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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Storing tea, sugar & green tea

You know that feeling you get when you're moving into a new house? And you ideally want everything to be new? Including the furniture and utensils and well, pretty much everything else. =)

I recently moved to England from Dubai and set up the house here with my husband. We got here a couple of months before our MBA classes started. And it was during this time that I got to put on my creative-crafts hat and get to work. =)

This was my way of getting everything around the house a new feeling, at the same time making sure that I wasn't spending on things that I could save up on. I do have thing for recycling and reusing, I won't lie! =)

So, amongst the many things I've made, this set is the most used of the lot.

Most people I know are consumers of some kind of warm beverage - tea, coffee, hot chocolate, green tea, etc. And most kitchens I've been to have some form of storage containers for these tea bags or coffee beans or coco powder. Needless to say, we needed such containers for our house as well. I did go out and look around for some containers that I could use, but I just wasn't convinced.

And then it struck me - why not try making these on my own? =)

The backdrop to this is that I'm a big, massive, absolutely crazy [bordering psychotic] consumer of Nutella.

Due to this, I have far too many empty bottles of Nutella lying around the house. And what better way to help the environment than to recycle and reuse to make these lovely storage containers!

Let's be honest here for a second - making these crafty-containers isn't rocket science. But sometimes a little guidance gives us exactly what we need to get our act together and make things. =) So, here goes!

What you'll need (supplies)


  • old Nutella [or any other empty bottle / plastic] containers
  • white school glue
  • acrylic paint [you can use one color or mix and match with different colours]
  • paint brushes
  • mixing palette
  • old newspaper

Procedure / steps

1. Wash thoroughly and dry the Nutella containers.

2. Cover your workstation with old newspaper so as to avoid any damage to it by paint spills.

3. Take a mixing palette, add a dash of your paint of choice, and add a bit of white school glue. The reason for adding white school glue here is that it'll help the paint stick to the container. Else, there is a possibility that every time you touch the container, a bit of the paint will come off. I haven't faced this problem, and again, this might be because of the white school glue. This somewhat acts like Mod Podge, but on a much lower and inexpensive level.

4. Now take the Nutella container and start applying thin, consistent paint coats to it.
Try to keep the paint coats as thin and as free-flowing as possible.
Carefully place the Nutella container upside down and coat the bottom of the container with paint.
Take special care to avoid paint going inside the container - you wouldn't want your sugar or tea bags taking on the color of the paint!

5. Let these sit till the paint is completely dry. The time frame here might vary depending upon the thickness of the paint coat applied, the temperature outside, etc.

6. Once these are completely dry, take on a contrasting color [poster paint or acrylic paint] and paint on the words. You can chose to use a stencil here or you can even take print outs / cut out of words and stick them on with the help of Mod Podge or superglue or something equivalent.

What'd I tell you - not rocket science! And I'm sure you already knew the steps before you even read them! But it's nice to see visuals and steps to potentially refer back to someday. =)

Alright, more crafty stuff that I haven't blogged yet will be coming up real soon. Meanwhile, if you get around to making these, do please drop in a comment and let me know. I'd love to see what you're creating!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Picture frame from recycled magazines

Wow - I'm overwhelmed with the kind of feedback I've received on my previous blog post!

In that post I promised to let you know what I finally did with my set of black, red and white round bits. Well, this, ladies and gentlemen, is what I made:

I absolutely love the way it finally turned out! =)

The inspiration behind this project was, well, from all over the place!

But if you go to my Pinterest page, you'll see projects I've pinned like this, this and this that really inspired me. My biggest problem with these was that I couldn't really find decent frames. So I thought long and hard about what I could substitute for the frame and came up with the idea of using old magazines.

I'd like to add that this frame is completely made of recycled (magazine) paper. Quite proudly so, I won't lie! =)

But at the end of the day, I ended up mixing and matching a number of things I've come across and just jumbled them all together to create this. A bit o' this and a bit o' that and bam - a masterpiece! =)

I must admit, this post deserves a tutorial in itself.

You already know how to make the round bits from this post. What I'm now going to do is give you a quick run down of what you'll need to do to re-create this one.

What you'll need (supplies)
  • stack of old magazines (that's right, some more!)
  • old newspapers
  • glue stick / white school glue / home made glue / any other form of glue you prefer
  • knitting needle / long pencil / long stick or rod
  • poster paints and paint brushes
  • old rope (if you have any spare old rope around) or thick thread or yarn

Procedure / steps

Follow steps 1-6 from this tutorial - pay special attention to step 6. =)

Once you have your stacks of rolled up magazine paper ready, get ready to get the ball rolling! =)

7. Take two of these cylindrical paper rolls and put one inside the other. There's no better way to explain this than to actually show you. So, do this:

Place one paper cylinder on top of the other and then, well, put one inside the other.
Voila! They stay!

Don't stick them all the way inside each other, but make sure they're firmly placed so they don't fall out. Don't worry about gluing them. The next few steps will take care of that bit for you. =)

8. You'll have rolls like these. The tiny ones are there just for comparison.

For the frame that I made, I used three cylindrical paper rolls one-on-top-of-the-other for the length. And two of 'em stacked up for the breadth.

9. Then I glued three of these cylindrical stacks together in a row and waited for them to set. And I created another such stack. At the end, I had two stacks of three cylindrical stacks together. That is 2 x giant cylindrical stacks composed of 3 individual paper cylinders.
I placed these 2 identical stacks on top of each other and glued them together. And then I let this duo set.
If none of that made sense, take a look at this picture - it might help you figure out my gibberish! =D

I hope that  makes it clear!

10. Once I had all my four sides created and set, I got out my painting gear and let the Picasso in me out.
Basically, I coloured the length of the frame black and the breadth red. And then I let these dry off.

11. The next step was tricky. This is where I struggled the most!
I had a tough time trying to figure out how I was ever going to glue these four sides together. Doesn't matter what glue you use, it's rolled up paper and will just tear apart the minute there's any sort of pressure applied to it.
And there would be pressure on this little baby, given what I had in mind.
So after a lot of thinking and pondering, it finally hit me - tie the damn ends together with some good old string! Sturdy string, but string!

12. Once the sides are secure, you're going to need a mesh of sorts to clip your pictures or other stuff onto. I realised that I wouldn't be able to stick a mesh like this or this onto a paper frame. So I thought it's best to go ahead and recreate a mesh with my newfound secret weapon: string!
With the ends attached and mesh created, this is what my frame looked like:

13. Bland. That's what the string looked like to me. 
*shrugs* Sorry, but I put in a lot of effort and I just didn't like it looking plain smack in the centre of all the gorgeousness! So what'd I do? I got some golden dust (acrylic) paint thingamajig and went straight to work. I painted the strings tying the ends of the frame together as well the strings creating the mesh.

Brush on some tap water onto the string before you paint over it.
The string won't 'drink up' any of the actual paint when you start painting.
Also, it'll make the painting go smoother.
There you go - works like a charm!
Nice glittering gold paint!
And it goes really well with black, red and white!

14. Once this is all done, it's time to add the little round bits from this tutorial onto your frame! Figure out what placement looks best and glue 'em on nice and strong. Pretty straightforward, really. =)
The result? This:

You can touch up the little round bits, if you want. I like mine like this - giving a hint of what's underneath. 

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand that, ladies and gentlemen, is my first completed crafts project in the UK. =)

Needless to say, if you recreate this, do drop in a link or a picture to share with me. I'd love to see what you guys got up to. =)

And of course, if you have any comments on this blog, drop in a comment below. 


Recycled magazines

They look quite raw here, but there's so much more you can do with them!

We all have those stacks of magazines we've held on to for heavens knows how long. We're not quite sure why we've held onto them, but we just have.

Maybe for that one idea someday somewhere that'll get us to recycle them in the most creative way possible?

Well, here's one such easy, quick and quirky way to recycle and reuse them old magazines! =) And it requires very little skill (which is a very important criteria for someone like me that doesn't have much skill!).

It's rather simple, to be honest, but a tad bit time consuming. Which worked out well for me given that I have a lot of time on me before I hit uni in less than 20 days. =)

You can find many many mannnny more ideas on how to recycle old magazines on this website that I came across thanks to Pinterest: 100+ Ways To Creatively Reuse Old Magazines.

There are some absolutely fantastic tutorials there! I had a quick read through some of them and decided to mix and match and create my very own version of crafts from recycled magazines! =)

Without blabbing any further (I can really get carried away!), lemme give you a quick round up of what I did with those magazines.

What you'll need (supplies)

  • your stack of old magazines
  • old newspapers
  • glue stick / white school glue / home made glue / any other form of glue you prefer
  • knitting needle / long pencil / long stick or rod
  • optional: poster paints and paint brushes

Procedure / steps
    1. Make sure your working area is clean. Get your supplies together and ensure that you place a layer of old newspapers on your working area before you start. This will keep the area clean and save you trouble once you're done.

    2. Now grab a knitting needle (or equivalent), keep it at one of the corners of the paper and roll along till the end.

    3. You'll be left with a tiny little triangle at the end of the sheet. Use your glue stick on this triangle and stick it onto the rest of the roll.

    4. After you've stuck the triangle, wait for a few seconds to ensure it's stuck properly. Then, carefully get the knitting needle out of the roll of paper.

    That's me - hard at work!
    And that's my little helper husband! <3

    5. Repeat these steps till you have enough paper rolls. You can never quite be sure of how many you need till you actually start making what you want. But you can always go back and make these and continue with your project. =)


    6. Projects like these take a while. And sometimes one tends to lose focus. Don't forget to keep yourself motivated at all times. I had my motivation with me throughout. *wink*

    7. Once you have your paper rolls in place, you'll need to roll 'em up and then paint them (if you want to paint them at all!). 
    Now, you may chose to paint the roll of paper first and then roll, or roll it first and then paint it. Either way is ok, but from personal experience, rolling first and painting later is a lot more convenient. But I've shown you both ways below.

    TIP: Whichever way you chose, try to complete one thing completely and move onto the next. For instance, if you're rolling first, then ensure that you roll all your paper rolls and then move onto painting. And of course, vice versa.

    Take a roll of paper and flatten it out.

    Roll this flattened roll of paper and glue the end shut. Hold it there for a few seconds (or even a minute) to ensure that the end is tightly glued on.
    TIP: When you're rolling these, try to roll them in different sizes - some really tightly packed, some farther apart. It'll give more character to your project. =)

    Once it's glued on tight, you can paint away! =)

    Start painting a roll of paper. Make sure you cover it completely. Also, ensure that you have lots of newspaper so you don't mess up your working area!

    Once this is completely dry, flatten it out.

    Now roll this up and glue it shut. Make sure it's tightly glued at the end.
    TIP: When you're rolling these, try to roll them in different sizes - some really tightly packed, some farther apart. It'll give more character to your project. =)

    It doesn't matter which one of the above two methods you use, the result is exactly the same! Tell me if you can make out the difference between these two little boys:

    8. I was just experimenting with the blue color here. I ended up using red, black and white colours for the project I made. I simply painted over these blue ones and made them a part of the stack. =)

    I like to have the TV / Radio playing in the background while I work - keeps me company! =)

    Now, once you're all done with rolls (with or without painting them), you'll find you have a nice mix of different shapes and colours with you. 

    There's a lot you can do with theses - create mats or coasters by sticking them close together, or create a nice little wall hanging (check this link) or you can even create a beautiful photo frame with these! Basically, they're yours to experiment with and use as you please!

    You can see I used two different kinds of red paint here!
    This makes a lovely mat or even coaster.
    An abstract wall hanging, maybe?
    Lovely picture frame use!

    There is one thing I would say, though - if you do create these and make something with them, please do share them with me here. I'd love to see what you guys make. =)

    Also, in case you're wondering what I did with these little babies, hold your horses - my next post is all about how I used them to make something spectacular - even if I say so myself! =) 

    As you can see, I'm mighty proud of myself for having made what I did - so don't forget to check back! Once I have the post up, I'll drop in a link here as well. =)

    I've just redone this blog to make it exclusively 'creative', which means that it includes cooking, crafting and any other creative ideas I might have (such as this one!). I'd love to know what you think of it so far - do please drop in a comment below and lemme know!




    Here's the link I promised I'd post: Picture frame from recycled magazines

    Hope you enjoy it!