Posts tagged "glass"

How can I reuse or recycle old glass blocks/glass bricks?

We’ve had an email from Whitney, asking about reuse/recycling ideas for glass blocks (or glass bricks, as they’re also known):

We just bought a house and making a lot of renovations. We removed some glass blocks from an old bathroom window and I want to reuse them for something. I love glass blocks and since they didn’t get broken in the renovation process I’d love to do something with them. I’d love to be able to drill holes in them and place lights for outdoor use, but don’t know how to do it. I was also thinking about just placing them around the garden, but am looking for some more innovative ideas.

I love the idea of using them in the garden – for bed/path edging for example, or if you have a lot of them, as a privacy screen/divider. I imagine in time the edge seals might become damaged and bugs or greenery may creep inside but that could look pretty cool too :)

More creatively, I’ve seen them used effectively as the “legs” on simple tables – panels of glass blocks at each end of the table top, though I’m not sure how it was all fixed together – any ideas?

Any other practical or creative suggestions for using them either inside or outside of the house?

How can I reuse or recycle (or upcycle) cheap glass figurines?

We’ve had an email from Yvonne:

My aunt moved into a care home quite suddenly last month so we’ve “inherited” a few boxes of her stuff to deal with. One of the boxes includes about 40 cheap chintzy little figurines made from glass. I don’t feel right just throwing them away but really don’t want them. What can I do with them? Can they be recycled with glass bottles?

On the latter question, I’d have to say check with your local council but probably not – different types of glass have different properties, which is why bottle banks don’t tend to accept panes of glass or broken tumblers etc, and they probably won’t want to take a chance on this one off load.

Anyway, it would be better to pass them on or reuse them before recycling them. Give them away to a local charity shop or on Freecycle/Freegle, or sell them on eBay – you could sell them as a job lot for car booters or the like if you just want to get rid of them ASAP. They might not mean much to you but some people will collect them and you might have just the figurine they’re looking for.

Any reuse/upcycling ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle crême brulée/dessert ramekins?

We’ve had an email from Jeroen:

We designed a lid for the Bonne Maman crême brulée cup that we usually through away.

Here you can see a short movie about it:

While I’ll admit the lid is very cute and well made, it didn’t occur to me that it needed one before reusing — my boyfriend John’s mum used to buy us frozen crême brulées from a door-to-door dessert salesman (…really) and the ceramic dishes have been part of our kitchenware ever since – one is currently employed as tea-bag dish and the others are in regular circulation as dipping sauce or olive stone bowls. We’ve also had similar glass ramekins from Gu desserts in the past: they’re my go-to bowl for making small amounts of marinade or spice mixes, or cornflour paste. And from a REDUCE point of view, which is the most important of the 3Rs, they’re great for refilling with homemade mousse or what-have-you.

Do you reuse glass or ceramic shop-bought dessert cups for anything special?

How can I reuse or recycle pretty glass spice jars?

We’ve had an email from Dianne:

I found a box full of used glass spice jars at a car boot sale recently and had bought it before I knew it. They’re those narrow round ones with plastic lids. I’ve refilled some of the herbs and spices to make my kitchen look neater but still have a dozen or so. Any ideas?

My first suggest was going to be refilling them – but you’ve already done that ;) We buy spices in bulk bags and decant them into old jars/purpose-bought jars to make them easier to store/use. Extending that, perhaps you could also make up your own spice mixes too?

Away from their (almost) intended purpose, I’d imagine like many small containers, they’d be useful for craft storage – small beads, buttons, poppers and whatnot, even tapestry yarn/threads (fed through the holes in the lid). The clear glass would make it easy to find what you want and look pretty on a shelf too. (Actually, we’ve covered more boring shaker topped jars in the past and a lot of those suggestions are crafty and applicable here.)

How about taking the top off and using a few of them in a row as single stem vases? You’d have to be careful they didn’t topple over I guess – but they’d probably look cute (a bit like the test tube vase racks that were all over the place a few years ago).

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle a decorative coloured glass window?

We’re in the middle of having our bathroom replaced. It’s been a nightmare, never again etc etc – but it has had some upsides. For example, after I mentioned to the main plumber that I’d reuse the side of the old shower enclosure to make a cold frame or something, he brought me six old wooden-framed windows from the house he’s renovating. (He only lives down the road and I’m hoping he’ll remember us whenever he has further juicy “rubbish” or scrap wood.)

The windows are each about 1ft/30cm wide by 3ft/90cm tall, and will make cloches or a better cold frame (since the shower enclosure was opaque plastic and would be a pain to resize/frame). Well, the four clear glass ones will be good for that, this question is about the other two:

They’re rather pretty, don’t you think? As you’d probably expect, the colours are a lot brighter when there is light coming through them rather than when they’re on the ground – the flowers are deep pinky-red and the darker band is a lovely purple.

It seems a shame to just use them to shelter veg seedlings but I can’t think what else to use them for. They’re only a single glaze and we’ve got relatively new double glazed windows in the house so we won’t want to use it as a window in here. I’m not against passing it on again to someone who would use it for it’s original purpose but I’m wondering if you lovely people have any other suggestions for things I could use it for instead.

Restore the frame and hang one on the wall as a strange but fun decoration? Or hinge one on the front of a made-to-measure 15cm/6ins deep box to use as a wall-mounted part-display/part-storage cupboard?

Any other ideas?