If you are in the habit of buying photographic wall calendars with images of beautiful waterfalls, beaches, sunsets or reproductions of art work by famous artists, you will more than likely be hesitant to throw them away at the end of the year. The good news is you don’t have to. They can easily be upcycled and turned into fashionably functional items that can be used for gift giving or to decorate your home.
One very easy thing to do with your calendars at the end of the year is to turn the images in them into simple wall art. There’s really not much difference in the printing of the calendars and some posters that are sold commercially, only the calendars are much more economical. To turn the calendar images into wall art all you need to do is trim down any negative space, (if there is white or other colored space around the image) put the image inside a mat and frame and you have instant art.
Many art supply and craft stores have pre-cut mats in a variety of sizes that are sold for use with photographs and inexpensive prints. You can also find mats on occasion at the Dollar Store. These mats may not be acid free and therefore are not suitable for original art, but they are perfectly fine for your recycled calendar images. Place the matted image inside a frame from a discount or thrift store and you have instant wall art.
Even an inexpensive offset print can look like a piece of fine art when double matted and placed in a nice frame. It’s all about the presentation. In a pinch you could also make your own mats by cutting posterboard with a craft knife, but this won’t look as nice.
Another way to repurpose your pretty wall calendar at the end of the year is to make lidded origami gift boxes from it. There is a plethora of folding diagrams available online to make a variety of origami boxes that can be used for storing small items such as rings or used for eco-friendly gift wrapping.
Making rolled paper beads from the colorful calendar pages is fun and functional and the beads can be used to make jewelry, hair accessories, flowers, or even a beaded curtain. Making the beads is as simple as cutting the pages into long triangular strips and then rolling them onto a toothpick from the widest end and applying glue as you roll. The beads will be dry and ready to use after a few hours.
Calendars can also be re-used in art projects to create collages. Simply, rip, cut, or tear the pages to use them to create new art or use them as backgrounds. Cut yourself out of a photo and paste to a tropical paradise and it’s a fantasy vacation come to life in 2D. You could have fun adding your own face to one of Degas’ dancers or reinvent yourself as the Mona Lisa. The images from your calendars are also great for decoupage projects.
When friends and family come for a visit your cute and quirky homemade art projects will be the topic of many discussions. You may even get commissioned to create art projects for other people and, if done on a smaller scale, your creations could even be used as greeting cards. So instead of throwing out this year’s wall calendar why not have a go at one of these projects and give it new purpose.