After my boyfriend and I split the signature Mondo Margarita on our vacation, we knew we had to keep the ridiculous plastic novelty glass. But it sat on a shelf with Christmas decorations for years, until we moved and went on a utility-based cleaning spree. I was set on keeping my sentimental items, so I grabbed a little potting soil and picked up a small rosemary plant and voila! My silly keepsake became a planter for my kitchen — and a conversation starter. This success had me turning all sorts of junk around the house into new projects, for example…
- A DIY Airbrusher. An old air compressor allowed me to make funky team shirts for a 5K in my neighborhood. Instead of spending the money on a kit, I raided the old t-shirt pile. Once they were clean, I turned them inside out and removed the tags. The stitching on the sides was hardly noticeable with the neon names and palm trees I’d created using extra paint. They were a huge hit and a blast to make.
- An Original “Whiteboard.” I have an entire drawer of old picture frames that are either dinged up, forgotten gifts, or just a little tacky. I combined them with some scraps of wrapping paper and fabric that I had lying around for the world’s easiest message board. Dry erase markers write perfectly on the glass — and wipe right off — and varying sizes mean I can leave them on the kitchen counter or even the dresser (“I already fed the dog, sweetie!”). A friend of mine stole the idea and made a lovely chore chart to mount right on top of the TV.
- Kitchen Inspired Art. My favorite brunch place has these great prints of oranges, bananas, and strawberries on the wall. They’re bright, textured and fun, and I wanted to emulate them in my home on the cheap. I used thick craft paper instead of large canvases, and actually raided the kitchen for supplies. My cheese grate provided a rough texture for one, while little star cookie cutters made a great background of another. Even the kitchen sponge got a turn before it went in the trash. (I microwaved it before pressing it into the paint to get rid of the bacteria and smell.) When my four or five little “canvases” were prepped with unique backgrounds, my minimal drawing skills didn’t even matter. A thrown-together mango looked purposefully playful, and I had fun doing it.
The best part about crafting with what you have is that it’s inexpensive, and ultimately, green. What better way to recycle than to turn something that would be dropped in the garbage into a lovely accessory for your home, or even a gift. I’ve found myself saving unique wine bottles for candle holders, and using the labels to class up old notebooks. Slit the cork and you have a quirky picture holder. Once you start thinking craft, every night out is an opportunity for a project.
Jessica is interested in crafts and DIY projects. She especially enjoys knitting and scrapbooking. When she’s not crafting, she writes on behalf of Sears and other brands she trusts.
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