Posts tagged "DIY"

How can I reuse or recycle wallpaper samples?

Following on from the paint tester pots the other week, I’ve got some wallpaper samples that have served their purpose too. I really can’t wait for our renovations to be over!

Like the paint, the samples were to check out ideas/colours/designs in-situ. Some of them were torn from rolls in shops (with permission! I’m not just a random vandal ;) ) and are about 60cm/2ft wide by about the same long, while others are A4 sheets that I’ve had posted out to check colours. They’re all thick, heavy paper as you would expect from wallpaper.

Obviously the best thing would have been to reduce in the first place – to be a bit more decisive and not collected so many samples but like with the paint, these are to offset a potentially larger waste by picking the wrong thing – so now I’m looking for reusing/upcycling ideas.

Most of them are “feature” wallpapers so patterns & colours that I like but not enough for them to be displayed as framed pieces of art in their own right. The ones with a small repeating pattern though could be used as paper behind something else in a frame though (for example, I have some pretty buttons that I might want to display – they would look great on some of the plain-ish pinstriped paper).

They’d be fine for lining drawers too – many people (including us) don’t line drawers with paper any more because the insides on modern furniture don’t tend to be as rough on delicates as they used to be but it’s certainly worth doing on vintage furniture – and looks pretty too.

Do kids still have to back school textbooks/exercise books? We used to use wallpaper (amongst other things) for that. The fact I have to ask that question probably shows that it’s not a reuse I could specifically do but others might be able to reuse wallpaper samples in that way — and I could keep some for next time I make a notebook for myself.

Any other ideas? How would you reuse wallpaper samples? Are they suitable for any papercrafts or would they be too thick?

How can I reuse or recycle old PVC pipes?

We’ve had an email from Madhvi asking :

how can I creatively recycle old PVC pipes?

We’ve covered some reuses for guttering and drainpipes – which are increasingly plastic these days – but I thought it was worth asking Madhvi’s question because PVC pipes come in all sorts of diameters and lengths.

A few months ago, when I was looking to build us a laundry basket for the bedroom, I spotted this PVC pipe laundry hamper project, which I thought was a very neat idea. Depending on the size, that could possibly be made from offcuts or the idea shrunk down if you only had smaller pieces available. In a similar constructed-with-plumbing-joints vein, I also like the idea of this PVC pipe laptop stand and this bike stand.

As for smaller reuses without additional parts, I like this bathroom storage idea – I’m not sure how many people have two sets of curlers but it’s an adaptable idea, especially regarding the cables. You could use them to tidy up electric cables under desks/behind TVs etc – if all the cables go through sections of pipes, they’re less likely to be underfoot and get tangled. (If the end plugs are too wide to go through the pipe, you can cut slot in it to slide the cable through instead – this guy was doing it for something a little different but this is what I mean by a slot.) Similarly, you can use them instead of kitchen roll/toilet roll tubes for storing electric wires & extension cables when they’re not in use – we’re a geeky household, we’ve got a lot of spare wires ;)

And that’s all before we start thinking about ideas for the garden!

As for actual recycling, PVC recycling has increased over recent years but it’s still not as commonly collected for recycling as some other plastics (and it’s harder to recycle too). If you have a lot of pipes to get rid of, contact your local council’s waste department to see if they can accept them for recycling – or if they’re still in a new/usable condition, pass them on to someone else yourself through eBay, Freecycle/Freegle or Craig’s List etc.

How would you reuse or recycle old plastic/PVC pipes? Have you used them anywhere interesting around your home or garden?

How can I reuse or recycle paint roller trays?

Is there a word for when you’re window-shopping skips? I was skip-gazing (?) around the corner the other day and as well as having a mighty fine looking pallet in there (yoiiiiink), there were several old paint roller trays flung on top.

Compared to rollers, paint trays are super easy to clean (especially if you line them with a carrier bag first) so I don’t know why they were thrown out. There were a couple of emulsion ones and a couple of smaller gloss ones.

We’ve got plenty of trays for painting ourselves but I guess I could rinse them off and offer them on Freecycle or something.

As for reuses, in the past, I’ve used old roller trays as drip trays under seedlings (the deep part is more useful if you’re carrying them around, they have a tendency to wobble off the shelf bit – but that’s fine catching run off if it’s in one place). What else can be done with them?

How can I reuse or recycle carpet underlay?

Not ones to rush, we’re finally getting some carpet fitted in the room we started renovating when we first bought this house last September.

Now this might be carpet sales person nonsense but all the guides we’ve read about choosing a carpet say that the carpet will last a lot longer and wear better if you replace the underlay at the same time. The underlay in the room in question is a very good make apparently but judging by the carpet, has been there for at least 20 years. The old carpet is clearly worn along certain paths and we’re guessing even though it’s harder to see it, the underlay is similarly worn – so we’ve listened to the advice and are replacing it.

Now of course that means we know have both carpet and carpet underlay to get rid of – doubling the amount of stuff to reuse or recycle.

We’ve already covered old carpet in the past and I will certainly keep some of the carpet for those reuses – insulating the floor of our greenhouse for one, and I think some of the carpet might be suitable for making into doormats etc. But what can I do with the underlay?

This is a lot thicker and floppier than the stuff used under wooden or laminate floors. I’m tempted to say it’s foam rubber but I’m not sure it is, and I can’t find out any more about it online, other than it uses “advanced polymers”.

Any suggestions? And any advice on whether the “you have to get new underlay” thing is true or bunk?

(Photo by Haxxah and KraZug)

How can I reuse or recycle an old ladder?

Ladders are frequently decommissioned when they become a safety risk – the wood gets a bit rotten or metal bent or rusty – but they can still be used for other things — just not whole-human-weight things.

At my mum and dad’s house the other day, I spotted half an old wooden ladder had been reused as a cat ramp – the cats are getting old and they can’t jump up to the kitchen window sill any more so use the ladder to get up there and through the window (which they use instead of a cat flap). I’ve also heard about ladders being used as the basis of ramps for chicken coops.

Inside the house, old ladders can be used as fun bookshelfs – step-ladders with deeper rungs have more shelf space but rickety old wooden ones look more fun.

What else can be done with old ladders?