Posts tagged "wire"

How can I reuse or recycle big reels/bobbins?

00004We’ve already covered cotton bobbins – they were one of the first things we featured on the site – but how about ones that are quite a bit bigger?

John threw this one-piece plastic reel at me the other day after he finished wiring up some speakers. I’ve also ones with a little metal (aluminium?) core and cardboard flanges (if that’s the right word, I mean the sticky out bits at the top and the bottom), and really giant ones made from wood.

So any suggestions?

How can I make Christmas decorations reusing and recycling stuff?

christmas_decorations.jpgSo Christmas is just over a week away and houses up and down the land are being covered in fairy lights, tinsel and breaking-and-entering Santas trying to climb in bedroom windows (is that just a trend on my estate? Is it really just a creative burglar who gets around a lot?).

But what if you prefer decorations that aren’t shop bought? I’m sure all you clever, crafty people have a billion ideas to make pretty Christmas things – and I’m sure a lot of them will reuse or recycle random bits and bobs which would otherwise go in the bin.

I remember making paperchains out of glossy colour magazines as a kid but if we decorate our house these days, I suspect I’d prefer something a little less … paperchain-y.

I like the idea of little festive candle lanterns made from old tin cans, Precarious Tomato’s prescription pill bottle wreath and Alison Bailey Smith’s gorgeous scrap wire baubles. I seem to recall someone making baubles out of old-style lightbulbs too but can’t remember the details… And our friend Deb has made a Christmas tree out of cardboard (the last time we had a tree, a good few years ago now, we had a cardboard one too – but Deb’s looks far more sturdy than ours.)

Have you seen any good upcycling ideas? What have you reused to make recycled Christmas decorations?

For Christmas 2011

Check out our links to a range of fantastic homemade, recycled Christmas decorations – upcycling waste paper, scrap fabric and other so-called rubbish into fab festive items.

How can I make jewellery by reusing and recycling stuff?

beaded necklacesWe’ve had another email from Agata:

Hey, it’s me once again :P I love jewelry: bangles, charms, earrings, bracelets, broaches and so on. Do you have any ideas, what can I transform into this bling-bling stuff?

I already know about waterbottle beads and paper beads, but what else?

As I’ve said before, I love fun, DIY jewellery too – making it as much as wearing it.

I’m not sure whether Agata is asking for ways to transform/revamp old jewellery or make new stuff so ideas for both are welcome.

My favourite earrings at the moment are ones I made from salvaged buttons – the buttons dangle on wires but I’ve made small buttons into cute studs before too.

I also love Jane Eldershaw’s junk jewellery and the great stuff Alison Bailey Smith makes out of old wire from televisions.

As for renovating old stuff, I’ve got a wooden bangle that’s a lovely shape but has got a weird pattern on it – that’s ripe for wrapping in wire (just as soon as I find some suitable stuff), and I’m always taking apart old necklaces to salvage their beads for new projects.

I suspect this is a pretty wide topic and it comes down to personal aesthetics in the end about what you make but what’s your favourite thing to recycle into jewellery (or beads etc)?

(Oh, and Agata: once you’ve made all your new stuff, you might want to check out this post: how to make jewellery organisers by recycling stuff?)

(Photo by sloopjohnb)

Recycling old television wires into bags and jewellery

bags.jpgYesterday I was at the Recycle Into Art thing in Liverpool that I’ve been going on about for ages. Led by Alison Bailey Smith, it was a workshop to show us how to turn old waste wire – mostly from old televisions – into jewellery and bags.

Alison started off by showing us her favourite knotting technique but I kept forgetting how to do it mid-knot so ended up knitting a section of copper-coloured wire instead. While I slogged away at that, Alison showed us a number of other techniques including making coils from scrap plastic/foil (from sweet bags, carriers or anything really) wrapped in wire, twisting strands of wire together evenly using a hand drill and working with coaxial cable, sheathing and other scrap metals (Alison frequently uses tomato puree tubes – which are gold coloured on the inside – and the silver insides of toothpaste tubes for backing pieces).

jeff_meteorite.jpgThe session was well attended – with about 10 of us around the main table – and we all brought our own ideas and other craft techniques to the party so learnt as much from each other as from Alison. With my knitted base, I played with a number of ideas for the focal piece of my bag but in the end, decided to use two small toy dinosaurs I’d brought along (Jeff and Zach) and a deadly meteorite made out of more of the copper-coloured wire and the lime green handles of a M&S carrier bag.

Given the time frame of the class, most people focused on making smaller things – jewellery or items with broach pin backs so they could be used as decorations on clothes or on bags (Alison was wearing one of her broaches as a necklace pendant; the one below was made by someone in the workshop). In hindsight I guess I should have done this too because I spent a long time knitting when I can do that at home ;) Still, it was a great workshop and while I perhaps didn’t do as many varied elements as some people, I feel I’ve got the knowledge to go it alone now – and certainly will go for it ;)

hair-clip.jpgThanks so much to Alison for running the workshop and providing all the materials. Thanks are also due to Red Dot Exhibitions for organising it and all the other (free!) workshops this week – I just wish I’d been able to get over for more of them…

(More photos to follow when I get myself organised ;) )

How can I reuse or recycle the spiral of a spiral bound notebook?

Spiral notebookWe’ve had an email from Emma, asking:

How can I recycle the spine from a spiral-bound notebook?

We’ve already covered plastic spines so let’s assume that Emma means the metal ones – because, well, I’ve got a couple lying around from old reporters pads after I’ve recycled the paper part.

A lot of pads are like the plastic ones – almost like teeth of metal (if that makes sense) rather than a spiral – and I suspect they’ll be harder to reuse because they can’t just be uncoiled.

So suggestions?

(Photo by mcconnell6)