the ReFab Diaries: upcycled crafts
Showing posts with label upcycled crafts

I grew up in South Africa in the 80s. It's possible things have changed now but, when I was a kid, gold seemed somehow more affordable than books (only one of many very screwed up things about SA in the '80s, but I'll spare you the history lesson). So, we used libraries ... populated, and run by, lots of "ladies" wearing a lot of gold jewelry. I didn't own a whole lot of books until I hit England in my mid 20's and discovered publisher's clearance warehouses. And used bookstores. Books for a buck!!  I went a bit crazy. 

Perhaps my values are skewed care of my gold-plated upbringing? But I think this is a great way to treat a less-than-glittering bowl! Get the complete tutorial at Liz Marie Blog

If you live on a certain continent, you recognize the red bullseye a mile away. And the bags ... my, how they collect. There are, of course, other plastic grocery bags in the world ... and they all collect! So here are some fun ways to upcycle and repurpose them:

1. A lampshade

2. A leaf or heart/valentine mobile

3. A cuff bracelet

4. A clutch bag

5. A sturdy (fused plastic) reusable bag (where'd the spots go you ask?)

6. A wreath

7. A sturdy ("plarn" or knit) market bag

PS: I think the majority of grocery and departments stores in the US now collect their own bags for recycling. Some even turn their used bags into the sturdy, reusable versions.

If you don't know luri & wilma then today's your lucky day!  This fabulous t-shirt refab is their project (complete DIY) and a great reason for you to discover this publication. Yes ... publication. Like, actual print magazine loveliness in vintage, handmade, eco-friendly, technicolor glory! The styling, ideas, features, photography and very real women populating this thing are an inspiration. I'm hooked.

They just launched a Kickstarter campaign - here's the nutshell:

"At luri & wilma we are more than a blog or a magazine, we are a way of life. We profile and support eco-friendly businesses, especially those run by women, who have innovative ideas for recycling and repurposing, sustainability or producing quality handmade products. Our models are never airbrushed because we support a healthy, realistic confident woman. We’ve published 7 issues online and this spring, we came out with our first printed issue. This first edition was more of a test and we created a magazine that you can flip through again and again. And now we want more!"

They use a local printer and print on recycled paper. But overhead costs are what they are, so they're asking for support. Their goal: convert luri & wilma into a quarterly printed magazine with an additional 2 online-only versions. Check out their latest issues here!

If you're looking at this colorful refab, wondering what it reminds you of... think Anthropologie. And then click through to Love, Live and Garden for the full DIY... and the inspiration! 

I've been wanting to make this bed for a while but found that general inertia usually prevented it. Not a lack of cardboard boxes! But a couple of Sundays ago, while enjoying a rare moment of doing nothing but drinking coffee, I found myself saying out loud to a toddler:
"Hey, would you like to make a bed for Jodie? (the doll)" 
She lit up and said "like Greta's bed?" (Greta being the $50 rag doll she saw in Pottery Barn Kids about 2 months ago!!)  
I said "yes, exactly like that!" (I lie to this child quite easily, it seems). 
And so we made a bed out of a cardboard box. It's not quite "Greta's bed" but Ms Ro doesn't seem to mind :)

I've never done the "101 things to do with corks" roundup ... because I confess: I'm not all that attracted to the final refabs. But these work for me!  Great tutorial care of Lisa Storms posted in full here.

Pink Stripey Socks!! That's the name of the blog. The one where you can find instructions for how to make this clever necklace.

I spend a lot of time looking for great projects to feature here, but I'm well aware that I'm missing things. The intergoogle is a big, big haystack!! So, I recently added a "Get Featured" form to the blog ... if you have a fab upcycle/repurpose to show off, pleeeez send it to me. 

Claudia, from Creative Upcycling, shared this wonderful iPhone Cuff Case and gets to be my first submitted feature!

Claudia is an upcycling pro. Her Etsy store (Was Now Creations) is brimming with clever, beautifully made goodies. And she's really generous with her ideas - her blog is a treasure trove of refabs! Check out the full tutorial for this "Cuff Case".

Well... what do I really need to say about this one?

Great upcycle, fantastic colors, excellent tutorial! Oh, and the blog name: 2nd Funniest Thing. What's the funniest, I wonder?

While you're there, take a look at the whole DIY Gallery - lovely! 

My second Earth-Day upcycle ... a favorite summer beer turned into what will be someone's favorite summer jewelry!

Some time last month I walked out of a store with a 4-pack chosen specifically for the extraordinary can design. The description "brewed with Kaffir lime leaves, Lemongrass and Coriander" didn't hurt. Neither did the "organic" pedigree. So I figured I'd like the beer. But I was smitten with the can. 

Turns out I LOVE the beer. And I'm really happy with my little Earth Day pendant (enter to win it here). If you're interested in making one yourself, follow these basic instructions for working with aluminum cans. Beyond the basics, I simply drew and cut a tree base then positioned the leaves. Not much more I can add!

Are you spotting the theme for this Earth Week! Upcycles inspired by nature... and how much do I love these???

If you're me and you're constantly on the lookout for unusual repurposing, then you see a lot of the same stuff. In particular, you've seen a lot of plastic-spoon mirrors. And that ubiquitous white spoon rose. They're great but seen, seen ... se- er... wait - NOT seen! This beautiful re-imagining of the spoon "flower" by Darla at What I Do, I had NOT seen. And I scrambled to feature the idea, and her wonderful blog.  Click through for great instructions (multiple tutorials) and spend lots of time looking around - it's a treasure trove of unique makes and DIYs.

Happy Earth Day fellow Earthlings!  Considering the focus of my blog, it would be odd if I didn't mark the day in some special way. So I took inspiration from my latest favorite material (aluminum cans) and made some nature-inspired jewelry to give you. 

Gearing up for a leafy Earth Day giveaway ... and very inspired by these pretty, feathery things posted a couple of years ago on the Free People blog. Click through for all the instructions. 

I'm old enough to remember the move from vinyl-as-standard to CD. It was a wrench and the general feel (in South Africa, anyway) was that there was no way it was really going to happen. It felt like the end of the world in some weird way. And then that world did, in fact, end and we all survived the change. Having said that, the "mix tape" stuck around for a while. People hung on to their tape players and "walkmen", perhaps because the "portable CD player" was, ummmm... not so portable. Now digital music is our norm and perhaps you're sitting on a pile of CDs you never play. Or computer discs you no longer use? You know, the ones you once used to back up your college papers once upon a time?! Anyway, here are 22+ fun ways to repurpose those dust-collecting discs:

1. Outdoor lanterns 

2. Make musical flowers

3. Junk garden owl

4. Roof shingles

It seems fitting, that paper be turned back into trees. Upcycle junk-mail into paper tress - instructions at A Little Hut.