Introduction: Recycled Road Atlas Earrings

Remember when we used to carry a road atlas in the car. It really came in handy on trips. My husband and I each had one. Some how I ended up with my Dad's too. I was cleaning up and trying to get rid of things a few weeks ago. I knew that there is no way I will ever clutter up the car with these books again, but still I could not bring myself to throw them away.

IDEA: Origami paper!

I made a few origami bows for Christmas packages. I wrote each person's name and the year on them. Punched a hole for an ornament hook. Now we have a trash to keepsake ornament.

I could not let it stop there. Christmas does not last long enough and I loved the stars I made. Earrings are worn all year.

Step 1: Materials:

Atlas page
Scissors or paper trimmer
Pin--to poke a hole for hanging
Jump rings
Ear wires
Optional--melted wax

Step 2: Cut the Paper

Cut 7 or 8 squares of paper for each earring. I tried one inch squares but I thought that the stars were just a little too big for my taste. I tried again with 3/4 inch squares and I was much happier. They are about an inch and a quarter across when finished.

You cannot learn to make these in that size. I recommend using at least 3 inch squares for your first one. Once you know what you are doing, you can go as small as your fingers will allow.

I did need to use a straight pin for some of the 'tucking' when I used the tiny paper. Don't be afraid of tearing. These books were printed on really sturdy paper.

Step 3: Folding Each Unit

This is called 'unit origami' or 'modular origami' since you have to fold multiple units and then assemble the overall design.

I have used 7 units and also 8 units. Both work well. I like the way an odd number hangs but you may prefer 8.

All of the squares will be folded in exactly the same way. Try to fold each crease as carefully as possible. I demonstrated with larger than earring sized papers--so you can see it more easily.

Step 1: Fold in half diagonally. Whichever side of the paper is on the outside will be on the outside when you are finished so you may want to check both sides now. Pick the side with the better coloring.

Step 2: Open the first fold and fold the edges in toward the center crease.

Step 3: Fold the top part back so that the top corner matches up with the bottom corner. Unfold just this last fold.

Step 4: There is a small triangle at the bottom of the piece which is only 1 layer of paper. Fold this up and tuck it inside.

Step 5: Refold the fold from step 3.

Make the rest of your pieces.

Step 4: Joining the Units Together

I colored a few parts with a marker so you can see the parts I am talking about. You should skip that part unless you are looking for that effect.

On the back side of each piece, there are 2 single layer 'tabs' (you will be using the one colored green).

On the front, there are 2 pockets (one is colored black, the other is blue).

Slide the green tab into the blue pocket. Then tuck the corner that is on top of the black pocket into the black pocket.

Rotate the set of joined pieces counterclockwise and join the 3rd piece to the 2nd--using the same steps.

Rotate again and repeat until you have used all your pieces.

Once the last piece is attached, you still have to attach the first piece to the last one. The star will puff up a little and it might feel like something is going to tear, but be patient and gentle. It will work.

When you are done, flip the star over. There are still tabs that you have not tucked into anything. These need to be pulled to the top.

Poke a hole through one of the star points. Insert a jump ring and the ear wire. You can call it finished now if you want to. I have made paper earrings before and they do not last very long. My hair is long and it gets tangled in my earrings. I wanted these to be a little more durable.

Step 5: Wax Covering

I took an old candle stub and melted it in an old soup can. I dipped each earring in the wax. Then place it in a folded paper towel. Put the paper towel on a baking sheet and put the whole thing in a low temp oven. I heated them at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes. This allows the extra wax to melt off. It gets absorbed by the paper towel.

This does change the color of the paper a little. You may want to test it on a piece of paper first. Especially if you had trouble with the tiny paper. I did not mind the color change and I can see myself making many more of these for other people. It might be nice to remember a special trip by using a map of the location of the trip--like the tourist maps from Mertle Beach.

Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Homemade Gifts Contest 2016

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2016