Tie Dye Tissue Paper Tutorial

OK, as promised, (about two weeks ago!) here is your quick and easy Tie-dye tissue paper tutorial. It’s kid friendly, and makes a really pretty end product.

First question:  Why would you want to do that?

Well, it actually started as an accident.  As I was transporting supplies to the group one Wednesday, there was… an incident.  With my fizzy water.  It spilled into the supply box and things got a little sticky.  But, we later found that the moisture had caused our tissue papers (which we use to make jar lanterns) to bleed colour onto each other.  They looked amazing!  Later, I tried to reproduce the same effect at home–and ended up with a pile of soggy paper.  Which brings me to:

Second question:  How do you do that?

At this point, I did what any crafter does in their uncertainty:  I went to Pinterest.  From there, I found cool links like this one from Honest to Nod.  She and her kids did an awesome Tie Dye upcycle with their leftover packaging tissue.  The tutorial has great illustrations on how to fold the paper too.

Third question:  What does this have to do with upcycling?

Ahh.  Well.  The tutorial above used food colouring and liquid watercolours to dye the paper.  But then I had a handy flashback to my student days in the dorm and remembered what we used to make tie dyes then:  dried up old felt tip pens! (This is awesome for us, given that my kids are terminally unable to remember putting the lids back on their markers.)   Pair those old pens up with some used gift wrapping tissue and you’re set to make something pretty from a pile of old rubbish.

What you need

  • dried up marker pens
  • tissue paper
  • water

Step 1:  Fold up your tissue paper

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Honest to Nod gives instructions on how to fold into a neat triangle, but other shapes are just as good.

2.  Pull the centre out of your markers

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I used pliers to pull off the end of the marker.  Then pulled out the dye-soaked wadding in the middle and the tip of the marker.  Put those in a bit of water to soak.

3.  Dunk your tissue

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Soak the corners of your folded tissue paper in the coloured water.  You can use different colours on different corners for a fun effect.

4.  Try to avoid this:

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If you allow the dye to touch your hands, they’ll be coloured for days. (However, your kids may think it makes you look pretty).

5.  Put the dyed paper aside to dry.

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Optional: Drink copious amounts of coffee while you wait.  Also cake.

6.  Unfold

When the paper is dry, unfold it carefully and behold the glorious patterns you have made: tie dye tissue paper DSCN6448_3141

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You can put them aside for funky gift wrapping, Or <drumroll>

Visit  this tutorial on buttoneering.com to learn how to turn your tie dyed tissue paper into awesome jar and bottle lanterns like these:

Tie-Dye tissue paper lanterns

Extreme close up:

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So grab your kid’s old markers and go for it!  And while you’re at it, don’t forget:  6 days left in our Annual Christmas Crap competition, and our current total is a whopping 132 Quality Street wrappers in one envelope!  Keep that rubbish coming in!

Tutorial: DIY Cheerleader Pom Poms

OK, you may have noticed an increasing amount of cool stuff populating our shops over recent weeks.    (If not, why not? What are you waiting for, an invitation from the Queen?  Sheesh!)  But there is one special creation of ours that you won’t be able to pick up online. You can’t even buy them in person at one of our craft stalls.  Nope.  None for you.  I’m talking about these beauties:

Shabby Chic pom poms“But, why?”, you ask. “I also wish to be a sweet and funky non-conformist type cheerleader person.”    Well, it’s because this particular piece of awesomeness was an extremely limited edition, designed especially for this sewing-machine-snogging-vixen.

We’re not here to judge.

But don’t worry.  We’re not entirely heartless.  (Actually, I am, but lucky for you Jacqui isn’t.) We won’t sell you any, but we will tell you how to make them yourself and delight any small munchkins who happen to share your home.

It all happened kind of like this:  It was late summer, and in the run up to #wedstival2012, me and the guys were churning out miles of bunting like this:

2

We worked around the clock, tying bunting until our hands were sore and eventually we were lashing together any random bits of fabric we encountered.  Every surface in my house was layered in piles of fabric strips, so much so that random cats were inviting themselves in to sleep on them.

bunting cat

Around that time, Sheri (our bloggy bff from Awesomesauce and Asshattery) sent us a “cheer up” package of personalized T-shirts with our logo (also by Sheri) and names (we already had those) in sparkly, bosom-enhancing print!

Behold:  The Sparkle Bosom.  (She really is going to kill me this time!)

Behold: The Sparkle Bosom.
(Jacqui really is going to kill me this time!)

I thought it was really amazing that we had happened across this Canadian expat powerhouse in Germany who was cheering us on with all the energy of a birthday party full of cake-high 4-year-olds.  I remember asking Sheri if they had cheerleaders in Germany, and being really disappointed when she said no.  In my sleep-deprived state, the idea of angry German-accented cheerleaders really tickled me.

Cheerleader:  “Und now you vill give me un ‘A’!”

Crowd:  “Yikes, ok.  A! Just stop yelling.”

And somewhere around my eleventeenth cup of coffee, my mission revealed itself:  There would be a cheerleader in Germany.  But how?  Luckily, my youngest was “helping Mummy” at the time.

silly kid

And I realized that we were already surrounded by the makings of a kick-arsch cheerleader set.  This is how we did it.

1.  Cut strips of fabric around 2 feet long. (or twice the length you want the finished pom poms to be.)  We used fabrics of different colours and textures for added sensory appeal.  Lay the strips together in a pile.

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2.  Use a thin ribbon to gather your fabric strips in the middle, and tie the ribbon in a knot.

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3.  Grab a nearby candlestick.

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4.  Make sure it is the kind that is hollow through the middle.

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5.  Thread the ribbon through the candlestick from bottom to top.

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6.  Thread the ribbon through some pretty beads, to prevent it slipping back through the candlestick.  Secure with a knot.

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7.  Submit the finished item to your quality control team for vigorous testing.

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8. Optional Wait until quality control team is sleeping before sneaking the finished product into a box and posting to Germany.

And there you have it:  a sweet surprise that will enchant budding cheerleaders everywhere.  And for extra fun, check out A Couple of Craft Addicts Scrap Skirt tutorial and make one of these to go with it:

Get Scrap Busting!  (Oh, and if  you see copies of these projects floating around Etsy in a few months time, do feel free to link to this post and taunt the vendors about their super-original ideas! Hee Hee Hee…)

More Scrapbusting (with style!)

This week will be a continued effort to chip away at the massive amount of scraps that the group has built up while working on the wedding.  If you’re anything like us, you may have a few bits of your favourite fabric lurking in the cupboard too.  We’ve found a few great ways to put them to good use!  Here are a couple of bits that we’re working on and several ideas we haven’t even started yet!

1.  Think Christmas.  (I know it’s August, but that’s one holiday with a nasty habit of sneaking up on us!  Luckily, Zakka Life offer this fab, kid-friendly tutorial for turning your scrap stash into holiday cheer!

2.  More wreaths. Whether its for Christmas or just a pretty decoration with some of your favourite fabrics, scraps can become beautiful wreaths.  You can even use the same technique linked above!    Handy tip:  Follow Rod’s example and use some leftover pipe insulation as a wreath form.  With some creativity (and electrical tape) you can create lovely shapes like his signature love heart.    Rod would also like you to know that his wreath (above, left) will be available in the group’s Etsy Shop later today.

3.  What, you still have more scraps?  Don’t Panic!  Over at The Cart Before the Horse, we found this amazing idea for a fabric scrap mosaic, created by Jo James.  I can’t wait to try one of these.


4.  And finally, if you still haven’t managed to bust your way through your scrap stash… Then it’s time to pull out the big guns.  Uber genius Suzanne Zing at Notes from the Patch posted this amazing tutorial on how to create this gorgeous shag rag rug:  DSC_2315dIt’s so fluffy, I just want to give it a hug!  So that’s what I’m going to be starting on, just as soon as i can get my hands on some plastic fencing.  Boy, and I thought my fingers were tired after tying the bunting!

5.  Scrap busting doesn’t just apply to fabric, either!  Remember these?

(I know, how can you forget when I keep showing them to you?) Anyway, you didn’t think we threw away the bowl part of the wine glass, did you?  Not when we could make these:

Now those are some serious glasses, for some serious wine!  And that lonely saucer in lurking in the cupboard?  Say hello to your new display piece!

saucer candleholderPhew!  After all that scrap-busting I have only one problem:  I need more scraps!

 

Tutorial: jars and candy wrappers into lanterns!

Well, after a long wait, the hour is finally here–it’s tutorial time!  A couple of weeks ago I posted these photos as a sneak preview to this post:

jar candle holder, upcycled candle holder upcycled flower lantern, upcycled candle holder, jar candle holder, flower candle holder

There were lots of great guesses, but nobody managed to guess how we had done it.  So here you go, time for the big reveal:

They’re made with sweet wrappers! (Or candy wrappers in the US).  For us that usually means Quality Street Wrappers.*  We’ve worked with lots of different sweet packaging over the past year, and have found that Quality Street wrappers make the most versatile crafting material.  In fact, you can look forward to several more tutorials for Quality Street crafts over the coming weeks!  If you can’t get your hands on Quality Street where you live, you could try Brach’s wrapped candy which also has a translucent wrapper.

Now, for the how too: In addition to sweet wrappers, you’ll need a glass jar, clear-drying adhesive, scissors, stickers or masking tape, and spray paint.

Start by removing the label from the jar.  If hot soapy water doesn’t remove the sticky residue, you can try using a scrubber (like this one upcycled from fruit nets) and as a last resort I find that Avon Skin So Soft** can help to get rid of the gunk.

Mark out the area for your “stained glass” by covering with adhesive.  For these examples, I’ve used masking tape and stickers. (If using stickers, cut out the sticker’s surround and stick it to your wrapper.  This way, you can avoid having to trace the shapes in the wrapper later.)

If you have little ones, they really like to help with the sticking part.

When you’re all stickered-up, get ready to spray paint. (Remember to use a well-ventilated area, put down a drop cloth so your husband won’t get cross, and keep small kids well back.  Use gloves and goggles where necessary, and keep your camera far out of the way to avoid paint spray.)

Give them a good spray with the colour / colours of your choice, and let them dry.

Peel the stickers off of the jar.  (Kids like to help with this part too!) If you have used masking tape, I find it helpful to stick the used tape onto the sweet wrappers and cut around it.  This helps ensure your coloured shapes will be the perfect size.

Paint your adhesive onto the clear glass spaces.  You can use any clear-drying craft glue, but I my favourite is Mod Podge***.

Wet  your cut shape briefly.  This will relax the plastic and allow any wrinkles to fall out, as well as eliminating excess colour bleeding.  (When I did the flower jar at the beginning of this post, I hadn’t worked this out yet–so that jar has a much more crinkly finish!)  Dry it gently on a towel or some kitchen roll, and apply it to an un-painted space on the jar.  Smooth out the bubbles.

When the adhesive is dry, apply another coat on top of the coloured shapes to act as a sealant.
upcycled candy wrapper jars, upcycled wrapper candle holder, repurposed jar lanternThat’s pretty much it!  if the edges of your shapes are less than perfect, you can outline with 3D paint (we used Dylon) to hide any imperfections.  You can also coat with one or more coats of spray sealant or clear varnish to prevent scratches to the paint.  Here are your close-ups:

upcycled candy wrapper jars, upcycled wrapper candle holder, repurposed jar lanternupcycled candy wrapper jars, upcycled wrapper candle holder, repurposed jar lantern

Oh, and my daughter’s jars turned out pretty well too!  They opted for a contrasting inside/outside spray paint effect:

(strange reflections on the glass there, sorry!)  So there you have it:  an excuse to go out and get lots of Quality Street sweets in stock.  And don’t worry if you can’t use up all your wrappers on jars, there will be plenty more Quality Street tutorials coming over the next couple of weeks!

* The makers of Quality Street aren’t paying us to say we like their packaging, or promoting these tutorials in any way.  It’s a shame, as our group puts a great deal of time and effort into keeping these packaging materials out of landfills and trying to inspire others to do the same. Support from them could make a huge difference, both to the disabled artists who participate in our group and to the environment.  If you’d like to see Nestle take a greater interest in promoting ways to upcycle their packaging, please tweet about this post to @nestleukpress.  Tell them we sent you!

**Avon isn’t paying us to tell you that Skin-So-Soft is awesome.  It just is.  Google “uses for Skin So Soft” and check out what you can do with this stuff!

***Mod-Podge isn’t paying us to tell you that it’s our favourite decoupage medium.  But if they want to, we probably won’t protest!

Repurposed Balloon Necklace

Ok, here’s a little something for the weekend!  My posts haven’t been as prolific as usual this week, for a few reasons:

  1. I’m knocking myself out trying to drum up a few sponsors for our lovely projects
  2. With some guidance from the fabulous crew over on the Regretsy forums, I’ve been updating our Etsy shop.
  3. I have the flu.  😦

But while I’ve been sofa-ridden and regaled by the best of Britain’s Got Talent (can you believe a dog is the most talented citizen in Britain?) my nimble fingers have been at work with a kid friendly project for you:

rainbow balloon necklace,

I give you:  the repurposed balloon necklace.  If your kids are like mine, you know that balloons rank third on the list of World’s Most Fun items, right behind 1) bubbles and 2) mud.  With every birthday there’s a restock, and just when you’ve managed to get rid of them all your kids go off to other children’s parties– and bring home more balloons in the party bag.  This is what my kids like to do with balloons:

  1. Get mummy to blow up balloon
  2. Stretch the neck of the balloon so that it shrieks in mummy’s ear.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 approximately 500 times until balloon pops..
  4. Get mummy to blow up another balloon.
  5. Release balloon  and watch it fly around the room to accompanying flatulent noises
  6. Watch mummy try to retrieve the balloon before the dog eats it.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 approximately 500 times until the dog manages to eat a balloon
  8. Get mummy to blow up another balloon and tie it up.
  9. Rub it on mummy’s head and stick it to the wall
  10. Hit your sister with it until it pops.
  11. Repeat steps 8-10 approximately 500 times until you run out of balloons or mummy sends you to bed.

Now, as much fun as all of that is, sometimes I get a bit of balloon fatigue.  I wanted to find something a little different to do with the balloons and this is what I came up with.  All you need is:

  • lots of balloons
  • 1 piece of elastic
  • scissors.

Snip a small hole in the end of each balloon and thread them onto the elastic (or have your kids do it) and tie the ends together.  That’s it!  My two-year old’s verdict:  “Oooh, it has a rainbow.  That’s very beauty.”  Works for me!

If you fancy some more ideas for repurposing those excess balloons, check out this post by Candoodles.  The stools and benches just blew my mind!

Update:  Ok, so apparently some other groovy folk had the same idea.  And they wrote a tutorial with many pretty pictures–check it out here:  Michelle Paige.  Clearly, I’m going to have to ramp up my awesomeness if I’m going to be unique! 

Upcycling in your… Pantry?

Your pantry, Really?  Yep.  Since upcycling means working with something destined for landfill, it can also apply to the dry goods in your pantry.  Of course, it’s usually more fun to eat them, but every now and again something gets stuck in the back of a cupboard until its use-by date has passed.  So if your tummy isn’t feeling brave enough to eat it, then it’s time for some crafty fun!  Where to start?  How about… flour?

Now, we all know that flour and water will make a nice paste for some cutting and sticking with the kids.  But did you know it makes for some great digging and sensory play?  (Warning:  gratuitous messy kid photos ahead!)

Yes, it’s messy. (It’s also surprisingly slippery on a hard wood floor, so be careful).  But in a play table, it’s great for digging, sieving, pouring and building.  It packs well, so it’s great for building castles.

For older kids and adults, you can play “Flour Towers” which combines all the fun of building sand castles with jenga-like competition and a good face-full of flour as a forfeit.

Other dry goods are equally fun for sensory play.  Oats,rice,  pulses, cereals, and pasta and other grains all have interesting textures and can help to practice measuring or develop hand-eye coordination through filling and spilling. And for a much different sensory experience, you can try it with cooked pasta as well:

Yep. I gave my baby spaghetti to play with. All donations towards her future therapy are appreciated.

 

Fancy something with a little more colour to it?  Tutorials like this one from Mama’s Little Monkeys show you how to turn your regular rice into something more like this:

I did this for my daughter’s birthday, so I hid lots of chocolate coins underneath the rice, as well as beads printed with letters of the alphabet.  Then all the kiddies searched through the rice for prizes and the letters of their name, which we strung on to bracelets for them.

We’ve used the same colouring techniques to dye pasta as well.  We then followed up with some glitter glue to make some pretty penne for threading onto string and making collages:

And what should you do with all of your miscellaneous expired dry goods once you’ve finished building, digging, pouring and stringing?  You can donate them to a local preschool or art group for their projects.  You can hide some in plastic Easter eggs to make maracas.  Or, you can follow the instructions in this tutorial from Pink and Green Mama to make an “eye spy” bottle that will keep kids (and adults) occupied and upcycle a plastic bottle in the process!

If you fancy trying something a little more grown up with your upcycled grains (or maybe they’re so pretty you want to keep some for yourself!) try this:  Nike at Thrive uses her “Rock What ‘ya Got” approach to make lentil-covered frames that have been pinned all over Pinterest.  The same technique will work with other grains, or even rainbow rice for a pretty effect.

So when your pantry needs a little clear-out this spring, don’t feel you have to bin everything that’s gone past it’s use-by date.  Have a read through the tutorials and a browse around Pinterest and show us what you can do with your dried goods!

Upcycled weekend roundup

As the weekend draws to a close, I can look out my window and see clear skies overhead for the first time in two weeks!  I feel cramped, listless, and generally in need of a brisk march in some fresh air.  But the payout for all this time spent cooped-up indoors is that I’ve managed to test out a few new upcycling techniques this weekend.

First up:  Bottle tops.  If you read my previous post, you’ll know I have several thousand plastic bottle tops filling bin bags in my shed.  (Don’t mention it to my other half–he hasn’t noticed yet!) We haven’t yet found a charity that wants them in exchange for wheelchairs or money, but we are working on a couple of leads.  In the meantime, we’ll be working to upcycle some of the non-milk lids and sharing ideas for ways you can upcycle yours.  The first (and probably easiest) project is a great one for kids on a rainy day.  Inspired by pinterest posts from Mama Jenn and Vanessa’s Values we set out to make bottle top stamps.  

These are easy.  Clean your bottle tops, and attach self-adhesive foam shapes in a variety of patterns.  Then whip out your ink pad and start stamping.  Between making the stamps and using them, the kids were occupied for a couple of hours.  The stamps were cheap to make and we had plenty to go around so that the kids didn’t feel the need to argue over them.  Great activity, and I plan to bring a bag of them along to our next exhibition as favours for the kids who visit our stall.

While the kids were playing with these, I tackled my next project.  I’ve already covered a few upcycling tricks with T-shirts and now I had a couple of wool sweaters in need of an update.  Through many many years of use, they had become worn, misshapen, and yet still  almost unbearably itchy.  After lots of research, I came upon this tutorial from Country Living, as well as this one from The Inadvertent Farmer.  (I love her work!)  Following their amazing instructions, I came up with these:

In hindsight, I think the corners on the brown bag are a little pointy for my liking.  The purple bag needs a good run-over with the bobble shaver.  But overall, I think they’re pretty good for an hour’s work (maybe two) and they’ll be handy for dragging around the mountains of upcycled material I accumulate!  While felting the jumpers, an incredible amount of wool came loose from them, so I also got to try making felted dryer balls.  Because they’re soft, they make great indoor toys but they can also be used in the tumble dryer to bounce around and soften fabric.  I still have a couple of felted sweater sleeves to use up, so I’m thinking of making some slippers towards the end of the week

In the meantime, the Cambridge group is hoping for a break from the rain so we can finish work on the PET bottle flowers we’ve started.  Hope your week is sunny, and if not sunny then at least productive!

Bonus! DIY Fringed T-shirt scarf tutorial

Since I posted the T-shirt reconstruction overview this morning, a Pinterest follower requested more specific instructions for one of the revamps.  The original tutorial I followed has disappeared, (and I’m so gosh-darn pleased that somebody’s interested) I thought I’d whip one up for you.  So here goes:

 

The Circular Scarf  and Fringed Scarf are pretty much the same thing, so this will show you how to do both of them.  You will need a t-shirt, scissors, and optional beads.  First, flatten your T-shirt:

Cut it horizontally from arm to arm.

If you’re making a circular scarf, congratulations–you’re finished!  Just give the resulting tube a good stretch to make the edges curl, stick it ’round your neck and you’re good to go.  (Make sure you keep the arm/chest portions for later projects)

If you want a fringed scarf, then you next need to fold your tube of fabric in half lengthwise, (so that the two open ends meet.)  Make a sharp crease along the fold, or mark it with chalk so you can see where the half-way point is.  Then lay your tube flat again.  Next, make a cut from the edge of the tube up to the half-way point like this:

(sorry for the blurry photo!)  Make identical cuts around the circumference of the tube, about 1 inch apart.  Now you have a fringe!  Now, at this point you may find that you have a bit too much fringe, so that it lacks definition.  If you would like to thin them out, you have a couple of options.

You can remove alternating strands to create a more defined fringe.  I try to cut the strands off in a ^ shape so the remaining strands join together smoothly.  (Make sure to keep the strands you cut off!  Check out the previous post for a hair scrunchie to match your scarf.) Give the remaining strands a tug, to help the ends curl up.

If you prefer a chunkier fringe, consider braiding the strands together.

In either case, you can knot the end or add a pony bead to add weight and help the fringe hang down nicely.  I would have chosen something rustic and wooden for mine, but my daughter had star-shaped glitter beads (and a penetrating voice) so I stuck them on.   Wrap the finished scarf around your neck once or twice and that’s it.

So there you go–a finished scarf in 10-15 minutes. (depending on how much “help” any nearby toddlers wish to offer) On Earth Day, you get two posts for the price of one!

T-shirt Reconstructions–You Can change up your wardrobe!

So, remember these guys from our day out at Milton Country Park?

Just look at 'em! Standing there all empowered, and whatnot!

Last Thursday, the You Can Hub hosted a clothes-swap evening (my trendier colleague calls it “swishing”) to raise money for the You Can Bike Too project.  I braved the elements and went along to show the guys what you can do with your T-shirts if they’re past their use-by date.  Since  it was a clothing-based evening, I decided to save rug-making and all the other t-shirt yarn applications for another time and focus on stuff you can wear.  Even then, there are more options available than I have shirts to work with!

So everybody swapped clothes and ate cake,  I did some “Gok Wan” style snipping, and by the end of the evening, our hosts looked something like this:

They’re good sports, aren’t they? They managed to raise a fair chunk of change for You Can Bike Too, and had fun in the process.   But if you didn’t get to come and eat cake with us, here’s an overview of no-sew, DIY  T-shirt hacks just for you!

First you’ve got basic alterations for T-shirts that just don’t fit as well as you would like.  Neck too tight?  There’s a fix for that, and you don’t even need to whip out your sewing machine! Kira, over at hernewleaf wrote a great (and funny) tutorial on how to create a braided neckline like this one.

You can apply the same technique to a shirt that’s too big, to create a more flattering as you can see, we've followed Kira's instructions to make sure the shirt is wrinkled! :)fit–really useful if you’ve lost weight or “adopted” a shirt from a brother, dad, or partner.  Here’s one that I made earlier->  (As you can see, we followed Kira’s instructions to use a wrinkly shirt.  I’m nothing if not thorough!) I love the way this one turned out, and it’s held up fine in the wash too.  Chictopia featured a similar tutorial on how to braid your T-shirt’s sleeves, which we also followed for this photo.

But what if your T-shirt just too knackered to keep intact?  Coffee and permanent pen stains on the front, rips, holes, superglue… Maybe you have a supply of T-shirts from a past employer (or a current employer after re-branding).  There’s no need to throw it out, or chuck it on to your ever-growing “car wash pile”.

You can cut off the top part of the shirt (from the sleeves up) to make an easy circular scarf.

If you want to get fancy, you can fringe it like this one: (Don’t laugh, the star pony beads were my daughter’s addition!)

Or you can cut that single tube of fabric into 1 inch strips to make many smaller circles.  Layer them like this for an infinity scarf:

Or coil each of the circles and tie them together:

And after you’ve finished making scarves, you still have the sleeve and chest part of the T-shirt to work with.  Personally, I like slicing those parts into as many strips as I can, and tying them on to a hair band, or a single T-shirt circle like this:

Generation T and DIY Inspired have been thinking along the same lines with their Recycled T-shirt Scrap skirts for kids.  Guess what my next project will be!  If you’re interested in some more tutorials (because there are dozens!) check out my T-shirt Recon board on Pinterest and visit some of the links there.  Have fun!  Oh, and Happy Earth Day!

Upcycle your Easter packaging!

Oh, how upsetting!  My very large and well thought out post just disappeared when I attempted to publish it. 😦  Sadly, you’re going to have to make do with this much abbreviated version, which I will attempt to re-create whilst I refill on coffee.

So, Easter in the UK = chocolate eggs.  And after the eggs have been eaten and scooters have been ridden haphazardly through the house (don’t ask) in a chocolate-fueled orgy of mayhem involving an inflatable horse and a hamster (no, really.  Don’t ask.) you’re left with something like this:

Happily, most of it can be recycled.  But if you’re feeling creative, you can attempt to do something more. First off we have the cardboard packaging.  It’s usually brightly coloured and in lots of cases is covered with popular children’s characters.  So whip out your scissors and shape punches if you have them– In almost no time you can have:  Gift tags, book marks, garlands and bunting and even business cards.  Here are some we made earlier:

And next, we have the lovely, shiny, colourful foil (which I endeavor to snatch from my children before they can rumple it) to work with.  We’ve only just begun to work with foil, but bangles and frames are a couple of the things we’ve tried out so far

 

I have a feeling this is only the beginning, though! In a search for inspiration, I found some wonderful foil art tutorials on Make It…a Wonderful Life that I can’t wait to try out.  If your Easter was more in the American style, with colourful dyed eggs (that you hide in your garden and find 2 months later when you hit one with your lawnmower blade) then never fear!  There’s upcycling for this too.  Check out Maddy Lane’s tutorial for creating beautiful mosaics from your coloured egg shells!  And when you’re finished with your eggs, you can use this amazing wikihow post to help you make a gorgeous carnation from the carton. Here’s a few I made earlier:

Ok, so maybe they’re not as pretty as the one in the tutorial, but not bad for a first time.  So there you have it:  a host of ways to convert your surplus easter packaging into some pretty cool stuff.  This post isn’t as stupendously effervescent and witty as the original version, but it will do for now.  (You’ll have to trust me–the first one was awesome!)