Monday, January 10, 2011

* Homemade Recycled Calendar Mod-Podge Puzzles

The new year brought with it new calendars and some old calendars that were ready for recycling. 

What better way to recycle calendars 
than to use them for craft projects?!

The girls and I decided to make some homemade puzzles.
We used three different techniques that I will share with you in today's post.

First, we picked our favorite photos and started cutting them to the right size 
for the puzzles we wanted to make. 

Technique One:
Mod-Podged Block Puzzle

We had a set of plain blocks in the art studio craft stash that I painted black a while ago 
and didn't know what to do with...

So, we stacked 9 of them together and measured the square they made.

Then, we cute 6 of the photos into squares that size. (I think they were 5" x 5")

I started with the first photo, by trying to cut it into 9 equal squares.

Then, I realized I had a square scrap-booking punch
that looked like it was the same size.

Bingo! It was the same size and SO MUCH EASIER
than trying to do the math and cut each one evenly : )

After, all 6 photos were cut into little squares it was time to start Mod-Podging!

Since we couldn't glue all 6 sides (of each block)
at once, we had to do it in a couple of different sessions.

We wrapped up our brush in aluminum foil between each "gluing session" so it wouldn't dry out.

I use this same trick when I paint rooms in my house,
I wrap my brush or roller in saran wrap/plastic grocery bags
and stick it in the fridge (between coats of paint).

The end result..

A block puzzle for the girls with really cute baby wild animals. 

Baby Tiger.

Baby Tree Frog.

Baby Jaguar.

We Mod-Podged the mini photos
from the back of the calendar onto the lid
of a chocolate box to keep the puzzle in.

Technique Two:
Mod-Podged Cardboard Puzzles

We also Mod-Podged some calendar pages
onto scraps of cardboard. 

I cut up the first one with an X-Acto craft knife
on a self-healing cutting mat into random shapes.

 For the Elephant Puzzle
we decided to try tracing one of our own 
store-bought puzzles...

We assembled the puzzle on the back of the
Mod-Podged cardboard and traced each piece
with a pencil. 

Then, we (meaning, me, the mom)  tried cutting out the pieces
with scissors and a craft knife...

The little curved pieces were too hard
to cut with the stiff cardboard (ack!)

So... instead, I just cut random shapes again. 

 End result. Crazy Elephant Puzzle.

We stored the two cardboard puzzles in zip lock bags. 

Honestly, it would have been easier to just 
laminate the picture(s) with my mini laminator
(or a piece of clear contact paper)
and just cut up the shapes!!

Technique Three:
Puzzle Maker Machine Puzzle

For our final Recycled Calendar puzzle, we got out "E"s Puzzle Maker
one of her little friends gave her for her birthday last year.

She picked out a little Penguin Picture 
from one of the calendars and I trimmed it for her. 
Then, we stuck it to the adhesive piece 
of foam that came with the kit. 

And she cut out each piece with the little 
puzzle making machine (like a big puzzle-making) hole punch. 

We taped the mini photo of the penguin (from the back of the calendar) 
to the lid of an old jewelry box and stored the puzzle inside. 

Happy Puzzle-making!

pink and green mama


Candace @Naturally Educational said...

Great post! I love the idea of using the calendar photos for the puzzle blocks. I was going to make some but found the idea of cutting out silhouettes to be a bit daunting to fit into my schedule. This is even simpler.

I shared on facebook and twitter!

Amanda said...

Such great ideas! I should totally do some of these with my 2010 calendar that may or may not be still hanging up! lol

Dana said...

Such an awesome idea!

Mod Podge Amy said...

MaryLea, you always have the best-est ideas!!

lady said...

ML, this is a great idea. We get 2 Vermont Life calendars for Christmas each year and I hate throwing them out. VT Life prints their photos on both sides of heavy cardstock and the dates are just on paper. With 2 calendars I could have all 12 months.

I was thinking another way you could cut them would be with a die cut machine. My Cricut is only 6" x 12", but if you had a 12" x 12" you could cut big calendars. Maybe not even into puzzle pieces, but you could cut shapes out. That would be fun for little ones like mine.

All of a sudden I am picturing photocopying the picture, and gluing the copy to cardboard. Then cutting shapes out of the picture and glue what is left onto the copy. Then they can place the shapes. Kind of like Melissa & Doug puzzles.

I am going to have to find all my old (cause of course I have saved them) calendars. The nice thing about the VT Life ones is that I can rip off the pictures and the information on the dates is on a separate sheet.

Lou said...

Love this! I have a 2010 Countryfile calender which has such beautiful pics that I couldn't bear to throw it out - now I know what to do with it! I feel a laminating session coming on!!

Elizabeth @ Ucreate with Kids said...

What a great way to reuse those beautiful calendar pictures! Just featured this!

Jackie H. said...

Love the blocks! I bought precut cardboard puzzles at Hobby Lobby and then mod podged pictures to the front. Then there was only a thin layer to cut through with the exacto knife. It still was a fair amount of work, though. Maybe laminating would be easier...

The Reimer Household said...

I love the puzzle ideas!! I just did a simple puzzle for my boy and blogged about it yesterday - so today I linked up to yours here http://handsonhouse.blogspot.com/2011/01/puzzle-tutorial.html - thanks for the great idea!! So easy too!

Becky @ purposefulhomemaking.com said...

This is awesome! I put a link to your site from my blog. :)

Deb Chitwood said...

It's so hard to throw out old calendars - what a great use for them! Thanks for the clear photos and directions! I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LivingMontessoriNow

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