Yesterday I started dragging out my Christmas decorations. They're still in the boxes because we have not one, not two, but three bum strings of lights. I sent my husband to the store for replacement bulbs. Somehow he came home with bulbs to fit every kind of string except the one I must have before I can put ornaments on the tree.
So, anyway, there in the box is my old gum wrapper chain that I made many years ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, when I was in sixth grade.
Sixth grade was pretty unchallenging I guess. My friend Lisa, who sat in front of me, drew our teacher as a paper doll and, as the year went on, all her outfits. I made a gum wrapper chain. It's probably 50 feet long. I use it as garland on my Christmas tree.
The first few feet were given to me by a big high school girl up the street who had lost interest in it. I figure some of these gum wrapper date back to the mid 1960s!
And the best part? I chewed none of the gum from these wrappers, not one single stick. I had complicated braces that made it impossible. I had everyone saving wrappers for me.
Which brings me to our extreme craft idea of the day: the Gum Wrapper Chain Purse (also known as a Candy Wrapper Purse).
I started one a while ago, mostly using Muse and New Yorker covers. I need to get back to it and finish up. You can see I made a small sample to see how it worked and then started a big one. On the larger one I have emphasized the top edge with black because it's so hard to tell which part is the front and which part is the inside!
You can buy these from many fair trade vendors like these:
Or, if you're crafty and patient, you can make your own. I particularly like the instructions at Wrapper Purses.
There are great directions using chip bags in the book Craftcycle: 100+ Earth-Friendly Projects and Ideas for Everyday Living
by Heidi Boyd.