Upcycling CD’s – Transform Entertainment Media into Entertaining Crafts

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If you live in a typical American household, chances are you receive stacks of promotional CD’s in the mail, or have piles of outdated or scratched CD’s or DVD’s that are no longer usable. This Earth Day, try upcycling and breathe new life into entertainment media with these inspired craft project ideas.

Make Sweet Music with CD Windchimes

Things to do:
1. Use a hand drill with a small bit to drill holes around the bottom edge of a CD and a hanging hole at the top, and then paint the disc with eco-friendly acrylic paint. You can also use hot glue to affix sequins, buttons, or shells.
2. If you prefer the shiny surface, leave the CD as-is. If it’s badly scratched or gouged, use the tip of a nail to create a pattern that will incorporate the imperfections, or conceal scratches by using sandpaper to create fingertip swirls.
3. Use clear fishing line to attach castoff keys, bolts, washers, or any other musical treasures you find around the house.

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, Earth Week is the perfect time to get a jump start on eco-friendly, handmade gifts. Or, display these crafts in your own home as a decorative reminder to always be on the lookout for discovering new uses for careworn treasures.

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Get Organized with Upcycled Plastic and Glass Bottles

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With spring well underway and Earth Day fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to focus on getting organized while embracing a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Our plastic bottle and glass jar crafts will not only breathe new life into the empties you’ve collected, they’ll also help keep your home’s surfaces free of accumulating clutter.

Refreshing Storage: Plastic Bottle Desk Organizers

While recycling plastic bottles is an environmentally sound alternative to pitching them, upcycling them for use in your home is even better. Coming up with creative alternative uses will allow you to reduce your carbon footprint even more by saving the energy used at the recycling plant.
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Photo Credits: Craftzine

20-ounce soft drink bottles are the perfect size for creative desk organizers (see how nicely they line up on your desk?), and will serve double duty by nestling into car cup holders to keep lip balm, hair bands, crayons, and coins at the ready. To make, cut the bottom off of the bottle just below where the base begins to taper, and coat the surface with eco-friendly low or no VOC paint. Cover the sharp edge with a salvaged piece of felt, yarn, or ribbon.

A Pretty Place for Everything: Glass Jars

Upcycling glass jars is a cinch, and with so many shapes, sizes, and fun uses, it’s a great way to express your personal style while de-cluttering your home. Start by scavenging the fridge and pantry for near-empty jars. After washing and drying thoroughly, start flexing your creative muscles with these easy, inspired ideas:

Decorate jars with eco-friendly paints designed especially for glass, or dress them up with fabric, ribbon, or yarn.
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Photo Credits: Design Sponge and from the book One More Skein

Snip the sleeves from a sweater that’s stained or beyond repair, then slip over glass jars and bottles with the finished wrist seam at the top. Wrap the cut edge under the base, and affix with tape or glue.

Got a favorite sweater that’s also been a beacon for moths? Unravel the yarn and use it to wrap a glass container that’s been slathered with glue. Then, add finishing touches, such as buttons, lace, and other embellishments salvaged from the sweater or other unusable garments.

Now that you’re inspired, see what other items you can rescue from your recycling bin. With a little creativity, staying organized may be easier and more affordable than you expected.

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Upcycling – Turn an Old Book into a Working Clock

clock_bookUpcycle those old books laying around the house and turn them into a working clock! If you are an avid book reader then this project is for you! You can make a clock for your kitchen or dining room area and use an old cookbook. You can use an old childhood favorite and create a clock for your little one’s room. This would also make a great gift for the holidays or special occasion for that book lover in your life. Your new book clock will be topic of conversation when company comes and you’ll be sure to have people asking how you did it. If you’re a nice person you could tell them how you made it or you make one for them. Find out what their favorite book is, and go wild!

Things you need:
1 – Book (of your liking)
1- Clock Kit
1 – Utility Cutter (optional)
Drill Press (a cordless drill will also work)
Dremel (optional)

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Things to do:
1. First, find a book that you absolutely love, use an old book that you don’t mind cutting up or make sure you have an extra copy because the story will be rendered useless after the clock is made. Make sure that it is at least a half an inch thick, just remember if you plan on hanging your book clock that if it is too heavy it will be harder to hang. A thick book would be perfect to display on a table, using the cover to hold itself up or use a display easel. Also, keep in the mind that the cover shouldn’t be too busy, you will want to see the clock part of the book right away when you look at it.
2. Next, drill a hole through the cover where you would like the hands to be (you may want to make sure that the hands are completely on the book cover or they will be prone to bending). Make the hole big enough for the part of your clock kit that holds the hands to go through. If you don’t have a drill, you can try starting a hole with your utility cutter and then poking through the cover with a pencil or something similar.
3. Before you can start assembling your clock completely, you will need to to trace your clock motor on the first page and begin cutting a hole into the pages thick enough to for your motor to fit in. You can also just tear out the pages until the book can close normally. I prefer the first method so that the book looks full and you do not see the clock motor at all.
4. Put batteries in and place the clock motor behind the front cover, poke the piece that holds the hands through the hole you drilled earlier and place the hands onto your clock. I prefer to leave the clock book without numbers but you can buy stickered numbers or use buttons, tacks, anything you can think of really. And there you have it… a book clock!

Photo Credits: Ruffles and Stuff

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Upcycling – Create a Lamp Basket with a Simple Lamp Kit

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Things you need:
Basket Lamp Kit
Basket of your choice (must have handle for this specific kit)
Lamp Shade
Light Bulb

Things to do:
1. First, choose a basket with a sturdy handle. Installing the lamp section of this project is super simple! Since the socket is pre-assembled all you have to do is attach the socket onto the basket handle. Just slip the clap onto the middle of your basket handle and screw tightly. Attach the socket upright the handle so that you can later add a lampshade of your choice, or attach the socket upside on the handle for a more unique look.
2. Now, run the cord along the basket handle on one side of the basket and secure it down so that the cord does not hang down loosely. If you are filling the basket up, no need to worry about hiding the cord because it will not be seen like it would if it were empty.
3. Next, weigh your basket down with something heavy such as an unused book or something decorative and heavy so that your basket will not tip over once a bulb and lampshade (if you plan on using one) are placed on it.
4. Finally, decorate your basket or fill it up with pretty floral arrangements then top it off with a matching lampshade and you now have a unique decorative basket lamp!

Photo Credits: Flickr

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Easy Dish Towel Apron for Children

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You can make a quick and easy dish towel apron for the little one in your life. This pattern is sooo easy and requires little materials. You could make this time in no time if you are in need of a simple gift; wrap it up, add some cookie cutters and little utensils and you are good to go! Now the little ones can wear a fun stylish apron just like mom! They could wear this during the holiday cooking and baking season when little hands are so eager to help. They could also use their dish towel apron for craft time. You could add pockets of different sizes so they can be filled with everything from markers and scissors to snacks. Photo Credits (above): So Bella Boutique

Things you need:
1 – Dish Towel (of your choice; two if you would like to add pockets and such)
Ribbon (that coordinates with the dish towel)

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Things to do:
1. Lay your dish towel down vertically. Depending on the size of your little one, you may need to cut the towel in half horizontally. Lay your dish towel so the longest edges run horizontally and cut it vertically up the middle.
2. Cut the top two corners off but leave enough room so that you can later fold a bit over and create a channel for your ribbon to go through.
3. Next, if you know about folding and sewing hems, you can fold the cut edges of the corners under and press it with an iron. Then, fold the fabric and sew along the hem to create the channel.
Note: If you had to cut your dish towel in half, be sure to sew a hem on the cut side as well. Just watch that you don’t sew up the opening for the channel.
4. Cut your length of ribbon (this will take some trial and error to figure the perfect length you are wanting) and thread your ribbon up through one side of the dish towel apron and down through the other side to create a neck hole and two ties that reach around back. Since we thread the ribbon this way it makes the apron adjustable in size, so the little one could wear it from tot age until about 5-6 years of age, if not longer.
5. Finally, time to adorn your apron! You could cut up another dish towel to create pockets and sew them on. You could create one small pocket and center it toward the top or create a multi-pouched pocket along the bottom. You could also monogram initials with embroidery, add patches, sew/iron on a cute applique, or sew lace around the edges for a more dramatic look.

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Ribbons and Bows – How to Make a Traditional Ribbon Rose

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Things you need:
Green Stem Floral Wire
Green Floral Tape
Scissors
Ribbon (of your choice)

Things to do:
1. To make your ribbon rose, cut approximately 3 feet or 1 yard of ribbon of your choice. Once you are comfortable with the technique feel free to play around with the length of ribbon to create larger or smaller ribbon roses.
ribbon_roses_new22. Hold the ribbon in your left hand and fold the right end of the ribbon downwards, creating a 45 degree angle. Be sure to leave a 2″ tail.
ribbon_rose_new33. Start rolling your ribbon to the left, this will create the center or bud of your rose. Roll about two or three complete turns for a good solid bud and base area.
ribbon_rose_new44. Now you are ready to create your ribbon rose petals! Take the long length of ribbon and begin folding it backwards, making a sharp 90 degree angle and wrap it around the center bud. Shape as you go. Be sure that you never let the bottom stem part go while you are wrapping with petals around with the other hand because everything will unravel. Repeat this folding and wrapping process to form the petals loosely around the bud base of your ribbon rose. You can also try gently twisting your base of the ribbon rose to shape and tighten the rose.
ribbon_rose_new55. Repeat this process until you have about 1″ or 2″ of ribbon left. Fold the remaining ribbon in half and wrap around the base stem of the ribbon rose. Secure the base of your ribbon rose using clear tape or green floral tape.
ribbon_rose_new66. Once you have created your ribbon rose, take your green floral wire and stick it in bottom of the ribbon rose (the tail that you were holding the whole time when making the ribbon rose). Use about 2″ or 3″ of green floral tape and wrap it around the entire base of the ribbon rose, starting from the top of the stem going down towards the floral wire.

Photo Credits: Trans-Craft-Inental

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How to make a Pomander (Kissing Ball) for your Wedding

wedding_pomanderA pomander is also known as a kissing ball and can be made of fresh or artificial flowers. Pomanders were traditionally made with perfumes and used to lessen bad smells. Nowadays, pomanders can be seen in many weddings. Wedding pomanders are traditionally used to decorate, they work very well on wedding arches, backs of chairs, over door knobs and also ends of pews or aisles. The most common use for the pomander is as an alternative and sweet way for the flower girl to carry flowers. It can hang from her wrist when small bouquets are hard to carry.

Things you need:
3″ Styrofoam Ball or 4″ Styrofoam Ball
Artificial Flowers (of your choice)
Ribbon (of your choice)
Floral U Pins
T-Pins
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

Things to do:
1. Take your styrofoam ball and push a floral u pin through the “top” of the ball, then take the pin out. Place a few dabs of glue over the holes and place the floral u pin back in. Make sure that you leave about 1/4″ gap between the styrofoam ball and pin. The gap will be used later so that you can attach a ribbon or wire so that you can hang your pomander.
2. Next, separate your artificial flowers from their bunches and cut the stems to about a 1/4″ or 1/2″ in length. Starting from the top use your glue gun to create small dents in the styrofoam ball and add a dab of glue before placing each stem. Repeat this process until the entire styrofoam ball is covered. You can also use T pins or floral U pins instead of hot glue, depending on the size of your flowers and styrofoam ball. It may help if you start from the top and work your way down in a line and repeat the process this way so that you ensuring that the flowers are evenly placed with no gaps.
3. Once your pomander is completely covered with flowers, string your wire or ribbon through the floral U pin at the top. The length of the ribbon will depend on how you choose to use your pomander. Shorter loops are great for pomanders that will be carried by individuals in the wedding party and longer loops are better for pew decorations. You can also just skip the ribbon and hanging altogether, creating pomanders for bowls and wedding centerpiece decorations.

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Our Acrylic Ornaments to be Seen on Future Episode of Glee!

gleeHello Gleeks! I know we are all excited for the return of Glee after its four month absence in our lives (I know I am)! For those who are not too familiar with the new Fox hit show (which won the 2010 Golden Globe Award for best television series), Glee is an American musical comedy drama that centers around an Ohio high school, where an optimistic teacher recruits a group of misfit students and is determined to lift the schools glee club called “New Directions” to great glory.

Our beloved show, Glee, returns to Fox on April 13th and they have now confirmed that they will perform Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance and Poker Face in an upcoming episode. Lady Gaga is to become the latest star guest on the hit TV show “Glee.” Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee, says, “We reached out to Lady Gaga and she said, ‘Yes, I’d love to be a part of it.’ So we will be doing Lady Gaga this season.” The character, Rachel, played by Lea Michele will perform her own version of the hit song “Poker Face” and it has been described as “stripped down.” The cast will take on the hit “Bad Romance” while wearing a wardrobe that even resembles some of Lady Gaga’s more outrageous outfits.

It has been said that Fox has spared no expense on the wardrobe as they have sent their cast to the same tailor that makes Lady Gaga’s outfits. One of the outfits being the outlandish and very memorable bubble dress made of our acrylic ornaments, which was first seen at Boston’s House of Blues for the T-Mobile Sidekick Grammy Celebration Concert. So everyone set your DVR’s to record this much needed and very exciting episode of Glee!

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Upcycling – Turn any Object into a Lamp with a Simple Lamp Kit

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Are you having a hard time finding a lamp that matches your decor? Got an odd piece that you love, but aren’t sure what to do with it and don’t want to get rid of it? How about making it into a lamp? You don’t have to be an electrician or even be handy to build a unique lamp. You can make a lamp out of pretty much anything you would like and they make great conversation pieces!

Things you need:
Lamp Kit
Any object you want to make into a lamp
Lamp Shade
Safety Goggles (optional)

Things to do:
1. First, when you are choosing an object to become your lamp, try to look for an object that already has an opening at the bottom for the wires. If you already have an object in mind and it doesn’t have an open bottom, no worries, you can just drill a small hole using a drill and appropriate drill bit (big enough to create a hole for your wires). If you do not want to drill a hole for the wire or cannot drill it, you can still make the lamp and have the wire run on the outside of it from the socket to the plug. You will also need to choose a matching base (if it doesn’t already have one) so that your object can sit flat with the cord coming out of the bottom. If you are drilling your own hole into the object you can simply just drill a hole on the “backside” of your object instead of the bottom so that you don’t have to worry about finding a base. Be sure when choosing your object that it is strong enough to hold a lampshade and can hold the lamp rod straight. It would also help if you chose your lamp object so that it will fit your lamp rod. No fear again, if you cant find the exact sized object as your lamp rod, you will just have to saw it down to size before you are able to use it.

2. Push your lamp rod into your lamp object and through the bottom of the base so that the rod sticks out a bit. Slide on a washer and screw on a nut so that your rod is held into place. Next, thread your cord through the bottom of the lamp base and up through the top of the lamp. To make threading the cord a bit easier, tape the two wire ends together with a small piece of tape so that the cord will slide easier through the rod. Make sure the end of the plug is coming out of the bottom and that it is not rubbing against the lamp rods sharp edge. Screw on your locknut on top of the lamp rod and make sure the cord is sticking out at least 3″ from the top.

3. You may also need a base for the top of your object depending on if the harp bottom doesn’t fit on the top. If you need need a top base, attach this now and slide the harp bottom onto the lamp rod with the open end facing up. Do the same thing for the socket cap. Make sure that both the harp bottom and socket cap are securely tightened.

4. Pull the two ends of the cord about 2″ apart from each other. Tie the two ends of the cord in a underwriters knot*, this will prevent the wire from slipping back through the lamp rod. Next, you will want to determine which wire is the hot wire and which is the neutral wire. The neutral wire is generally ribbed on the insulation. Securely wrap the neutral wire around the silver screw on the bulb socket and the hot wire around the gold screw. Tighten the screws and make sure that the wires are tightly attached underneath them.

5. Place the socket shell over the bulb socket and tuck the cords inside so that they wont be visible. Squeeze the ends of the harp and slide them into the slots of the harp bottom. Once the harp is on you can screw in a light bulb and add your lampshade. Voila! You now have a one of a kind lamp!

Project Notes:
*An underwriters knot is pretty simple. Just make a “y” shape, then curl the wires down and back towards each other. Then the pull the ends through the created loops.
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Keep in mind that wiring electrical circuits carries some risk. If the wiring is not correct, you can be shocked, electrocuted or the device can cause a fire. If you are not too sure what you’re doing or are a bit apprehensive about doing this project then just simply get the object prepared all the way up to the wiring part and have someone else that is more skilled in electrical wiring actually wire up the lamp.

Before you do ANY wiring make sure that you the lamp is unplugged and that you have checked your wiring a couple of times.

It is also important to ensure light bulb is not too close to any surface including any wiring and decorative aspects of the lamp. Always leave spacing from the light bulb and other materials which can cause burning and damaging.

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Craft Project: Clothespins Picket Fence

clothespins_picket_fenceWho needs plain old flower pots when there are lots of ways you can dress them up!? Flower pots are perfect for planting flower indoor as well as outdoor plants. They are fairly inexpensive but they can sometimes be very bland in appearance. Decorating pots is an quick and economical way to add flare to your home decor. Here is a fast and easy project to create a picket fence made of clothespins to dress up those pots! Learn to make your own with the help of Martha Stewart’s simple how-to.

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