Category Archives: crafts (recycled materials)

Repurpose White Waste Paper Into Doves For A Beautifully Wrapped Wedding Gift

dove gift wrapping

Be creative and make your own dove embellished wedding gift wrapping. This white gift wrap is really “green.”
You can find supplies for this project in a surprising variety of sources. Bumper stickers often have a really nice glossy white side and the back is often white paper that you can trace a stencil on. Another thing works well if you come across any is thin white plastic that is stiff yet thin enough to cut. I found a white plastic tray from a game. You can also find white cardboard in packaging from dress shirts to toys. You could go out and buy some white paper/ cardstock but that wouldn’t be a challenge and you would miss the point. I save all kinds of white product packaging and other waste materials and used the best pieces for doves.
dove gift wrapping detail

The paper I used for this dove was stiff: I wanted it to stand up for a 3D effect that would take the place of a bow. To hold the dove in place: I cut out a rectangle, folded it in half and glued half onto the back of the dove. The other half of the rectangle can be slipped under the ribbon and discreetly glued or taped to the wrapping paper.
I wrapped this gift in discarded office paper (poster size). The other side had last month’s office presentation on it. It was too good to waste.

dove gift card on box
Use a nice quality ribbon to add a touch of color. It can later be used on another gift or reused in some other project.

dove gift card
Dove gift tags
To make a gift tag, you will need to fold scrap paper and place the stencil along the fold so that the top of the head and part of the wing will be on the fold. Write a message of love and peace. Use salvaged paper that is about the thickness of card stock. I’ve provided stencils of two different doves that I sketched.

dove gift card with message of love

This is far from looking like trash.

view of dove A stencil

dove A stencil

view of dove B stencil
dove B stencil

Easy To Make License Plate Bookend

license plate bookends

They say necessity is the mother of invention: that is true. My daughter needed a bookend so I did a little brain storming and dug through the house/garage for inspiration. I easily transformed these license plates into bookends.

bookends made from license plates

How to:

Recycle a license plate by making it into a bookend. All you have to do is bend a license plate over the edge of a table. Easy.

I like the vintage look of these plates left as is but you could be creative and paint them for a modern look.

How To Make A Bird Nester: Like A Bird Feeder But Contains Nesting Materials

home-style bird nester

I call this a bird nester because it is like a bird feeder but with nesting materials instead of bird seeds. I designed it out of recycled materials and made it look like a charming cottage complete with a chimney that has a wisp of smoke coming out.
How to:

You will need to save a plastic berry basket, a box type milk carton, scrap yarn or salvaged twist ties, and nesting material (see below).

milk carton roof for bird nester

Use a box type milk container to make the roof: cut out two adjoining sides as shown in image.

chimney for home-style bird nester

If you want to make a chimney, print out the chimney stencil I provided. Use the stencil to make a chimney out of the left over piece of milk carton or another scrap piece of cardboard. Add a small piece of white stuffing extending out of the chimney to simulate smoke rising. The chimney stencil makes a nicer chimney than the experimental one in the photo. Use the bottom tabs to glue the chimney to the roof or make two slits (with an exacto knife) in the roof and insert the tabs through.

Fill your bird nester with left-over odds and ends.
Suggestions: bits of left-over yarn, sheep’s wool , wool roving (ask a spinner), dryer lint (especially when you are drying a wool blanket or are felting a wool sweater ; but I wouldn’t recommend using fabric softeners, because the birds don’t need the added chemicals.) You can also use: fur, human hair, horse hair, snake skins(sure why not), leaves, feathers, plant fluff from a cattail plant or from a milkweed pod, straw, tree bark, pine needles, moss… For fun add: small colorful pieces of scrap yarn (4 inches more or less), strips of cloth, shredded paper… Experiment and see what happens.
Use a hole punch to make a few holes in the roof along the edge. Attach roof with a bit of scrap yarn or twist ties (salvaged from toy packaging etc. or from produce).
You may also be interested in checking out a similar post at FunInTheMaking : Bag Of Nest Building Material, Great Gift For Birds Or Bird Lovers
The following is a note I received:
“I’m not sure if you know or not, but dryer lint is not a suitable product for bird nests.
If it becomes wet it is dense and takes a really long time to dry out thus keeping fragile babies cold and wet.
If conditions are not fixed in time, they will perish.
My vet has confirmed and if you search long and hard on the Internet you may also find a stray post or two.
Better materials would be soft WHITE feathers, human, cat, dog or better yet horse hair, thread only 2″ long at most, 100% cotton 3″ long by 1/4″ wide etc..
.”
-Debra
(Thank you for your input Debra.)

Make A Super Cool Tipi Fort Using Recycled Materials

teepee

Although tee-pee is often spelled tee-pee (t-e-e-p-e-e), tipi (t-i-p-i) is considered the correct spelling. Tipi is a Sioux word formed from the word meaning to dwell or live- ti, and the word meaning used to live in -pi. Regardless of the spelling, they make a super cool fort.
Tipi poles:
1. I made my poles out of bamboo from a friend’s property. Start asking around to see who might have some. Bamboo grows quickly and spreads easily. I bet people with bamboo on their property would be glad to have you come by and harvest some. Use a hand saw to cut down and use clippers to cut off any side branches. Alternative: use straight thin trees with few if any side branches. The diameter of the poles should reflect the size of the tipi: a larger tipi will need thicker poles than a smaller tipi. Use your judgment: poles should be thick enough to support the cover without bowing in. You will need 11 or more poles for this extra large tipi; each pole should be 11.5 feet long. If you plan to use your tipi inside, like we do, make sure to make it a size that will fit. I have high ceilings so I was able to make a really large tipi. Smaller tipis don’t need as many poles. The toddler tipi fort I made had only 6 poles that were 64 inches long. Poles for a toddler tipi could also be made out of newspaper. Make long thick rolls of newspaper. Connect these rolls with some masking tape. Then add more layers of newspaper to reinforce the places where the tubes connect.
Making your tipi cover:
1. I used blankets from the thrift store; it took me several months before I found enough for this project. I think I pieced together about four blankets. I thought that these blankets looked vaguely like animal skins and had the benefit of not needing to be hemmed along the edges. To make it look more authentic, I hand-sewed the pieced together with imitation sinew, which is thick waxy cord, using a large upholstery needle. Sinew is what Indians traditionally used to sew skins with; it is made from the tendons of animals.
Sheets would also work well as a cover. The benefit of using sheets is that they are easy to find at second-hand shops; you might even have some old ones around your house. Also, especially if you are using white or another light color, the cover could be painted as many tipis often were. In addition, you may like that you can sew the sheets together with a sewing machine.
2. To make the shape of the cover:
paper tipi 1

paper tipi 2

To make it easier to visualize, I made a paper model. Note that the tipi shown here is in the shape of an inverted cone. Usually a tipi would be in the shape of a tilted cone: the floor would be in an egg shape and when viewed from the side you could see the back was steeper then the front. We ignore this fact for purposes of this play tipi. To make the cone-shaped cover you will first need to decide how big you want your tipi. Remember that the height of your tipi will not be as tall as the poles, ie: make the poles longer than the desired height plus extra to extend out the top. Determine the length of the tipi side (A to B in image). Your fabric can be folded in half like in the image or you can lay the fabric out and cut out the resulting semicircle. I had someone hold a string (cut to the length of the tipi side) at point A. I then marked the distance while swinging the string in an arc.

Add smoke Flaps, for decorative purposes, if you like. Smoke flaps were used to help direct the flow of smoke. If it rained, the smoke flaps could be closed. Also cut a door. A smaller door would have been more authentic but I thought wildly playing kids would have an easier time getting in and out.
3. You can make a door out of some of the left-over cover material and two sticks. Turn over the fabric and sew a channel for the stick (as I did on the top of my door) or slice small holes and weave the stick through (as I did on the bottom of the door).

tipi door detail -sticks

tipi door open

Flip door to the side if you want to leave the door open.

Setting up your tipi:

tipi setup 1
2. Tie four poles together about 18 inches from the top (traditional tipis had a lot more pole extending out the top). Then stand the poles up. (Smaller tipis can have less pole extending out.)
tipi setup 2

3. Arrange other poles (11 or more total) for a x-large teepee.

tipi setup 3
4. Apply the “skin”. (Have your covering folded in half with the good side on the inside of the fold. Placing center back into place first then unfold the other side.

tipi setup 4
5. Arrange the cover. I used large safety pins to close the front (not authentic of course but easy). The next time I set up our tipi I think I’ll try “pinning” it up the front with sticks in the traditional way.

tipi setup5 with door

Fake Christmas trees are perfect for this imaginative play. I got mine second-hand of course.

tipi door detail

Tie the ends of the top stick to the tipi.
I couldn’t capture in pictures how cool it feels being inside. Furthermore, it is surprisingly spacious (an adult can stand in it and sleep inside) yet it has a very cozy feel. Your kids will want to make up their own Indian names like: Eagle Feather, Big Bear, Dancing Deer…

Make Your Own Protective Sketchbook Pouch Out Of Jean Pant Leg

This protective sketchbook pouch made out of salvaged jeans is a great beginner sewer project.

1.
Find a pair of pants that are worn in the knees. Cut off one leg at the knee. Keep in mind that the width of the pant leg will determine the width of your pouch. Therefore use children’s pants if you want a small pouch.


2.
Think about what you want to put in your pouch: sketchbook, journal, phone/ address book, or diary. I put a sketch book on top of the leg to help gauge the size pouch needed. Make sure you leave room on the bottom for the seam. I cut off the bottom edge of the pants but you can leave it on if you like.
If the pants you are using are a straight leg, you may want to use the bottom edge of the pants at the top edge (This edge will end up on the front of your bag as the flap edge. The pants that I used had a little flare at the bottom and I liked the shape it gives to it.
Also determine the length you want the flap to be and cut.


3.
Lay your piece flat and face up, then cut out the front part of the pant leg where the flap is (see image). The back of the pant leg will flip forward and become the flap.


4.
Turn your pant leg inside out and sew the bottom seam or don’t turn it inside out and just sew across, leaving the seam on the outside (as seen in photo).
Also, decide on the shape you want your flap and cut. You can leave the edges raw so they will fray or you can turn the fabric under and sew. The jeans that I used had some stretch to them and I found out that they don’t fry as well as traditional 100% cotton jeans.


5.
Add button, snap or recycled jean button. I re-used a button from a pair of button fly jeans. When you cut it off the jeans, leave it attached to some of the jean fabric. I left it on a 1.5 inch square piece of jean fabric.
Mark where you want the jean button (if using) and make a small straight cut. Then, mark the position of the hole below by making a mark through the first hole. You should now have two holes lined up with each other and just big enough for the button. Do not make a hole in the back of your pouch: just a hole in the flap and in the front part of your pouch.
If using a regular button, you will still need to clip a small hole in the flap and mark the position below. Instead of cutting a second hole, sew on a button to the front of the pouch. Keep your eye out for fun vintage buttons for using in projects like this.


6.
From the inside of the pouch, put the jean button into the hole (see image). I didn’t think it was necessary but if your button is loose, you may want to add a few stitches to hold the button in place (sewing, fabric to fabric, a circle around the button).


7.
To close the flap, put the button through the flap hole.


8.
Here is a closer look at the button I used in this project. It was salvaged from a pair of button-fly jeans.


9.
Add a slot that will give you easy access to a pen or pencil. Cut a small hole just large enough for a pen or pencil to slip through (see arrow in photo). Only cut through the front of the pouch! Next sew a channel about ¾ of an inch from the edge of the pouch (see white line in image).
10.
That’s it, you’re done. Put in your notebook and your pencil and you are ready for a nature hike.
Also see other ideas for pant leg pouch, bag, or purse. Link