“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation” ~ Herman Melville – Upcycled Soda Can Rose Tutorial

I love a good recycling project, the only problem with this one is I live in NY and we can return our cans for 5 cents but when you can create something so cute out of them, who worries about 5 cents.  This is truly upcycling at its best from a 5 cent can, 2 – 3 soda can roses can be made, which in turn is creating something better out of something that could be thrown away!

Working at my normal workspace, our “coffee table” trunk in the living room, you will need:

– Clean, dry soda cans – preferably empty :), if not drink the soda first!
– Tin snips
– Scissors
– A Hammer
– A Nail
– A flower or round shape punch ( I’m using a seal punch b/c i like the scalloped edges and no shops around here had a flower, if you don’t want to buy a punch you can always make a stencil out of cardboard, trace it and cut it out, this is a much longer process though)
– floral wire
– a scrap board

Step 1:  using the tin snips, cut the can in half

Step 2: Cut the top and the bottom off leaving a flat rectangular piece

Step 3: Using your punch, cut out the shapes from the rectangle (with my punch I can get anywhere from 5 – 8 cutouts per can)

Step 5: If you are using a non-flower punch, you will need to cut petals into it, so cut 5 or 6 cuts towards the center but do not disconnect.  Take the hammer and nail and on your scrap board put two holes in the center of each cut out.  

Step 5:  Cut a length of the floral wire, twice as long as you want your stem to be and run it through the 2 holes of 2 or 3 cutouts (depending on how big you want your rose), color side up works best too and then twist the wire tightly.  

Step 6:  Using the nail or a rounded pair of pliers, bring the first layer of petals up and round them to make the center of the flower

3.  For the next layer(s), bring every other petal to the top and round the edges using the nail or pliers, then round the remaining layers as well and you should be done!

Here are some of the decorations I have created with the soda can roses:

A banner created using the bottoms of larger bedsprings with a rose in every other small spring. 

I attached some roses to this bedspring wreath and painted the whole thing white.  If you do not like the look of the soda cans this method is wonderful b/c you would never know they were soda cans!

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Playing with Springs :)

I have cold, so I am not really creating anything to great until it eases up a bit, but I did work with some bedsprings last night and created several new round wreath sizes.

20 spring wreath – 25 inch diameter

6 spring wreath – 10 inch diameter

15 spring wreath – 20 inch diameter

Side View – 15 spring wreath – 20 inch diameter

The only hard part is once you get over 10 springs the wreaths start to lose their shape due to the weight and have to be individually coiled together, which is really rough on the hands (I have more than one cut on my fingers today) but the results are worth it!  It’s sad when you have to get a tetanus shot just to do your crafts!

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Playing with Springs :)

I have cold, so I am not really creating anything to great until it eases up a bit, but I did work with some bedsprings last night and created several new round wreath sizes.

20 spring wreath – 25 inch diameter

6 spring wreath – 10 inch diameter

15 spring wreath – 20 inch diameter

Side View – 15 spring wreath – 20 inch diameter

The only hard part is once you get over 10 springs the wreaths start to lose their shape due to the weight and have to be individually coiled together, which is really rough on the hands (I have more than one cut on my fingers today) but the results are worth it!  It’s sad when you have to get a tetanus shot just to do your crafts!

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Cute Upcycled Floral Sheet Ruffled Scarf

So I got this pretty floral sheet for free.  I tried cutting it into strips and crocheting it into a scarf or basket but it just didn’t show off the cute flowers enough for my liking.  So I decided to try making a scarf out of it, this was also my first attempt using elastic thread, which I discovered is amazing!  I had been warned that it can be very hard to work with and was a little scared, but I had no issues what so ever, I used my machines bobbin winder to put it on the bobbin and sewed using a regular stitch and it turned out perfect.  (Surprisingly considering for me normally anything the can go wrong does)

All I did was cut a strip of the sheet, about 10 inches wide.  I sewed a half inch from the edge all the way around and then with the elastic thread on the bobbin, made two rows of stitches up the entire length of the strip, about 1/3 of the way across and then again at about 2/3 of the way across.  Then I just snipped the edges to give it a frayed look.  Throw it in the dryer with damp clothes or a damp wash cloth and the elastic will shrink right up.  I am going to make a fancier version to wear at an upcoming wedding so check back soon!
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Cute Upcycled Floral Sheet Ruffled Scarf

So I got this pretty floral sheet for free.  I tried cutting it into strips and crocheting it into a scarf or basket but it just didn’t show off the cute flowers enough for my liking.  So I decided to try making a scarf out of it, this was also my first attempt using elastic thread, which I discovered is amazing!  I had been warned that it can be very hard to work with and was a little scared, but I had no issues what so ever, I used my machines bobbin winder to put it on the bobbin and sewed using a regular stitch and it turned out perfect.  (Surprisingly considering for me normally anything the can go wrong does)

All I did was cut a strip of the sheet, about 10 inches wide.  I sewed a half inch from the edge all the way around and then with the elastic thread on the bobbin, made two rows of stitches up the entire length of the strip, about 1/3 of the way across and then again at about 2/3 of the way across.  Then I just snipped the edges to give it a frayed look.  Throw it in the dryer with damp clothes or a damp wash cloth and the elastic will shrink right up.  I am going to make a fancier version to wear at an upcoming wedding so check back soon!
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Totally Fantastic Recycled Yarn

Recycled yarn has limitless possibilities.  It can be made out of just about anything, I have used old bed sheets, old sweaters, leggings, wool items (blankets, jackets), newspaper and even plastic bags (i haven’t tried this yet but soon).  Just about anything you can cut into strips can be made into yarn.  Here are some examples: 

Newspaper basket w/ a t-shirt yarn mat (BF’s old tshirt)
newspaper basket again w/ spring butterflies
The newspaper basket was made by cutting sheets of the newspaper into long strips (I used the funny pages b/c they have good color) and then spinning it on a drop spindle to create thin “yarn-like” peices.  Then I crocheted it into a basket and sealed/stiffened it with a glue/water mixture.  It is now on my desk at work filled with post-its, and what not.  It makes a great conversation piece at not cost!  
Here is a really great tutorial to make tshirt yarn .  Even the oldest t-shirt (like the orange one above looked rather worn out before) still makes nice recycled yarn.  Just a word of warning though before you start raiding your BF or husbands t-shirt drawer asked for permission b/c for some reason they are crazy attached to their t-shirts.  I was able to get my BF to part with 5!  Thrift shops are also a great place to find lots of old t-shirts! If you do not like the color, it is really easy to dye them with RIT dye, just cut it into strips and follow the directions on the back.  For darker colors you may want to use the RIT color remover first, which works great and then dye.  Below is an example of a rug I am working on using thrift store t-shirts I dyed.
This started out as 4 shirts (lime green, gray, red, bright blue)
One “failure” that I don’t really mind with this, is when I was dying it, I left it in “hanks” which I don’t mind the  variegated colors, but if you want solid colors dye your yarn loose, I have done this too, you just have to untangle it when it gets out of the dryer.  This rug is about half done and i have used 2 1/2 shirts.  To crochet it you would have to use a large crochet hook, the one pictured above is the largest I could find at 16 mm.  It is a double crochet oval.  So raid your old t-shirt draw and start creating!
Continue Reading

Totally Fantastic Recycled Yarn

Recycled yarn has limitless possibilities.  It can be made out of just about anything, I have used old bed sheets, old sweaters, leggings, wool items (blankets, jackets), newspaper and even plastic bags (i haven’t tried this yet but soon).  Just about anything you can cut into strips can be made into yarn.  Here are some examples: 

Newspaper basket w/ a t-shirt yarn mat (BF’s old tshirt)
newspaper basket again w/ spring butterflies
The newspaper basket was made by cutting sheets of the newspaper into long strips (I used the funny pages b/c they have good color) and then spinning it on a drop spindle to create thin “yarn-like” peices.  Then I crocheted it into a basket and sealed/stiffened it with a glue/water mixture.  It is now on my desk at work filled with post-its, and what not.  It makes a great conversation piece at not cost!  
Here is a really great tutorial to make tshirt yarn .  Even the oldest t-shirt (like the orange one above looked rather worn out before) still makes nice recycled yarn.  Just a word of warning though before you start raiding your BF or husbands t-shirt drawer asked for permission b/c for some reason they are crazy attached to their t-shirts.  I was able to get my BF to part with 5!  Thrift shops are also a great place to find lots of old t-shirts! If you do not like the color, it is really easy to dye them with RIT dye, just cut it into strips and follow the directions on the back.  For darker colors you may want to use the RIT color remover first, which works great and then dye.  Below is an example of a rug I am working on using thrift store t-shirts I dyed.
This started out as 4 shirts (lime green, gray, red, bright blue)
One “failure” that I don’t really mind with this, is when I was dying it, I left it in “hanks” which I don’t mind the  variegated colors, but if you want solid colors dye your yarn loose, I have done this too, you just have to untangle it when it gets out of the dryer.  This rug is about half done and i have used 2 1/2 shirts.  To crochet it you would have to use a large crochet hook, the one pictured above is the largest I could find at 16 mm.  It is a double crochet oval.  So raid your old t-shirt draw and start creating!
Continue Reading

Bubba’s little snack

So I got home 2 nights ago after forgetting my iPod touch on the coffee table, to find it on the floor out of the case and my nice pink leather case chewed up by my dog, Bubba.

Instead of buying a new one a creative recycling idea came to me. I had a ball of red tshirt yarn hanging around so I chose to crochet an iPod cozy!

Crocheting it was very quick and easy, all I did was chain 7 then start double crocheting all around the main chain row, continue double crocheting around until you reach the height you want and tie off the yarn. I didn’t add a button b/c mine turned out to be tight enough without it!

Continue Reading

Bubba’s little snack

So I got home 2 nights ago after forgetting my iPod touch on the coffee table, to find it on the floor out of the case and my nice pink leather case chewed up by my dog, Bubba.

Instead of buying a new one a creative recycling idea came to me. I had a ball of red tshirt yarn hanging around so I chose to crochet an iPod cozy!

Crocheting it was very quick and easy, all I did was chain 7 then start double crocheting all around the main chain row, continue double crocheting around until you reach the height you want and tie off the yarn. I didn’t add a button b/c mine turned out to be tight enough without it!

Continue Reading