Unexpected Decor Ideas for Eco-Friendly Crafters

 

This article is brought to you by Dan Whiteside. Dan blogs about DIY and gardening topics at DIY Newbie, where he discusses a variety of home improvement projects.

 

If want to spruce up your home, there are loads of ways to do it. You could of course hit the shops, but that might take its toll on your wallet. Why not consider upcycling some old items and give them a whole new purpose? This is easy to achieve by using things around your home and beyond that are no longer in use. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking…

 

Unusual bookends

Whether you’re an avid reader or more of a fan of DVDs, you can be a little bit creative with the way you display them. Books look great on shelves but to stop them tumbling over you’ll probably need a bookend. Rather than purchasing one, why not use an old telephone handset, or if you’ve old toys  lying around, cut them in half and stick either side of the shelf for a quirky prop.

 

Make bowls from old vinyl

At one time, a vinyl collection would have been the pride and joy of many people. However, due to advances in technology, some records are likely to gather dust. Even if you do still use your record player there’s likely to be a couple of records you can with which you can bear to part. Use them to create some eye catching bowls – all you need is a baking tray, a metal colander and an oven. Turn the colander upside down on the tray, put the record on top and place inside at around 200 degrees. Keep an eye on it and when it begins to melt get to work on bending and shaping it as you desire (while being careful not to burn your fingers) and you’ll soon have some original items to show off! If you’re looking for another fun and thrifty craft to help you decorate your space, try making your own Colorful Upcycled Button Bowl. This simple project will help you add a  fun, colorful touch to your space.

 

Bar stool desk

If you’ve recently invested in some new furniture and have old bar stools left around, or know a venue that does, don’t let them go to waste. Add wood to the top of two of two chairs to create an unusual yet perfectly functional desk. It could save you a fortune and help the environment, too.

 

Wine barrel table

Old wooden wine barrels might not be something you have lying around the house but that’s not to say you won’t be able to pick them up.  The oak will look great in your home and serve as a functional place to rest your glass. There are a number of ways you can add finishing touches, such as adding an additional layer to the top of the barrel and even cutting a door in to it for a little storage space. It’s even been shown that it’s possible to turn them into an arcade machine!

 

Re-use an old jar as a glass

Old jars can serve multiple purposes, from storing small items such as nails and screws to serving as a unique glass. Mason jars are inexpensive and can be bought in bulk. Use them to create storage items like Colorful Bead Jars – you can stay organized and enjoy the look of your beads at the same time. If you’re hosting a cocktail party then why not personalize each jar for your guests and serve up your drinks in them with a straw. Pretty Pink Mason Jar Cups are a fantastic baby shower or wedding shower craft idea and can be given as favors at the end of the day. Best of all, you don’t have to spend a fortune on them – simply use recycled glass jars, decorative paper and embellishments you have on hand.

 

What have you made with recycled items?

Earth Week Blog Hop: Cast Your Vote!

Thanks to all of the talented crafters who have shown off their amazing eco-friendly creations so far – we’ve received so many amazing entries for our Earth Week Blog Hop!

 


It’s time to vote for a Blog Hop winner! Cast your vote below and help us decide who will receive a fantastic craft prize package!

 


Voting ends Monday April 29th at 12:59 p.m. and a winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 30th – be sure to cast your vote before it’s too late.

***Also, share this post so all of your crafty friends can vote for their favorite crafts, too!

 



Say It With Words on Cool2Craft TV

2-11-13 Words 4 up

This week, the Cool2Craft design team is inviting you to Say it With Words! Join EcoHeidi Borchers, Tiffany Windsor, Candace Jedrowicz, and Lisa Fulmer for this week’s online episode featuring 4 new projects.

EcoHeidi is crafting F-U-N Soda Can Wall Art, Tiffany is creating a Happy Day Flower Basket, Candace is making a JOY Jewelry Holder and Lisa is crafting a Hawaii Memories Wood Panel.

It’s easy to watch the Cool2Craft TV Channel right from your computer. Watch craft demos and join in the live chat at showtime at Cool2Craft.com. Monday February 11, 2013 – 9 am Pacific/10 am Mountain/11 am Central/noon Eastern.

You can also check out all these cool project tutorials and videos at FaveCrafts.com!

 

Interview: Marisa Pawelko, Author of Crazy-Cool Duct Tape Projects

There are so many hot trends in crafting right now that it’s hard to know where to start! Here at FaveCrafts, we’ve decided to look into a versatile, very useful craft material that you can use in practically any situation; duct tape. We’re very lucky, because we got a copy of Crazy-Cool Duct Tape Projects, one of the best guides for crafters looking to work with the material. It’s also a great look into the mind of the creative and business savvy designer herself, Marisa Pawelko.

The book‘s scheduled to be released on December 1st, but we are so pleased to have gotten the chance to learn more about it before it’s release from Marisa herself. She’s the go-to crafter for all things duct tape, as well as for some great tips for those hoping to make a career out of their crafting Find out all the details in our exclusive interview:

What made you decide to start crafting with duct tape?

I was sitting on a bench eating an ice cream cone on a beautiful summer day and I witnessed a lively exchange between some tweens and a young man whom they obviously looked up to. He must have been some sort of youth group leader. They inquired about what he was wearing on his wrist – a basic folded strip of purple duct tape, to which he exclaimed “It’s duct tape! All the cool kids are doing it!” I was instantly very intrigued and decided to get some rolls and before I knew it, I’d become totally hooked!

Your book shows a lot of techniques and details. How do you come up with such impressive project designs?

When I was designing the book, the publisher asked me to come up with 24 original project ideas. I brainstormed on projects that would be functional, fashionable and easy to create! School, home decor and fashion are all areas where people like to express their individuality, so I chaptered the book according to those topics and initiated the most intense month long duct tape craft binge imaginable!

What makes duct tape different from other materials?

I love crafting with duct tape because it is quick, easy, forgiving, inexpensive, non-messy and comes in a diverse array of colors and patterns. It works really well with all of my other favorite tools and materials (which are also listed in the book). I like to say that duct tape crafting is just like sewing except without all that pesky needle and thread! And if you happen to make a mistake you can easily take it apart or just cover it up with more duct tape!

What kind of impact do you think the changing economy might have on the popularity of duct tape crafting?

Duct tape crafting is a very affordable craft obsession. You don’t need a lot of expensive tools or materials to do it and it makes for a really fun group activity! Crafters love the eco-friendly and thrifty idea of covering existing items, but I believe the duct tape frenzy will continue to be wildly popular with crafters regardless of the state economy.

Do you see any upcoming trends in duct tape crafts? Are there any types of projects (clothing, decor) that are popular already?

I’ve seen lots of people creating two dimensional artwork with their favorite media characters. Duct tape clothing is always fun for special events and a lot of crafters are beginning to incorporate duct tape into their gifts and seasonal decor as well! Of course the duct tape wallet and rose are classic perennial kids favorites that never go out of style!

Your success has been amazing! Do you have any tips or advice for crafters looking to start their own businesses or pitch a creative new idea?

Thank you! I’ve been very fortunate to work with such amazing and supportive brands! My advice would be to determine what it is that you truly love to do and find a way to offer something in that area that is unique. You have to truly love it in order to succeed, because being an entrepreneur requires a lot of energy, dedication and determination. The most important things are to: believe in yourself, work hard and never give up! It also helps to hold yourself to a really high standard and go the extra mile when it comes to making presentations.

Do you have a particular project in this book that you like? (We personally love the Suspenders and the Water Bottle Chandelier)

You are great at asking the tough questions! I love those girly looks too, but I’m also a big fan of the retro-rebellious look of the rearview mirror dice, collar & cuffs and the fingerless gloves. What’s great is that Crazy-Cool Duct Tape Crafts contains 24 projects (plus handy tips and tricks) that can easily be adapted to suit everyone’s individual sense of style! It’s definitely got something for everyone!

Find out more about Marisa on her blog, Modern Surrealist and take a look at some of the items in her shop.

Here are some of Marisa’s projects that she would like to share with you:

FaveQuilts Giveaway: Havana Fat Quarter Bundle

Havana is a fresh new fabric collection from organic fabric design company Monaluna. The colorful, light-hearted prints are perfect for baby quilts or home decor items. The collection includes classic Monaluna motifs like birds and retro vehicles but also draws inspiration from Havana. The line ranges in color from a cheery grapefruit pink to a tropical aqua with shades of yellow and green in between.

If you’ve already got your mind on spring sewing projects, now is the time to get your hands on the Havana line from Monaluna! This collection of 100% organic cotton fabrics has a bright, cheerful feeling that’s perfect for welcoming warmer months come springtime.

FaveQuilts.com is giving away one fat quarter bundle of Havana to one lucky winner. It could be you!

Learn more and enter to win here.

Havana Fabric Collection

Contest ends October 30, 2012. You can enter once daily, so return often to improve your chances of winning!

Link Love: Mason Jar Craft Ideas

Mason jar crafts seem to be everywhere lately, and it’s easy to see why! People are looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle items in order to save money and add personal touches to their space. Mason jars are easy to clean, provide ample storage space and don’t go out of style! Next time you head toward your recycle bin with an empty glass jar, stop yourself and set it aside for your next craft project.

If you’re looking for a down home, country feel, mason jars are the perfect craft materials. Use them to hold candles on your table or hang some from your porch. You can even place flowers inside a mason jar and display them on a special occasion! Mason jars aren’t just for country folk, though. You can cover them in decorative paper or fabric to create a modern look or fill them with liquid for an out-of-the-box snow globe. Who knew a glass jar could be so practical?

You can also use mason jars for more complicated projects. Autumn is coming up, which means one thing… it’s candy corn season! Fill a upcycled mason jar with candy corn and create your own Candy Corn Jar Lamp. This project is perfect for autumn and can be displayed on Halloween, too! You can even decorate the lampshade to make the project one-of-a-kind.

Mason jars can also help you save money when it comes time to throw a party. For your next baby shower or birthday party, make Pretty Pink Mason Jar Cups for your guests to enjoy. Fill the cups with a sweet drink and hand them out at the end of the night. You can let people take home your creation as a party favor.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive and versatile craft supply, you can’t go wrong with mason jars. Keep a stash handy in case inspiration strikes – you never know what you might come up with!

 

  1. Mason Jar Vases from Please Note
  2. Pastel Glass Jars from Kootut Murut
  3. Wedding Mason Jar Lanterns from Make It Do
  4. Mason Jar Monogram Light from Oleander and Palm
  5. Bouquets in Hanging Mason Jar from Intimate Weddings
  6. Mason Jar Snow Globe from Julie Ann Art
  7. Mason Jar Sewing Kit from Momtastic
  8. Mason Jar Herb Garden from Camille Styles
  9. DIY Painted Mason Jars from Stitch Me Softly

Tips for Buying Materials to Upcycle

This guest post was written by Jessica Hill from Mad in Crafts.

Today’s green crafting posts are sponsored by Eco Green Crafts! Check out how to enter to win a $25 gift card and you’ll also get a coupon code for 20% off your order!

Upcycling is good for the environment, the pocketbook, and your creativity.  It is so satisfying to take something that has outworn its use and give it new life with a bit of elbow grease and innovation.

If you are known to friends and family as “the crafty one,” you likely get regular donations of goodies from people saying, “I thought you could make something out of this.”  Ideally, you could always find items to upcycle without having to spend a dime, but occasionally hitting the thrift stores or yard sales can yield equally exciting materials.  Today, I am going to share some of my tips for maximizing your purchase of materials for an upcycling project.

FURNITURE:

Upcycled Door Coffee Table

When you are upcycling free furniture, you don’t need to be picky about whether it is particle board, laminate or veneer.  If you are going to spend money on furniture to upcycle, you want to look for real wood, if possible.  Wood holds up better to sawing, drilling, and sanding, plus it is MUCH easier to paint.  Houzz.com has tips for determining whether a piece of furniture is solid wood or veneer.

When you find a piece of furniture at a thrift store or a garage sale, there is always a chance that not only is the piece worth buying in order to upcycle it, it may be worth buying because it is an antique.  In that case, you need to do some research before cutting it in half with a hack saw.  This article from TLC helps to determine if your new purchase is an antique or just old.

Don’t worry about hardware, color, or minor chips or dents as these are all easily fixable issues.  Plus, if you are doing a major transformation, you probably want to change all these elements anyway!

Upcycling Inspiration:

$6 Nailhead Side Table

Nightstand Turned Diaper Robot

 

LIGHTING:

Pop Top Lampshade

There are a few elements you want to look for in a thrifted or yard sale lamp.  First, check to see if the lamp shade is intact and in good shape.  For some reason, lamp shades are crazy expensive so if you can find a basic lamp base with a decent shade at a good price, that’s a double bonus.

Even if the lamp does not come with a shade, the piece may still be worth a few bucks.  Pick up the lamp and give the base a twist.  Does the base come apart into multiple pieces?  Many lamps are made of several pieces stacked onto a threaded post.  The more pieces the lamp is made from, the more opportunities you have for customization or new projects.

Don’t worry about if the lamp actually works.  Lamp kits are readily available at hardware stores, and rewiring a lamp can be a DIY project.  How Stuff Works has a great step-by-step tutorial for rewiring a lamp.

Upcycling Inspiration:

Typographic Globe with Upcycled Pedestal

Vintage Camera Tripod Floor Lamp

 

LINENS:

Pouf from Thrifted Blanket

The adage for linens is that the closer they will be to your body, the more money you should spend on them.  For upcycling, you have to determine the “ick” factor.  The closer the linen is going to be to your body, the lower you want the ick factor to be.

In other words,  buying a garage sale bed sheet and cutting it up to make yourself some undies is icky.  Buying a garage sale bed sheet and using it as a picnic tablecloth, is less icky.  Thrifted linens make excellent curtains, throw pillows, rag rugs, table runners, and more.

Upcycling Inspiration:

Crib Ruffle Turned Playroom Valence

5-Minute Placemat Pillows

Of course, these are all just hints and guidelines for shopping for possible upcycling projects.  If you find a piece you love that inspires you to make a fantastic project, it doesn’t matter what it is made of or what it looks like.  Just get out there and CREATE!

I’m Jessica Hill, the slightly-unbalanced blogger of Mad in Crafts. I used to spend my days teaching Shakespeare and Longfellow to high school students, trying desperately to make the classics modern for my students… or at least to keep them awake for the 45 minute class period.  Now, I teach readers how to combine classic style with modern trends in decorating, DIY, cooking, writing, and more!  And hopefully you stay awake in the meantime.

 

How to Make a Reusable Grocery Bag from Sheets

This guest post was written by Karen Lee from ecokaren.

Why You Should Refuse Plastic Bags

More than five hundred billion plastic bags are made worldwide each year. Plastic takes thousands of years to biodegrade in landfills and when plastic debris end up in ocean, they harm marine life and pollute the waters. Several cities and towns are banning plastic bags and started charging for paper bags. But paper bags are no better as over twelve billion paper bags are produced annually. That’s a lot of trees!

So it behooves you to bring your own bags but how many times have you gone to the market and realize that you left your reusable bag at home? Lots of times I bet. Me too.

So I started carrying a little pocket size reusable grocery bag that I made from an old fitted sheet awhile ago. Since then, I’ve not been caught without a reusable bag at the supermarket. In fact, I keep a few in my glove compartment and one in my purse just in case i make quick unplanned trip to the store. I use them in all stores, not just at the supermarket.

How to Make Reusable Market Bags

The tote is really easy to make and you can make about five bags from a full size sheet with these dimensions. Again, just like the garment bag tutorial using a fitted sheet, the measurements for the bags are totally up to you. You can make them whatever size you want or need.

Also, you don’t have to use a sheet to make these bags. I happened to have an old sheet that I couldn’t donate, so, wanted to use it up. You can use any fabric you want as long as it’s thin enough to be folded into a little square. My objective was to make as many as I can with a full size sheet, without wasting fabric, so I left the edge raw. But you can finish the edge nicely if you want.

Let’s get started!

You’ll need:

  • Old fitted sheet – I used a full size for this tutorial to make five bags
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread  – I am using a dark colored thread in the tutorial for you to see but use a coordinating thread color as your sheet.
  • Scissors

Instruction:

1. Cut out the elastic pieces from the fitted sheet and open up the corner seams to flatten out the sheet.

2. Fold the sheet in half in any direction and cut two layers of this “Tank Top” shape in approximately these dimensions. Again, the dimensions are up to how big you want the bags to be.

**Note**It is best to use the folded edge of the sheet as the bottom of the grocery bag. But if you have to sew the two pieces at the bottom, double stitch the seam for strength.

You see the little cut out above the bag? You will need that so don’t throw it out.

3. Take the cut out piece and hem the top (straight edge) by folding the raw edge under.

4. Center the cut out piece on the RIGHT SIDE of the bag and pin the sides.

5. Sew three sides, leaving the top edge open. I use small zigzag stitches to prevent the edges from fraying.

6. With the RIGHT SIDES together, sew around the sides of the bag, reinforcing with double stitches. I used zigzag for the second time around to prevent the edges from fraying.

7. While the bag is turned inside out, fold the two sides inward about two inches. Line up the handles to match. As you can see, the shape of the bag is not exactly square or rectangle. Pin down the folded edges and sew the handles and bottom, as indicated.

8. Turn it inside out and voila! You have a reusable grocery bag! A.K.A. T-Shirt Bag!

9. Now, how to you get it to a small compact size that you can fit into your purse? This is the part I wish I video taped but that didn’t happen. But I think you can follow the pictures and see how easy it is.

Now you have a pocket size reusable grocery bags and you’ll never be caught without them at the store! Make a few and give them out as presents! Happy Earth Day!!

Karen lives a simple, frugal, green life and shares her eco tips and news on ecokaren. She sells green goodies in her Etsy shop and writes for various green blogs. When she’s not leading the team or blogging, she is a mom to two greenagers, wife to an accidental recycler, master chef to hungry locavores, seamstress, knitter, and dumpster diver, not necessarily in that order.

Link Love: Love the Earth

Don’t you love crafting with recycled materials like old sweaters, toothbrushes that have seen better days, empty wine bottles, mesh produce bags, and pop cans? It makes me feel warm and fuzzy when I get to create crafts to my heart’s content without damaging the earth. In honor of Earth Day, I put together this round-up of eco-friendly and earth loving craft projects. You can make many of these craft projects with items you’d find in your recycling bin or garbage can (or preferably before they make their way to your garbage can!). Show your love and support for the earth by making one of these Earth Day themed crafts, which are a great starting point for showing kids what it means to be green.

  1. Earth Day Cake Pops from Vanilla & Lace
  2. Magazine Page Flower Garland from Zakka Life
  3. Earth Day Tree Craft from I Heart Crafty Things
  4. Bread Tag Jewelry from Mich. L in LA
  5. Finger Paint Earth Plates from Just for Fun (no longer available)
  6. Toilet Paper Roll Beads from No Time for Flashcards
  7. Egg Carton Flowers from Make and Takes
  8. Milk Carton Bird Feeder from Going Green with Noah
  9. Rainbow Earth Day Marshmallow Pops from The Decorated Cookie

4 Cool New Brown Bag Projects on Cool2Craft TV

Cool2Craft TV Brown Bag 4 up

This week, the Cool2Craft design team is sharing some of cool new brown bag ideas! Join EcoHeidi Borchers, Tiffany Windsor, Candace Jedrowicz,  and Savannah Starr for this week’s online episode.

EcoHeidi is crafting a Brown Bag Shabby Chic Flowers Frame, Tiffany is creating a Look of Metal Embossed Brown Bag Box, Candace is sharing the popular Aleene’s burnt brown bag technique to create a Steampunk Barrette and Savannah Starr is making a Brown Bag Anchor Pendant.

It’s easy to watch the Cool2Craft TV Channel on your computer. Watch craft demos and join in the live chat at showtime at Cool2Craft.com. Monday January 7, 2013 – 9 am Pacific/10 am Mountain/11 am Central/noon Eastern. Join the chat on Monday or drop by anytime this week to watch these cool video tutorials!