Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

September 22, 2009

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:




  • 1.
    Kristen said…

    These are absolutely the greatest tips I’ve seen in quite some time. What ingenious, creative ideas. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • 2.
    Jo said…

    Amazing!!!!! Thanks for sharing such great tips and fabulous LOs! Jo x

  • 3.
    Niki said…

    I’m environmental engineer, and I think these tips are fabolous.

  • 4.
    Kaytee said…

    Awesome tips!! I know I have an empty toilet paper roll… I am going to try this!

  • 5.

    What a fantastic tutorial! I LOVE the layouts and the ideas! Gotta try that!
    Thanks Ali for your Tuesday tutorials, they inspire me so much and I found so many cool blogs & sites through this which I enjoy reading and which keep me inspired.

  • 6.
    Deb said…

    Love, love, love this. Dito to what Sandy above said. Thanks!

  • 7.
    Susan said…

    Thanks for the great and fun ideas! Plus I work in a daycare and can’t wait to have them do toilet paper printing!

  • 8.
    Katie said…

    How fun – and eco-friendly!

  • 9.
    Liz Ness said…

    Love this! Great ideas, for sure!

  • 10.
    Tina said…

    Very cool stuff! All things that are kinda out-of-my-normal-zone. Dying to try it!!!

  • 11.
    charlie said…

    I love these tutorials, but is there any way you can put them in a pdf file like you did on some of them. Thanks!

  • 12.
    Jessica Salyers said…

    How is this possible? EVERY bathroom in my house has a FULL roll of toilet paper…AND the trash got picked up this morning…anyone have an empty roll I care borrow??? ;-)

  • 13.
    ginika said…

    WoW!!! Love these techniques!!! Thanks for another great Tuesday Tutorial full of inspiration.

  • 14.
    Michele said…

    Julie – the figure on the left is Michele Obama, first lady.

  • 15.
    Nettie said…

    these are incredible……I am now off to check out her site…..thanks bunches

  • 16.
    Sandi D said…

    Great ideas!

  • 17.
    con-tain-it said…

    Thanks Ali for having Julie…most of those techniques I’ve used but I still learned something new today and that’s fun…coating my silhoutes in contact paper…duh…why didn’t I think of that. Have a great day, fondly, Roberta

  • 18.
    Linda said…

    Love this!!!
    Great ideas, great inspiration

  • 19.
    Cristina Tronco said…

    great tutorial!
    i love julie’s work!!!

  • 20.
    Jana said…

    Great fun with texture and paint—love Julie’s artsy layouts too!

  • 21.
    Efrat Kashat said…

    Wow, wow, wow! Julie’s layouts are *SO* inspiring! I really want to try the toilet paper tube stamping! Hope to do that tomorrow. It looks like so much fun!
    Thank you, Ali & Julie!

  • 22.
    {vicki} said…

    Love the masking “trick” and the toilet paper roll stamp. I have used one of my son’s old baby cups as a stamp before.

  • 23.
    Aubrey said…

    I am generally not a re-user type, and I am *in love* with these ideas! Thanks so much to Julie and Ali both for sharing them!

  • 24.
    jung a said…

    love this!

  • 25.
    RachelM said…

    I love the magazine cut outs used for masking, what a clever idea!

  • 26.
    PamperingBeki said…

    Those are beautiful!!

  • 27.
    Nitasha said…

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

  • 28.
    Charisse said…

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

  • 29.
    ScrapMomOf2 said…

    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!

  • 30.
    martha said…

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

  • 31.
    Catherine S. said…

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

  • 32.
    Amybug said…

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

  • 33.
    amber said…

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

  • 34.
    Rebekah said…

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

  • 35.
    Renee said…

    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!

  • 36.
    Jill Sprott said…

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

  • 37.
    Jeni said…

    Love this tutorial Ali and Julie. Thanks for sharing.

  • 38.

    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!

  • 39.
    Tacha said…

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

  • 40.
    sandra said…

    J’adooore,tes pages sont simplements sublimes…

  • 41.
    Online Pharmacy said…

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  • 42.
    JustMeAgain said…

    Wonderful ideas! Very fun Tuesday Tutorial this week!

  • 43.
    Bluebelle said…

    Great tips, thanks!

  • 44.
    Margie said…

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

  • 45.
    sheila said…

    Those are awesome tips…Thanks for sharing.

  • 46.
    roxanne said…

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

  • 47.
    Deb J said…

    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.

  • 48.
    jmbmommy said…

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

  • 49.
    Marie in Sweden said…

    So love this! Here is my layout:
    It´s my son and some thoughts about him at 4.
    Thank you!

  • 50.
    sandra said…

    this is totally awesome! big fan of julie

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