I was going to wait to post this until the challenge involved unusual materials, but I've had a couple requests to post the information now.
One of the ultimate recycling projects, is utilizing things like potato chip bags, magazine pages, or candy wrappers to construct a purse.
There are several techniques to do this, even as simple as basic decoupage
Or the next step would be a simple weaving technique.
Most of you have probably seen simple ribbon weaving in projects, so just take this idea but use paper.
This technique may have originated from Mexican paper weaving, or from Polynesian weaving of palm fronds, etc.
Some fun examples:
A purse made from woven magazine strips, for sale at Wonders of the World
Awesome tote woven from newspaper by Uncommon Goods
(this site so totally rocks). Newspaper and Duct tape bag
Small wallets woven from junk mail, available for purchase at Junk Mail Gems
Same technique here,
but Carol Duvall made placemats and napkin rings, using wrapping paper.
But take this all one step further, with folding and more intricate weaving, and you've moved into the realm of folk art.
Silver Utra bag by Ecoist
, made from woven candy wrappers.
Hard to believe, huh?
Ecoist constructs these by hand, using recycled materials used to make candy wrappers, food packages, and soft drink labels--stuff that would normally wind up in a landfill.
With each bag sold, they plant a tree.
Checkered baguette from Sweetie Purse
This technique of weaving cigarette packs or candy wrappers into objects is referred to as Tramp Art,
or sometimes Prison Art.
Purse woven from Kools cigarette packs, by Leland Dodd.
More info here.
(click photo to enlarge. Note the tramp art link above carries this same image, along with another from a different booklet)
This how-to is from a vintage booklet called Gum Wrapper Sculpture.
Or the same info is here
Or, if you prefer an online tutorial, here's one from Cut out and Keep
, for making a candy wrapper bracelet.
It's interesting to note that the word 'trash' in Spanish is basura. Basura Bags
makes bags woven from chip bags off the streets of Honduras.
More info here
The organization Grupedsac is helping poor Mexican families become self sufficient through selling purses woven from candy wrappers, potato chip bags, and cookie packages.
More info here.
Similar product by Georger Vargas
Candy wrapper purses also available at It's our Earth
, Global Folks
, Nahui Ollin,
and a multitude of other places, including any of stores within the Museums of Modern Art.