Posts tagged "material"

How can I reuse or recycle old net curtains?

We’ve had an email from Shannon:

We’ve got loads of net curtains from the days before we all realised they were naff! They’re chintzy and are nylon or polyester or something. Do you have any recycling ideas?

If they’re still in good condition, you could try passing them on – ask on Freecycle/Freegle or ask a charity shop if they’ll take them (a charity shop with a lot of furniture or a furniture specific charity would probably be best, if there is one near you). Most charity shops have a “rag man” for items they accept but can’t sell – so if they can’t sell them, at least they’d get into the textile reclamation cycle that way.

If they’re not in good enough condition to be passed on – and a wash doesn’t revive them enough, the better condition parts maybe be suitable for reusing or upcycling.

Lee Meredeith – aka Leethal – used lacework doilies as stencils for decorating plain picture frames for her wedding — if there are parts of the net curtain with a nice design, they could be used for something like that. I think I’ve seen a similar method used to decorate clear jam jars recently – making them into shabby chic candle/tealight holders.

Or if there are any focus-point designs, you could cut those out and use them as doilies for other craft projects – if there isn’t enough of the real thing outside where you are, these snowflake doilies are a fun festive window decoration. Sticking with the fabric stiffening idea, these bowls are fun too.

Any other suggestions?

How can I pass on quality new clothing for reuse?

We talk a lot about upcycling, reusing or recycling old clothes and textiles but Louis wants help passing them on:

A couple of years ago our company produced some clothing (hooded sweatshirts and t-shirts for men and women).

We still have quite a substantial amount of this clothing, which we plan to donate to charity. Every item is brand new and is extremely good quality (100% combed cotton) and each item is individually wrapped in a plastic bag.

We were wondering if you have any contacts or links to legitimate clothing charities who may be interested in this clothing? We’re keen for this clothing to be used by those in need (and not recycled)

A “substantial amount” would probably overwhelm a high street charity shop but it might be worth getting in contact with a local shop anyway – they might be able to put you in touch with someone higher up the chain who could distribute the items over a wider area.

What about more direct distribution to those in need? Does anyone know about any charities who accept large amount of clothing for giving out rather than resale? From what I’ve read, large international aid charities tend to prefer money to items (or items to be sold in their local shops to make money for sending overseas), because the items are rarely what they need in a given situation but does anyone know different?

How can I reuse or recycle man-made fabric clothes?

Lynette left a comment on another post asking:

Does anyone know how I can recycle man-made fabrics that are beyond wearing, not appropriate for ‘rag’ etc. People have suggested charity shops, but they wouldn’t want such items. Council 3rd world bins ask for only wearable clothes, so this is becoming a problem. I buy all second hand clothes but have to avoid wool as I am married to a staunch vegan.

As I replied to the comment, I think it depends on the item of clothing/type of fabric – a man-made fleece jacket is going to have different reuses to a viscose camisole or nylon tights. From Lynette’s mention of wool, I’m guessing she’s thinking about fake woollies – polyester or acrylic jumpers/cardigans and coats etc.

If the fabric is a reasonably heavy weight, a lot of the insulating ideas for fleeces would apply. If you’re handy with a needle & thread then you might be able to upcycle the decent parts of the garment into something else – a smaller version of the clothes for a child or a dog.

I also wouldn’t be too sure about charity shops not wanting them – talk to the staff (the stock sorting staff, not necessarily the counter staff) at your local shop and see if they collect items for a “rag man” — textile reclamation companies often have deals with charity shops to take their scraps, and pay the charity shop some money based on weight. Clothes and items not fit for reuse in their current state can be shredded to use as filling, or depending on the fabric, the fibres reclaimed and respun.

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle an old pair of trousers?

trousersWe’ve covered old jeans before – and again when speaking specifically about making bags out of them – but these are a bit different.

I was sorting through my “in storage” clothing last week – stuff that’s in limbo, I don’t really think I’ll be wearing it again but can’t bring myself to take it to the charity shop/fabric recycling bin just yet – and I found my favourite work trousers from back in the day when I actually wore trousers for work. These were THE BEST WORK PANTS IN THE WORLD. They fitted me perfectly – hanging low, with long wide legs just as I like, had deep pockets at just the right place/angle and given the heavy, woolliness of them, they looked suitably work-y even when teamed with a never-ironed black shirt. I remember being really quite distraught when the fabric wore through at the bum. *nostalgic sob*.

So, anyway, I found these trousers last week and it was fun remembering all the good times we had together – all the time we ran up the stairs together, or sat at my desk together, or even those times when we soaked up puddles together – so it felt heartless to just send them off to be recycled.

Even with the worn/holey bum being out of action, there is quite a lot of good fabric because of the wide legs. I thought they might make a fun clutch purse or something – but wanted to run it by you crafty people first, in case you had any more awesome ideas. I am thinking crafty stuff primarily but any reuse suggestions would be great.

So ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle strips of sheepskin?

ugg bootsWe’ve had an email from “fay bee”, saying:

I had some ankle-high sheepskin boots (australian “Ugg boots”) that are now past their prime. I’ve cut the soles off and now I have 2 pieces of lovely sheepskin (long and thin).

What can I do with them?

Given the wool lining, you couldn’t really use them like, say, old scraps of thin leather to make a purse or wallet but depending on the dimensions and condition of the pieces – and how crafty you feel, you might be able to turn them into a lovely warm pair of mittens or something — anyone know of any good sites that could help get her started?

Any other suggestions?