RAFT – Creative Reuse Center in San Jose

If you love the art of recycling and upcycling materials into art and other clever things, you’re going to drool over the images in todays’ post!

RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching) has two locations in the SF Bay Area in San Jose and Redwood City, and two other locations in Sacramento and Colorado. It’s an incredible resource for teachers, and I’m lucky enough to have an excuse to continue shopping there for a curriculum I’m designing for the San Francisco Children’s Creativity Museum.

Good news for homeschoolers and Girl Scout leaders — you, too, can get RAFT memberships. It’s not just for classroom teachers.

I spent part of Saturday at the San Jose location. Despite my best efforts, I can never get out of this place in under an hour! I was first introduced to RAFT, an enormous warehouse full of all sorts of wonderful upcycled baubles and bits, when I managed the school programs at the San Jose Museum of Art. Imagine the neatest, cleanest, most organized heap of recyclables, and you have a pretty clear picture of RAFT.

And this is why it’s like my second home.

Everything is sorted so nicely, just waiting to be turned into something fabulous.

All sorts of paper.

Colorful stickers and tapes, sold by the yard (that’s almost a meter, for my Aussie friends!).

Some of the tape is sold by the roll. I got a roll of caution tape for about $2!

One of the loveliest things about RAFT is that they have a team of smart and friendly staff who spend hours figuring out what you can actually do with this stuff. I got a demo on how you can turn a record + pencil + foam + pin + paper cup into a simple phonograph. Brilliant!

If you’re interested in RAFT, you can read more about it here.

Where do you go to find recycled materials? Your trash? Sidewalk? Resource center?