• emcat76

One Day at a Time: Crafting with Non-Recyclables

You will see the phrase 'new year new you' everywhere you look at the moment, and many adverts encouraging you to buy products to help with that process. However, there are many things you can do for free. This blog series will suggest some ideas for this – some are practical and some are fun - choose the ones which you feel are manageable for you – don’t try to do everything!

Today's one is: crafting with non-recyclables.

Note: do as much or as little as you want - this blog just offers some ideas and tips.

Day 2: Crafting with Non-Recyclables

Before you throw out your Christmas and New Year rubbish, consider what might be reusable. There are many ways to reuse things that can't be recycled, to stop them from ending up in landfill. One of the things I enjoy doing is making pictures and collages out of things like sweet/chocolate wrappers, bits of string, old photos, scraps of paper, and cardboard. Spending some time turning these scraps into pictures/collages could be a relaxing and mindful activity after the busy-ness of December, and before work or school starts up again.

Making Picture collages with scraps

If you have lots of cardboard boxes you're just going to throw away, cut off some clean, flat, pieces to use for crafting first. You can also cut some flat pieces from plastic containers or wrappers that you could use as the base piece for your artwork.

Then collect up your sweet/chocolate wrappers, scraps of foil, scraps of paper (e.g. Christmas paper, Christmas cards, decorations that are falling apart, bits of ribbon/string, see-through plastic, etc. All you then need is some scissors, glue (I prefer liquid glue as some of these things need a lot of glue to stick in place), and your creativity!

Here's a picture of a snail that I made using paper, card, photos, string and wool, and foil:

You can see I started off with the basic shape, sticking it onto a flat piece of cardboard. Then I cut out some patterns from old photos (you could use wrapping paper or Christmas cards for this) and stuck them on, then I decorated it with strips of foil and pieces of string and wool that would have all been thrown in the bin otherwise. All of this was glued on with liquid glue. The foil and string took quite a bit of glue, so I started off with a little underneath each bit, and then poured some extra on top and left it to dry.

Here's a more complicated design, but using basically the same principles:

For this one I used old photos, and chocolate wrappers. I had some which had both foil and plastic stuck together. Foil on its own can be recycled in your kerbside recycling, but not when it's combined with plastic. Some of these foil and plastic mix wrappers can be recycled through Terracycle but some can't (I'll write more about this in a future blog).

Just before Christmas, I made a couple of fish-shaped Christmas decorations, out of cardboard, paper, and chocolate wrappers. This took quite a bit of glue again, and after it dried, I cut it out, covered it with see-through sellotape to seal it, and finished it off with an acryllic paint pen (to draw on the eyes and stripes).

And below is a fish picture I made last year, using shiny wrapping paper (which can't be recycled), foil, and sweet/chocolate wrappers. I started off with a cardboard base, then added bubble wrap to create the fish shape, and make it more 3D. Then cut zig zag shapes from the wrapping paper and chocolate wrappers and glued them on top. For the tail, I scrunched up wrapping paper and foil, and glued them on with lots of liquid glue - it took a while to dry! I finished it off by putting thin rolls of foil (from chocolate wrappers) around the front edges to emphasise the shape of the fish.

Upcycling Pringles lids

If you're good at drawing (or copying a design), you could reuse some plastic Pringles lids or yoghurt tub lids by painting them with acrylic paints (I found acrylic paint pens the most effective and easy to use). Here's a couple I did with a Nativity scene on (which I based on a picture I found online):

The wonderful thing about Pringles lids, is they can be used as lids for other containers, such as the glass pots that Gu desserts come in. I haven't quite decided whether these are going to stay as lids or if I'll add a string loop to turn them into Christmas tree decorations. They could also be hung in the window.

I hope you enjoy trying some of these ideas. If you haven't got time or inspiration now, just keep some of the colourful wrappers and scraps in a box to use later in the year when you're feeling creative. These pictures could be framed and given to people as gifts next Christmas!

You can view my previous blog post here:

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