Category Archives: gifts from recycled materials

Eco- gift Wrapping; Ribbon Made From Shirts


giftwrap using MYO shirt ribbon

I do a lot of projects with salvaged clothing. I like finding ways to reuse second-hand clothing (or my own cast-offs) especially if they are flawed in some way and therefore not even good enough to bring to thrift stores.
As a byproduct of another craft project, I had a strip of shirt and thought that it looked like ribbed ribbon. The next time I was wrapping up a gift, I gave it a try.
How to:
Find a suitable shirt.
Using a rotary cutter and a metal ruler cut across the grain in order to achieve a ribbed ribbon look.
Cut strips of fabric an inch or so wide, your preference, but try to keep it even.
I cut one inch strips from the bottom of an old shirt. Next time I’m going to cut a narrower ribbon of a complementary color and place it on top of my other ribbon for a different look.

Build a Bot: Robot Building Party Favor Game

MYO robot party bots

Gossiping robots -These were made by two guests at party.

I designed this game because I wanted the kids to have something fun to do at my daughter’s 9th birthday party. In addition, I wanted to give out party favors but wanted to avoid the usual candy and plastic stuff.

Even the girls loved this robot building game. It generated lots of laughs and the kids liked that they could take their creation home.
Game rules
Using one dice, roll to see what number you get. Start with the birthday boy or girl and then continue around the table.
If you roll a one, pick out a body and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a two, pick out eyes and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a three, pick out a nose and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a four, pick out a head and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a five, pick out a mouth and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a six, pick out arms and pass the dice to the next player.
Bonus: If you roll the same number as the previous player, pick out an extra part. You might want to find something to be the ears, hair, eye brows…
Note: If you roll a two and you already have a set of eyes just pass on the die. There is no limit to the number of extras you can choose; as long as you are lucky enough to roll the same number as the previous player’s roll.
Game set up:
You will need to set up 7 trays; one for each number plus one more for extras. Find “trash” for the parts. Get enough for each player plus a few (for variety sake).
Body (one): olive oil cans, large cans…
Eyes (two): bottle caps, nuts, bolts, misc…
Nose (three): misc…
Head (four): cat food or tuna cans…
Mouth (five): misc.
Arms (six): thrift store silverware, electrical wire…
Extras: electronic wires,…

robot parts

Robot Part Trays
Children have artistic freedom. If they want the eyes to be on the side of the head, they should put them there. These robots develop a personality of their own. Make up a name for each. The first person to finish gets a small prize. The game continues until all the guests finish their robot. Some of the bots look like robot people and some resemble animals, some are clown-like and others are aliens.
After the children have designed their robot, you will need to glue on the parts while the kids move on to another activity. I used a glue gun which worked with most of the parts (avoid really heavy items). I also used magnets to hold some of the pieces. (The head attaches well to the olive can with a magnet.)
If you want to restrict your pieces to things that a magnet will stick to, you can make a Mr. Potato Head -like toy (We named it Mr. Bolt or Mrs. Washer.)The fun being that you can rearrange the pieces to make different faces. Just glue a magnet to the back of each piece.

More robot fun coming soon.

Sweet Little Table and Stools Made From Logs: A Home-made Children’s Toy

lion and rabbit's tea party

Lion invites Rabbit over for tea to apologize for his behavior the previous day. All is forgiven as they enjoy the beautiful day, the smell of the Lilly-of-the-Valleys, and the delicious tea.

The log tabletop in the pictures is about 10 inches across. I got the idea for this project when my husband was recently chain sawing a tree that had fallen during a storm. I asked him to cut me a thin slice of a branch. I used smaller branches and my sliding miter saw to cut the stool tops and bottoms, as well as, the table bottom. I used a product called liquid nails (left over from a home-improvement project) to glue the top and bottom together. It was so simple to make.

log table children's toy

 

I’m going to make a few extra table and chairs sets to give away as gifts. I love toys that really spark the imagination.

tea for two stuffed animals

 

Not long after Rabbit left, Bee stopped by.

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 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