TRAASH: Repurposing Cardboard Into Jewelry

Mother Days Pins
In the beginning of the year, I posted a DIY project on my site,, describing how to repurpose cardboard into jewelry.  This month, I’m expanding on that project by using repurposed cardboard to make personalized Mother’s Day pins. I use thin cardboard food boxes, such as the boxes used for cereal, tea, or pasta. Some boxes, like Yogi Tea, have pretty printed images on the inside which can be used as part of the design.

The use of family photos adds personalization to this project. I used an old photo of my sister and I wearing dance recital costumes. I scanned the photo into my computer and printed it at a smaller size. The size of the printed photo depends on how large or small you want your pin to be.

You will need the following supplies:

  • cardboard
  • X-Acto knife
  • cutting mat
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • Mod Podge
  • brush
  • hot glue gun
  • printed photograph
  • pin backs
  • Playcolor Tempera Sticks or paint

Follow these steps (see pictures below):

  1. Print out a photo. The printed photo I used measures 1 1/4 x 1 3/4 inches.
  2. Measure 1/4 inch border around your photo using a ruler and a pencil. The extra border is for the cardboard frame.
  3. Cut the photo around the border using an X-Acto knife and a ruler.
  4. Cut two pieces the same size as your photo (including the border) from the cardboard. Glue one piece of cardboard to the back of the photo. Glue the other piece, the frame, to the front of the photo. Remember to cut an opening out of the middle for the frame. Measure 1/4 inch around this piece and cut out the middle using an X-Acto knife and ruler.
  5. Add color to the brown side of the cardboard (not the printed side). I used the Playcolor Tempera Sticks but go ahead and use any material to add color. Use whatever is around the house, like paint or crayons. You could even try attaching small pieces of tissue paper or glitter.
  6. Once the paint is dry, glue everything together. Using Mod Podge and a brush, start by gluing the photo to the backing piece. Glue the photo to the printed side of the cardboard so the freshly painted side is not covered. Then glue the frame to the front of your photo. Brush the whole piece with a final coat of Mod Podge to seal it.
  7. Hot glue the pin to the back of the cardboard.

Finished! You now have a one-of-a-kind personalized pin for Mother’s Day. Using the extra cardboard, I made another photo pin and a matching pair of earrings. This time, I created a heart shaped pin with a heart shaped frame (see photo above) using words that describe my mother instead of a photo.

Please share your repurposed cardboard creations by emailing photos to or posting them to my Facebook page @traashart. Happy Mother’s Day!

Photos by Stephanie Romano

Stephanie Romano

is an artist, mother, teacher, and writer who has made Jersey City her home for the last 15 years. She creates items from recycled vinyl signs and upcycled materials under the name TRAASH.