How To Make A Habit-Breaker

There are two things that happens to everyone at this time of year. The first thing is that as the old year draws to a close charities everywhere start sending out their glossiest donation information because they know people are in the giving mood. The second thing that happens is the old year ends and the new year begins and everyone makes a resolution to either break an old habit or to start a new one.

Here is an easy project you can do to keep you on track with your goals AND make it painless to donate to your next charity when next December rolls around. And it should cost you nothing to make it: it is all made out of stuff you would normally throw in the trash.

Here is everything you will need: The cardboard back to a legal pad, literature from a charity you like to support, a pencil, a toilet paper tube, an exact-o knife or box cutter, a glue stick, scotch tape, and duct tape.

Step 1:

Trace the bottom of the toilet paper tube on the cardboard. Do this twice.


Step 2:

Cut out these two circles with the exact-o knife.


Step 3:

Tear off four pieces of duct tape. Two of them should be as wide as the legal pad, two of them should be about half that length. Tear the two shorter ones in half the long way so you have four short narrow strips.


Step 4:

If your charity enclosed an envelope (they usually do) find it.

Step 5:

Roll up the envelope and slide it inside the tube. At the end of the year when you’re ready to make your donation it will be right there when you are ready to cash out. IMG_2081

Step 6:

Put one of your cardboard discs on top of the toilet paper tube. IMG_2085

Step 7:

Use one of the short narrow strips to tape the cardboard disc to the tube. Take a second strip of duct tape and stick it across the first one crosswise.IMG_2086

Step 8:

Cut a slot in the second disc that is big enough to put coins through but not so big you can fit your finger in it. No cheatsies.


Step 9:

Use the remaining short strips of duct tape to attach the slotted disc at the other end of the tube. (As you can see I cut one of my narrow strips in half again so that it wouldn’t cover the slot: this is optional.)


If you don’t feel like taping around the slot it’s OK to tape over it.


Just use your exact-o knife to slit it open again.


Step 10:

Take your two longer, wider strips of duct tape and tape around the top and bottom of the tube to hold the smaller strips on. IMG_2100

It should look like this when it is done. IMG_2106

Step 11:

Now flip through your charity information to find a picture you like. Try to find something that is as wide as the page so that it will go all the way around your tube.


And hold the tube up to make sure it is wide enough to cover it from top to bottom.


Step 12:

Liberate the picture from the booklet.IMG_2110

And trim it down so it has nice clean edges.IMG_2115

Step 13: (Optional if you are superstitious)

If your charity’s logo doesn’t appear in the picture see if you can find it and cut it out as well.

You can tape this to the top of your tube so you don’t think “Hmm I really, REALLY want a 99 cent taco: who will miss a few cents?”

You will know exactly who you are taking money from.


Step 14:

Wrap your picture around the tube. I anchored one end with a bit of scotch tape, then slathered the back of the picture with glue stick. You could just use tape if you want.


You have turned trash into treasure!

It works like a Swear Jar: Every time you give in to your bad habit you put some money in the Habit-Breaker. At the end of the year you break it open and donate the money to the charity.

Alternatively: if you want to start a new habit instead you can put some money in the Habit-Maker each time you are good about doing your task. I plan to fund this one with the coins I find while out running.


This also makes a good little fundraiser if you are part of a charity: Use up your old literature to make these banks and either give them away or sell them.


For the Overachievers:

If you want an even nicer Habit-Maker-Breaker use a circle of fabric to hold the top and bottom of the tube on instead of the narrow strips of duct tape.

For the Over-Overachievers:

Use a sewing machine to stitch a buttonhole in the circle of fabric you plan to use for the top of the tube.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 7, 2013.

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