Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Upcycling garden hose into baskets

Since I was in a gardening mood these last few days, this is an interesting way of reusing old hoses. Chase DeForest creates these baskets by using zip ties to keep everything together. Now I'm waiting for my garden hose to die, it might take a while though...
It reminded me an old post from last year about artist Brian Jewett who makes sculptures using garden hose and zip ties :

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Making a self watering planter and recycling

Ok, so far you saw in my previous post that it's pretty easy to make a planter out of wood fence or pallet. I  added soil in my first one without really thinking if it's good for my future plants. I wondered if there's any better way to optimize the growth of the plants.
I have made a second planter that will sit next to my first one, and I'm ready to try a Sub-irrigated Planter (SIP) also wrongly known as self watering planter. You are thinking that I'm getting away from upcycling?! NEVER!

The principle of Sub-irrigation is fairly simple, you create pocket of air using pipes or milk jug at the bottom of your planter. This pocket of air have to have holes all around and don't have to be inter connected, one of these bottle or pipes need to have connection with the top of the planter so you can fill these pocket of air with water. In this example, a bottle of water makes this connection.

To know more about SIP, Insideurbangreen is a great website.
The advantage of this technique is that once you have filled the bottom of the planter, you use less water, you use also less soil to fill the planter. Your plants are much more healthy thanks to the extra oxygen on the roots and the results are obvious. I will compare my two planters to see if there's an obvious difference between them.

My planter will use trash bag to keep the bottom of the planter water proof, plastic bottle for the air pockets and a bottle of water for the connection with the outside world. You have also to determine the maximum amount of water you want in your planter by creating an overflow hole, usually around the top of the bottles (4 inches from bottom in my case).
I drilled plastic bottles I was going to trash
I connected one clear bottle to use as a funnel later
This is how it looks like.You only need one funnel per planter
I interconnected some bottles (optional) because I didn't have the lid, you don't want soil to go inside the bottle too much.

This is it, my planter is ready. At this point you need to add compact soil around the bottles; this soil will be like a wick and will bring the water to the roots. You need to water the plant through the funnel and stop watering when you see water overflowing. I'm impatient to see how my plant will grow!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Upcycling Laundry detergent bottles

A good way to Keep kids entertained while I'm working on my next project (coming soon on the blog).

Made by Martine Camilleri

Friday, May 18, 2012

Vinyl records

This morning, I stopped in front of this shop, a block away from my house, it sells carved furniture made by Peruvian artisans. But what stroke me was the colorful curtain they set at the window. Not only I liked the curtain from far away but getting closer I realized that it's made of vinyl records! The picture is not great, but it gives you an idea of what I saw. I also recommend this shop if you like original and affordable furniture.

Great choice of colors.

From the inside

Monday, May 14, 2012

Kids kitchen set

This is an other great upcycling of furniture into kids play set shared by Rebekah and found on this great australian blog: Paint on the ceiling.
A stainless bowl becomes a sink, a coat hook is transformed into a tap and knobs are used for the tap or to control the hot plate. Upcycling at its best.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The IMac floor lamp...

Almost  a year ago, I found an Imac G4 that somebody was trashing.

I was tempted by making a desk lamp, but since somebody already made it, it took the challenge away. Few days ago I decided to think again on how to use this piece of art, and this is it. The arc lamp revisited as a Marc Lamp :-) this mix between the Mac and the Arc lamp was fairly simple because I already have the base of the lamp at home. It comes from target Home collection.
The shade fits perfectly, the opening needs to be around 1.5 inch and it's exactly what apple did, how convenient !!!
It's a fairly easy upcycling and a cool looking floor lamp. The only tricky part is to find the right tools to unscrew all the unconventional screws used by Apple.

The light diffuse perfectly through the white plastic

Apple famous icons

The lamp is perfect for reading and it also diffuses the light really well to brighten our room
An easy upcycling with a result I really like!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Upcycling wood fence into planters

In my previous post you probably saw that seeds start growing, so to be consistent with my ideas I am now making a planter to transplant everything on my deck once my herbs are ready. I was running out of shipping pallet but found this pine wood that is designed to be a fence. For around $1 each piece, this planter will cost me no more that $4 and will be free if you have a shipping pallet!

I decided that my planter would have a tiny angle on each side (12 degres) but you don't have to if you want to keep everything really simple (1)
To create the angle I used a table saw and set up the angle.

(2) After cutting the three pieces of wood at the same length (5 feet) I was already at the assembling stage. I attached the side panels using a pre drill hole and then used deck screws (1 1/4 long). I did only one hole in the side panel and made sure the first screw was properly done, then the rest of the holes are really easy.

(3) Once the sides are installed you just have to make the ends of the planter. You'll use the extra pieces of wood you have left and draw directly on the wood the shape needed to close the planter on each end. I added an extra piece in the middle of the planter but this is not necessary. I used my jigsaw to cut the little pieces but the table saw could have done it too.

(4) This is the side view of the planter and where the screws should be.

The last step is to stain your planter, in my case I used the deck stain I had left, but if the planter turn bad after the summer, it will be easy and cheap to replace it!
I'm also planning on using plastic liner inside but I'm still not sure about the advantage of it, just let me know if you have an advice.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Upcycling egg crate

Probably not the most sophisticated upcycling I have done so far but it's really useful to start growing Basil, Mint, Rosemary and thyme and now is still a good time to start growing from seeds.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

When the packaging is ready to be upcycled

Most of the time, when I do not post some of my upcycling projects, I try to features some upcycling that could be done at home. This packaging comes ready to be upcycled with all the instructions. This idea comes from british designer Steve Haslip who won a D&AD student award in 2007. The story does not tell you what to do if you buy 4 T-shirts :-) This is a clever idea anyway, well done!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Upcycling Nespresso capsules

These little coffee capsules have a much nicer design than the Keurig cups, but most of them end up in the recycling bin anyway.
I realized that a lot of creative mind a trying to reuse these capsules.

Necklace from Etsy
And lots of different colors:

From MiaNori on Etsy

Earrings with Swaorvski on Etsy

Keychains still from Etsy

I also found a blog in Catalan: Julia's workshop  with a curtain created with the same capsules!

These capsules have a real potential for creativity!

Alex Aebi who's an entomologist and also an artist, designs insects from the same Nespresso capsules:

Pictures by Guillaume Perret

Pictures by Guillaume Perret
I'm sure there's more to do with this capsules but the best would be to stop using them...