Upcycling Ideas, Upcycling Craft Ideas - DIY Inspired
06th Nov2013

Vintage Handkerchief Ornaments

by Dinah Wulf

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One of my most favorite things about helping with the decorations a Vintage Inspired Baby Shower was going antique shopping with my Mother-In-Law and collecting vintage handkerchiefs.  I bought so many of them because I kept finding so many beautiful colors and patterns and even shapes. Now that the baby shower is over, I have all these beautiful handkerchiefs with nothing to do with them. After some thought, I decided to make some Vintage Handkerchief Ornaments.  Now I would be able to preserve and display them in a unique way.

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Aren’t they pretty? This post isn’t really a tutorial per se, because it’s obvious how to make them, HOWEVER I did run across some helpful tips when putting them together in these glass ornaments I got at the craft store.

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Being the Geek that I am, I was trying to figure out how to fold each handkerchief so that they would fit through a small hole, and look pretty while inside. After several trials and errors, I came upon Tip #1.

Tip #1: Don’t fold the handkerchief, it looks best when you start with a corner and stuff it in there haphazardly!

Because I tried several times at folding and stuffing I noticed that several (almost all) of these glass bulbs had sharp edges around the opening.

Tip #2: To prevent from cutting your fingers AND ripping the handkerchiefs, use a pen or chopstick to stuff the handkerchief inside the bulb.  You can also use the stick to maneuver and shape the handkerchief as you like.

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There were several times when I had to take the handkerchief out and start over.

Tip #3: Use a pair of tweezers to pull your handkerchief out if needed.  Be careful not to rip the handkerchief on those nasty sharp edges!

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After I stuffed all my bulbs, I used the ribbon from these baby shower decorations I made to re-use as a hanger for each ornament.  I used different colors, thicknesses, and materials.

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I thought they turned out quite nice and I can’t wait to put them on my tree!

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04th Nov2013

Another Ottoman Makeover

by Dinah Wulf

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At the end of this past summer, I was sent on a crazy thrift store shopping spree by one of my sponsors. One of the many treasures I found was this ottoman that I got for five dollars.  I ended up sharing my upcycle on my post, Five Dollar Thrift Store Ottoman Makeover.  I was happy with the final result until it sat in my living room for a while.  In the meantime, we redid our floors and painted and it just didn’t go with the rest of the living room anymore. Soooo, with the power of a little fabric and a staple gun, I did another ottoman makeover.

Here was the original ottoman.

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Here is the ottoman after I made it over the first time.

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The worst part of this project was taking out the staples AGAIN! My hands are still sore!

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I chose a more modern fabric to go with the living room. I needed less than a yard and of course I had a coupon so this makeover cost me less then $10.00.

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I cut the fabric to size and went to staple gunning, making sure to hold the fabric taut as I went. 

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I flipped the cushion back over drilled it back into the legs and within a few minutes I had a completely different look to this old five dollar ottoman. It now fits in perfectly with the rest of our décor (I’d show you more but the living room is still a work in progress!

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29th Oct2013

Vintage Wood Letterpress Tray Table

by Dinah Wulf

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I am always honored to share the amazing creativeness of Loren from Pandora’s Craft Box.  I have shared several of her projects in the past, including two of my favorites, her Repurposed Vintage Camera and her beautifully Upcycled Upholstered Chair.  Today, I am sharing an industrial chic Vintage Wood Letterpress Tray Table she made.

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Loren purchased this vintage wood letterpress drawer printer’s tray shadow box over a year ago on ebay.  She decided to turn it into a table with iron hairpin legs she also bought from ebay. I really need to check out the deals on ebay!  She loved the idea of storing little vintage items that she has collected through her travels to antique stores.

She decided to install poster frame plexiglass on each section of the vintage wood letterpress drawer printer tray. She used scissors to carefully cut it to fit each section.

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She bought the hinges from graphic 45 line that can be found at Aaron bothers. The hinges come with brads which she attached to the plexiglass and then nailed the hinges and attached them to the wooden letterpress tray.  She also added hitch fasteners to act as a door handle to each section of the letterpress printer tray.

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You can see Loren’s full tutorial along with more photos on her blog, Pandora’s Craft Box.  You can also follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.  Thank you so much Loren for allowing me to share this fantastic project!  You are amazing and inspire me every day with your unique style and creative eye.

28th Oct2013

How to Upcycle a Vase with Paint

by Dinah Wulf

How to Upcycle a Vase with Paint is sponsored by Elmer’s. All opinions are 100% my own.

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I had the honor of testing out a fun craft product, Elmer’s Paint Markers.  They are great because you can use them on wood, metal, glass, ceramic, and even fabric.  When I received these markers I knew immediately what I wanted to try with some recent thrift store finds. 

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Here is a short four minute video tutorial I did on How to Upcycle a Vase with Paint.

How to Upcycle a Vase with Paint

Before and After Painted Vase

Materials:

Instructions:

I purchased these glass vases at a thrift store for $2-$3 a piece.

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Step One:

Once you remove your Elmer’s Paint Markers from the package, shake them well.  Remove the cap and press the tip down onto a piece of scrap paper for approximately 60-90 seconds to allow the paint to bleed through.

Step Two:

Fill your glass with a generous amount of paint.

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Move and shake the glass until the paint coats the entire inside of the glass.  This takes time and patience!   Allow the paint to dry overnight.

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Step Three:

Apply an adhesive stencil to your vase.  Feel free to free-hand your design instead of using a stencil.

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Fill in the stencil with the desired Elmer’s paint Markers color.

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Remove the stencil.

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Here is another clear glass vase that I painted green and added polka dots with the metallic markers.

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Here is another vase I found at a thrift store that was already green in color. I painted a flower trim with the markers.

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There you have it!  The possibilities are endless.  Try these markers on canvas, metal, and wood too!

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Thank you to Elmer’s for sponsoring this video and post!

25th Oct2013

How to Make Candy Mason Jars

by Dinah Wulf

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Yet another recycled Mason jar craft project here! I saw this DIY project on the Nate Show a long time ago.  This project was super easy and took little time and money (my favorite combo).  Here is How to Make Candy Mason Jars.

Materials:

  • Clean Mason Jar
  • Drill
  • Knob
  • Sand Paper
  • Spray Paint (optional)
  • Remove the label from any recycled jar.  For label removal instructions click here.

On the Nate Show, they used sand paper to remove the printed image on the jar lid to give it a distressed industrial look.  I tried this… and gave up.  I tried three types of sand paper and my hand got tired and cramped.  I even tried watching TV to distract me and it didn’t help.

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I decided to use some left over silver metallic spray paint instead.  The sanding wasn’t a complete waste of time because the sanded surface allowed the spray paint to adhere well.

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After the spray paint is dry, drill a hole in the center of the lid.  I suggest putting the lid on the jar and then drill.  You have more control that way.  The drill bit size will depend on the knob you choose.  On a side note, Habitat for Humanity Restore is a GREAT resource for inexpensive knobs.  I have purchased them for as low as fifty cents apiece!

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I found these great knobs on sale for $2.50 each!

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Insert and tighten the knob onto the lid.

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Screw the lid onto the jar.  There you have it! Instant candy (or whatever) jar!  You can also frost your Mason jar for a different look.

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I added a tag, ribbon, and candy to give away as a gift.

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23rd Oct2013

Repurposed Earring Burlap and Feather Napkin Rings

by Dinah Wulf

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Since I got a little taste of my glittery and “bling-ed” out Halloween, I thought I’d definitely want to bring a little glitz and glam to my dinner table this year for Thanksgiving.  I guess you could call it rustic chic!  Plus, I love burlap crafts. I found some sparkly earrings in my closet and thought I would make Repurposed Earring Burlap and Feather Napkin Rings.

You only need 3 things:

  • Earrings of choice, one per napkin ring
  • Burlap strips
  • Scissors

Here are the earrings I found. I think it’s been close to a decade since I’ve worn them… yikes! Dangly rhinestone earrings MUST have been in!

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I went to Joann Fabrics and Crafts and found these fun blue feathers in the floral section.

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I gave them a little bend and they were the perfect size for napkin rings.

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First I folded my cloth napkins and wrapped a strip of burlap around it.  I didn’t secure it in any way.

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The feather wraps nicely around the burlap and keeps it in place.  This will also make it easy for your guests to take off when they are ready to use them. Next, I simply pierced the earring through the burlap and out the backing on the earring to keep it on.  This way, you won’t ruin your earrings and you can still wear them…that s if they are still in style!

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I thought they turned out cute!  They are definitely the inspiration for my whole Thanksgiving table scape… now for the centerpieces!

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22nd Oct2013

Thrift Store Apothecary Jars How To

by Dinah Wulf

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Apothecary jars are so beautiful and can serve several display purposes.  You can use them for candy, holiday decorations, or even display your collections. They look pretty on a mantel or kitchen island or even a bathroom filled with sponges or shells.  I like to use them for candy on a candy bar dessert table for parties. Apothecary jars start at about twenty dollars apiece for the small ones, I decided to try a little do it yourself thrift store apothecary jars project.

I found a box of four glass canisters at a discount housewares store for twelve dollars.

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On one of my recent thrift store ventures, I found some candle holders for $1.50 apiece.

Additional materials needed are:

  • Spray paint of your choice
  • A strong adhesive

In my case, I chose a metallic silver spray paint and Gorilla glue.

Before you start, make sure your jars candle holders are clean and free of wax especially if you purchased them at a thrift store.  When you spray paint them, every little bump will show (I learned this the hard way).

Spray paint your candlesticks holding the can about 12 inches away in a well-ventilated area.

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When the paint is completely dry, approximately two hours, glue the candlestick to the canister. I let the glue set overnight before picking it up, just to be safe.

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Voila! Instant DIY apothecary jar! Fill it with whatever you like… pinecones, peppermint sticks, or ornaments for the holidays are perfect for this time of year.

17th Oct2013

How Going DIY Helps the Environment

by Dinah Wulf

How Going DIY Helps the Environment is a Guest Post Written by Andy Giardo.

Photo of a upcycled bowl made from cans by bee-cycle via Flickr

Saving on energy has deep roots closely tied to the burgeoning indie craft community. It may seem a crazy connection, but the ties between the two movements are closer than you might think.

Both movements are linked to conservation. Both DIY-ers and green community members care for the environment and ensure they haven’t squandered resources future generations will need. Members of the green movement embrace natural beauty in the world and work toward conserving that beauty as much as possible. The indie craft community, likewise, recognizes resources to use and reuse to create beauty around. DIYers reuse, recycle, upcycle, and re-create. They’re ingenious and careful, and they appreciate beauty in unusual places, seeing the potential, where others just see old materials. They don’t like creating waste, which ultimately makes for a more beautiful planet.

DIY Movement

HLN calls “The Maker Movement” one of the biggest trends of the past year, in response to the effects of the recession and people looking to save money while also creating one-of-a-kind goods. The roots of the DIY community come from pioneer women who made warm, practical quilts with what they had, not carefully coordinated fabric store finds. The desire to be surrounded by organic beauty naturally flowed throughout daily life. Decorating today’s home without harsh chemicals continues with wood staining techniques using nut husks, vegetables and herbs.

What’s available to DIY-ers now includes everything from crochet hooks and batting, to mobile apps and Internet resources. CraftGossip.com editor Rosie Bromberg uses the Internet to connect to like-minded crafters around the globe. Bromberg says through craft shows, bazaars and online activity, she sees a promising future for indie crafts.

Photo of a craft show by rpongsaj via Flickr

How Energy Consumption Ties In

Both the green movement and the DIY movement consist of creative people who look for unique solutions to problems others can’t see through. Energy savers — those who engineer solar hot water heaters for use in sunny climates, to those who spin and dye their own alpaca wool — use what they have for a bigger, practical, upcycled purpose.

While some may call the two groups subcultures, hold-outs from the 1970s who haven’t quite recovered from Woodstock, that’s rapidly changing. People are discovering a conservation-focused way of life is not a passing fad. Using resources wisely dates back to Biblical times, when women dyed clothing with indigo and pulp from the dogwood tree. Yasmin Chopin Interior Design named indigo as the decorating “color of 2013,” calling it a visual answer to hectic and chaotic lifestyles.

When it comes to conserving energy in your own home, there are many DIY methods to helping the earth while saving money. Deregulation of energy providers, as seen on electriccompanies.com, gives DIY-ers more choice when it comes to services. Do-it-yourself energy audits, in which homeowners can look for cords to unplug, air leaks to fix, and insulation to improve, can create satisfying, Earth-friendly home projects. You can even install your own solar panels, which will create lifelong energy savings. Just like most any object could be repurposed for a craft or new product, that same approach to energy savings is vital because of the unstability of nonrenewable resources.

Photo by OregonDOT via Flickr

About Andy Giardo

Andy writes about amateur woodworking, welding and other DIY projects.

10th Oct2013

Recycled Book Page Wreath Tutorial

by Dinah Wulf

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This recycled book page wreath tutorial was an oldie but goodie trash to treasure idea.  I wanted to re-share it because I thought it may have gotten lost in the mix of over 600 posts I’ve published and I thought it was a fun book page craft! I had a damaged antique book with beautiful gold leafed pages.  The book is a book of poems by Keats, however it is falling apart and some pages are missing, so I decided to upcycle it into a wreath and turn it from trash to treasure.

Here is what you need:

  • Plumbing Insulation Tube
  • Scissors
  • Duct Tape
  • Book
  • Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
  • Sharp Knife

Instructions:

Start by cutting the plumbing insulation tube in half (one tube makes two wreaths).  Set aside one tube for another project. Carefully and gradually peel away the adhesive strip and stick the two sides together.  I say “carefully and gradually” because this sucker’s extremely sticky.  Next, tape the two ends together with duct tape. If you pinch and massage the tube, it will form into a circle and end up looking like this.

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Next, cut your pages out of the book.  I found that the fastest and cleanest way is to use a sharp knife. One by one, roll each page to make a cone shape and flatten the bottom part.

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Using a hot glue gun, glue the cones onto the foam wreath. After your first layer, turn the wreath over.  You have just finished the back of the wreath. I used approximately 35 pages for the first layer. Start your second layer. For the third, fourth, and fifth layer, you will glue the cone over the ring as shown below.  After the fifth layer, “QC” your wreath and fill any open gaps with another cone.

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Here are some after pictures.

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09th Oct2013

Old Mirror Facelift

by Dinah Wulf

Man, have I upcycled some mirrors in my past! This old mirror facelift isn’t my first.  To give you a rundown, I have done:

  1. Two Toned Metallic Mirror Makeover
  2. Easy Thrift Store Mirror Update
  3. DIY Serving Tray: A Mirror Makeover
  4. OK so it’s not really that many (I swear it seemed like more) but I have another one on the way.

I have had this beautiful mirror for many years.  It was given to me by my best friend’s Grandparents as a gift.  We repainted the inside of the house including the mantel and it didn’t look quite right anymore.  With her blessing, I gave it a little bit of an update to match my new brick mantel makeover.

You can see the BEFORE in this picture… and probably in several of my posts in the background. This photo was taken last year when I did a tutorial for Recycled T Shirt Bunting for Thanksgiving.

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Anyway, I took it down, and decided to give it a mini-facelift.  Using painters tape and newspaper I covered the mirror completely.

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I spray painted it with a paint and primer in one.

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I did this other mirror too for our bathroom. See? I knew I had more mirrors! Just kidding… this one isn’t the one I mentioned earlier. That one is coming soon!

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Doesn’t it look more updated? I think it looks beautiful and timeless in black.

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Here’s the mirror in the bathroom.

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It only took a couple hours including drying time to paint the two.  It was definitely worth it!

07th Oct2013

Glittered Candy Corn Mason Jar

by Dinah Wulf

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The candy corn was my inspiration for this project.  Even though I don’t care to eat them, I always thought that there was something whimsical about the colors.  It reminds me of Halloween, but it’s not scary or frightening.  So, I decided to make a glittered candy corn Mason jar.

Materials:

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Instructions:

I started with the center orange stripe on purpose to save time.  I knew once that the orange was dry; I would be able to apply both the gold and white without waiting for one to dry.  Using painter’s tape, I taped of my center stripe and then covered the entire center with glue using the paint brush. I sprinkled the glitter all the way around the jar.  Tap off the excess glitter and put it back in your container.

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While the glue was still wet, I pulled off the painter’s tape. I allowed it to dry completely.

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Next, I taped off the lower half of the orange stripe to begin glittering the gold stripe using the same technique above.

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Remove the tape while it is still wet.

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Repeat the process for the final white stripe.

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Once the glue was dry, I gave the vase a light tap over the garbage can to remove any excess glitter. Then, I added water and fresh flowers!

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I loved how it turned out.  I think these would make a great homemade hostess gift during all those parties over the holidays!

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25th Sep2013

Vintage Themed Baby Shower

by Dinah Wulf

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FINALLY! I get to share the vintage themed baby shower that I have had the honor of working on for my best friend’s brother and sister-in-law.  It was a beautiful day and my friend had the perfect back yard for it.

I know I already shared:

I had such a great time decorating for this party.  I bought some flowers and arranged them all before I left.  I loaded the car and brought all my decorations including the thrift store shelf I made over.  I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to decorate because I had no idea how the venue would be set up.  There were five tables, so I needed five centerpieces.  I brought some toys, vintage books, small decorative suitcases, several handkerchiefs I bought while antique shopping, and of course the flowers.

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I also had the food table to decorate.  I layered the table with boxes to create some height.  I also brought some cupcake stands I made. The table was quite the hodge-podge, but I think I made too many decorations!

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I ended up using my thrift store shelf to place the favors on.  I brought my DIY pedestal trays, some antique books, and more handkerchiefs. I c small flower boxes from the craft store and put chocolates inside.

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I wish I took more pictures of the backyard in total but I forgot!  There was too much going on and I was trying to enjoy myself.  Oh well!

24th Sep2013

Upcycled Dining Room Chandelier

by Dinah Wulf

BE FORWARNED!!! This post contains a FAIL! I think I added too much bling to this attempt at my upcycled dining room chandelier.  Let me explain.

Here is the chandelier before… nice… but not our style.

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My husband and I took it down and he decided he wanted to try and upcycle it instead of selling it.  He took the whole thing apart because we wanted to get rid of the metal leaves.

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Once they were removed, he took it apart and used a metal file to smooth down the rough areas.

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We bought some PVC pipe to cover part of the light bulb (BAD idea… because the bulbs were too hot for them! Of course I didn’t know that during these photos so let me continue…)

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He spray painted it all black.

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Meanwhile, I decided to turn this light into a sparkly chandelier to match these lighting fixtures we bought.

Orb Chandelier (560x560)

I bought beads.

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I strung them one by one. Pretty right?? Not so much… you’ll see!

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My husband but the light back up after the paint was dry and I was still stringing beads (very tedious). Not bad!

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Then I attempted to add them to the chandelier…

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It’s not THAT bad…but it didn’t look quite right.  I think it needed more, but I wasn’t willing to spend more money.

THEN, we discovered that the PVC pipe started deforming… Ooooops!!! SOOOOO we decided that we liked the light without the PVC pipe and the sparkly beads.  What do you think???? FAIL??? Should we take the whole thing down? Maybe try some Edison bulbs instead?

Chandelier-before-after

19th Sep2013

Recycled Box Gift Bags with Scotch Brand

by Dinah Wulf

I’m honored to be partner up with Scotch Brand, sponsor of Recycled Box Gift Bags!

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I’m excited to announce this year’s 2013 Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest!  The 17th annual Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest will take place Friday, December 6 at Celsius at Bryant Park in New York City. All you have to do is submit a 3-minute video of your best gift wrap and gift wrapping tips before September 22 to be considered (Quick! That’s THIS Sunday!). Eight finalists will be chosen and flown to New York City for an all-expenses paid trip to compete for the $10,000 and the title of the 2013 Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper!!! The first 50 valid entries will automatically receive a prize pack of the new Scotch Expressions Tapes! Learn more about the contest {HERE}!

I was able to try out some of my own gift wrapping inspired by Scotch Expressions Tapes.  They are available in over 100 colors and patterns and four varieties—Magic Tape, masking tape, washi tape and shipping tape.

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I decided to upcycle these used food boxes from my kitchen pantry (so now you know I eat generic whole wheat rotini and pop tarts!).

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I started off by cutting off the top flaps.

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Then, I covered the box with colorful paper to match my Scotch Expressions Tape.

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I also used a hole punch to punch holes on each side of the boxes to insert a ribbon for a handle.

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I chose some masking tape and some washi tape to embellish my upcycled gift bags, and tied on some ribbon. Tah-dah!

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More info about Scotch Expressions Tapes:

They are available at office superstores and mass retailers nationwide, as well as online. Head to their site to find a store near you. It’s easy! Just type in your zip code. The Scotch Expressions Tapes line ranges in price from $2.50 (single pack)—$5.99 (triple pack).  Office Depot is also currently selling five limited edition One Direction tapes in partnership with an anti-bullying campaign.

Thanks again to Scotch Brand for sponsoring today’s post!

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