Posts tagged "buttons"

How can I revamp some plain curtains with recycled/upcycled materials?

Following on from my recent “how can I revamp a kitchen so I don’t need a new one?” question, Janet has asked a similar (smaller scale!) question about curtains:

I have ordinary plain curtains that need to look snazzy. I like the “wacky” type of design,whether it’s adding on old buttons,bits of fabric etc. Any ideas? Many thanks,Janet.

I think you’ve already got a few good ideas on there: cover the bottom quarter/third of the curtains with a strip of contrasting fabric and decorate the join with a row of buttons (mmm, buttons on curtains) – or go shabby chic with a whole row/section of buttons and misc (badges, charms, pompoms, bows, rosettes – whatever you can find). Or use scraps of old fabric and yarn to make a bunting design higher up – old patterned clothes or bedding would be fab. I’ve seen curtains that looked like they had tufts/short tassels of yarn every 15cm/6ins or so in lines down the length of them, which would be easy to replicate. Or sew on ribbon/thin strips of scrap fabric to add stripes or wiggly lines – for thicker stripes, this chevron idea is nice and I’ve seen a similar appliqué idea using strips of a design cut from old lacey net curtain. Alternatively, you could make reverse appliqué patches – cut out simple shapes and add a contrasting shape/fabric behind to peek through (reverse appliqué tutorial). A simple no-sew idea is to attach ribbon/yarn/strips of scrap fabric to each curtain ring/clip – like the idea (about a third of the way down) on this page.

If the curtains are 100% cotton, you could try dyeing them – ombre/dip dye ones would look interesting (as if all the dye from the curtains had slid down to the floor ;) ) – or if they’re too dark for that, selectively bleaching them. (Obviously do try a test patch first.) If they’re too big to be manageable in a dye bath, you could try printing onto them instead (possibly using a linocut technique or an even simpler stamp for something like polka dots — or for a fun or kid-centric room, hand prints ;) ).

How would you revamp or embellished plain curtains using recycled/upcycled stuff? What did you do? Have you got any tips or suggestions for Janet? Any non-sewing idea or ones that use alternative materials to fabric/yarn?

Fab recycled projects: bird feeders, storage bags, pot racks & more

It’s been a few weeks since I shared some links so here are some of my favourite sightings and emails from the last month:

  • First up, it has to be Scott’s coke can and chopsticks bird feeder – as always, a fab recycled item with very fun how-to instructions. Unfortunately (for us in the UK) the full instructions will be in Make magazine – but if you’re crafty, you can kinda get the idea from the pictures/preview ;)
  • And sticking with gorgeous things in the Make/Craft universe, I love these denim storage bags – easy to make from the legs of old jeans — a perfect companion project if you’re turning some jeans into cut-offs this summer :)
  • I also love these sweet packet purses/pouches. I wonder if clear plastic bags could be fused onto the packets rather than having to use iron on vinyl…
  • As a fan of both buttons and nature, I think these buttons from twigs are great too. As the how-to explains, it’s a little tedious to cut them all with a handsaw but if you just want a few and don’t have a table saw, then it’s still a viable project.
  • And speaking of the great outdoors, I’m planting out a lot of stuff at the moment. I’ve been using sliced up plastic bottles, drinks cans and other packaging for plant markers but these labels – made from skewers and wine corks – are very cute too.
  • Roo has turned an old nightstand/chest of drawers into a unique and fun doll house – just a little handy work is needed before the fun decorating starts!
  • Shopping lists save money & food waste but our lists and pens tend to wander from our kitchen noticeboard — they wouldn’t if we had one of these. The similar pretty wood backing/bulldog clip/elastic band idea would work well with reclaimed scrap paper as well as a new roll.
  • And finally, I had an email from Jackie: “I recycled this awning frame by making it a pot rack. A little bit of chain and I hooks and s hooks bring it all together” — looks great and super practical, great work.

Recycled Christmas decorations – our favourite ideas

Wondering how to make your festive season that bit greener by making recycled Christmas decorations?

There are lots of ways to make them reusing waste paper, scrap fabric, or random other things from around the home and garden – and they’re certainly not all just for kids.

Here are some of our favourites:

How can I reuse or recycle random spare buttons?

ButtonsWe’ve had a message from Amy:

I have a large box of spare buttons, all odd, different colours, different sizes, the ones you get on items of clothes in case you lose one.

Does anyone have any useful suggestions for re-using? Looking forward to your suggestions

Woo! buttons! I love spare buttons! :)

And they’re a hot crafting item at the moment too: I love the idea of button bouquets, but there are also button coasters (perfect for lots of less exciting buttons), collages and using them as embellishments for boring shoes or tops.

My favourite pairs of earrings are made from buttons too: before I trained myself to wear dangly ones, I just glued by favourite buttons onto stud findings but now I’ve got a pair that are simply three colourful buttons on headpins – I wear them all the frickin’ time (even now as I type this ;) ).

Around the home, I’ve seen them used instead of gravel in clear fake-flower vases or on top of the soil in plant pots — and if you can’t think of a reuse for them, put them in a bag on eBay and button-cravers like me will snap them up ;)

Any other suggestions?

(Photo by nkzs)

How can I make jewellery by reusing and recycling stuff?

beaded necklacesWe’ve had another email from Agata:

Hey, it’s me once again :P I love jewelry: bangles, charms, earrings, bracelets, broaches and so on. Do you have any ideas, what can I transform into this bling-bling stuff?

I already know about waterbottle beads and paper beads, but what else?

As I’ve said before, I love fun, DIY jewellery too – making it as much as wearing it.

I’m not sure whether Agata is asking for ways to transform/revamp old jewellery or make new stuff so ideas for both are welcome.

My favourite earrings at the moment are ones I made from salvaged buttons – the buttons dangle on wires but I’ve made small buttons into cute studs before too.

I also love Jane Eldershaw’s junk jewellery and the great stuff Alison Bailey Smith makes out of old wire from televisions.

As for renovating old stuff, I’ve got a wooden bangle that’s a lovely shape but has got a weird pattern on it – that’s ripe for wrapping in wire (just as soon as I find some suitable stuff), and I’m always taking apart old necklaces to salvage their beads for new projects.

I suspect this is a pretty wide topic and it comes down to personal aesthetics in the end about what you make but what’s your favourite thing to recycle into jewellery (or beads etc)?

(Oh, and Agata: once you’ve made all your new stuff, you might want to check out this post: how to make jewellery organisers by recycling stuff?)

(Photo by sloopjohnb)