Take It Apart; Put It Together!

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There was a time when everything was made by hand, but the American Industrial Revolution of the late 18th Century resulted in the introduction of machinery and a major change in the way products are manufactured in this country. Today we've become so used to mass-produced goods that we give little thought to how they're made.

In this activity, we'll take things apart and study how they're constructed. Then we'll use the items as templates to recycle waste materials into new products such as envelopes, pocket folders, and gift bags. Recycling materials in this way helps save natural resources, the energy needed to produce new goods, and landfill space.

You Will Need: bag sample

How to:

Take it Apart

Have an adult use a utility knife to cut the pages from a wallpaper sample book. Collect other interesting papers such as scraps of gift wrap, decorative sacks, and the color comics from your Sunday newspaper.

Study the pocket folder, envelope, and gift bag to see how they're folded and where they're glued or fastened. Carefully pull them apart, and flatten the paper or cardboard. Now use the shapes as patterns to make more of the items.

Put it Together

Create an Envelope: envelop samples

Make a Pocket Folder: Folder sample

Design a Gift Bag:

Tips and Tricks:

Visit the Annenberg/CPB exhibit on garbage to learn more about the solid waste problem and how you can do your part to help solve it.

© 1998 Marilyn J. Brackney (update 2018)

Volume 13 No. 2

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