes. Smile. I love having her at work after 4 every day and all day on Fridays.

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I am a long time reader of your blog and have seen it through its various incarnations. I wondered if you might find inspiration one day to discuss the changes, i.e., the changes in you. For example (and these are purely from memory, so I may very well be misremembering things or just plain getting things wrong):

A Long Day

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