Posts tagged "making"

Green Halloween: what can I reuse or recycle to make a Halloween mask?

Continuing in our Green Halloween series…

So yesterday, we looked at reuse or recycling ideas for Halloween masks – and I suppressed my desire to rant about shop-bought costumes. In my ever-so humble opinion, homemade costumes are way more fun – and they often reuse and recycle stuff, rather than using resources to make a one-off outfit.

In the past – way back in the past – we spoke about making Halloween costumes in general but I wanted to think about masks in particular this time – partly, because I mentioned yesterday, I sometimes need non-Halloween masks for theatre things and so the more suggestions the merrier.

What have you used to make masks?

Any suggestions for base materials – things that are malleable or things that already have a suitable shape? I guess the most basic type of mask is an oval of card (cereal box?), shaped and painted — but anything more creative?

Any suggestions for how to fix it onto your head/face? And getting a bit more involved – any ideas what to use for hair?

(The mask in the picture is

What can I reuse or recycle to make a chair?

We’ve had an email from Adele:

For my Product Design A2 level I am aiming to create a chair made from recycled materials. I’ve got to be able to collect them in a fairly short time, and of course it would be very helpful if the items were free…I’ve got an open mind about it, and I need some inspiration fairly quick.

Cardboard chairs are the first thing to spring to mind – designers have made them in all sorts of shapes and styles and there are a number of how-tos around the internet, and people talking about the theory of making them too.

If it doesn’t have to be a formal chair, it might be worth exploring upcycling old clothes or bedding to make a bean bag. (I’ve also used old clothes to repair broken chairs on a number of occasions – an opened out jean leg is about the right width for a director’s chair seat – but those projects did start with a real chair frame.)

Getting a bit more involved than just cardboard or fabric, you can make chairs from old oil drums/barrels – for example, these basic chairs or a more flamboyant rocker. Plastic barrels might be slightly easier to work with but still transformable (these chairs aren’t made from old barrels but give an idea of possible shape).

Any other suggestions for Adele?

(Photo by Jascha400d)

What can I reuse or recycle to make a clothes airer?

A couple of weeks ago on on The Really Good Life, I post my top 5 clothes line drying tips.

One of my tips is to use a clothes peg airer thing if possible – one of these things – it stops the little items taking up space on your main line and is easy to take inside if it starts raining.

Petra liked the idea and decided to make her own out of “some electricity pipe, an old iron coat hanger, some rope and pegs” – and that’s so great that I’m now adamant about reusing and recycling to make my own, once my current flimsy plastic ones break. And it got me thinking about making other line drying/clothes airing stuff too…

Have you made any clothes lines/airers/drying racks yourself, reusing and recycling old materials? What did you use?

Or have you fixed/extended a shop-bought airer to make it more suitable for your needs?

Any tips or advice for anyone else?

(Funnily enough, I was thinking about this a year ago too – I asked how to make a cover for my rotary airer so I could leave clothes out during occasional showers. It must be something about this increasingly moist time of year!)

What can I reuse or recycle to make small toys for kids?

From making dog toys last week to kids toys this week… We’ve had an email from Petra:

Thank you for your very nice and useful site. You helped me before, but now I have a new (reverse) question:

In a few months, my youngest daughter becomes 3 years old. On her day care, it is common to give the other (little) children a small present or healthy treat.

I prefer to give a small present, especially when it is useful and they can play with it for quite a while. Last year, I made them little bags from foam that was left over from a party.

This year, again, I would like to make something for the children, preferable a nice little toy by recycling stuff. But I’m out of ideas.

Could you or your readers help me with some ideas? It should not take too much time to make, since I need to make 20 of them. And they should be safe for little ones as well.

I’ve not had a lot of experience of making gifts for children en masse so I’m going to have to ask other people to help out here… Any ideas?

One suggestion I would make – and one that might be better for slightly older children – is to take advantage of free child labour ;) Provide them with the materials to, say, make their own puppet or little creature and encourage/help them to put it together/customise it themselves. Any more age appropriate suggestions?

What can I reuse or recycle to build a wormery/vermicomposter?

We’ve had an email from Kate/Glitter Pixie:

Hi, I wonder if the Recycle This community can help. My husband and I have finally moved into a house with outdoor space and want to seize the opportunity to begin composting. However, our yard is completely concreted over so a normal compost bin won’t work. I’ve done a bit of research and think a wormery might be the ticket but they are so expensive! I just want to make a haven for the little wriggly guys we buy, so does anyone have any neat ideas about how to build a wormery and what to use? (obviously reusing general household junk where possible). Thanks so much you guys, absolutely love the site, you are awesome!

(She’s right – you guys in the Recycle This community are awesome!)

Normal compost bins would work on concrete – we just had a piece of wood underneath our open-bottomed one at our old house to facilitate air circulation and moving it around (although we have yet to move it to our new house – that’s going to be quite a effort!) – but wormeries are great too, working a bit quicker so don’t need to be as big – plus who doesn’t want 1000 new wriggly pets? ;)

I’m tempted to build a wormery too for dealing with dog & cat poo (the output can’t be used on veg, which limits our use of it here but better than it going to landfill) so any suggestions?

A lot of the commercial ones I’ve seen have been tray-based to allow easy rotation/access to the new vermicompost. The trays have mesh bottoms to allow the worms to move constantly upwards in search of food – when they reach the top, whip the bottom tray out to the top and start filling that one instead. The trays should fit together snugly – the bottoms touching if it wasn’t for the waste matter – rather than stacked to allow the worms to travel about. They also tend to have a drip tray at the bottom for collecting liquid run-off (which is a great fertiliser).

There are also ones more like purpose bought compost heaps – with an access hatch at the bottom. Possibly easier to make but apparently harder to keep healthy when you’re new to wormerying.

Also any suggestions for where to get the worms? Any types of worms to look out for/avoid?