I have found countless uses for the newspaper mat, which is today's example of creative recycling. All you need is an old newspaper, scissors and a stapler, though I have found that a metre-long metal ruler also helps to produce a more finished product.

You start by folding the sheets of newspaper into thick strips. Just roll them up from one end then squash flat, if you're feeling lazy, or wrap them tightly round a long ruler, then remove the ruler.

Having created a sufficient number of chunky newspaper columns, you can interweave them, as shown in the diagram, to form the body of the mat, trimming them to the required size.

A modification of the basic rolling technique is needed for the elegant borders. For these, you take your sheet of newspaper and roll it up from opposite edges until they meet in the middle. This is then folded over the edges of the woven section and stapled into place, both covering the loose edges and fixing the geometry of the entire object.

Use broadsheet pages for a mat to protect your floor from the waste bin, Tabloid pages for spill-absorbent table mats, and last week's The Eye for individual place-mats.

Bawn O'Beirne-Ranelagh

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