Eclectic Upcyclery for All and Sundry!


Milk Jug Scoop

Not so much “awesome recycled craft project” as it is “handy household tip”, but it still counts. And no, I haven’t done this one yet personally–I don’t drink a lot of milk these days, and besides, which would you prefer: blurry pictures from my webcam, or this handy guide with cheerful commentary in…what is that, Korean? Do remember, though, not to try and make a cat-box scoop; the handle is hollow, and when you pick it up you’ll spill litter down your sleeve.


Bingo Cage Fruit Bowl

I’m afraid I’m not going to post a picture of this, for the (I hope) very sensible reason that I’m not actually doing it: not only do I already own a regular fruit bowl, it is usually empty because it’s silly to keep Mountain Dews and chocolate-chip granola bars in them. (The bars are kept in a ceramic candy-dish shaped like a smiling blue bulldog.) But if something happens to that fruit bowl, and then I suddenly need to keep a bunch of oranges and kiwis sitting on my kitchen counter, I’m totally going out and getting myself one of these:

They seem to be variously known as a bingo roller, a bingo cage, a bingo roller cage, or a number-sphere, which sounds more like a prototype computer from that really snazzy, futuristic part of the 60’s that the Jetsons live in.

The photo comes from eBay, where they have lots of them from plastic ones for fifteen bucks to vintage metal ones for hundreds, depending on how much you want to pay for your weird hipster kitchen decor.

Link: Scott Bedford’s “What I Made”

My favorite from an amazing blog and how-to collection called “What I Made“. The guy makes all kinds of stuff, with hand-drawn instructions for each, from the above bookend(s) to this egg-cup:

Egg cup made from a bent fork - side view

The site itself is pretty cool, and resembles one of those crafts-for-kids books. A lot of the website is just that sort of thing, too–marble runs, paper castles, and dart-gun targets. Or, if you live the kind of life where you need a toast-rack, he’s got a better idea:

Wire and bead toast connectors

Now personally I’ve never needed my toast to stick up at a certain angle, so I’m usually fine using a plate or my hand, but I like this. Any intersection of food and construction is good, I think; our world tends to be lacking in edible architecture, and I think it suffers for it. Now sure, maybe this just looks like a crumbly disaster at your breakfast table when your kids get in a fight over it. But you know what else this would be pretty good for? A squirrel feeder.


Link: Recycled Robot Figurines

I love making this kind of thing, but I’ve already covered my own work a few posts ago. I’ve never quite figured out how to ship my own, since they tend to wind up pretty delicate, but here’s a guy that makes robots out of recycled stuff–looks like mostly bottle-caps and Bionicle pieces–and sells it on Etsy. I present to you: Rupert Valero.

assemblage red assassin

While upcycling junk into figurines is not uncommon, this guy has a few things that really make him stand out to me:

1. A lot of them use working joints, which means you can actually change their poses.

2. He’s not one of those uptight “artistes”, so the figures run no more than twenty bucks.

assemblage mean jalapeno soldier

I’m a little surprised he can let them go for that little, just covering supplies–yeah, the bottles and caps are free off the side of the road, but Bionicle ain’t cheap, and I can’t see these awesome paintjobs running in the single-dollar range either.

I admit it. I’m jealous.

Scrabble Tiles for Signs Around the House

It’s a great idea, I think, upcycling the little letter tiles into anything you need letters for. The only problem is I can’t figure out what I would need signs for around the house–is it really necessary to label which room is the bathroom? Well, anyway, a little dab of wood glue and that thing’s in place forever, and you could hang it with twine as above or with that soda-can-tab from a few posts back. I’m also considering gluing some tiles onto thumb-tacks or magnets for general message board use; if I go for it, I’ll post it.

Now there’s another whole question that goes along with this: can you really afford to destroy your Scrabble set, just for some recycled decor? Not having one is heresy in the circles I run in–and even worse is having a damaged set, missing letters and whatnot. You go to hipster Hell for that. So I recommend checking thrift stores or Craigslist for used sets–it’s pretty rare to go into a second-hand shop looking for something specific and then actually finding it, but I decided I’d try this project and bam, first one I tried had a set for two bucks. But let’s say you can’t find one for cheap–do you have to plop down ten to twenty bucks on a new set? Nope–you can order a set of tiles directly from Hasbro for a few dollars, and I can’t even see where they charge you for shipping. As of right now, they only have options for “Scrabble Folio”, which has plastic tiles ($4.50), and the special 50th Anniversary set, which has blue tiles with white letters ($6.50), but honestly that doesn’t sound bad for little blocks of text around the house.

Automatic Fish Feeder

Automatic Fish Feeder

Tired of having to get somebody to come buy to feed his fish, this guy built anĀ Automatic Fish Feeder to take care of it for him. It’s pretty clever–he just used an old clock motor, since they were supposed to get fed twice a day. Personally I’m not sure I would use cardboard for the structure, but it’s apparently getting the job done.

I don’t know if this exactly counts as recycling–in fact, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t, aside from the fact that he used stuff from around the house–but it’s a neat homemade thing, so it’s good enough for me.

Doll House Spice Rack

Wow, four posts in one day? I dunno, inspiration hit. I was at a thrift store earlier, looking for lamps, when I saw this:

Now I think this is the manger from a nativity set, and I totally don’t want to offend anybody. So if you’re offended, well…I dunno what to tell you. Sorry. A regular dollhouse would work exactly the same way, but that’s not what I found for four bucks–this is. All my little seasonings hanging out in there together. Yet again, makes me wish it was Christmas, so I could make some sort of awful “seasonings’ greetings” pun, and don’t think I won’t when the time comes.

As much as I like this, though, the spices you see here are just what I use to cook; my girlfriend uses a completely different set of spices, and this thing’s already at capacity. So the thing we usually use–which has been in use for a few years now, and it totally didn’t occur to me that it belongs in this blog–was originally, I think, a shoe rack or…something. I don’t know, it was just a couple of bucks at a thrift store.