Trash to Treasure

Mast-aluWith Earth Day right around the corner, now is a good time to give items a second look before you toss them in the trash.  Could that empty plastic milk container be transformed into a pretty vase?  What about Junior’s ripped shirt?  Before you dump it, remove the buttons and repurpose them.  Buttons make great accents on scrapbook layouts and work wonders on craft projects.

Just last week one of my favorite magnets broke.  It was a ceramic   Humuhumunukunukuapua’a—the state fish of Hawaii.  I got it the last time we were visiting my parents.  Unfortunately, the fish’s body shattered and I couldn’t glue it back together.  However, rather than pitch the entire thing, I removed the black magnetic strip and recycled it.

Making homemade magnets is simple and very affordable, especially if you follow these directions:

Cookie Cutter Magnets


  • Two cups flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • Cookie cutters
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Magnet strips
  • Craft glue


  1. Combine the first three ingredients; mix well.
  2. When the dough is set, roll it out and use the cookie cutters to cut them into shapes.
  3. Microwave the dough shapes for three minutes.
  4. Remove from the microwave, let them cool a bit, and then paint them.
  5. When the paint is dry, glue the magnets to the back.
  6. Let the glue dry thoroughly before using the magnets.

Clothespin Magnets


  • Acrylic paint
  • Foam paint brush
  • Wood craft stick
  • Three clothespins with springs
  • Craft glue
  • Magnetic strip


  1. Paint the craft stick in the desired color or colors.
  2. Paint the clothespins.
  3. Once the paint is dry, glue the clothespins onto the craft stick. They should be evenly spaced across the width of the stick.
  4. Glue the magnetic strip to the back of the craft stick.
  5. Clip papers or art work to the clothespins and stick the magnet on the refrigerator or metal file cabinet.



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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.