Curbly Original
How To: Fuse Plastic Bags + Make a Sunglasses Case!

by M.E. Gray

Reuse and recycle: Make fabric from old plastic bags

As Earth Day approaches (mark your calendars! April 22nd!), I've been thinking about ways to reduce and reuse the things I don't need in my life anymore. I'm pretty good about recycling what I can - cardboard, papers, and bottles go in the curbside recycling, and compost I take to the local natural foods store. Plastic bags go to grocery stores with those plastic bag bins up front, along with other random thinner plastics like cereal bags, plastic wrap, and bread bags. If you don't have access to a plastic bag recycling bin, you can reuse your plastic bags by fusing them together to create a waterproof, flexible fabric!       

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Curbly Original
Use What You Have: Practically Free Upcycled Organization Ideas

by Rachel Jacks

Underbed storage

If you've ever gone on an organizing spree, I probably don't have to tell you that the cost of stuff to organize your stuff can really add up. But if you want to get organized on a budget, your best bet is to create solutions with things you already have. Things that might instead end up in the trash or recycling, so you're saving the planet at the same time. These upcycled organization ideas for every room in the house prove that with a little creativity, you don't have to spend big bucks to create an organized space.        

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Four Quick and Clever Ways to Reuse Old Corks

by M.E. Gray

Four Quick and Easy Ways to Reuse Cork

If you love drinking wine as much as you love crafting, then we've got some good news for you! Those natural corks that you might otherwise throw out can be re-purposed in a lot of different ways. Here are four wine cork projects that you can easily complete in 10 minutes or less each.       

Project #1: Succulent Planters

Four Wine Cork Projects: Succulent Planters

Before we get started, let's answer a question: What exactly is cork? Turns out it comes from the cork oak tree, which is native to southwest Europe and northwest Africa. Corks are made from the bark of this tree, which makes them a perfect pairing for planting succulents. Cork also has a unique ability to adapt its shape (like when it creates a tight seal in a wine bottle), which also helps with planting.

Four Wine Cork Projects: Succulent Planters

To make this project, you'll need:

  • 100% natural corks
  • A craft knife
  • Small succulent plants

1. Start by carving out the center of a cork using the tip of the craft knife. Dig out enough cork to fit a succulent plant inside.

2. Repot the plant into the cork. Done!

If you want to display your new wine cork projects on the refrigerator, use hot glue to attach small magnets to the backs of the corks. 

Project #2: DIY Cork Place Holder 

Four Wine Cork Projects: Place Card Holders

Before your next dinner party, save up your wine corks for this simple DIY project. These place card holders also make great cheese labels! Fun fact: The best wines are always sealed with natural corks versus the plastic ones, so you can slyly let your dinner guests know you also have a stellar taste in wine, too.

Four Wine Cork Projects: Place Card Holders

To make this project, you'll need: 

  • One wine cork for each guest
  • A craft knife

1. Hold the cork in an upright position, and slice off one rounded side of the cork. This allows the cork to lay flat on the table.

2. On the opposite side of the cork, cut a slit into the side.

3. Slide your place cards through the slit in the cork. Done!


Project #3: Floating Keychain

Four Wine Cork Projects: Floating Keychains

In addition to cork stoppers being sustainably made (the cork oak tree regenerates nine years after being harvested), cork oak bark is naturally buoyant! It's impermeable, yet the tiny cells that make up the cork release air so slowly that it creates buoyancy (or ages fine wine). Don't worry about losing your keys in the bottom of the swimming pool or lake with this DIY.

Four ways to reuse old wine corks

For this project, you'll need:

  • A 100% natural cork
  • An eye hook
  • A keyring

1. Screw a small eye hook into the bottom of a cork until it is secure.

2. Attach a keyring to the eye hook, then to your keys.


Project #4: Personalized Stamps

Four Wine Cork Projects: Personalized Stamps

For this project, you'll need:

  • Some corks
  • A marker
  • A craft knife
  • A stamp ink pad or acrylic paint

1. Grab a marker, and begin by drawing your design on the end of a cork stopper.

2. Use a craft knife to cut away at the areas you do not want to show (i.e. the negative space).

3. Press the stamp onto an ink pad, or into paint, and start stamping!


Know what else we like about real cork? These forests retain nearly 14 million tons of CO2 per year! which are diverse ecosystems that provide essential habitats. And the best part - cork is 100% recyclable, and there are lots of recycling resources available based on your region. 

Recycle your old wine corks with these four easy projects you can complete in under 10 minutes each
Share these wine cork projects on Pinterest!

If these wine cork projects made you fall in love with cork, you'll love these DIY patterned cork coasters

Make it: Patterned cork coasters

Thanks to the Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR) for providing fun cork facts!

 

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Curbly Original
How to Transform a T-Shirt: Three Ways

by M.E. Gray

T-Shirt DIY Ideas: How to Transform a T-Shirt Three Ways

The moment the temperature outside starts reaching 90º is the same moment I start reaching for my scissors. Not a summer has passed where I haven't cut the sleeves off a tee or turned jeans into jorts (isn't that the best word ever?). With some scissors and a bit of thread, you can turn a boring tee that you may have otherwise thrown out into your new favorite top. There are a million ways to cut up and refashion a t-shirt - here are three of my favorite t-shirt DIY ideas.       

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Curbly Original
How To: Make a DIY Asterisk Clock (for under $10.00)

By Chris Gardner

How To: Make a DIY Asterisk Clock (for under $10.00)

There's nothing like an iconic mid-century classic to set your home apart. Your home can be as contemporary as can be, but add even one Saarinen or Eames piece to your space, and you've connected with a movement. You've invested in a piece that, fifty or sixty years later, looks as elegant, playful, and amazing as it did when it was first unveiled.

'Cept, here's the deal: these guys can be expensive. While you're paying for comfort and style, you're also paying for the time of some of the most talented artists of the 20th century, quality materials, and, true, some copyright.

So, get creative, and make your own mid-century classic!  

created at: 04/12/2011

Which, if you've tried it, can be a tough thing. Modernism is defined by the use of contemporary materials like bent plywood, molded fiberglass, and curvy steel. It's hard to mimic that look with one-off pieces and without thousands of dollars of equipment. 

But it can be done. Curbly has previously published an eBook on the subject, which you should snag for a cool $5.00, or enter to win a copy this week. And, never one to quit trying to recreate the classics (both out of respect for the design/learning how it was made and cause it's the only way I can afford them), here's a new easy project: a DIY asterisk clock. Inspired by George Nelson's classic design, which retails for $300 at the MOMA, I whipped one up with just a drill, a jigsaw, and about $10.00 of materials.

Materials and tools

  • 1/4" or 3/8" thick hardboard, plywood, masonite, or luan, at least 10x10"
  • Spray adhesive or painter's tape
  • Jigsaw or coping saw
  • Sandpaper or electric sander
  • Electric drill and 5/8" bit
  • Measuring tools and pencil
  • 4" PVC coupler (in the plumbing aisle)
  • Thin basswood or balsa (available at the craft store)
  • Quartz clock movement and accompaning hands
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Spray paint
  • Strong glue: yellow wood glue and E6000
  • Computer, printer, and this downloadable template

created at: 04/12/2011

1. I actually made my clock face from a recycled piece of scrap hardboard that I found on the street corner a few weeks ago. It had one white coated surface, which makes me think it served as shower board, or perhaps and old dry erase board. Stylish and recycled. Awesome! If you don't have scraps lying around, head to the craft store or hardware store and grab a fresh, flat piece of 1/4" or 3/8" sheet good like tempered hardboard, plywood, luan, or MDF.

created at: 04/12/2011

2. Print out the template at full size, either onto an 11x17" sheet of paper, or spread across two 8.5x11" sheets. Attach it to your clock face material with tape or repositionable spray adhesive. Make sure that the PVC coupler fits on the inside of the center of the shape, and doesn't extend into the "arm space." If you print it at 100% and use standard PVC parts, you shouldn't have any trouble, but it's good to check so you don't have to cut out the shape twice.

created at: 04/12/2011

3. Cut out the asterisk shape with a jigsaw. If you don't have one, you can purchase an inexpensive coping saw at the hardware store which works just as well. The wood here is so thin, it wouldn't take long to cut. At under $12.00, a coping saw is definitely a DIY best buy. 

Be sure to cut on the outside of the lines, and then use sandpaper to sand it to the line, keeping everything nice and geometric.

created at: 04/12/2011

4. Draw a line through the center of each arm to find the center of the clock. Drill a 5/8" hole through the center to accommodate the clock movement shaft. 

created at: 04/12/2011

5. Use the strong glue or epoxy to attach the PVC coupler to the back of your face. This will house the clock movement, and get the whole thing off the wall. I cut mine a little shorter, to around 2". You can do this easily with any handsaw.

created at: 04/12/2011

6. While the glue dries, attach the hand templates to very thin balsa or basswood, and cut them out using scissors or a craft knife. Use wood glue to attach the pieces of the minute hand. Make sure your clock hands will fit on the back, trimming them to size if too long or wide. When the glue on the hands and face is dry, spray paint them the colors of your choice.

created at: 04/12/2011

7. When the paint is dry, use glue to attach the clock hands to your DIY facades. Let dry, then use a combo of drill bits and a craft knife to carve away the holes that allow the hands to fit on the shaft.

created at: 04/12/2011

8. Before you assemble everything, find a way to attach your clock to the wall. The inside of my PVC coupler was very round and smooth, so I couldn't just hang it on a screw/anchor. Use a picture hanger, or do what I did: screw that little metal hanger than come with your clock movement to the PVC. Then, assemble the clock, add the hands, and hang it up.

You know what time it is! Mod time! Err...mid-century time? Um, DIY clock time? I'm trying here, friends.

Good luck! 

created at: 04/12/2011

 

This Curbly post was originally published in April 2011. We're re-sharing it because it's Mid-Century Modern week!

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This Month in Green Design: Modern Mason Jars, A Real Functioning Moat, & The Verticality of Vegetables

by K Emily Bond

This Month in Green Design: Modern Mason Jars, A Real Functioning Moat, & The Verticality of Vegetables

Over at EcoSalon this past month – where Shelter is where the heart is and the green is always greener – we obsessed over Pantone in theory (the app) vs. practice (the hotel); celebrated Valentine’s Day like practical gals and fixed up a broken heart; font-renewed and blissed out; voyeured our way into the homes of some of our favorite design bloggers and curators and prodded the real life ethics of one of America’s most up-and-coming box store...

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Franken-Furniture

by DIY Maven

Franken-Furniture

These old pieces of furniture were disassembled and then re-assembled into a new piece of furniture with an entirely new purpose. Note the various hooks, all of which were parts of the chair. Dr. Frankenstein would be so proud.

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