Projects so far

Monday, 28 February 2011

Decisions, Decisions.....

Well I have spent some time today researching some ideas for recycling the polystyrene cups and have found quite a few ideas on the web which I think I can develop to fit the bill....The trouble I have now is deciding which idea to use. I have also come across a great little idea for the Kid's page which I will try to add this week.

Oh well onwards and upwards!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

9th Project announcement

Well I can't believe I am onto project number 9! 

So what am I going to use this week? Well, I found these today whilst my Daughter and I were having a bit of a clear out and I wondered what I could do with them:

Polystyrene Cups

I think I need to do some research and investigation into this one!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

8th project completed! - A woven 'chequerboard' bag

Welcome to the 8th project in the recycle4real challenge. I can't believe how fast the last 8 weeks have gone. Boo Sucks to my daughter who said I would only keep it up for 3 weeks!

This week as you know I was using plastic pet food sacks to make the project, as we have rather a lot of them with two greedy dogs in the house and they are not easily recyclable. 

So here we are:

A cute little chequerboard bag!

Materials needed:

  • 2 - 3 empty and clean pet food sacks the larger the better
  • 1m Heavy weight iron on interfacing
  • Sewing machine 
  • Thread
  • Iron, Ironing board and parchment/baking paper or Teflon sheets
  • A left over bamboo cane from the Garden
For embellishment (optional)
  • Spare piece of plastic
  • Bondaweb
  • Co-ordinating thread


1. Start by assembling your pattern and checking how much interfacing you need to cover it in one go.
2. Cut off the top and bottom of your pet food sacks and cut up one side to open them out, flatten out then cut 2 of them into 1" strips by cutting across the sack. Leave the other to one side as this may well be spare or you could use it for a lining if you want one.

3. Trace your pattern on to the wrong side of your interfacing (the sticky side)

4. Starting at the top of the pattern; Start placing your vertical 'warp'. Pin each one in place about 1" outside the cutting line. Go right across the top, butting them up next to each other (see picture above). You will now need to do this across the tops of your sides as well.

5. Now you have your 'warp' secured at the top we can start weaving through the 'weft'. Starting at the top again, I used a simple 'over 1 under 1' weave but other patterns can be obtained by doing it differently i.e. over 2 under 1 etc.

6. Once everything is pinned down and you are happy, turn your work over and iron between two pieces of parchment / baking paper or two layers of Teflon sheet. The layers should fuse together sufficiently that you don't feel that they will fall apart easily.

7. Once all is attached securely, re-draw your pattern onto the reverse and carefully cut out your bag. After cutting give it one more press especially around the edges.

8. Now turn in all edges around the tops and the sides of the tabs (not the tops of the tabs) by 5mm pin, and press gently (not forgetting to use the parchment / baking paper / Teflon sheets to protect your iron and ironing surface!
9. Stitch around very close to the edge (2-3mm)
10. If you are going to embellish your bag now is the time to do it. I fused some Bondaweb on to a spare piece of plastic, cut out a heart shape and stitched around the shape with a decorative stitch. I then removed the paper backing from the Bondaweb and fused it to the front of my bag and machine stitched it into place.
10. Back to the bag itself....Stitch together the sides, front and back to form a bag shape allowing a 5mm seam.
11. Turn your bag the right way out

To make the handles and finish the bag:

1. Cut two pieces of garden cane 1" shorter than the width of the top of your bag. These can be painted if you like.

2. Fold each tab in half to the inside of your bag and stitch 2-3mm from the end of the tab (this should correspond to the other stitching on the bag. Now you have 4 loops.
3. Insert the canes and slip stitch the ends of the loops closed (see picture above)
4. To line the bag; Omitting tabs, cut out the lining using the pattern. stitch up the sides to produce a bag shape, fold over 5mm. Place inside the bag wrong sides together and slip-stitch into place.

There we have it, a cute little woven bag made from pet food sacks and a bamboo cane!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

New! Readers Gallery page on the recycle4real website

We asked you to send pictures in to us of your recycled art so we could set up a reader's gallery. This is now up on the website here: Readers Gallery

Sunday, 20 February 2011

8th Project announcement.

Large plastic Dog food bags

As most of you will know from previous posts, we now have 2 dogs in the house and boy can they eat! Molly is still on puppy food, whereas Poppy (If given the chance) will eat absolutely anything. The result is that we regularly have very large dog food bags going into the rubbish. 

They used to be made of paper but over the last year or so the food has been coming in very thick plastic bags instead.These are lovely strong bags and I use them for all sorts of things such as holding manure from the horses, taking garden rubbish to the dump etc. I even used them as grow bags last year, but I can't help thinking that there must be something else I can do with them.

There are lots of instructions available on the internet for tote bags made by cutting off the top and adding handles but as usual I want to take things a step further. So I will be having a play with these this week and see what I can come up with.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

7th Project completed - an Art Nouveau style frame

I thought I would try something completely different this week, no sewing involved this time! So what did I make with my foil trays?

An Art Nouveau style frame!

Materials needed

  • Old rectangular photo frame
  • 2 x Tin foil trays
  • Bondaweb
  • Embossing tool or blunt pencil / pen
  • A bathroom towel


1. The first thing to do is to flatten out your foil trays. Place them on a bathroom towel and using a spoon, iron out the wrinkles as best you can. You will probably have to cut the corners to get them to lay really flat

2. You now need to stick the two sheets together with a piece of bondaweb following the bondaweb instructions.

3. The next step is to lay your frame on the top and score around it with your embossing tool / pencil / pen. Measure your frame and add enough to fold around the back of your frame and into the recess and cut out your frame cover. Place best side down on your towel.

4. With the wrong side up, lay your pattern on top of your foil, and with your embossing tool / pencil / pen rub gently but firmly around all your shapes taking care not to got through the foil.

5. When you are ready, turn your work over and take a look, you will have a reversed, embossed version of your design. You can now add some more texture around your shapes with the tool on the front or as I did, on the reverse by gently tapping the foil with a pen bottom to make a hammered effect.

6. All that's left to do is to glue the cover on to your old frame carefully trimming and folding around the frame as you go.

Hope you enjoyed playing! I will put these instructions in PDF format with a copy of the design I used on to the ideas page on the website. So you can download it, as usual over the next couple of days.

See you tomorrow evening for the announcement of next weeks make.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

7th Project announcement

Hi all! 

We have been in complete chaos over the weekend. I have only just finished returning the house to it's normal state after moving everything out of the kitchen so my lovely other half could tile the kitchen floor. 
He has done a fantastic job and there is of course another bonus.....
We have been forced to have Takeaways for 2 nights running! But what to do with all the trays? - My council don't like collecting these, so it gave me a great idea for the materials for this week:

Foil trays!!!!!!

Usually I have a vague idea of what I am going to attempt for the project but it must be said I really am not sure this week, so I will get my thinking cap on overnight. Wish me luck!

A quick thank you

Glitter Graphics

I would just like to say a quick thank you to all those who are watching and commenting on the blog. It really is appreciated. It is great to hear what you all think, and it is helping to keep me going!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

6th project completed - a leaf printed denim book cover

Hi, here is the 6th completed project in the recycle4real challenge, a slightly easier project this week after all the hard work last week. A leaf printed denim book cover!

I found the leaves lying on the ground where we keep our horses and felt they would be a great inspiration for the design. My DOH thought I was going mad (as usual) but never mind!

Materials used:

  • Denim cut from an old pair of jeans
  • Fabric Paint
  • A few leaves (not too dry)
  • Sewing machine
  • Threads
  • Bondaweb


1. Cut a rectangle just large enough for your book to lay on open, plus 3cm at each end and 0.5cm top and bottom (see picture below)

Wrong Side, marked out to the correct size for book

2. Using the leaves and fabric paint, randomly print layers of leaf prints in different colours all over the right side of your denim rectangle. Pick out some of the leaf veins with some gold fabric paint to accentuate them.

Leaf printed rectangle

Close up of printed design

3. Now to give it a lift with some simple machine embroidery, I simply 'drew' around the shapes with running stitch in a variegated thread and chose some shapes to add some detail to the veining as well to add interest to the design.

4. To make the book cover up, satin stitch carefully around all edges taking care not to allow the fabric to stretch. Now turn in 3cm each end to make a flap in which the book's cover will sit, pin. Then turn in the top and bottom once by 5mm and straight stitch close to the edge making sure you sew in the flaps at the same time. 

5. To finish Bondaweb a few of the leaves you used for printing to the front of your book cover for a final flourish

The completed book cover

Sunday, 6 February 2011

6th project announcement

Welcome everyone to another Sunday night's announcement. The men of the house have once again settled down to another edition of Top Gear, so I can grab a little quiet time to myself!

I still have some denim left over from one of the pairs of jeans, so this week I will be using this up, I fancy some more embroidery this week so lets see what we can come up with this week! 

Saturday, 5 February 2011

5th project completed - Frayed around the edges bag!

Well it's Saturday evening again so here is this weeks completed project. As promised it is made from recycled jeans.

The 'frayed around the edges' denim bag with slashed detailing and self tie closure

Materials needed to make the bag:
  • 2 Pairs of old denim jeans
  • Assorted scraps of brightly coloured fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors


Base layers
  1. Cut out all the pieces: you will need 2 x denim bottoms, 4 x denim sides, and 2 x denim handle pieces cut on the fold. You will also need to cut 1 x bottom, 2 x sides and 1 x handle in each of your assorted colours. I chose layers of pink, light blue, orange and purple.
  2. Layer all the pieces up like a sandwich with denim 'bread' (see picture above) and pin securely, so you end up with 2 x sides, 1 x handle, 1 x bottom. Don't worry too much if they do not exactly line up as we will be trimming them back later.
Now to make the fabric more textured..........

1. On each piece work diagonal rows of stitching about 1cm apart (see picture below)

2. Now cut in between each row of stitching through all layers except the bottom denim layer

3. Now grab something abrasive like a scouring brush and scrub all over to fray the edges

4. Keep going until you are happy with the effect. Trim and tidy the edges where the inner layers have spread out.

Now we can sew the bag together

  1. Start by stitching around the handle and ties from the mark up with a zig zag stitch to bind the edges.
  2. Now sew the sides panels together. We want to achieve a very textured look so sew the with WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, from the mark on the pattern to the base.
  3. Once all the sides are sewn together, trim the seam allowance to about 5mm from the seam and zig zag stitch the edges together to bind them.
  4. Next attach the base, again with the seam on the OUTSIDE, trim and zig zag around as before.
The last step is to put the bag in the washing machine on a hot wash with a long spin to really distress the surface, and there you have it a highly textured recycled denim bag.

A close up of the bag after a hot wash, you may be able to see the seam and a bit of the reverse fabric.

I will of course put a copy of the pattern and the usual PDF instructions on the website for you over the next couple of days, and watch out tomorrow night for the announcement of next weeks project.