Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Recycled Lid Christmas Tree Ornament

Many of you may remember my post on making a "barnyard" lid ornament, and this is similar to that, but using other photos and techniques.

Items needed:

Monday, November 18, 2013

How to Make a Poker Chip Christmas Tree Ornament

Recycle poker chips into inexpensive and fun ornaments.  They can also be recycled into jewelry and keychains.

Monday, November 11, 2013

How to Make a Travel Word Activity

Make a fun travel size word game, by reusing a metal altoid (or other mint/candy) tin.

Simply cut words from old magazines, and glue them to sheets of thin magnets.  Cut the words out and place them inside the tin.

Kids can carry these on car trips, camping trips, use them on bus rides to school, or simply for rainy days.  

The words can be used to create sentences, helping the child learn to spell, and create complete sentences.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Keepsake Keychain ~ Recycling a Pill Bottle

Make fun keepsake key chains by recycling an empty pill bottle.  

What you need:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Simply Christmas ~ Book Review

Recycling ideas can be found in some of the most interesting places, so our family tends to read a variety of books.  We borrow many from our local library, and this post is about one of those books.

It's a Christmas celebration book, filled with crafting and decorting ideas, as well as recipes.  

Simply Christmas by Carol Field Dahlstrom
@2000, ISBN: 0-9679764-0-5

 (photo taken from one of the pages)

Do you have games that need tossed?  Well, don't toss them.  How about dice, playing cards, checker pieces and so forth?  In this book, you will find the instructions on how to make everything on this tree.  There is even a domino garland on this tree.  How fun is that?

In this book, you will also find instructions on how to make ornaments from old maps.  

So the next time you are visiting your library, look for this book.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How to Make Record Album Covers into File Folders

 (Back of Folder)

(Front of Folder)

Last year we took old record albums, and recycled the records into record bowls.  When making these bowls, we kept the record covers and recycled them into file folders.  

The idea is not my own.  We located the idea in a library book, and have yet to locate the title again.  In fact, you can search the internet, and find many tutorials on this project.

Here is how we made ours:

We cut the sides of a record album cover, and bent it backwards, so the inside is on the outside.

We used an actual office folder, and used it for a template, tracing one side onto the record album.  

The sides of the folder will have different heights, so we cut out one side first, then opened the cover again.  We placed the template folder over it, and traced and cut the other side.  

We then folded the album cover back.

Easy enough for kids (who are old enough to use scissors safely) to make, and very useful.  They actually are sturdier than the manilla file folders too.

TIP:  If you have something you are mailing that needs to be protected from getting bent, slide it into a record album file folder, then into a mailer.  Your recipients mail is safe, and they get an extra, useful and unique item in their mail.

You may also like:

How to Make Record Bowls ~ Rainy Day Project

Monday, November 4, 2013

Recycling Fishing Bobbers

Make these whimsical fishing bobber earrings and keychains easily.  Simply use 1" round bobbers.  There is a hook in the top center of the red part of this bobber.  Gently press it down, causing the tiny hook to go up, and slide a slip ring on.  Release your bobber top and wa-la, you have a bobber ready to become earrings or a keychain.  We used earring pieces in which we simply slipped it onto the one jump ring, but you can also add a second to add other types of earring pieces.  For the keychain, we simply added a metal beaded chain.

Create something fun for a fishing enthusiast you know.

Wine Cork Necklace Charms ~ Magazine Review

 (second try, sanded and painted with 2 coats of paint)

 (first try, unsanded)

The instructions for making these unique necklaces are found in the magazine Make It Yourself, Fall/Winter 2013 issue.  This magazine basically offers instructions for items that you are sold on-line in stores such as Etsy.  They give you the option to "make it yourself" or buy it on-line (or direct you to another on-line source).

I did notice that many of the patterns/instructions, for these projects, are somewhat vague. In other words, they do not always specify the specifics.

For example, the instructions for this project did not specify the exact size of the eye screw.  You simply have to take the magazine with you to the hardware store, and search for a similar size.  Don't try shopping for the eye screws at your big box stores, they won't have small enough ones.  They do, however, sell a drywall kit, that contains the size we used in our top photo (I measured the width of the "eye" on it to be about 1/4 inch).  The instructions also mention to use a "kitchen knife" but do not specifically say what type.  Bread knife?  Paring knife?  

(household ruler, kitchen cutting board, and kitchen cheese knife)

To a beginner, these important facts tend to frustrate a person.  We did use a mini hacksaw to cut our wine corks.  However, we noticed the edge we painted is not as smooth as they show the necklace in the magazine.  We also used a simple kitchen cheese knife, and it did a better job creating a smoother surface to paint.

A trip to an actual hardware store, helped us locate eye screws (what we believe was used in the magazine).  They are 7/16 in.  You can find them in both gold and silver colors, in most hardware stores.

We simply cut 1/4 inch of cork, and painted one side with acrylic paint.  After the paint dried, we used rubber stamps over the painted surface.  Using the stamp is not an easy task.  The cork is soft, and not completely smooth, making the application of the stamp difficult.  Not all of our corks ended up with a smudge free print.  Sanding the tops will help create a smooth surface.  Cutting the corks by hand, is a bit challanging as well.  It is much easier to place the cork in a table top vise grip to hold the cork while cutting (if you have one).

Here is another one (without sanding it down), but with the smaller eye screw, and a better print.  The surface is a bit difficult to get an even distribution of the ink from the stamp.

We sprayed these with a matte finish spray to seal it, but the spray is not waterproof. 

We give this magazine a 3 1/2 stars out of 5.  Even though I have experience in crafting and recycling, I had to go to 3 stores to find the right size eye screw.  They magazine left out how to smooth the surface and specifics on cutting the wine corks.  We plan to experiment with other projects this magazine has to offer, and update as we do.

Until then, I am making a few of these necklaces for next year's Farmer's Market.  It will be interesting to see how well they sell.

Friday, November 1, 2013

How to Make a Wine Cork Christmas Garland

Kristina N
Recycle wine corks into a whimsical and unique Christmas garland. Make these as long or as short as you prefer, and decorate for the holidays. Create a "green" holiday by not throwing wine corks in the garbage. Give a wine cork garland as a Christmas or other holiday gift. Read the "Tips" at the bottom of the article for ideas in creating more colorful bead combinations.

  • wine corks
  • 6mm red beads
  • 8mm silver beads
  • 14mm white pearl beads
  • long darning sewing needle
  • dental floss
  • drill
  • 3/32 drill bit
  • scissors
  • old piece of scrap wood, thick enough to protect working surface
  • optional: pliers
  • optional: recycled foam food tray to hold beads in
  1. Step 1 


Wash corks or boil for 1 minute in water and cool. This process will give corks their original form.

  1. Step 2

Cut a piece of dental floss to the length of garland you wish to make.

  1. Step 3


Slide end of dental floss through needle eye, and add a few beads in the order you wish to use them (between corks). For this garland add one red bead, followed by one silver bead. Remove needle. Carefully draw the string around the last bead added, and tie a knot. This will keep the beads and corks on the dental floss as you add from the opposite end.

  1. Step 4


Stand one cork upright onto your scrap piece of wood. Remember your wood must be thick enough for the drill bit to not go through it too much. Your work surface will be protected.

While holding the cork upright with one hand, drill a hole in the center of the cork, downward, with the other hand. Once the drill bit is through, remove the drill bit by using reverse on your drill, but slowly. Your hole will tighten again so quickly run your needle through the cork hole and add the cork to your dental floss, pushing it all the way to the beginning beads.

  1. Step 5

Run you needle through the beads in this order:

-one red bead
-one silver bead
-one pearl bead
-one silver bead
-one red bead

  1. Step 6

Now add another cork, following the drilling directions in step 4 and continue to rotate one wine cork between the set of beads in step 5.

  1. Step 7


Continue to add corks and beads until you reach about 6-8 inches from the end of your floss. Gently tie a knot by bringing your dental floss back up to where you brought it through the last bead.

  1. Step 8

Optional: Cut an 8 inch piece of dental floss. With the help of your needle, bring the floss halfway through the last bead added. Remove your needle. Tie a knot to make a loop to hang garland if desired. Repeat for opposite end.


  • If your cork is took long for the needle, drill in the center of both ends before running your needle through.
  • If you are adding a synthetic cork use pliers to gently pull the needle completely through the cork. They are a bit more difficult to drill through and run your needle through.
  • Use a blue, silver and pearl bead combination for a different look.
  • Use a green, red, silver or other combination of beads.
  • Use aqua, pink, black or red for a vintage color of wine cork and bead garland.