How to turn a letterbox full of Junk Mail into something useful


I recently watched a YouTube clip on How to Make a Basket from Newspaper.

It inspired me to make my own, substituting used glossy, coloured catalogues as I didn’t want to get newsprint ink all over me.

Here is how you can make this one, too !


  • Cardboard   [ I reused the broad sides of a cookie box ]
  • Scissors
  • Paper    [ Catalogues, Magazines, Butcher’s Paper or Newspaper, as long as it’s all the same density and size ]
  • Wooden skewer
  • Spring loaded Clothes Pegs  [ about 4 ]
  • Wood glue:  A small jar’s worth watered down glue, around 3:1 glue to water – plus the original undiluted glue bottle
  • Small paint brush, or you can use your fingers
  • Something heavy to use as weights
  • Freezer bag (optional)

 Step 1:

  • Cut two identical circles from the cardboard depending on the size of basket base you want


  • Paint the watered-down glue around all edges of each sheet of paper so it will not unravel
  • Roll each sheet of paper around your skewer fairly tightly to look like a paper straw.  You are using your skewer as a size guide to give each paper straw the same diameter.  You will need to ease the skewer out a little after each few rolls of the sheet otherwise you lose the end of the skewer.

You will need to make a minimum of 30 paper straws to get you started.  You may need to make more once you decide the height of your final project.

 Step 3:

Step 2:

  • Use your undiluted glue straight from the bottle to adhere an odd number of paper straws, radiating from one of the cardboard discs.  As you can see, I chose eleven.



Step 3:  

  • Adhere the other cardboard disc on top of the lot with your bottle of glue

Step 4:

  • Weigh down your project and let it dry overnight.  I placed a freezer bag between my project and the weights to ensure they weren’t adhere together.    The weights I used were ankle weights and dumb-bells

  Step 5:

  • The next day, remove the weights and freezer bag
  • Fold the paper straws upwards into roughly an inverted cone
Use a rubber band to assist you to hold your paper straws upright

Use a rubber band to assist you to hold your paper straws upright

I used a rubber band to hold the paper straws in place until I wove a few rows, to make them more manageable


Step 6:

  • Flatten out the remaining paper straws, leaving the ends of each unflattened for about 25mm  [ 1 inch ]
  • Flatten the leading edge of the first of these straws and use a dab of undiluted glue to attach it at right-angles to the first of the upright tubes.  Clamp with a clothes peg if necessary
  • Weave the first flattened paper straw, alternating between each upright tubular straw.  Dab a little glue on the inside of the open end of this first flattened straw.  Do not use too much glue as the paper will swell and stretch.  Repeat this process until you’ve reached your desired height
You are almost finished

You are almost finished

Step 7:

  • Once you reach your desired height, cut the upright paper tubes leaving at least 25mm  [ 1 inch ]  excess

  • Glue and fold the end under the last and third last woven rows on the inside of your basket
  • Your basket is now complete.  You can paint it to match your décor or keep it random, like this.


  • If you decide to paint, unless you want a “rustic” look, you would be better to use plain paper as the printing will show through

If you get stuck on one of the steps, you can watch the YouTube clip for instructions: 

Don’t let the Portuguese captions throw you;  the pictures tell you everything.


I hope this inspires you to build your own.


Until next time, Happy Recycling



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Posted in crafts & home, gift ideas
9 comments on “How to turn a letterbox full of Junk Mail into something useful
  1. Amanda Socci, Freelance Writer says:

    Tremendously beautiful. Love this! Thank you for your detailed instructions, Glenda.


  2. Hey… clever girl, like your thinking, getting rid of junk mail has got to be a “thumbs-up” and making some thing useful is a double “thumbs-up” Keep busy, best wishes, Jay x
    The Sewing Wren


  3. […] You may also want to read:  How to turn a Letterbox full of Junk Mail into something useful […]


  4. […] If you enjoyed making this, you may also enjoy making a Basket from Junkmail […]


  5. […]   If you have enjoyed making this, you may also want to Make a Basket […]


  6. […] Choose a title that will be of interest to the gift recipient in either an electronic or hardcopy form.  Should you select the hardcopy, your recipient can either pass along old copies to their friends; donate them to the local library or repurpose them.  Here are some links to previous posts for some ideas Decoupage or Craft […]


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