Archive for the "hobbies" category

How can I reuse or recycle poker/betting chips?

Inma has emailed us about betting chips:

Hi! I’ve found a lot of chips to bet, and I wonder if anyone has some use for them.

There was a fad for playing poker with betting chips a few years ago and all the shops were stacked full of them as cheap/easy Christmas presents – so I bet (ha!) there are lots of unwanted ones lying around people’s houses.

As is just about always the case, the first suggestion should be to pass them on if you can: gift them to a charity/thrift/op shops or jumble sale, or sell them yourself at a car boot sale/garage sale.

If the set is too depleted for that, I’ve seen them used for various little craft projects – turned into keyring fobs or wine glass charms, or for smaller ones, used to make fun costume jewellery (drop earrings, necklace pendants, or even oversized ring decorations).

For bigger projects, I’ve seen basic coffee tables customised with dominoes or Scrabble tiles – I wonder if betting chips could be used in the same way… They could certainly be used to decorate photo frames or other items for a poker/betting fan.

I’d probably throw a couple into our tool box just in case I ever needed something like these plastic discs but I’m not sure what I’d use them for – perhaps, if they were thin enough to open cans of paint (a painter I used to work with recommended using 2pence coins instead of screwdrivers so I’m extrapolating from that), or instead of bits of paper to level up wobbly furniture.

Has anyone else got any crafty reuse/upcycling ideas? What about other practical suggestions?

How can I reuse, recycle or pass on old board games?

We’ve had an email from Harrie:

We’ve got lots of board games (Monopoly and such) from when the kids were little but they’re not in good condition so I don’t think charity shops will take them. What else can I do with them?

As long as they’ve still got all/enough pieces, games like that don’t need to be in pristine condition to be fun. Perhaps offer them honestly on your local Freecycle/Freegle group – someone might just be grateful to have them whatever the condition, especially if they’re going to be playing with similar destructive kids ;) Or someone might want them for “spares and repairs”, or to make things out of the game pieces.

What could they make? Jewellery from the pieces, notebook covers from the board, decorative decoupage with paper money/cards – quick searches on Etsy shows all sorts of things being made from old Monopoly, Risk and Cluedo game parts — and that some people are selling the raw materials too (especially if they’re vintage games). Of course, you could make those things yourself too if you’re the crafty sort :)

Any other suggestions for Harrie? What have you done with old board games?

How can I reuse roller adhesive refill packs (like Stampin Up snail adhesive)?

We’ve had an email from Carmel:

Hello, I’m a paper crafter and was a Stampin Up demonstrator and use the Stampin Up snail adhesives or the tombow roller adhesives.

Anyhow, to refill these things you have to buy another plastic mechanism that has the tape already in it. With all the paper crafters all over the world I’m sure there are lots in landfills. Wondering how they can be recycled for the plastic.

For non-paper crafters like me, the picture is of a snail adhesive refill – as Carmel says, tape already enclosed in a hard plastic shell.

As for actually recycling it, the lovely people at Stampin Up tell me it’s a whole different set of plastics (details below) so I wouldn’t have thought many people will want to pull them apart to recycle as many bits as possible.

Sometimes I’m a bit worried about always suggesting craft projects as reuse ideas because I know not everyone is the crafty sort, but the people who buy these already are crafty or they wouldn’t be buying them so … any fab craft ideas to re-use or repurpose these babies?

Or any other suggestions?

What can I reuse or recycle to make soap moulds?

I made my first batch of cold-process soap earlier in the year – it took FOREVER to trace, but we’ve loved the resulting soap so I need to make some more.

Ever since I made that first batch, I’ve been on the look out for what I can use as moulds this time around. Last time, I had two old food trays for bar soaps, but when I ended up making a lot more soap than I’d originally intended, I grabbed whatever else I could find – some shaped fruit trays (small hand soaps), an old round ice cream tub (too wide when sliced into discs so had to cut them into semi-circles, which was a bit odd) and the square edged plastic bottles the olive oil had come in (nice size hand soaps, but it was awkward to get it out). (The latter two can be seen in the picture.)

All sorts of packaging has been subject to my “would it make nice soap?” eye. A few weeks ago, I was reading about someone else’s soap making on Simple, Green, Frugal and she mentioned using poster tubes (with the bottom sealed up) to make nice sized round soaps. As we’ve not had any posters or the like delivered recently, we haven’t got any of those but it got me thinking about similar cylinders: a litre-ish, straight-ish juice or pop bottles would probably about the right size, although it’d probably be awkward to get out like the olive oil bottle. That led me down another juice line: John has got a bit of an obsession with chocolate soya milk at the moment which comes in tetrapak containers – that would be a nice size for square bar soaps and be easier to cut out…

Anyway, long story slightly shorter, what else can I reuse or recycle to make either interesting shaped soaps or simple practical ones? If you make your own (cold-process) soap, what do you use?

Do you have any upcycled moulds that you can reuse again and again rather than destroying (like would happen with the poster tube or my juice containers)?

Or on the flipside, anything you’ve used that you’d urge other people not to use?

(A few notes for non-soap makers: the soap mix at the point of pouring is about body temperature for “cold-process” soaps so plastic melting is not usually an issue, but it is incredibly caustic at this point, and will react to metals other than stainless steel. It’s poured into the mould when it’s hit “trace”, a gloopy rather than full liquid stage, and left to set in the moulds for a few days, then popped out of the moulds to continue “curing” for a few weeks before use.)

Turning books into art: our favourite practical & pretty upcycling ideas for old books

We’re having a bit of a book-themed week here on Recycle This and I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite reusing/recycling ideas – inspiration, how-tos and thing to buy if you’re not the crafty type yourself.

As I mentioned yesterday when talking about damaged books, it’s easier to revamp or reuse hardback books for practical purposes because they’re that bit tougher. They can be used for everything from statement bed headboards to “floating book” shelves.

On a smaller scale, they can be turned into purses/handbags, clocks, self-supporting photo frames, notebooks, iPhone charging units – and even table legs.

@AlishaAnnn told us about the table below on Twitter yesterday: “Table legs from recycled books with a metal rod through. They are sturdy and spin. Old barn window on top.” Great recycling!

That’s not to say paperback books aren’t without their reuses – their relative flexibility is an asset for things like this card wallet:

Other people prefer to use the pages of old books: either as art in themselves or as canvas for printing/painting, to decorate greeting cards, envelopes, super retro bunting or, on more elaborately, this fantastic paper wreath.

And BellwethersDB on Twitter had a good few ideas for using the pages too: “Tear out the pages and print vintage images on them and frame them! So pretty”, “Tear the pages and mod podge them onto old ornaments, add glitter and a ribbon. Voila! A “new” ornament!” and “Paper beads! Then paint them and string them on ribbon.” @_jennifergrace_ also tweeted us to say she’d used book pages as the background for welcome cards & name badges for a hen weekend, to make her own ideas notebook and as part of a bigger art project.

And speaking of pages, this desk tidy is made with a phone book but any oversized book – old annuals or craft books – would would just as well.

Finally, Alice in Blogland sent us a link to this fab recycling books for booklovers story, such amazingly intricate work!

Have you seen any other great example of reusing, recycling or upcycling of old or damaged books? If so, let us know in the comments!