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Craft projects from recycled materials

Looking for a craft that takes minutes to whip up, looks amazing and can be made from objects around your house? Look no further — here are three great ideas to get you started.

frame

From trash to crafty treasure

Looking for a craft that takes minutes to whip up, looks amazing and can be made from objects around your house? Look no further — here are three great ideas to get you started.
It’s good for the environment, good for your back pocket and once you’ve started you’ll see your trash in an entirely new light.

Making crafts from old or recycled materials isn’t new. In fact kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with gold-coloured resin, began in the late 15th century. These beatifully mended ceramics have been given new life in a way that values the life of an object, even when it is seemingly gone.

While mending ceramics with golden glue may not be your thing, there are plenty of ways to get crafty with objects found in your own home. Once you get your imagination rolling you’ll be finding beauty and potential in the most mundane of objects and, if you run out of your own recycled things to play with, your local Vinnies store is sure to have dozens more objects ready and waiting to be transformed.

Teacup tealight

Teacup tealight

Making your own candles may sound a bit twee but just think — not only will you repurpose some neglected ceramic, but you’ll also get to use up all those scrappy tealight candles you have lying around! These make perfect gifts for the tea lover who already has more tea than China.

Materials:

  • 1 teacup, coffee cup or other small ceramic pot of your choice
  • 10–20 tealights or other wax candles (enough to fill your container), if you don’t have candles you wish to reuse, you can buy soy wax beads at your local craft store
  • A wick that is long enough to reach the bottom of your chosen container (available from large craft stores)
  • A few drops of the essential oil of your choice (optional)

Instructions:

  1. First, clean your container. You want it free from dust and water.
  2. Next, melt the candles in a small saucepan over a low heat. Remove the old wicks from the pot once the wax has liquified.
  3. Place the wick at the bottom of the teacup. It doesn’t matter if it slumps over slightly, just make sure it is sticking up about 2 centimetres from the top of your cup. Pour the wax into the cup, filling to just below the top. Pull the wick into the centre and prop in place with a toothpick or skewer. The candle will be ready to use once the wax is set — usually around two to three hours.

Button shirt cushion

Buttoned shirt cushion

Think you need a sewing machine for this one? Think again. Even if the best you can do is thread a needle you’ll have this cushion cover whipped up in less than 30 minutes.

Materials:

  • 1 large men’s buttoned shirt
  • 1 large t-shirt or complementary fabric of your choice
  • Needle and thread (or a sewing machine)
  • 1 cushion insert

Instructions:

  1. Lay out the buttoned shirt and iron to remove any creases. Do the same with the t-shirt or the other fabric you have chosen (cotton quilting fabric works well).
  2. Place the cushion insert on top of the buttoned shirt, centering the buttons down the middle. Trace around the insert with a pencil, or tailor’s chalk if you have it, then cut out the shape leaving a 2-centimetre border to use as a hem.
  3. Lay the cut-out buttoned fabric on top of the backing fabric and cut out a square the same size.
  4. Turn the two squares of fabric so that the “right” side of each piece (the buttoned side and the patterned side) faces inwards. Sew around all four sides, turn the cover inside out and stuff with the insert. Throw it on your bed, your lounge or in your car and be proud.

Dry-erase forget-me-not frame

Dry-erase forget-me-not frame

If you’ve got an old frame and some buttons, or a paper flower or two lying about the house then it’s time to spice up your front door with a forget-me-not frame. Perfect for scrawling down those last-minute thoughts you always seem to forget.

Materials:

  • An old frame
  • A piece of white paper cut to fit inside the frame
  • A small pot of acrylic paint in your choice of colour
  • Buttons, flowers, fabric to decorate
  • Craft glue

Instructions:

  1. First you will need to brighten up your frame. Choose a colour that complements the existing colour scheme of your home, or go wild adding a pop of colour. Then simply pop the glass from the frame, paint it and leave it to dry.
  2. Once the frame is dry you can decorate it with a few buttons, paper flowers or a pretty bow. Then, write a message on a piece of white paper that is cut to the size of your frame. You could try “don’t forget” or “I love you because” — write whatever takes your fancy!
  3. Slip the paper into the frame where the photo would normally go, snap the frame back together and hang by your front door. You can write on the glass with a whiteboard marker and wipe clean with a tissue and a spray or water.

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