Give Your Old National Geographic Magazines New Life With These Creative Ideas

What To Do With Old National Geographic Magazines

Craft Projects

Old copies of National Geographic magazines don't have to gather dust! Their high-quality paper and stunning photography make them perfect for various craft projects.

Transform maps into unique decoupage pieces. Cover storage boxes, trays, or even furniture with maps for a personalized touch. Cut out animal photos and create one-of-a-kind greeting cards. Glue them onto cardstock and add your message. Design bookmarks with your favorite covers. Cut them to size and laminate them for durability.

Don't forget about the amazing photography! Frame iconic images or create a gallery wall for a touch of adventure in your home. Use old magazines to make your own wrapping paper. The vibrant images and interesting textures add a unique flair to any gift.

Wall Decor and Collage

Those iconic yellow-bordered covers hold a treasure trove of visual inspiration, perfect for breathing new life into your living spaces. One of the most popular and visually appealing ways to repurpose your old National Geographic magazines is by creating wall decor and collages.

Think beyond simply framing the covers. Cut out the stunning photography—the wildlife, landscapes, and portraits—and arrange them into captivating collages. You can create a gallery wall with different sized frames or make a statement with a large-scale collage using a canvas or corkboard. Overlap images, experiment with different shapes and sizes, and don't be afraid to mix and match themes to create a unique reflection of your personality and interests.

For a more structured look, consider cutting the images into uniform squares and arranging them in a grid pattern. This method works particularly well with maps, creating a striking and informative wall feature. And don't forget about the fascinating infographics and illustrations found within the pages—these can add a unique touch to your collages, especially for those interested in science, history, or culture.

Whether you prefer a free-flowing, eclectic collage or a more organized and thematic approach, using your old National Geographic magazines for wall decor is a creative and eco-friendly way to add personality and visual interest to your home.

Decoupage Furniture

Old copies of National Geographic magazines don't have to gather dust! Their vibrant photographs and fascinating maps are perfect for decoupage projects, breathing new life into tired furniture. Start by carefully cutting out images and patterns you love from the magazines. You can opt for a collage effect with various sizes or stick to a theme for a more cohesive look.

Consider using a decoupage medium specifically designed for porous surfaces like wood for a smooth and lasting finish. Apply a thin layer to the furniture surface, carefully position your cutouts, and then seal them with another layer of medium on top.

what to do with old national geographic magazines

From small accent tables to dresser drawers, the possibilities are endless. Give an old wooden tray a global makeover with maps, or transform a plain stool with images of exotic animals. With a little creativity and some National Geographic magic, you can turn your old furniture into unique, conversation-starting pieces.

Let those back issues transport you beyond your bookshelf! Upcycle them into vibrant decoupage art, durable placemats, or even stylish storage boxes.

Esme Whittaker

Unique Gift Wrapping

Those glossy pages filled with stunning photography and fascinating stories aren't destined for the recycling bin just yet! Give those old National Geographic magazines a new lease on life as unique and eco-friendly gift wrap. The vibrant images of wildlife, landscapes, and cultures make for eye-catching wrapping paper that's sure to impress. Cut out maps to create one-of-a-kind gift tags, or use pages with interesting textures and patterns to craft gift bags and boxes. Secure your creations with twine, ribbon, or even strips of fabric for an extra touch of creativity. Not only will you be giving your gifts a personalized touch, but you'll also be reducing waste and giving those captivating images a second life.

Protective Book Covers

Old copies of National Geographic magazines are too beautiful to just toss in the recycling bin. Their high-quality paper and stunning photography make them perfect for crafting. One great way to upcycle those iconic yellow-spined issues is by transforming them into unique and durable protective book covers.

Start by carefully removing the staples from the magazine's spine. Smooth out the magazine pages as much as possible. You can use a bone folder or the back of a spoon to get crisp, clean folds. Measure the height and width of the book you want to cover, adding a little extra to each measurement for folding. Cut the magazine page to your measurements. Fold the edges to create neat flaps that will become the inside covers. Now, wrap the folded magazine page around your book. Secure the cover by using a bit of glue or double-sided tape on the inside flaps.

You can get creative with your covers, too. Use pages with maps for travel journals, animal photos for nature books, or portraits for biographies. You can even cut out letters or images from the magazines to create personalized designs. These one-of-a-kind covers not only protect your books but also add a touch of vintage charm to your bookshelf.

Old copies of National Geographic don't have to gather dust! Schools are often looking for engaging and visually rich materials. Consider donating your old issues. Teachers can use them for geography lessons, history projects, or even art classes. Imagine students crafting collages with those iconic photos or researching different cultures through the magazine's in-depth articles. It's a chance to give your old magazines a new life while inspiring young minds.

what to do with old national geographic magazines

Many hospitals, waiting rooms, and nursing homes appreciate donations of gently used magazines. Before you donate, call ahead to ensure they are accepting reading materials. Some organizations have restrictions on the types of publications they accept or may have specific guidelines to follow. While National Geographic magazines are visually appealing and educational, they might not be suitable for all age groups or medical conditions.

Recycle Responsibly

Old issues of National Geographic don't belong in the trash. Their high-quality paper and stunning photography make them perfect for upcycling. Consider donating them to schools, libraries, or hospitals. These institutions often welcome the educational value and visual appeal they bring. If you're feeling crafty, transform them into unique home decor. Decoupage maps onto furniture or create colorful coasters with iconic images. Their durable pages are ideal for scrapbooking and journaling. Preserve travel memories or create personalized gifts with their captivating visuals. Remember to remove any plastic inserts or address labels before recycling or repurposing. By giving these magazines a second life, you contribute to a more sustainable future while keeping the spirit of exploration alive.

Repurposing Idea Cost Difficulty Time Required
Decoupage (furniture, trays, boxes) Low (glue, sealant) Medium Several hours to a day
Wall Collage / Art Low (tape, adhesive) Easy 1-2 hours
Bookmarks Very Low (scissors, optional lamination) Easy Minutes per bookmark

Sell or Give Away Online

If you're looking to clear out some shelf space and share the wonders of National Geographic, selling or giving away your old magazines online is a great option. Numerous platforms cater to buyers and collectors seeking specific issues, complete sets, or simply a stack of vintage reads. Consider listing your collection on online marketplaces like eBay, where you can reach a broad audience of potential buyers. Specialized platforms for buying and selling magazines, such as Back Issue Market or, are also worth exploring.

what to do with old national geographic magazines

For those feeling charitable, consider listing your National Geographic magazines on platforms like Craigslist or Freecycle, where you can connect with individuals in your local community who might appreciate them. Donating your collection to local libraries, schools, or nursing homes is another wonderful way to give your old magazines a new lease on life. Before selling or donating, take some time to assess the condition of your magazines. Issues in good condition, especially rare or sought-after editions, tend to fetch higher prices or are more likely to be accepted by institutions.

Vintage Magazine Collectors

Vintage magazine collectors, especially those with a penchant for exploration and the natural world, often find themselves with an abundance of old National Geographic magazines. These treasured publications, filled with stunning photography and captivating stories, hold sentimental value and a wealth of knowledge. But what to do when space becomes limited or you're looking for creative ways to give them new life?

Don't toss them out! Repurposing is a fantastic way to honor their legacy while adding unique touches to your home décor or crafting projects. Transform maps into framed art, decoupage furniture with vibrant animal prints, or create one-of-a-kind journals with iconic covers. The possibilities are as boundless as the adventures found within their pages.