Posts tagged "drinks can"

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.

What can I reuse or recycle to make seedling/plant labels?

It might still be February but our 2011 growing season is already off and running here.

In addition to the eight fruit trees John planted a couple of weeks ago, I planted out eight fruit bushes at the weekend and I started my first batch of cauliflower, greenhouse tomatoes and lettuce the weekend before last. Following a recommendation from The Cottage Smallholder, I’ve bought a heated propagator to give my other greenhouse crops – cucumbers, chillis, pepper & tomatoes – a warm start in life — I’m hoping that arrives in the post today so I can get started with them ASAP.

For the first few sowings, I can remember what is where — the lettuce are in the troughs & square pots, the tomatoes in the round ones, the caulis in the fibre ones – but in a few weeks, I won’t be able to remember where everything is. And outside, we’ll want to know next year (and the year after, and the year after that) which fruit trees & bushes are which variety.

In the past, I’ve used slices of drinks cans or plastic milk bottles as plant markers – and they work reasonably well if you remember to write on them using a permanent marker (which I didn’t do last year – lots of confusion mid-year). I also know other people who use ice lolly sticks (but there has been an unacceptable dearth of those consumed here in the last year) and the like. And some people buy white sticks to use as labels – buy? buy?! not I! ;)

Do you reuse or recycle any packaging or bits of “waste” to label your plants or seedlings? Do you have any suggestions for making long term labels – ones that’ll be weather-resistant for at least a few years?

(Photo by normanack)

Upcycling advice: how can I reuse/recycle cans to make jewellery?

We’ve had an email from Pauline:

I would like to use steel and aluminium cans to make jewelery. Do you know how to cut the metal out? Should the can be crushed first? Do you know how to smooth the edges so they don’t cut? If you could throw any light on this or point me to a website as I am not getting much coming up in google at the moment? Thanks.

I’ve made numerous things out of drinks cans (all aluminium I think) over the years and have mostly just used scissors for the cutting – it’s not as hard to cut as you’d think. I might use a can opener to remove the lid or a knife to start a hole in the body but then scissors suffice. I typically cut down the print “seam” and around the top & bottom to remove the curve so am left with a flat rectangle of metal.

(I’ve tried using shaped hole punches on cans but only lightweight ones so not had much success. Alison Bailey Smith has talked about the heavy duty ones she uses on plastic – I wonder if they’d be good on metal.)

And if the edges are smooth, not jagged, they’re also not as sharp as you might think. I’m not saying I’d necessarily want to wear them as jewellery in their nude state but in all my making, I’ve not once cut myself. Anyone got any tips for making the edges safer though?

Finally, anyone made any interesting jewellery from cans – or seen any inspiring examples of work around the wonderful worldwide web?