Go to a hardware store, buy a lamp kit, and stick it through pretty much anything. Seriously, that’s it. They cost about six to ten bucks.
No, wait, fine: here’s an instruction guide on how to drill through glass so as to upcycle a glass bottle into a lamp. Suzi seems to have stuck with liquor bottles–and considering that there’s a brand of vodka that comes in a glass skull, who can blame her?–but there’s no reason you shouldn’t be recycling other things, too. Hang on a sec, I’ll see what Google Image Search turns up.
A car air filter…
A tea set…
Pretty much anything you can put a hole through that will stand up on its own. (Click the images to links to the original sites for more in-depth instructions in most cases.) If you’re still using incandescent bulbs like some kind of environment-hating endangered-owl-kicking dinosaur jerk that doesn’t wanna spring for a weird-colored light-bulb that costs, like, twenty times as much, be sure to use things that won’t melt (no soda bottles, for example); if you’ve switched over to fluorescent bulbs, even those will work. What a time to be alive, right?
Sorry it’s been so long since I posted–I just moved to a new apartment that’s smaller than my old one, so the place is so full I don’t have a lot of need to upcycle furnishings. Still, just because my place is stocked floor to ceiling doesn’t mean I’m not interested in new and better ideas, so here’s an endtable from Stars for Streetlights that offers a handy little storage space; if you’re lucky, you can even find (or already have) a decent suitcase with a lock. Anyway, her blog offers complete detailed instructions on how to build it, or at least how to get your grampa to build it for you. You will need:
And so on.
I’ve seen a lot of ideas for reusing old suitcases: liquor cabinets…
And so on. (Every one of those images links to a site with its own list of suggestions.) My only problem is this: I’ve been to the suitcase departments in thrift stores, and they all smell like moldy old clothes. But hey, Febreze is cheap, right?
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.
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.
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.
Combination bookcase/storage drawers/shelves/etc. I don’t know what you call it exactly, but I think “elegant monstrosity” is a good name for it, and also for my upcoming steampunk-industrial album. No, no, I don’t have an upcoming steampunk-industrial album; I wish I did though. That sounds awesome.
Anyway, this was made by somebody called Isabella Quiroga; I’ve seen it posted in various places all over the Internet, so I’m choosing at random which to link to. (Incidentally, I’m starting to wonder if this blog should have been either a Pinterest board or a Facebook feed.) I really like the idea, although I’m not sure I would paint mine Barney-the-Dinosaur purple…but then again, I might. If I had this many little tables and dressers laying around, I would totally make one of these, but going out and buying them is not quite an option right now; plus I have such unsteady hands I’m not sure I could cut a table straight enough to sit flush against a wall anyway. For those that have them or could buy them, all I can say is make sure you do a really good job attaching the legs to the table underneath.
And speaking of Facebook feeds, if you like upcycling, why don’t you go and follow Upcycling on there? At least half their posts are things I thought about sharing over here (including the purple thing above), and some of their projects are a little more feasible than some re-use blogs–you know, the ones with clever suggestions on things to do with antique footed bathtubs and Victorian china hutches. Instead, they give you this, requiring nothing more than a watering can made of something that doesn’t turn the water funky:
All you do there is cut a hole in the bottom shaped like the one in a door hanger (or the “power” symbol on your computer), then fit it over your shower nozzle, and bam! Watering can shower. Every time you take a shower, you would feel like a beautiful flower in the garden! Which, I mean, uh, ahem, good for chicks–they like that stuff. Not me, though. Ahem. Manly things. Sports. Bacon. Beer. Yeah. Burp. Manly things.
Junk mail beads. Technically you can make them out of anything paper; junk mail tends to have a lot of color, plus it’s going straight in the recycling bin anyway, but the picture above makes it look the coolest I’ve seen, and that looks like it came out of a straight-up book. I’ve made a few dozen beads already, but this photo looks way cooler than any I’ve made, so I figured I’d go with this instead (credit to Helen Lonsdale here). There’s a fancy-pants how-to over at Better Homes & Gardens, but my way is a lot simpler:
1. Cut your paper into strips.
2. Spread out some wax paper. Glurp a stripe of white glue from the fat end to near the skinny end–if you go all the way to the end, it all gets mushed out at the end.
3. Using a nail, skewer, pen refill, or anything else smooth, cylindrical, and about that size, start with the fat end of the strip and wrap it around, pressing it tight enough that excess glue gets squished out the sides.
4. Use a paper towel to wipe off the excess glue, then leave it to dry on the wax paper. That’s it–I don’t use anything as high-faluting as spray-on varnish, and I gets by just fine, thankee. I reckon if any of you la-de-da city-folk is pleased to do it their way, you can have at it.
I got this from Earth911’s tumblr feed. There are a lot of things on there I could totally re-make and publish here, but I’m not currently in need of coat-hooks (made out of forks), I don’t know where you get pallets nice enough to make bookshelves out of, and I don’t have access to an antique bathtub to turn into a planter–where do hipsters keep getting those from, anyway?–so I figured I’d just give you the link and encourage you to browse. If you like their various jewelry-stashing suggestions, don’t forget to check out my vinyl-record-and-antique-drawer-pull jewelry holder from a few posts ago. Another one that I liked involved using shapes cut out from soda cans to make tags for plants; I don’t have any plants, but the idea is good, and my next post will be a project for drink-can aluminum. Hint: it involves a popular Mexican skeleton-related holiday!
Atomic Shrimp is the website of a British guy that does a lot of fun projects–he built a trebuchet out of scrap wood and a boat out of empty soda bottles. He’s got a lot of different things he works on (with instructions for most), but my favorite is this: how to turn a soda can into an ornamental box:
I haven’t had a chance to try this out just yet, but one of these days I’m going to need a tiny ornamental box, and this is totally how I’m going to get one.