paper suitcases from t-shirt boxes

June 27, 2012 § 19 Comments

Hours and hours flew by as I made our wedding favor boxes: paper luggage.

At first I thought: it’s just a t-shirt box and I only need to repeat the process a dozen times, it’ll be a cinch.   I didn’t consider the hours alone on painting each side of the t-shirt box into our wedding colors.  Nor the time to contemplate and execute the paper details like the corners, straps, handles, and Velcro enclosures.

What was most important is these need to be compact.  These suitcases will be traveling from Toronto to New York to Las Vegas afterall and, well, they have to fit in our big suitcase before they are given away to our guests and vendors the morning of the wedding.  So I made sure to maintain the ability to fold and unfold these in the same way they came when they were t-shirt boxes, but also have the ability to attach and detach items that easily convert them into luggage.

We’ve called them our “Keep Cool” kits, as they will contain relief from the Vegas and Grand Canyon heat.

Tutorial to follow after the wedding!  Keep posted!

paper clip christmas cards

December 15, 2011 § 18 Comments

So I thought (we all thought) my paper clip Christmas crafts were done with.  But I realized I hadn’t crafted a single Christmas card for the blog this season.  Gasp!  Is Christmas ten days away?  

Given my recent posts, paper clips were right here within reach and this was just too easy.  I happen to have a huge tub of colored paper clips with perfect shades for Christmas shapes.

These cards can be easily crafted by little hands.  Just dab the paper clips on some glue and design away.

silver christmas tree from paper clips

December 6, 2011 § 5 Comments

Push pins.  Rubber bands.  And now for my final installment of Christmas décor out of office supplies.  A $4 box of 1,000 paper clips made up this avant-garde tree.

I was most looking forward to creating this out of all four trees I made, assuming all four would be equally simple.  I was wrong about this one.  The concept is simple, but, admittedly, fussy to achieve.

First you have to create a garland of paper clips by stringing them through a thin, light gauge wire.  I calculated about 2,000 consecutive seconds (33 minutes, at 2 seconds per paper clip) to finish this first and important step.  However, I was also intent on having each paper clip face the exact same way and discovered it was best to string the paper clip through the end that has a smaller loop.  The smaller loop acts as a lock to prevent the paper clip from shifting as much as it would had it been strung through the larger loop.   And I didn’t account for several spills.  Oh, also, 1,000 paper clips weren’t quite sufficient.  Luckily, I had some extras stashed from when I designed my paper clip necklace last December.   I used about 1,100 paper clips all in all, and the garland took much longer than the time allocated.

Then attaching the garland to a 6″ Styrofoam cone is presumably simple, too.  But not.  I inserted one end (at least 1-1/2″) of the wire into the side of the cone and started wrapping the garland around the cone (it really is important to use thin wire and not string, as the purpose of the wire is to be stuck into the cone).  This was when I ran into the problem of paper clips bunching together.  After several ineffective attempts, I managed to keep the paper clips aligned and flat on the table as I slowly wrapped the garland upwards.   I made sure I formed the wire along the cone to minimize the garland from sliding down (the weight of 1,100 paper clips will slide down).  Again, another important reason to use wire: so that the shape can be maintained.  When that is done, then the rest is simple.  I just secured the wire (at least 1-1/2″) into the top of the cone.

Despite it all, I’m glad I did this and the other trees!  If you’re just tuning in now, over the past three posts I made crystal Christmas trees from push pins, a shag Christmas tree from rubber bands, and rubber-band wrapped trees.  Enjoy!

shag christmas tree from rubber bands

December 5, 2011 § 4 Comments

Now, now.  We all know the 70’s have made a feverish comeback.  Middle-parted long hair, wide jeans and trousers, and elevator wedges are rapidly ousting teased poufs, skinny pants, and flats.  Now onto 70’s shag for some home décor!

As you know, I’ve spent the majority of my weekend making holiday décor out office supplies.

So, I reached for a huge bag of rubber bands at Staples (a pound for less than $4) to hail the big comeback of the 70’s with a quick-n-easy shag Christmas tree.  No, not that kind of quick-n-easy shag.  Umm.  Indeed, a very quirky craft compared to yesterday’s classy crystal Christmas trees from clear push pins.  But who doesn’t love quirky?

One pound of rubber bands is more than enough to make two 9″ shag trees.

1. Cut one rubber band open.  Thread through rubber bands.

2. When you have enough rubber bands threaded through, tie in a knot to close.

3. Take your ring of rubber bands and place around the bottom of Styrofoam cone.

4. Cut all rubber bands open.

5. Continue steps 1-4 until you have your tree covered.

Now that I’ve stared at this craft for too long, I think I might add paper wings to the sides and a small Styrofoam ball (with closed eyes and a smile) on top of the tree and I’ve got a very unique Christmas angel!  I shall try it out…

Another variation of rubber band Christmas trees to follow.

recycled packaging for cupcakes, cookies, and macarons

September 25, 2011 § 57 Comments

It’s bake sale season!  And soon enough, our kitchens will be converted to cookie factories come December.  So here is an almost-free approach to creatively packaging all of your yummy treats!

This is a fantastic way to repurpose all of those plastic water bottles, as well as to use up scraps of cardboard.  And it’s an opportunity to consume your collection of washi tape or pretty ribbon that have been patiently waiting at the bottom of your craft drawers for the day they are given purpose.

I picked up my 3-pack of washi tape at Daiso for $1.50 back in August when I was in California.  A combined 48 yards!  What.  A.  Steal.  Hundreds of these little packages can be made with a $1.50 inventory of washi tape.  What’s sad is that our households may actually go through that many plastic bottles in a year.  At least this project grants the plastic bottles another calling in their lifetime before they hit the landfill.

For use of two water bottles (ideal for a row of homemade cookies and macarons):

1. Cut off the bottom of two plastic bottles to preferred length.  Fill with treats.

2. Attach the plastic bottles together with tape.

For use of one water bottle (ideal for one mini cupcake, but also great for a smaller serving of cookies and macarons):

1. Cut the bottom of one plastic bottle to preferred height.  Trace on cardboard.  Cut cardboard circle.

2. Place cupcake on cardboard circle.  Cover with bottom of plastic bottle.  Make sure the plastic bottle sits on top of the cardboard circle.  Affix tape around the plastic bottle and cardboard circle.

If you do not have washi tape, you may use double-sided tape covered with decorative ribbon.

Make sure to bake your cookies, macarons, and mini cupcake to fit the diameter of the water bottles.  I haven’t endeavored in baking macarons, so I splurged on half a dozen for the sake of this post.  Really.  Sweets for blogging’s sake!

cupcake liner necklace

September 24, 2011 § 3 Comments

What can you do with a few cupcake liners and a couple feet of brass chain from the hardware store?  Why, make a necklace, of course!

This super easy, inexpensive, and surprising D-I-Y fashion craft is one I wanted to post over the summer before I got sidetracked by summer.  But it’s not too late!  So long as it’s not a rainy fall day, there is still lots of sunshine to be flaunting this fun, feminine, flirty necklace!

Yes!  It is what I wore in my D-I-Y engagement photos in August.  I wore it then with two flowers and wish now, in hindsight, that I wore three.

You will need cupcake liners (waxed is best), brass chain in your preferred length (they are typically around 45 cents per foot; for this project I used exactly 4 feet and paid $1.80), scissors, and ribbon.

1. Trim off about 1/8″ of one cupcake liner.

2. For each cupcake liner, trim off an additional 1/8″ than the previous size.  You will have cupcake liners that descend in size.  I suggest 5 for large flowers; smaller flowers can be made with 3 or 4 cupcake liners.

3. Stack all cupcake liners and align so that they are centered.  Fold the stack in half, with all cupcake liners facing out.  Cut two very small slits, about 1/2″ apart, ensuring the slits are just wide enough to carefully slide the chain through.  Large cuts will cause the flowers to loosely slide along the chain.

4. Carefully slide the chain through one slit of each cupcake liner, starting from largest to smallest.  It is best to keep the cupcake liners 1/2″ to 1″ apart at this stage.

5. Slide the chain through the second slit of each cupcake liner, similar to sewing a two-holed button.  Gather the cupcake liners to form a stack.

6. Fold the stack in half.

7. Pinch and fold towards the center.

8. Unfold to reveal a flower.

9. Layer as many flowers and chains as you please.

10. Thread a ribbon through the ends of the chain.

11. Tie a bow to close the chain(s).

Flaunt it.  Feel fun, feminine, and flirty!

 

juice bottle glitter vases

July 25, 2011 § 25 Comments

Here’s another beautiful way to recycle your plastic bottles into decorative vases.  Ridged rectangular juice bottles are so simplistic, they make quite some modern vases.  Add a dusting of glitter and you have yourself a stunning set to add to your table or mantle.

To make your own recyclable glitter vases, you will need plastic juice bottles (I prefer ridged rectangular ones, like Ocean Spray), glue, paint, glitter, foam brush, paint brush, and X-Acto knife.

1. Using an X-Acto knife, cut off the top half of the plastic juice bottle.

2. Paint the outside of the juice bottle.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for all juice bottles you are using.  I painted each a different shade of purple.

4. Turn the bottle upside down.  Apply glue to the flat bottom (currently the top) of the bottle, on the outside.

5. Spread glue using a foam brush.

6. Pour glitter over the glue.

7. Tap off glitter onto a large sheet of paper.

8. Repeat steps 4 to 7, applying glue and glitter to short segments of the bottle.  It’s best to apply glue and glitter in segments to prevent glue from drying before glitter is applied.

9. Continue apply glue and glitter until the entire surface is covered.

10. Repeat steps 4 to 9 for all juice bottles you are using.  I used a different shade of glitter for each bottle.  Let dry upside down.

I smiled from ear to ear throughout the making of this craft yesterday, as it came into being with the help of serendipity.  I knew I was going to make glitter vases out of my collection of juice bottles, but hadn’t a single idea what color it should be nor what flowers to display.  I figured, I’d have the idea sorted out by the time I finished instructing a dinosaur workshop (my wonderful weekend job and the origin of many creative musings).

Along my drive, I randomly caught sight of purple lavender-like weeds on the side of the road.  It was decided my vases would be gradations of purple.  I made a mental note of the exact location of the weeds so I can later return for some pickings.  After teaching the class, I decided to stop into a Dollarama I hadn’t ever visited (no, I haven’t visited all of their stores in the Greater Toronto Area; well, at least not yet).  There, I found a trove of beautiful, fine glitter in cute jars and in an assortment of colors, none I had seen at other Dollaramas before.  I also found artificial lavender stems available in exactly three shades of purple, as I envisioned.  The weeds and the artificial lavender stems are so uncannily alike, it’s just so amusing how things turn out sometimes.  Everything I imagined appeared before my eyes.  I love those days.

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