paper scrap recycling

Today’s projects are ones that use up old bits of paper scraps I can’t bear to throw away. I save these pieces of paper (gift wrap, envelope liners, art papers, origami papers, etc.) and then wonder what can I do with them? I have covered pencils and jar lids to brighten them up a bit here. The jars are ones I have salvaged from the recycling bin and the pencils are just plain ones you can buy at a dollar store. The pencils would make a lovely gift especially if given in a matching box or pencil bag. The jars are great for organizing or gift packaging.


CLICK HERE for the full instructions for both the jar lids and covered pencils projects after the jump!


paper scraps
Mod Podge in matte finish
medium craft brush
jars with screw lids
plain wood pencils unsharpened

Instructions for jars

1. Wash jars thoroughly. Remove any labels with Goo Gone or similar product. To remove smells, soak in a bleach solution. Let dry.

2. Lay jar lid face down on the back of decorative paper and trace lightly with a pencil. Sketch a circle that is bigger (the height of the lid plus 1/4″) around the circle. You can use a round object to trace if you can find a similar one in size. Cut slits about 1/4″ apart that go right up the first pencil tracing. Coat inside circle with Mod Podge and adhere to lid. Press down thoroughly with clean fingers. Lay face down on surface and begin gluing strips in a clockwise direction. Coat 2 or 3 strips at a time and fold each one up and over the edge of the lid. Continue until all the strips are glued.

3. Turn lid over so pattern is facing up. Coat with Mod Podge to seal. Let dry and then screw onto jars.


Instructions for pencils

1. Cut a strip of paper that is 1″ by the length of your pencil before it’s sharpened. My pencils were 7″ long. Brush Mod Podge on the strip of paper. Lay pencil on one edge of paper, and then with clean fingers smooth down by rotating the pencil. You can roll on a flat surface to make sure paper is adhered. Brush a little Mod Podge under edge of paper if needed. Let dry 1/2 hour before sharpening pencils. Try all different patterns for these, they look great when displayed together.


  1. really nice idea. :)
    looove it so much!

  2. jgadrin says:

    it was a snap! thank you.

  3. Jamie B says:

    THIS is genius!! Those lids look like they were store bought that way! I hope it’s okay, I just couldn’t help but feature your pretty covered lids on my blog post today along with some other Mod Podge crafts.. You can see it here:

    Thank you SO much for sharing this… it makes me want to go dig out all my lids and cover them with scrapbook paper!

  4. chichicho says:

    This is so cool!!!!!

  5. Molly says:

    Can you use puzzle preserver glue in stead of modge podge?

  6. Barbara Boughton says:

    What type of paper was used for the jar lids? Does contact paper work as well?

    1. Lori says:

      Yes contact paper works but there a very limited patterns with contact paper. Not like the old days.

  7. Vally says:

    WOW! This is such a great idea!!!

  8. Ashley C says:

    Did this today! Thanks so much for the great idea and perfect instructions. :)

  9. Jane says:

    They are so cute!! Such a brilliant way of recycling wrapping paper and spending some fun quality time with my daughter! We do a lot of professional recycling of all sorts of materials for our work and try and live in an eco-friendly way, but sometimes it’s easy not to see simple little things, like using scrap paper to decorate things. Thanks! :)

  10. I’ve used scraps for jam jars (and shoe boxes), but never thought to do it with pencils. What a lovely idea, thanks! :)

  11. Nancy NElson says:

    Those are some very cute ideas. I’m like you I can’t stand to throw away a perfectly good useful piece of scrapbook paper. Thanks so much for sharing.

  12. Brigid says:

    FYI: Mod Podge is a Vinyl Acetate glue. If you don’t have Mod Podge Brand in your country try asking for PVA (Poly Vinyl Acetate) glue.

    1. Alison says:

      Thank goodness someone has explained to me what mod podge is never heard of it in the UK

  13. Jen says:

    What a great idea!! I could definitely use this in my classroom.

  14. Jan says:

    Can you then use the lid for making jam? I too love those cute fruit jars and have been recycling them with cooked jam. Been looking for a way to cover the lids. Think this would be safe? Also, I didn’t see a response about what woukd happen if the lid was wet/washed. So hope it will work. If not, any ideas? Cover with fabric??

  15. Angela says:
    I just wanted to say Thanks for idea on this and to let you know I have a post coming called Winter Jar I linked your blog with this for my people to see were I got the help! Thanks again! Happy Holidays!

  16. jeanne says:

    hmm, i wonder if i could do this with fabric too? should work. has anyone tried that yet???

  17. Mychealle says:

    This is the perfect DIY Christmas gifts I waa looking for, I want to teach my kids that giving is better than receiving, I am gonna have them start making these and give them to teacher’s, mom’s on the softball team, and to the church. Thank you for the great idea. Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season

  18. Deanna Dietrich says:

    What a fabulous idea. I put together Christmas baskets for my neighbors every year and am always looking for ideas for homemade things. These will be perfect for them. Thanks!

  19. Holly Hibbs says:

    I use craft glue. Do you think Mod Podge works better?

  20. Christina Wlodarczyk says:

    I think this is a great idea but I do have a few questions. If I wanted to use fabric instead then what fabric would you use? I would like to make sure that I can wash the lids because I would like to use these mason jar tops to drink out of. Can you use a waterproofer? Did the mod poge make a waterproof seal? Is it safe to drink out of? Thank you for your time.

  21. Gabi says:

    What a great idea. Wanting to use mason jars to put my beans into – so the lid idea will add colour to my pantry.


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