Friday, August 30, 2013

Kitchen Cabinets Made From Recycled Wine Boxes


A couple in Barcelona decided to take on the challenge of renovating a flat based on the 5R's of ecodesign (reuse, reduce, recycle, restore and respect).  This is probably one of the coolest set of kitchen cabinets I have ever laid eyes on, and it's made from wine and beer boxes. All the imbibements were drunk by none but themselves with family and friends.  Not only do they look cool, but they are loaded with memories of good times with loved ones. Check out their blog on their restoration project here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Repurposing Plastic Bottles

Did you know that it can take hundreds of years for a single plastic bottle in a landfill to completely decompose?  In the ocean, however, researchers have found that plastic breaks down rather quickly.  Sounds great, right?  Not exactly.  The chemicals leached into the water from the degrading plastics are potentially toxic, endangering sea life, and in turn, us.  You can read about it here.  Makes you think twice about buying bottles of water, doesn't it? It would be nice to live in a world where we weren't compelled to buy plastic, but of course it's almost impossible not to at some point in time.  Especially if you're on a budget.  I would love to have my ketchup and spices and laundry detergent all encased in both ecologically and economically sound packaging, but alas, this is the real world.  In the meantime, here are some suggestions of how to repurpose those plastic bottles into something useful.

plastic bottle green house build guide !

Kayak made from recycled bottles (1)


Plastic Bottle Apples 2


Saturday, August 24, 2013

How to Make Matchbox Mini Photo Albums

Matchboxes.  They're little.  They're cute.  And they're surprisingly versatile.  Once you've used all the matches for candles, incense, lighting your stove, and what-have-you, they're just a tiny little empty box with endless possibilities.  One of my favorite ways to reuse matchboxes is for miniature photo albums.  I make them as gifts for my loved ones, and they absolutely eat them up.  They're personal, unique, and best of all, (coming from someone who hates clutter) they take up virtually no space at all!  So here's how I do it:

Matchbox Photo Album Tutorial

Materials you will need:

  • An empty matchbox
  • Various colors of paperstock
  • Mini photos (there are a couple of options can print them out on your computer; you can use the proof sheet that comes with photos when you get them developed; or you can find photos that you don't mind cutting up)
  • Adornments, such as bows, flowers, stickers, buttons, words from newspapers or magazines...use your imagination!
  • A glue stick or school glue
  • Scissors
  • A creative mind!

First you will need to cut the paper to fit inside the matchbox, so when you fold it up like an accordion, it will fit snugly inside.  Measure the width of the inside of the box (horizontally), then cut a length of paper to fit. Depending on the depth of the matchbox, the paper should be about 8-12 inches long. Then measure the box vertically, and fold the paper in a zigzag pattern until the whole length is folded.  If one of the zigzag squares ends up smaller than the others, you can either use that end to glue into the bottom of the matchbox and cover it up with adornments or a picture, or you can use it as the first slide you see when you open the box, and put a little pull tab on it.  It will look like this:

Next you can cover the outer part of the matchbox.  Place it on the chosen paperstock and mark where the folds will be.  Start on one end, then just keep rolling it until all four sides have been measured and marked. Then fold it.

Now, glue it onto the matchbox cover.

Now for the fun part.  Find pictures that are special to you or your loved one.  I like finding pictures they've never seen of themselves, or pictures they didn't know I had.  Sometimes I'll steal them from their Facebook page, for example.  Choose old pictures that maybe they've forgotten about, with friends or family members, or even pets.  The point is, to make it unique and special to the person you're giving it to.  Think about what it is that they love and what makes them happiest in life, and choose pictures relating to that.  Then you can add whatever adornments you've conjured up to make it look interesting and unique.  Cover a picture here and there with a little set of paper doors, or add words cut out from newspapers that relate to your theme.  Add glitter or stickers or little surprise popouts.  With a little love and imagination, you can create a tiny box of memories that's sure to delight even the hardest to please!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Make Fork Hooks

I've seen so many interesting ways to reuse forks, so I decided to give it a whirl and make my own coat rack of sorts out of some extra forks that I had. Less silverware in the cabinets = less dishes to wash! Plus I get the added bonus of more storage space for whatever need be.

I looked around on the internet for tutorials on how to bend forks, and amazingly I couldn't find too many that were useful to me.  There were some which involved using a blowtorch and other blacksmithing materials, of which I do not own, then there were others that simply said to bend the fork using a pair of pliers.  The pliers method was the one I was going for, but for some reason unbeknownst to me, I couldn't figure out how to bend the forks without breaking them, and none of the tutorials mentioned anything about breakage.  It just seemed as though everyone had a miraculous way of bending forks into beautiful shapes without the tines breaking.  I finally figured out that there is a method to it, and after countless broken forks and a few blisters I had it downpat.

These are the basic materials you will need:

The obvious....forks!  I used 3 for my rack, but you can use as many as you want.  I found the cheaper the fork, the easier it was to bend.  Since I have about 20 forks in my kitchen utensil drawer, it was easy for me to surrender a few to my project.

Tools.  A hammer to pound the fork tines flat, different size pliers for the bending process, a clamp for holding the fork still while you're bending it (although I would recommend a vice grip if you have one), a drill for drilling holes into the forks and then onto the board, and of course, an old piece of board that you have laying around the house.


Now, the trick to bending the forks with your bare hands and a pair of pliers, is to do it slow and strong.  I quickly learned that if I went too fast, the tines would break very easily.  I originally wanted to bend all the tines sideways, modeled after a beautiful picture I had seen of a fork hook where they were bent into a celtic knot.  I soon realized if I wanted to do that, I would need to learn the art of blacksmithing, which I may do sometime in the future, but for the time being, I needed to keep it simple. 

I found it much easier to bend the tines forward.  After much trial and error, this was my first successful hook.  I clamped the handle of the fork to my workbench to hold it still, then I grabbed the very end of the tine with a pair of pliers and slowly began bending in a spiral like motion.  It takes a lot more strength than I realized, so I really had to find the right balance of speed and muscle to get it to bend smoothly.  As I said before, if you go too fast,        THE TINE WILL BREAK!

After I got comfortable with bending forward, I decided to give it another try on bending sideways, just a little bit.  I couldn't get it to spiral, but I was able to get it to bend just enough to give it the illusion of being a hand giving the peace sign.  I thought it looked cute, and appropriate for my son's room, so I left it at that.  I picked the three best looking forks, then bent the handles upward to form the hook.  I then drilled holes into the forks, figured out where I wanted to position the forks on the board, then drilled holes on the board.  Then I just drilled the forks into place!  I was going to paint the board, but I liked the rustic unfinished look it had to it.  I sanded it down a bit to give a smoother look, and....