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Supercyclers! - Folded Things

19th April, 2011
Jenny Butler
Tuesday 19th April 2011

Sarah K and Liane Rossler are back again for more Supercycling! Today we see some super smart folded ideas- reusing discarded milk cartons, tetra paks and shoe boxes for all kinds of useful things like light fittings, chairs and spoons. [Possibly some good ideas for the bored fingers of  kids on school holidays too??] - Jenny x

Left: Olive uses an old milk carton to make a spoon and Right: Yumi & Taka of Dear Plastic's fundraising Flower Hope Japan

Olive is a clever site from Japan that shares designs, food and ideas that help when living in disaster areas. Have a look at the tutorial that shows you how to use an old milk carton and make this lovely spoon.

Also from Japan are our lovely friends Yumi and Taka of Dear Plastic. Here they will show you how to use an old paper bag to make beautiful flowers of HOPE. Also have a look at their tutorials to see how to make silky soft paper from old milk cartons. We had lots of fun making it together at the Knitty Gritty & Loopy transformation workshops at Sydney Design.

At the top an excerpt from Hello Sandwich's Giftwrapping Zine and brilliant shoe box lampshades from Pierre Lota's video here

Our friend Hello Sandwich who you have seen here has also done some transformative magic turning paper bags into beautiful gift wrapping. It is not only the end result that looks so lovely, but the whole creative process of making is such fun.

With an old shoe box and a bit of karate, you could make yourself this lampshade or a book stand. Pierre Lota can show you how, along with lots of other design projects that you can do in less than a minute each. Watch here and get creating.

Super smart Never Wasted bag from Lee

Lee has come up with a clever ‘Never Wasted’ bag. When you have finished carrying your things, chop it up and turn it into lots of wonderful and useful things including a bookmark, game, wallet, calendar, and container.

Left: Snowjob chair by Emiliano Godoy and Right: origami light fitting by Ed Chew - both made from Tetra Paks!

Tetra Paks are very useful but difficult to recycle because they are made from three elements: cardboard, foil and plastic. They are extremely strong, so this origami light fitting by Ed Chew will last a lifetime. With this clever folding technique, you could keep adding the hexagon modules till you have something as big as a house or a moon!

If you’d like something to go with your Tetra Pak light, try this lovely folded and woven Snowjob chair by Emiliano Godoy made from post-industrial candy wrapping waste and post-consumer recycled paper.

More on Tetra Paks here.

Paperboat bath plug by Alberto Arza & Aymara Aravena

Spanish designer Luis Eslana directed a design workshop that addressed notions of saving things in our everyday life. Here, in 'Paperboat' by Alberto Arza & Aymara Aravena, the rubber ducky has been reinterpreted through origami and a recycled canvas advertising banner to make a tub stopper.

- Sarah K + Liane Rossler

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email