From the great (and sadly defunct) Readymade.com. I wish I had enough wall space (and spoons) to do this. (I have a habit of hoarding strange and interesting cups and mugs; my girlfriend hates it, but I could totally fill a smaller version of this.) Might also be good for a quirky coffee shop–when I lived in Pensacola there was a place that had shelves upcycled out of old bikes, and fixtures that looked like they’d been salvaged out of a dozen different abandoned restaurants.
Personally I’d use something else for the back–probably a hideous painting in a gaudy frame, like they have in thrift stores all the time. As long as you can clean it, maybe some of those antique-looking boards recycling blogs seem to love so much, or even an old table-top.
A surprising number of people have a dresser tucked away someplace that they’re not using. Maybe it’s in the basement serving as a dust bunny hutch, or in the attic collecting spider eggs, or if it’s in the garage, probably serving as a substrate to gather that signature garage mixture of both of the above with cave crickets, finely-diced lawn trimmings, and mildew, with a soupçon of mouse poo.
So if necessary, I suggest you clean it first.
But anyway, once it’s presentable–…Take the drawers out, remove the pulls (save them for other projects) and stack them on top of each other to make a jim-freakin’-dandy book case. If you drill a few holes, flat-headed screws and nuts go through the old drawer-pull holes to hold the whole thing together. If you’re pleased to do so, you can do all sorts of re-finishing or varnishing or painting or whatever you like, but you know what the ol’ Cromulent Bricoleur says? He says, “what the hell.”
This is some “cat-grass” I was growing; I accidentally let the cats at it before I remembered I needed a picture, but I promise it looked nicer than this before. Make sure to poke a needle or small nail through the bottom one too so the water can drain out–I forgot to, and I think that’s why so much more grew out of the top one.
For materials, I just used twine; something a little more water-proof would be good if you’re planning on keeping things growing for a long time, but cat-grass grows fast (this took less than a week). Some people might complain that the plastic is going to leach into the plants, but if you’re worried about that, you’re probably not drinking soda out of bottles in the first place.
And don’t stop here! If you can grow plants out of a Mountain Dew bottle, you can grow it out of anything. As long as it’s got sides, won’t dissolve in water, and you can poke or drill a little drainage hole in the bottom, it’ll work. Suggestions: office supply caddies, old tupperware (including those discolored ones that have been used in the microwave too often), cake pans, muffin tins, tea cups, the casings from old electronics (like a desktop computer or a VCR)…lots of things. All the things.
And just in case you haven’t already seen this, here’s somebody taking this idea to epic proportions:
That’s a project from the show “Home Sweet Home” and popularized by Apartment Therapy, where they periodically feature some good upcycling ideas. If anybody over there asks, tell ’em the ol’ Cromulent Bricoleur sent you!
According to that nice man over at Atomic Shrimp, you have to use tin-snips to get through British aluminum (or rather “aluminium”), but here in ‘Mairkuh, we evidently make our soda-cans out of much thinner stuff, because all you need is a pair of scissors. (Probably a set you’re not too attached to, since it can’t be great for them.)
The first step, obviously, is to cut the skull shape out. The edges aren’t sharp enough to cut yourself, although any pointed corners will jab you but good, so I would advise you to round those suckers off.
Second, trace in the eyes, nose-hole, and teeth, plus all the various decorations on the BACK using a ball-point pen (an empty one is best so it doesn’t leave little stripes in the next step). Flip it over and trace around your indentations with the pen to exaggerate the lines; the more times you repeat this, the more defined they’ll be. Try to stick with more geometric shapes, since as you can see from the pentagonal one in the top row, organic shapes don’t work as well.
Finally, color it–no self-respecting metal Mexican skull is plain. For these I’ve used Sharpies (dark colors only) and highlighters, but if you’re feeling especially festive, by all means break out the paints, and send me pics.
Now as for what you do with them, well…I don’t know. It’s traditional Mexican craft; I guess do traditional Mexican things with them. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them strung together in garlands, but that would take a lot of them and I was eager to post this. The small, uncolored one reminds me of nothing so much as the face from a WarHammer 40,000 Ork “killa kan”, so you could totally make some props for your tiny evil army, if you’re into that sort of thing–and I want pictures of that even more than of gaily painted skulls. (Seriously, if they let you use homemade found-object figurines instead of those models you have to paint, I would be the ruler of the Chaos Dimension by now. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, please feel free to ignore this.)