Best Magazine: A hip guide to turning trash into treasure

ReadyMade

It’s one thing to produce a magazine about how to make things out of ordinary household junk. It’s another to do it so artfully that said former junk ends up as an exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. (To wit: The museum’s 2006 Design Triennial featured a ReadyMade-designed chandelier fashioned out of water bottles and a CD rack cut from some sculpted FedEx mailer tubes.) Berkeley’s own ReadyMade does its part to halt America’s Earth-depleting, wallet-shrinking consumer cycle (buy, break, trash, buy more) by showing how to give seemingly disposable items a second and much cooler life. Each imaginative idea is beautifully illustrated with easy-to-follow instructions, although some of the more advanced projects are clearly targeted at readers who already feel handy with a toolkit and perhaps basic electrical wiring. But for the most part, anyone can play. Turn that pile of moldering soda cans into a lightweight camping stove! Your old beach towels and cartoon-printed sheets would be much happier as kitschy throw pillows! Why trash those juice cartons when they could make a perfectly lovely coat rack? If you need ingredients for a wedding cake, consider the Hostess Ding Dong. Okay, we said the designs were cooler, not healthier.

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