Category Archives: gifts from recycled materials

MYO Aluminum Can Butterfly Decorated Candle Holder

Home Made Can Butterfly candle holder

Can Butterfly Decorated Lamp Make your own fun fluttery butterfly candle holder this summer. I love the way the aluminum can butterflies create shadows on the table or walls. I’m really pleased how well this project turned out. What do you think? I used aluminum cans found during one of our local roadside clean-ups. I see possibilities in trash.

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Wash your aluminum cans. Cut the bottom and top off. Also cut along the side so you can lay the metal flat.CuttingCanO

(Older children can do this project. My 13 year old, in the photo above, was able to make very nice butteries on her own.)

Next, gently fold the metal to accommodate a stencil or to draw on a butterfly the desired size. Keep in mind that if you fold with the color on the inside, then you will have the color on the top side of the butterfly like in the picture.

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Cut out the butterfly; I designated an old pair of scissors for this job. You can also get metal cutting shears from the hardware store. Don’t use your favorite pair of paper scissors!

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Gently unfold the metal. Be careful because this seam has a tendency to break if you over work this edge. These can be painted if desired.

 

Table Cloth For Two With Matching Napkins Made From Dad Button Down Shirts

Make a handsome reversible table cloth and two napkins from two of dad’s old button down shirts. Or choose a variety of red white and blue shirts to make Fourth of July placemats and napkins.

Dad Shirt Table cloth and napkins for two

This little table cloth with matching napkins is a perfect beginner project for those new to using a sewing machine or a quick project for experienced sewers. It would make a terrific Father’s Day gift from his little girl. Then celebrate with tea for two.

Supplies: two dad button down t-shirts or one dad button down t-shirt and a piece of scrap fabric of a complimentary color and approximate size. This should be a shirt that dad doesn’t want anymore. Often stains can be worked around. Alternatively, substitute a large second-hand shirt. Bigger shirts make bigger table cloths so the bigger the better.

1. Cut up the shirt and Iron the pieces.

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2. Cut the squares out for the table cloth and napkins. Make the largest squares that your shirt will make. Save the back of the shirts to use for the table cloth or placemats.

3. With good sides facing, sew the two sides of the tablecloth together. Make sure the good sides are touching. If making placemats, you will want to cut your fabric into rectangles instead of squares. Sew almost all the way around. You need to leave a hole in which to turn your cloth right side out again.

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4. Clip the corners off.Clip Corners

5. Turn right side out and Iron flat.

6. If desired, sew a few strips. This task is a lot easier if the fabric is striped or plaid and you can follow the lines on the fabric.

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7. Hand or machine stitch the hole closed.

To make the napkins, simply fold over the fabric twice and pin. Ironing the folds now is helpful but not necessary. Use a sewing machine to sew down the folds.One side should already have a hemmed edge from the shirt.

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My daughter sewing the hem.Sewing button down shirt napkins

You may have fabric left-over from your shirt to make a pouch to carry your tablecloth.

 

Spool Bunnies Made From Vintage Wooden Spools Of Thread

I love the adorable spool dolls made by Erica Daley.

Her dolls inspired me to make these cute bunnies just in time for spring.

“For you.”

“Thank you; I love it!”

Floppy-eared bunny: Violet.

I cut out ears, paws, and tail from a piece of felt. I used a vintage wooden spool of thread as the body. The face was hand painted on.

A violet for Violet.

Can Constellation Lantern Craft

This is a fun way to learn constellations! After children make their own lantern, they will surely want to go out and study the night sky above.

I think this is a pretty cool idea if I do say so myself.

Tools:

Fine metal sandpaper, fine metal file, pliers, small hammer, metal punch, nail (hard to see in photo), yellow colored pencil, wire cutters and a pair of protective eye wear.

P.S. I made the star on the wall by cutting it out from a aluminum beer can.

How to:

Clean the can and remove the label. Recommended can sizes: 16 oz. cans can be used but I prefer to use 28 oz. cans.

You will want to freeze water in the can or stuff it with newspaper to provide support while making holes.

If you don’t want to wait for water to freeze, tightly roll up newspaper and put the roll in the can. Then squeeze in more newspaper along the side until you can’t add anymore.

Use star maps to draw star constellation patterns on a piece of paper. Or you can save yourself the trouble and use the constellation guides that I created and sized especially for this project.

Constellation Guides (19):*

Aquarius, Aries, Cancer, Capricornus, Cassiopia, Cygnus, Gemini, Hercules, Leo, Lyra, Orion, Pegasus, Perseus, Pieces, Sagittarius, Scorpius, Taurus, Ursa Major, and Virgo.

*Because it takes a tremendous amount of time for me to develop projects like this, design and draw a pattern (s), test ideas, make, take pictures, edit pictures, write the how to, etc… I’m asking for a mere 2 dollars (see side donation button for quick payment with Paypal or mail a check). Send me an e-mail (hesterjane@FunIntheMaking.net) and I’ll send you easy to print pdf files with the patterns in two sizes (large and small).

Here is a sample constellation: Hercules Guide

Print out the constellation and tape the guide onto the outside of the can. Decide on the size guide you want to use. Both guides will work on the two size cans recommended above (because both cans are about 4 inches high.) However, some constellations look better in the smaller format because they fit better on the front of the can: opposed to wrapping around the can. You decide.

This is the fun part! Use a nail or a metal punch to make holes as marked on your guide. Note: you should make bigger holes where there are bigger dots -small holes for small dots. Using nails would be more appropriate for children. Regardless, adult supervision is required for this part. Add another constellation on the other side of the can.

Don’t forget to add holes near the top for adding a handle later. They should be opposite each-other.

Use a fine metal file to file down the rough edges inside the can. Have an adult do this step. If you skip this step, be careful because it can scratch.

Go outside and paint your Can Constellation Lantern. Use black, navy blue or dark purple. Honestly, I think that any darkish color would be great: red, orange, green. This is a good project for left-over paint. Putting to use someone’s leftovers is better for the environment then just buying new so check your local re-store for inexpensive options. I used some left-over black spray paint. Let dry.

Use a straight edge and a yellow colored pencil to connect the dots as shown on the guide.

This is a close-up of the can constellation Hercules

Make a wire handle if you like. I used scrap electrical wire. Ask an electrician for scraps.

Illuminate your stars by putting a votive inside, a battery powered votive or use a flashlight. Only use a votive if it is properly supervised by an adult.

This is one of the holders I made for a children’s ”green” gift making winter workshop recently. The holder (A.) is made with three boards that are nailed together: shown in the picture. Miscellaneous scrap sticks (B.)of different sizes are removable and are switched to accommodate various can sizes.

Wouldn’t it be fun to take your can constellation lanterns to the beach on a warm summer evening for an evening of stargazing?

Enter to win this lantern here!