Tag Archives: recycled

How to Make Hooks or Hangers From Soda Bottles

8 Jun

After the complete tedium of the no go fabric/ plastic rugs, I needed a quick and easy for my soul to regain the feeling of accomplishment and control.

I had been saving plastic bottles for another project I had in mind, but since we have a collection center for plastic bottles near by, and they really are easy to come by in largish quantities, I decided to sacrifice 6 of them for my quick and easy.

 The concept is  the same as with my tuna can hooks  except it is even faster and easier to do, and it has the added advantage of permanently removing some of the never-played-with little knick-knacks off the ever growing pile of toys on the floor.  No doubt and all around win-win situation.

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 Making them is very easy. Just cut of the top of the bottle, leaving at least 2 inches and a tab you can use to hang it from, with a screw or nail, (depending what you will be using them for), Collect all the knick- knacks you need and go wild.

 A few points to ponder:

 Design wise the sky is the limit.

Because of the star shaped bottom most soda bottles have, it is a bit hard to see the details of the design face on. Make sure the sides look good too.

The deeper you make it, the easier it will be to hang stuff on it. As opposed to the tuna cans, the edges on the bottles are curved, so for some things to hang well and not slip off you might need some depth.

I don’t expect these to last as long as the tuna can hooks. Plastic is softer and weaker and it will probably break if abused to much.

I don’t think that that is necessarily a bad thing when it comes to décor in kids rooms.

Anyway, the kids love them, and I love the fact that they were quick and easy, with both a start and a finish.

When Trash Becomes Treasure, or Supply and Demand

31 May upholstery detail

Its been a while since I put pen to paper (literally). In fact, other than the odd check or weekly supermarket lists, its been years.

It will probably happen with greater frequency over the course of the summer as I sit by the pool, amidst the screams and splashes of joyous kids, while my kids frolic in the water.

I haven’t written a post in quite a while, not because I have been slacking, on the contrary. The pile of unfinished projects in the corner of the studio is growing just as fast as the materials needed to complete them is dwindling, once again proving the point that the value we assign objects is subjective and subject to change at any given moment.

One moment they are shopping bags stuffed listlessly, and guiltily under the sink and in the next they are a valuable material that has been totally used up, every last one pull out of every nook and cranny in the house, and I still find myself about 500 short of completing the carpet. Into the corner goes the half finished carpet and while I wait for the bags to multiply once again and out come the chairs from my old shop that I need to reupholster, and the pile of jeans I intend to use to do so. Once again the amount of jeans I had set aside for the project fell just short of what I needed to complete the fabric for the chairs, and they too joined the pile in the corner.

 upholstery detail

Out came to old, torn, ugly sheets, soon to be place mats and carpets and once again, all to soon they find themselves half finished in the corner.

detail sheet carpet

I have been upcycling quite intensively for just over 6 months now, and something needs to change in the way I am working. I need to find a way to source materials in decent quantities, for free, so that I can work a project, or a series from beginning to end without having to wait till I grow to fat or to thin for my current pairs of jeans. It would be wonderful if all of this could happen for free.

Paper Mache Planter

28 Apr

A long time ago, back in the dark of winter, I wrote a post called How To Make A Paper Mache Light Fitting – Part 1 and never wrote part 2.

Don’t get all excited – I am still not writing part 2, but I have finally found a use for at least one of the paper mache spheres that I made way back when.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that since the beginning of spring I have been on a garden kick. I have sown seeds, and will soon be planting a vegetable garden, I have finally fixed some old garden chairs I plucked from a dumpster and I have a 2do list as long as my arm as far as outdoor, spring / summer projects go.

Anyway, I also find myself wading into the studio every time I want to get something or god forbid actually make some work, and something needs to to be done about making some space for me.

I have already gotten rid of all the cardboard I collected to make cardboard furniture – my space is just to small and my kids to curious for me to be doing that right now (that is kind of unfortunate, because now that I don’t have it anymore, I need a big strong piece for the solar oven I need to build but can’t find anything but small and or flimsy). Even so, I still have a pile of unfinished and ‘halfway’ projects, and something needs to be done about it.

Although I was stumped as to how to make the paper mache spheres into light fittings to my liking, I do love the forms, and how imperfect they are.

I decided that I would transform one of the larger ones into a planter, and carry on dressing up my front porch, turning it into a pleasant place to have a cup of coffee.

 

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I had a lavender plant looking for a home and I thought it was the perfect combination.

I didn’t want to paint the sphere in just one block of color – I wanted to experiment and create some more interest so before priming it, I taped a line of masking tape around it and primed and painted only bellow that line.

Since the chairs are definitely present in their bright purple, the sphere needed to be a quieter color. I mixed a quiet bluish gray that complimented it and would also compliment the lavender plant.

I gave it 3 layers of polyurethane to water proof it, so that it wouldn’t melt into a pile of mush leaving the lavender homeless once again.

Just before I planted the lavender I decided to do a little test run to see what would have happened if I had decided to use it as a light shade. In the background you can see a fitting I made out of plastic cups which I never posted about here.

So what do you think – does it work as a light fitting?

4 Fantastic Links for Cardboard Furniture Inspiration

19 Feb

photo credit creative commons license bakar_88

 We started spring cleaning since we had a very stormy weekend, and there wasn’t a whole lot else to do. The reason I am sharing this with you is because it became painfully apparent once again, that even if we clean till we are blue in the face it will only take about 5 minutes for some of our rooms will look like a hurricane hit them since we don’t have enough storage space.

Anyway, I started researching cardboard furniture and different methods of making it and will probably try to attempt some larger projects in the near future.

In the mean time, For you viewing pleasure here are 4 links to cool cardboard furniture inspiration:

Hours worth of drooling here  Inhabitat.com

 Apartment Therapy  no less drool worthy!

 Eco friend.com  has some great bookshelves that I love in this collection.

 Leo Kempf – all about his process  and materials.

MUST HAVE: Top salvo buy – London Underground luggage racks

2 Feb

It’s nice to see larger organizations jumping on the upcycle / re-purpose wagon, and not just individuals. I would love to have a couple of those as coat racks. (If you have been reading here regularly, you know I have a coat rack / hook obsession 🙂

HomeShoppingSpy

If you grew up in London and were a regular commuter on the Metropolitan Line, you may well remember their high back seats and capacious 1960’s luggage racks with umbrella hooks. When the trains were decommissioned last year the clever folk over at The London Transport Museum decided to rescue the racks, scrub them up and are offering a limited number in three different sizes. Available from March, you can own a little piece of London history in your own home…

London Transport Museum luggage racks, reclaimed, metropolitan line, interiors, storage, salvage, antique, ideal home, alice humphrys, homeshoppingspy

London Transport Museum luggage racks, storage, reclaimed, vintage, metropolitan line, ideal home, alice humphrys, homeshoppingspy

London Transport Museum luggage racks, vintage, reclaimed, metropolitan line, storage, ideal home, alice humphrys, homeshoppingspy

What a novel shelving solution! Made from aluminium they are super lightweight but sturdy. Perfect if you need a little extra storage in the hallway or kitchen. Other memorabilia includes a reproduction of the original 1960’s poster that introduced the newly modernised line 50 years ago…

Original 1960's poster, london underground, tfl, retro, retro print, tube map, print, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

and not sure I’d want to be reminded of the tube this much in my own home, but made to order cushions…

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The Perfect Solution For Lost Socks – Crochet Lost Socks Basket!

1 Feb

Have you ever wondered where all the lost socks go? I know that I am not the only one who keeps on buying new socks because in some mysterious way, I always end up with a bunch of non related socks.

It’s not as if I was raised or am raising my family to leave one sock outside and throw the other one into the laundry hamper. It’s as if there are casualties if not fatalities in the journey of the socks from our dirty feet to the clean sock draw. I would say that about 40% of the socks never make it back. They just vanish into thin air. Maybe they are kidnapped by a monstrous sock napper that lives in the laundry hamper or  maybe they are munched up by a ravenous washing machine or ripped of the clothes line by a stealth sock ripper. Who knows. What ever the case is, their sock spouses need a place to wait hopelessly for them to return from wherever it is they disappeared to, because sometimes they do.

 To this purpose, I decided to make a lost sock basket, in which all the lone socks would gather and save us the trouble of digging through piles of single socks in the hopes of finding a pair.

 Since I am enjoying the look and the texture of the crochet baskets from plastic bags I decided that this was the route I would take for the lone socks basket, but I wanted to explore other patterns than the one I have been using.

 The complete book of crochet

I have an old book that used to belong to my mother called The Complete Book Of Crochet and  it is copyright 1946 and the edition I have is from 1972. I was 5 years old when my mother bought this. She made quite a few things out of it, and I remember this book as always being around. It seems appropriate to me that now that my own daughter is 5 years old I use some of the patterns in it. As a matter of fact, I have had it for the past couple of years, and have been dying to make something, but doilies and crochet table clothes, as beautiful as they are seem kind of dated to me. Taking one of the patterns and using it with the much coarser plarn, instead of with delicate, thin cotton seemed the thing to do.

chair back 7722

I am not going to copy the entire pattern here, but you can see it on the scan (its # 7722. If you click on the image it will open much larger).

I adapted it to the size I wanted since I was working with a different size plarn than the weight it was originally planned for, the important thing is the sequence of the different crochet stitches. Since I do most of this in the evening, after I have finished all the other things I have to do, my concentration is less than optimal, and I found that I had to pull out just about as much as I crocheted.

 

For some reason I was surprised with the result was a bit floppy. I am not sure why because it is quite big so it makes sense that it would be. I solved that easily enough with wooden Skewer in all 4 corners. If I wanted it to be a magazine basket instead of a sock basket, I could strengthen the top with skewers too.

Now I want an Idea for something I could make out of a traditional doily pattern. Any thoughts?

How To Make a Coat Rack from Tin Cans

15 Jan

I finished them, or kind of did LOL.

Tin can coat hooks

It was quick, light and fun as anticipated, and I would have been able to say that I finished them completely if I was happy with the colors, and had the hardware for the wall… (I don’t know what it’s called in English, neither does Google translator….the little plastic thing you insert into the hole in the wall, into which you can screw a screw….)

BTW, the reason they have light canvas totes hanging from them instead of heavy leather coats is because they are secured to the wall with blue tac at this point in time. It was quite amusing trying to get the bags to stay up long enough for me to walk the 2 steps back to photograph them….

I wanted them to be gradated shades of light blue or light blue/gray. Color is not something I do often so getting the colors to look exactly like I wanted them, with the subtle differences you would see on paint chips has proved harder than I expected. Being disappointed with the blues I thought that it would be more subtle in shades of cream….Not quite sure yet.

Anyway, the good thing is that Tuna cans are not hard to come by, and this isn’t a time consuming project which means I can be as indecisive as I want to….!

Of course you can treat these as a blank canvas, dolling them up or keeping them as plain as you want. I love the clean industrial look the bottom of the cans have, which is why I decided only to use color.

I have put together a short tutorial for your benefit:

You will need:

Tuna can/cans

Metal snipers,

Drill or nail (to be used as a punch) and hammer

Flat nose pliers, preferably toothless so you don’t scar the metal

Primer

Paint

Polyurethane to finish.

Drill 2 holes right near to the bottom of the can, about 1.5 – 2 cm apart. (more or less o.6 – o.85 inches)

Starter holes In Tin Can

Cut with metal snips between the two holes and then down to the bottom of the can. It helps to mark the lines before hand, since you snips will pull you sideways.

preparting tab

Pull the tongue out towards you and fold the edges towards the inner side. (I like the fold to be visible. If you would like the fold to be invisible, then fold the edges towards the outside of the can).

Push the tongue inwards till it is perpendicular to the can and fold the edges on the can itself inwards. The folding makes things look a bit tidier, and also helps you avoid cutting yourself or ripping your coats. This is a bit more complicated to do since you need to find a way to grab the edges of the can with your pliers from the inside…It is doable with a bit of patients.

Finish folding the tongue so that when placed on the table, the opening of the can and the tongue are flat.

Drill a hole in the tongue big enough for a screw.

Paint with primer and get creative with paints. It’s a good Idea to finish it off with poly since coats and bags might be rough on the paint and vs. versa.

Enjoy!