Category Archives: gifts from recycled materials

Moss Filled Tea Cup: Party Table Decoration

I wanted a little more green on the table for my Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Because it was early March, there wasn’t a lot to choose from growing outside. I did however; find moss growing in some spots around my house. So here are the inexpensive yet pretty moss teacups I made.

I used second-hand tea cups. I choose cups from our collection that were the most worn and would be the least likely to be used for drinking tea. I filled them with potting soil then I dug up a circular clump of moss. Moss doesn’t have deep roots like other plants so you don’t have to dig up much soil with the moss. I then arranged the moss on top and watered it. Be careful not to over water. Mist regularly!

So simple and pretty.

Upcycled Plastic Pots: Beautiful Bark Covered Pots

Something as simple as covering a plastic nursery pot with bark can have wonderful results.

Adding a ribbon around the pot is a nice touch.

Nice for a house-warming gift or teacher gift.

Beautiful for a wedding or dinner party.

Add bark in a horizontal pattern or a vertical pattern.

We have a wood burning stove so I’m able to gather bark from around our log pile. Alternatively, you can harvest some from fallen trees. Using a hot glue gun, attach strips of bark. I used a pair of pliers to break the pieces to the appropriate length. Work your way around the pot: adding strips as you go. Reuse plastic pots you have hanging around your garage or find some secondhand. This blog is about wise use of resources so ask around and reuse items as much as possible.

I used 3 inches tall pots with square tops for a windowsill herb garden and I used a 4.5 inches tall round pot for a centerpiece.

Decorative Trees Made From Scrap Fabric

When I think winter, I think evergreen trees. Here are some easy to make stylized evergreen trees made out of fabric. They can easily be made by children and given as a charming Christmas gift.

Here are some of the trees done by one of my students from my winter sewing/crafting workshop 2010.

Make the tree stump(s)

Find a tree branch of the desired diameter. Cut tree stumps using a miter saw if you have one.

Keep in mind, if the stumps are too small in diameter, the trees will fall over.

Make the tree top

1. Cut Fabric

Use a plate to mark a circle on your fabric and cut out. Next, cut the circle in half. Each half can make a tree.

2. Sew

Fold the semicircle in half with the good side of the fabric facing in. Use a sewing machine or hand -sew a straight line up the side as shown in the photo. Make your cone wider or narrower by adjusting your sewing line.

3. Turn and Stuff

Cut off the extra fabric. Then, turn the cone right side out and add stuffing.

4. Stitch

Using large stitches sew all the way around the bottom of the cone.

5. Gather

Pull the thread from both ends until the fabric is gathered together and the hole is gone.

6. Tie A knot

Knot the thread.

7. Glue

Add glue to the stump and glue in place.

8. Let Dry

Use a glass or another object to weigh down the tree top until the glue is dry.

9. Done

10. Make More

Make a whole forest of trees!

Punched Tin Christmas Tree Ornaments: An Easy To Make Children’s Craft

These vintage inspired punched “tin” ornaments are so easy to make. I’ve been meaning to post this project for ages. I love history and learning about how people lived. Isn’t it inspiring how resourceful and creative people can be. The early Americans were no exception, because glass was so expensive and not very durable, tin was used to make lanterns. Because tin wasn’t transparent like glass, holes were punched in the sides to allow the candle to shine through producing a beautiful display of spotted light. Often times elaborate patterns were made. These lanterns were my inspiration for this project. Although not necessarily tin, these metal tops make perfect sized ornaments. Furthermore, the edges are already smooth.

I hope you spend some quality time with the kids making attractive Christmas tree ornaments using salvaged materials.

These ornaments and many more were done free hand. My girls sure liked making them.

You will need a small hammer, a selection of nails, and a board or other hard surface to work on.

You will also need “tin” tops and ribbon or thread.

To make:

1. Collect the tops and bottoms of cylindrical packaging from chips, crescent rolls, biscuits, dinner rolls, etc…

2. Get a pattern or draw your own on paper (or use no pattern at all). When I make some patterns, I’ll post them here.

3. Hold or tape in place the pattern you are using. The pattern should be centered on your “tin” top.

4. Use a hammer and nail to make holes. Make sure you have a board (or an old cutting board) underneath so as not to ruin your table. Use a workbench if you have one.

5. Add an extra hole in the top for stringing a ribbon or cord through to hang on tree.

Simple Doll Beds Made From Clementine Boxes

It is easy to transform a Clementine box into a charming doll bed. I’ve made two bed styles here to inspire you to get to work.

Lightly sand then paint the Clementine box inside and out. You may need more than one coat.

Sew a mattress and pillow. Use scrap fabric or old sheets.

Find a cloth napkin to use as a blanket.

 

The braided rug in the picture above was made from braided sheets by one of my talented students.

Bed 1 (with headboard)

Turn the box upside down. Use foam board or whatever scraps you have on hand. I used foam board because I have a friend who frames pictures for people and therefore has lots of foam board scraps that would otherwise just get tossed out. Check your local frame shop. I cut a piece of foam board with an exacto knife and attached it for the headboard. Be creative here. Round the corners if you like and make a fabric covered padded headboard.

Bed 2 (with fancy bed posts)

Make a cradle-like bed by adding finials to the bed posts. I got these beads second-hand. If you are using beads, fill the hole with wood putty and let dry before painting. Glue in place.

Home-made gifts are really nice in my opinion.  You probably know some little girl who would love a sweet little doll bed.

Older little girls would enjoy making their own doll beds. They could pick their own colors, paint it themselves, and even sew the mattresses and pillow. In this way they will learn basic sewing techniques and improve their skills. They will have just as much fun making it as playing with it.