Posts tagged ‘upcycling’

2014, February 24

Mason Jar Matchbox

Mainly, I don’t camp out.
Sure, one-day trips with outdoor cooking are fine, but as far as a stay overnight in a tent goes – Estrella doesn’t do that.

Even though a few hours looking at the stars would be romantic, and sitting around a camp fire with friends is fun, I am way too crept out by an array of bugs and spiders, etc., wild animals and such pitch blackness being around me to actually sleep outdoors.

The few times I went to summer camp, we stayed indoors overnight. I still recall way-too-accurately the time when, flashlight in hand and all senses in overdrive, I ventured out in the middle of the night for a visit to the outhouse.
I couldn’t see anything past the weak light stream of the flashlight, it had rained earlier so the grass was all slippery, three things happened nearly all at once: in the exact moment a raindrop reached my nose from the tree leaves above me, I reacted (like I assume everyone would) by shining my flashlight above my head and spotting a HUGE spider in its web, just as a friend reached out and touched my shoulder.
Honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t jump out of my skin then and there! You know, like they do in some cartoons (“Tom & Jerry” comes to mind).

Anyway. My urge to make a mason jar matchbox is only slightly related to camping; it is much more related to the fact that our matches absorb too much humid air whenever we have clothes air dry in the bathroom and/or kitchen, thus not igniting when we need them.
Plus, I also have this fear of fire that keeps me from wanting to strike matches to ignite too many times in a row, for they ignite unpredictably.

Hmm… I’m coming off very scared-bunnyish today, aren’t I? Oh well. Being perfect is overrated ;) Here’s how I decided to fix the problem of not having dry matches.

page mason jar matchbox

Mason Jar Matchbox

Wash one small mason jar, peel off labels and leave aside to dry well.

Once it’s dry, take your strike-on-the-box matches and fill up the mason jar.

Cut off and affix a piece from the side of the matchbox onto the mason jar lid. That way you’ll have a secure surface to light the match.
I only had small boxes around the house, so I cut off a few and used double sided tape to affix them onto the lid, but I’ll buy a larger box next time we need matches, and will cut out a circle from its side and change it. Which is a good thing, as these things do get worn over time, so you can just replace when ever you buy more matches.

Add some embellishments on the jar, if you want to, like a ribbon, tag, label, etc., secure the lid onto the mason jar and you’re done.

Happy crafting! ;)

2013, December 21

Upcycled Christmas Tree Ornaments –part 2- #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1Like I said yesterday, when bringing into your home the huge boxes marked “X-Mas” after a year and awaiting them to again become the center of attention, you might be surprised by your findings.

Some of your ornaments might need a fresh look.

Below are the ornaments I upcycled today. They look beyond cute!
I finished eight yesterday, and had four more ornaments to upcycle this morning.
To my luck, I also found some Lace to “dress” a couple of them and after finishing those, wondered what to do with the last two ornaments.

I wanted something interesting, something fitting for a writer!

Thought I’d give decoupage a try this time and made a few writerly ornaments with some calligraphy on them.
What do you think? Every writer’s dream? ;)

decoupage christmas ornament

Writerly Christmas Tree Ornaments

old Christmas ornaments
decoupage paper, rice paper or napkins
other decoration if needed

As a base, cover the whole surface of the ornament with dull hobby paint (or glue) in a few layers.
Cut the desired pattern as accurately as possible.
Separate the calligraphy patterned napkin, only the top layer will be needed the pattern part, the rest of the napkin can be disposed of.
After the primer dull paint coat has dried, brush a coat of adhesive varnish on the entire surface.

Then gently place the cut napkin pattern and smooth out any wrinkles. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth, it gives a more antique look if it’s a bit wrinkly.
Coat the entire surface once more when you are done, so the napkin will be completely covered with adhesive paint.

Happy crafting! ;)

2013, December 20

Upcycled Christmas Tree Ornaments – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 When bringing into your home the huge boxes marked “X-Mas” after a year and awaiting them to again become the center of attention, you might be surprised by your findings.

There might be Christmas ornaments in those boxes which don’t end up on your tree when decorating. They might have outgrown your style, you might not like their color, or you might have gotten bored with them, even though they bring nice memories of Christmases past.

Let’s fix that with only a few easy steps! ;)

I’m sure you have scrap pieces of fabric laying around, maybe lace, old knitted socks or scarves. Working at the curtain shop, I found quite a few fabric scraps I brought home just because. As soon as I saw some of my ornaments, I knew just what I could do to bring them to new life while putting to good use my fabrics.

page fabric ornaments

To my luck, I also found some lace to “dress” a few of these.

lace fabric ornament

Upcycled Christmas Tree Ornaments

old Christmas ornaments
fabric scraps
other decoration if needed

Cut squares of fabric two inches larger than your ornaments.

Wrap gently around the ornaments, pulling the edges towards the top.

Secure with a ribbon and tie bows, add leaves, buttons, dried berries or other decoration if needed.

Happy crafting! ;)

2013, December 2

Vintage-looking Teacup Candles

I first saw a teacup candle picture a few years ago. It was so cute, I decided to make one myself. So, naturally, I forgot all about it. Until now!

Below is what I had fun with a couple of nights these past weeks. My favorite cup is the one I featured more, it now decorates the top of my book case.

page teacup candles

page teacup candles lit

Vintage-looking Teacup Candles

a selection of teacups or coffee cups
wax (or discarded, half-burnt candles)
wax wicks
wooden skewers
candle-making dyes or old crayon pieces and essential oils
double boiler (a small pot you won’t regret ruining inside another pot with water inside it will also do)

Tie the wax wicks onto the wooden skewers, then place on your selection of teacups. Make sure they’re nice and straight, perpendicular to the bottom.

Add your wax to the smaller pot of your double-boiler. Chop or grate it ahead of time so you can speed the melting process. If you use paraffin wax, try adding some grated or chopped crayon pieces to add color to the candle, in place of candle dye.

I used discarded and half-burnt candles, so all the coloring was there for me to have fun with already.

Once the wax has all melted to a liquid state, remove the double-boiler from the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Add your candle dye (if desired) and scents to it.

While your wax is still nice and liquid, pour it into the prepared teacups, leaving ½ an inch of space from the lip of the cup. Allow this to cool completely (4-6 hours is ideal), then trim your wicks and you’re done.

These are also super recyclable, as you can refill the cups endless times after they’ve burnt out!

I love that I now have beautiful, handmade teacup candles to give as gifts!

Happy candle-making! ;)

2013, September 30

DIY Pencil Holders

Usually I throw away tin cans. Last summer however, I decided to try and make myself a couple of new pencil holders. Not that I was in need of them per se, but I wanted to craft some.

At first, I made myself two – a smaller and a larger one with a nautical, summery feel to them. Then, in September, I made a couple more – in the same format for myself, and two larger ones as gifts for friends with a Fall theme.

page pencil holders

DIY Pencil Holders

tin cans (or paper tubes, or cores)

Start gluing the yarn from the top. If you find the yarn is a little difficult to attach to the tube, wait until the glue is tacky before wrapping the yarn around.

After wrapping a few rounds, turn the tube upside down and continue wrapping. I found that working from bottom to top is much easier than working from top to bottom.

You may change the color of the yarn or just keep to one color.

Decorate the pencil holder with embellishment when the yarn is securely affix to the tin can. As you can see, I used sea shells and rocks, ribbon, bows, felt leaves, a wood butterfly and interesting buttons.

Happy crafting! ;)

2013, September 2

Fall-Themed Mason Jar Candle Holder

I saw the tutorial for a Halloween mason jar candle holder back in August 2012. Turning it into a fall-themed one instead of sticking with Halloween (as it’s not celebrated here), I have crafted one for myself last Fall. I never got around to share it on the blog though, so let’s make up for lost time ;)

page fall mason jar candleholder

Fall-Themed Mason Jar Candle Holder

mason jar
graphic paper
clear packing tape
tea light

Start by measuring from the tip to where you want you want your mason jar covered. You can use any size mason jar for this project. The small ones are especially cute, the big ones can handle larger candles than a tea light.

Make sure your cardstock is big enough to fit around with only a very small overlap. Now take packing tape and run it over the entire length of your cardstock. If you need more tape just make another row with a narrow overlap.

Burnish down the cardstock on to the tape. You can use a brayer, your fingers or the roll of tape so you get it stuck on there really well.

Now, completely saturate with water. You can even take it over to the sink, as it needs to be really soaked.

Starting in one corner, start to rub your finger on the soaked paper. It should start to peel away, the top color will disappear, exposing the white core below. You can add more water and start to wear away the white core some more, but be careful not to rub away the entire image. Take it outside and weigh it down or hang to dry.

After it dried, get rid of the extra paper pulp sweeping it away with a brush, or run a sanding block over it. Gently ink the edges if you want to. Add a good coat of Modge Podge.

Set the piece on the side of your jar, and wipe off any excess glue. Mason jars narrow or widen at the base, so there will always be a little play to getting it to match up. I personally went diagonally, having a few small layers overlap. It added an extra pattern.

Never use hot glue, as once the candle is in your candle holder, it may soften from the heat!

Finish your candle holder by decorating with cut out leaves, pumpkin, or other templates, a smoosh ribbon, buttons, artificial flowers, etc.

Drop a tea light inside and you’re done!

Happy crafting! ;)

2013, February 25

Liqueur and Champagne bottle upcycling: Mood lamps

This is something I wanted to make since the end of 2011, yet haven’t managed to find the right tools. Read the second half of the previous sentence as: I have this little phobia of sharp, pain-inducing things and my fingers being in their vicinity on a surface that might shatter, so I wasn’t in any kind of hurry. ;)

I really wanted a unique mood lamp; this liqueur bottle saved for thirty or so years by my mom (nope, never throws anything away) was perfect for it. And also, I figured this would be the perfect gift for the Chef as he didn’t have a bedside lamp; so matted white bottle it was.

Then, just before Christmas last year I recalled my grandpa telling me years ago that one of our neighbors used to work with glass. I immediately rushed over, told him what I wanted and he helped me out with drilling two holes for the cords.

However, in case you don’t have a neighbor like mine, here’s a quick tutorial from Wit & Whistle, where I first saw the idea.

page liqueur bottle light My liqueur bottle mood lamp

page champagne bottle light  The Chef’s Birthday present

Liqueur and Champagne bottle upcycling: Mood lamps

You’ll need:

an empty wine bottle
a drill
safety glasses and gloves (just in case the bottle breaks)
1/2″ glass drill bit
masking tape
short strand of Christmas lights (with a plug only on one end)

How to:

1. Rinse out your wine bottle and remove the labels (if desired).

2. Place a piece of masking tape on the bottle where you want to drill the hole for the cord. The tape keeps the drill bit from slipping.

3. Put on your gloves and goggles and start drilling. Don’t apply too much pressure or you could break the glass. The drilling takes a long time. I spent about 30 minutes drilling the hole. Be patient!

4. Once your hole is drilled rinse the glass shavings out of your bottle, and let the bottle dry.

5. Carefully feed the strand of Christmas lights into the hole you drilled.


*tutorial from Wit & Whistle

For a different take on bottle upcycling, give Rukmini Roy’s tutorial a read DIY: Wine bottle pendant with stained glass effect & Tutorial – I really like this one as well!

Happy crafting! ;)

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