the ReFab Diaries: upcycled crafts
Showing posts with label upcycled crafts
What to do with an old bread box? 

In October I took Ms Ro to Fat Blossom Farm's Forest Fairy Festival (in Michigan). I know I was motivated, in part, by my love of miniature worlds ... especially ones made out of repurposed materials!

You won't be surprised to know that I was in love with The Borrowers growing up. And The Wombles! I always loved the idea that in some other world, there are creatures "making good use of the things that (they) find, things that the everyday folk leave behind." And have you seen The Boxtrolls? You must! 

Anyway, I recently stumbled upon this amazing breadbox dollhouse created by Dan Borg, a former employee of The Rebuilding Center and an amazing mosaic artist. I was, of course, entranced!
The tub is the brass housing from a broken music box. The faucets are cup hooks!

The window boxes are drawer pulls with shredded carpet for vegetation. For many more images, visit the Flickr page.

License plates, cymbals, street signs, musical instruments, machine plates and metal rulers ... just a few of the salvaged things Devin Johnson turns into jewelry. Amazing jewelry, made in Minneapolis! I was lucky enough to oggle MakeShift Accessories in person at a recent street festival and it's impeccable. Not a word easily applied to re-junked stuff. But there it is. If you're up in MN, visit the actual store or shop on Etsy  :)  

Very excited to host The Trashy Crafter today! I'll let her introduce herself ... enjoy  :)  

Books are magical, they give you the ability to go on a jungle safari one minute and a deep see dive with mermaids the next. But what happens when books has gotten lots of love from years of use? The pages get creased, dog-eared and ripped, the bend or even start to fall off. That’s where my Mom Helen and I come in. And this is where the story of Trashy Crafter begins.

Custom cookie-cutters from cans? Yes. Easy (and free) to make. Fun to use. If you have an old aluminum pie tin lying around, they work well too.

And if you're concerned about sharp edges, check out the advice at Glitter Mint.

1. Super kid-friendly soda can heart cutter care of Food Doodles

2. Scrap-metal bird cutter from Lulastic 

3. Homemade lip and mustache cookie cutters from My Lovely French

Like most of us in the northern hemisphere, Melanie (of Bliss Bloom Blog) is craving flowers and dreaming of spring. In honor of Earth Day, she created these amazing egg carton roses. They're simple to make (great tutorial) and I love that the end product somehow manages to look both rustic and refined.

Thanks to Melanie for permission to feature this great upcycle. Get the complete tutorial here.

Sometimes I know exactly what inspires these round ups. For example, I once found myself collecting a lot of bottle caps (beer bottles, specifically) so I went looking for ideas for repurposing them. Then I created a blog post around bottle-cap decorating.

There are so many ways to repurpose old t-shirts. Check out the mother of all round ups at Saved By Love Creations.  But these braided t-shirt rugs ... this is probably the third one that's caught my eye. And guess what? The tutorial is excellent. So if you're interested in trying but you've been a fuzzy on the how to, head to My Poppet

I love the steampunk / trashion punk aesthetic. I'll be heading to Cape Town in March and at the top of my to-visit list is Truth Coffee, where steampunk is not just about decorating but has, in fact, inspired a built-from-scratch "coffee bean contraption". Because of its appeal, I've spent quite a lot of time looking around for jewelry DIYs. They're hard to find. But here's a small collection for you, inspired my February sponsor, Sleepless Storyteller

As I created the post featuring Ruth's plarn lunch tote (4), I found myself looking for other cool things created using this cheap-to-create material. Because it's the epitome of upcycling really. Plastic grocery bags are nasty things. They've been banned in a whole lot of places around the world. But in most of the US, we have a choice. Bring your own bags, choose paper, or choose plastic. And if you choose the plastic, what do you do with the pile that quickly gathers in your house?

Turning them into something that will actually last is a really good idea. So if you liked the lunch tote, here are some more ideas for you.

My friend Ruth recently tried her hand at a plarn project. Lucky for me she recorded her steps so I get to share her experience with you! For a roundup of 11 other plarn DIYs, click here.

Wow. How did it get to be January 8, 2014?? A post from me is WAY overdue ... my apologies. My year got off to a streptococcal kind of start. Horrible. But, here I am and I've got several fun bits and pieces to share with you.

I don't know why certain creatures become trendy in art and design, but I enjoy watching the waves. Owls, hedgehogs ... foxes!  I like it. If you know someone who'd like a foxy gift this holiday season, make 'em something!  Here are some fab ideas:

Yeah, shampoo bottles. I suppose you could use any plastic bottles, but we do go through shampoo at a rapid rate right? And the bottles are colorful ... ripe for repurposing! The collection above is all about kids (cold-weather, indoor fun?):

1. Awesome shampoo-monster caddies from Madame Criativa

2. Hold-owls ... beautiful tutorial here

3. A flotilla of post-foam fun ... care of Floris Hovers

4. A bold baby mobile ... DIY care of BB Bellezza

Some slightly more grown-up upcycles...

1. A catch-all wall for a kitchen, office or craft room ... full how-to at DIY Enthusiasts

2. Some simple caddies by Floral Chick

3. A grown-up pencil holder and ...

4. labels turned into gift bows... see more here

5. And finally, a bottle-turned-black-cat napkin or phone holder!  See the details here.

Christine Marie Davis collects old metal knitting needles and turns them into extraordinary bracelets ... the colors are wonderful! Check out the full collection and visit her blog. where she refers to herself as a "finder, collector, maker, breaker, smasher, basher."

No DIY for working with metal needles, but if you have old plastic ones lying around, they make great bracelets too!

Check out the tutorial (pictured above) care of Time for Tea.  If you're interested in what else you can do with old needles, take a look at this roundup.

'Tis the season (in my part of the world) for all things leafy ... watching them change color, fall and burn on bonfires. So in the spirit of leafiness, here are four DIY, upcycled art ideas for you:

1. Leaf burst from Myrtle and Eunice

2. Leaf and twig installation on canvas by Revolutionaries

3. The ghost of sunflowers past by Thrifty and Chic

4. Simple leafy silhouettes care of Bon Temps Beignet

Right now, Chicago is steaming ... 90+ degrees F. And something about the hot mid-summer screams herbs on a kitchen window sill. Now, I know that bombing things with googly eyes is like so ... 2012? Or something. But done like this, it's sort-off irresistible. And planting in eggshells is a really cheap, kid-friendly re-use. 

1. Adorable, wheatgrass eggheads (spotted here)

2. Succulent centerpiece

3. A little floral happiness

4. The cat's whiskers

5. Mixed herbs under a banner

6. Radish heads!

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame
Gerard Manley Hopkins

This wonderful little dragonfly brooch was created using old book leather and a plastic soda bottle for wings. For instructions and more pics, see The Upcycler.

Ah ... the little Danon yoghurts. One dose a day, means lots of little bottles collecting quickly. Which means you'll soon collect enough to make this lamp! Construction is much simpler than you'd imagine; no special materials required. The completely tutorial at Reciclantes is really inspiring, as is the whole blog - please click through and take a look.

It's summer in my hemisphere. That means (amongst other things) that I'm suddenly driving over a lot of empty plastic bottles! I've started giving myself points every time I hear the loud crunch. But really? Do they need to be rolling around in the street? I think we should let our kids bowl with them instead. Then recycle them please Chicago!

1.  Monster bowling

2. Sumo bowling

3. Bowling "toss"

4. Rainbow bowling

A little more aluminum / soda-can bling for you!  This simple, geometric piece was easy and quick to make. Here's how: