Free and Easy Craft Idea: Magazine Reeds

05 April 2013 | By


I’ve always admired random crafts created from the ever simple and fun recycled magazines.I love the detailed, repetitive, and colorful patterns they make when wrapped and placed together. With help from, I will teach you specifically how to decorate a square shaped box.  From this tutorial, you will be able to decorate most surfaces, ones of your choice. See the photo gallery for other recycled magazine craft inspirations.

What you’ll need

  • Magazine pages
  • Two bamboo skewers(typically used for kebabs) (thinner is better)
  • Glue stick
  • Painters tape
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Strong scissors
  • Small box
  • Mod Podge and brush
  • Tacky Glue
  • Moist towel (wiping glue off fingers)

Container or Object you want to cover

(You might want to paint the container before covering in reeds so labeling doesn’t show through)

  • Craft/Cardboard boxes from craft store
  • Recycled shoe box
  • Picture frame
  • Recycled can or oatmeal container
  • Border/frame for a mirror

What to do

Choosing magazine pages

Pull out pages from your magazine.  The main colors you see will be the ones that show.

Take notice if the page you like has a white margin around it.  I would recommend cutting it off because the margin could be the only thing you see once it wound up.

If you want to organize your crafts colors, separate colors in different piles.

Easy color coding Ideas:

  • Use only cool colors-blue, green, purple, gray
  • Use only warm colors-red, orange, yellow, brown
  • Use cool colors, add a random warm color every so often (vice versa)

Once you have all the pages you want to use ripped or cut out from the magazine, let’s wrap!

Making a magazine reed

Cut page in half the long way.  Take the first half, and place it face down.  The side you want showing should be down.  I like to use glue stick and glue the edges of that entire page to ensure the reed staying intact.

Place a bamboo skewer on the bottom right corner of the paper. From this corner, roll the paper tightly around the skewer, especially pressing down where you know glue is.

 photo magazine_reed3_xl_zps99da2616.jpg

When you are rolling, make sure both sides of the skewer are always showing.  You need at least one side not covered by the magazine once you are finished so you can pull the skewer out.

When you are about 1-2 inches away from rolling the entire piece of magazine, use your glue stick and apply glue along the top edge of the paper.  Then continue to roll tightly over the glued areas.

When you feel the magazine is glued tightly, pull the skewer out.  If you are having a hard time pulling the skewer out, push it out with your second skewer.

Create a solid amount of reeds.  The box used needed about 50 reeds.  Eventually you will get a rolling and gluing groove down that will make reed making a breeze!

Cover the container

Trace how you want your pattern to go.  A “X” is a popular and easy pattern, so we’ll start there.

You can begin with four reeds that you will fold in half.  Apply a generous amount of tacky glue on the box following the “X” lines you drew.  Place reeds down on the glue, pressing them tightly to one another but also keeping them on the X that was traced. Feel free to adjust as needed.

Now, work in sections.  Keep gluing down your “folded V’s” while pressing them tightly to the one next to it.  Wipe excess glue away with your fingers.

 photo magazine_reed24_xl_zps7983605a.jpg

It could be beneficial to wait till one section is dry before you go onto the next one.  Once a section is dry, use scissors to cut the excess amounts of reed off.  You can use the edge of the container as your guide.

Repeat this step for each section you have.

If you are covering a picture frame, it would be easier to measure the length of reeds and cut them before gluing.  For covering a container, it might be easier to cut them after gluing.  Up to you.

 photo magazine_reed31_xl_zpsfab73f28.jpg

To finish, add “Bordering reeds” that go along the edges of the container.  Use a little painters tape to secure them down while drying to prevent warping.

 photo magazine_reed32_xl_zps98f671d0.jpg

Once project is done, apply 2 coats of Mod Podge over the magazine areas for a finished look that will keep it sturdy.



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