Tuesday Tutorial : Julie Fei-Fan Balzer : Trash To Tools


This week Tuesday Tutorials welcomes Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Julie's submission inspired me with it's creativity and emphasis on recycling and reusing stuff you would normally throw away. Watch the video to see her create a great circle-grid layout (among a bunch of other cool ideas + techniques). Make sure to check out her blog for a peek into all her other creative endeavors. 

Here's Julie: 

This tutorial explores several easy ways of turning the trash in your home, into tools for art making. All of these techniques are easy, cheap, and environmentally friendly!


I often look into the bathroom garbage and see a pile of toilet paper tubes.  Here’s something fun you can do with them!

Using a paintbrush, spread acrylic paint on one end of an empty toilet paper tube.


Press it to your project to “stamp” a slightly distressed circle.  In my experience, you can get at least three circles, and sometimes more, from one brush load of paint.


Here’s what the finished circles look like


And here are some finished layouts that use toilet paper tube rings:



Before your magazine even hits the recycling bin, take a few moments to pull some useful items out of it.

Find an image in a magazine with a strong silhouette.


The photo on the left is not a good candidate because of the way her arms are folded into her body. However, the photo on the right will work well because her limbs are clearly defined. Optional: Cover both sides of the image with packing tape (or clear contact paper). If you want to be able to use the image over and over, this is a good idea. If it’s for one time use, don’t bother.


Using scissors and/or an exacto knife, cut out the image. Place it on your paper and spray with ink.

Remove the silhouette (wipe it with a rag to clean it) to reveal your masked image!


And here are some finished cards that have magazine cutout silhouettes on them:




They say that you should change your toothbrush every three months.  Here’s something you can do with that old toothbrush (other than clean the grout in your bathroom).

Mix water and acrylic paint together.


Dip the toothbrush bristles into the pool of paint and water.


Holding the toothbrush facing sideways, rub your thumb along the bristles in a vigorous manner.  


Paint should go split splatting in every direction!


And here are some layout that use toothbrush paint splats:



50 thoughts

  1. PamperingBeki

    2009-09-22 06:52:07 -0400

    Those are beautiful!!

  2. Nitasha

    2009-09-22 07:11:40 -0400

    fabulously fantastic ideas...and beautifully creative layouts-- I will be using these techniques...Thank you!

  3. Charisse

    2009-09-22 07:56:35 -0400

    I love the masking idea! I will be using that one soon!

  4. ScrapMomOf2

    2009-09-22 08:09:05 -0400

    FUN stuff! That masking idea is awesome! I love that! I could even print a photo in grayscale on a sheet of cardstock, and actually use US as the masks! I'm going to have to try that!! GREAT ideas!

  5. martha

    2009-09-22 12:38:17 -0400

    wow, i can't wait to try some of those.

  6. Catherine S.

    2009-09-22 12:38:19 -0400

    Wow, what a great tutorial, thanks for sharing with us. Love all the techniques she's sharing!

  7. Amybug

    2009-09-22 13:51:42 -0400

    LOL, I love the toilet paper tube idea, I would totally use that. Who knew?

  8. amber

    2009-09-22 14:15:45 -0400

    very cool. the tp tube is ingenious! another way to "go green" with scrapbooking ;-)

  9. Rebekah

    2009-09-22 15:53:27 -0400

    Lu-u-u-u-UV this.
    Grungy, messy, fun, free-spirited, creative, completely using what's on hand . . .
    Thanks Julie!

  10. Renee

    2009-09-22 16:33:17 -0400

    Wow, this is really cool. 'Love the creativity. Oh, it looks like so much fun. I can't wait to try it.
    Thanks, Ali and Julie!

  11. Jill Sprott

    2009-09-22 16:42:53 -0400

    I'm a huge Julie fan! I'm so glad to see her featured here.

  12. Jeni

    2009-09-22 17:02:44 -0400

    Love this tutorial Ali and Julie. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Laura - BoxerBratsScraps

    2009-09-22 18:13:53 -0400

    Love, love, love this tutorial! I am all for re-using anything around the house. Great job, ladies. Thank you for the knowledge. I can honestly say I learned something new today, and I can't wait to try it out!

  14. Tacha

    2009-09-22 22:15:42 -0400

    Waaoooww, thanks for this tuto, it's so beautiful !!!

  15. sandra

    2009-09-22 22:25:19 -0400

    J'adooore,tes pages sont simplements sublimes...

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  17. JustMeAgain

    2009-09-22 23:18:36 -0400

    Wonderful ideas! Very fun Tuesday Tutorial this week!

  18. Bluebelle

    2009-09-23 02:33:15 -0400

    Great tips, thanks!

  19. Margie

    2009-09-23 02:43:48 -0400

    Great tutorial and I haven't even watched the video yet. Innovative and I love her style. Thanks!

  20. sheila

    2009-09-23 06:07:27 -0400

    Those are awesome tips...Thanks for sharing.

  21. roxanne

    2009-09-23 06:17:51 -0400

    Loved this and was very inspired by it!!! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Deb J

    2009-09-23 13:50:11 -0400

    What a blast from the past. I used to do things like this when I was a kid then "got to old for it." Thanks Ali for having Julie on the blog and thanks Julie for reminding me that you can make some really wonderful layouts and projects just using the things you have at home. No need for special tools.

  23. jmbmommy

    2009-09-23 15:04:34 -0400

    one of your best tutorials!!! Love the eco-centric ideas!! Keep it up!

  24. Marie in Sweden

    2009-09-26 01:22:52 -0400

    So love this! Here is my layout: http://marie.robe.nu/album_bilder/stora/Lo_Tage4ar.jpg
    It´s my son and some thoughts about him at 4.
    Thank you!

  25. sandra

    2009-09-29 19:01:03 -0400

    this is totally awesome! big fan of julie

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