Category Archives: crafts (recycled materials)

Thrift Store Coffee Table Turned Princess And The Pea Inspired Bench: Making Mattresses

After finding and altering a coffee table into a bench, I set to work making it cozy. It needed to be a comfortable sitting and/or reading spot. That meant a pillow of sorts but then I got a clever idea: to add a pile of mattresses like in the story “The Princess and the Pea.” How fun! My girls liked the idea too. The idea was to have the mattresses look home-made like a pile of Grandma’s quilts. I wanted them to have lots of playful variation, yet still look nice together. And, of course, I wanted it to be made with lots of recycled materials.

Princess on Princess and the Pea inspired bench

This “princess” has discovered something under her mattress.

Making the mattresses:
1. Make a pattern by laying a piece of salvaged packing paper on the top of the bench. Run the edge of a crayon around the edge of the bench: marking on the paper the outline of the bench shape. If your bench is rectangular in shape then your job is easier: just measure your bench.
2. Add about ¼ inch all the way around to allow for the loft of the mattress and another ¼ inch for the seam allowance.
3. The mattresses are made like basic pillows.
4. To fill mattresses, I encourage you to use recycled materials.
-an old comforter: layer the pieces to achieve desired loft
-stuffing from salvaged pillows
-recycled fiber stuffing (I’ve only seen this sold in bulk). or even dryer lint. (try asking at industrial drying places for large amounts)
-down from salvaged comforters or jackets

Girl on Princess and the Pea inspired bench

The top blue mattress (picture above) has been given a quilted look by tying it off at regular intervals with super soft alpaca yarn (left over from knitting project).

Princess and the Pea mattress: blue quilted

This mattress was made from scrap fabric from another project. It is filled with two layers of an old comforter of ours that had become faded and torn. It is made like a basic pillow then I hand quilted it using embroidery floss.

Princess and the Pea mattress: striped shower curtain

This mattress was made from a cotton thrift store shower curtain (not the liner). I used the curtain’s own hem to edge it.

Princess and the Pea mattress: orange plaid

This mattress was made from a second hand tablecloth with a bleach stain on it. No problem, I was able to use the un-stained piece. It was made like a basic pillow then I machine sewed all around the edge. It is filled with recycled fiber stuffing.

Princess and the Pea mattress: striped curtain

This mattress was made from left-over fabric from the curtains I made for that room. Although this fabric was not recycled, the stuffing is. Inside is two layers of an old but clean comforter.

So far I’ve made 6 mattresses for our bench. This pile of mattresses will continue to grow as I come across other fabric to recycle.

Cat sleeping on Princess and the Pea bench

Find out more about the bench and tips on how to alter it:
Thrift Store Coffee Table Turned Princess And The Pea Inspired Bench: Altering Bench

How To Make Your Own Coffee Pot Character: Fisherman Perc

fisherman sculpture

Fisherman Perc

fisherman sculpture close-up
How To:
To make a fun Coffee Pot Character you need to start with an aluminum coffee pot. I found this vintage aluminum percolator coffee pot at a local thrift store.

Fisherman Perc (a pleasant old man who enjoys the quit solitude of a day spent fishing).was made with:
Salvaged bolts for eyes. Drill a hole big enough to insert the bolt. It isn’t difficult to drill through aluminum.
Black valve knob (thing-a ma-gig) was glued on to make a mustache.
Can tabs were glued on to make the ears.
A mini aluminum pie pan with an old canning lid became the hat.
An aluminum angel food cake pan / bunt pan (the center piece) made a perfect neck/ stand.
Extras: Vintage reading glasses, fishing lures, can of “worms,” and small mint tin.

fisherman sculpture parts

Pieces needed in the assembly of Fisherman Perc.

MYO Butterfly Metamorphosis Observatory Out Of A Cardboard Box

Fill the holes with screen. If you are lucky you will have some screen salvaged from a screen door or window. You could buy screen new but why? It is better to make use of something on its way to a landfill.metamorphosis observatory

You can easily make a beautiful Metamorphosis Observatory. It’s a safe place to care for a caterpillar and a great way for you to watch their amazing transformation. I made this one many years ago and it has fostered lots of caterpillars over the years.

black swallowtail butterfly

How to:
Find a cardboard box. I think I used the box my blender came in. Use a ruler to mark a border around all the edges. I used the width of the ruler Instead of doing a lot of measuring.
Use a box cutter or exacto knife (careful!) to make a hole in four sides (not the top and bottom).
Find butterfly and flower pictures from last year’s seed catalogs or unwanted magazines etc…
Paste on pictures coving the whole exterior of the box.
I applied varnish (optional) on the inside and the outside of the box so it would last longer.

Fill the holes with screen. If you are lucky you will have some screen salvaged from a screen door or window. You could buy screen new but why? It is better to make use of something on its way to a landfill.

When you find an interesting caterpillar chomping on a plant, put it along with some of the plant, into the Metamorphosis Observatory. To keep the plant fresher, put the stems into a container of water. Replace the plant until the caterpillar is satisfied and begins its transformation. We found that it was necessary to cover the water with plastic to keep the wondering caterpillars safe.
Or place the branch with a found chrysalis on it into the box.
Once your caterpillar have come out of its chrysalis, give it time and space to let its wings expand and then be sure to let it go. This box was not meant to house the butterfly.

Swallowtail butterfly on child's arm
She’s full of wonder.

monarch butterfly emerges
A monarch emerges from its chrysalis.

Unusual Cake Stand: Robot Party Style

home-made industrial looking cake stand

What kind of cake stand do you use at a robot party? Something made from salvaged parts,… something creative…
Every party needs food so I provided our guests with robot fuel; ie cake on this industrial looking cake stand.
I combined three thrift store finds; a silver platter (silver in color, it may be silver plated, it doesn’t matter), a glass cake stand cover that lost its bottom half, and a piece of an old aluminum coffee pot (the part that was used to filter the grinds).
I glued the platter to the coffee pot piece I chose for the stand.
You could substitute anything that is metal or looks metal. Another idea is to use a large tomato can.

Can Koala Craft

cute can koala craft

Here is a cute koala; he is one of the robot animals I made for my daughter’s robot party. So cute you can’t help but love him. And of course, I used recycled materials.

can koala head

How to:
Gather supplies. Supplies are as follows: large soup or tomato can (for the body), tuna or cat food can (for the head), bottle caps (for eyes) with washers inside, part of an imitation flower cut in half, the part that holds the petals (for the two ears), thrift store flatware (for the arms/paws), a broken tea infuser (painted black or colored with a Sharpie (for the nose), scrap white paper (for the chin patch), the top/ bottom of a cylinder such as found on tubes of frozen juice (for the belly spot).
Glue together everything except the arms and legs and the head. I like using a magnet to connect the head to the body. In this case the magnet doubles as the neck. I also used magnets on the legs/ arms and neck because a magnet allows me to change his pose.

koala paws

Experiment with forks and spoons to see what you like best. You will need to bend the flatware a little to curve around the can. An adult might be needed.

You may be interested in more robot themed ideas.
Robot costume

Build a Bot: Robot Building Party Favor Game