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Posts Tagged ‘recycling art’

I love Jane Austin and this is my version of a period costume.  She is an art doll I displayed at an Embassy Art show this last weekend.   I call her Still in Rags.  Her outfit is complete upcycled upholstery and drapery fabric.  I did a lot of hand sewing to fit it to her and add the wonderful ruffles.

Upcycled Art Doll

Upcycled Art Doll

I also used my heat gun to melt the fabric into the interesting shapes in her skirt.

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I found a new use for my silk fabric sample books.  I saw some of these chic little silk flower hair pins over on Etsy the other day and decided to try my hand at them.

Silk Flower Hair Pins

To begin I cut out some circles, three of varying sizes works best and makes the flower look really pretty. My largest circles are about 1 inch across.

Then with a candle you learn how to pass the edges of the circle through the flame until you’ve got a slight singe on all of the raw edges. This will be a learning process, be patient and cut a few extras so you have some practice circles.

Next take some thread and secure all the circles together and add a center bead.  Pass through the flowers and bead twice before attaching to the hair pin.

Add the hair pin and wrap 4 times, tie a good square knot and glue.  I used a multi-purpose glue that is more gel than liquid, that way it doesn’t leak through the fabric and stain the flower.  Once you’ve got a good secure attatchment to the hair pin clip the threads and wear.

This little project is good for head bands and little clips as well.  This is such a great way to use up some scraps you might have around your house.

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I’ve been working on Halloween costumes for about a month now, off and on.  I’m so excited about how everything worked out and how beautiful the girls looked.  Here they are on the way to the party.  Thank you to Threadbanger, if you haven’t visited their site or downloaded their podcasts, go for a visit!  The wings are due to their great tutorials and excellent instructions.

recycled hangers and knee socks made the wings

recycled hangers and knee socks made the wings

beautiful little rosebud

reused easter dress shortened and gathered to make dress

reused easter dress shortened and gathered

not bad for a girl with horns…

this family

this family

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I’m so excited!  We’ve been at this for almost a year, in that spirit I thought I’d do kind of a recap.  Here are my favorite ways to reuse, repurpose or recycle.  Enjoy!  And as always, please send photos or comments – we love them!!!

Cardboard – Draw on it, paint it, or cut it down.  Use as a substitute for chipboard or wood in your art.

T-Shirts – Cut down old, stained or ill-fitting shirts into ribbons. Crochet a rug, knit a scarf, or even wrap the scraps up to make little birds or other amigurami.

Wool Sweaters – Save or collect thrift store wool to make Christmas ornaments, soft animals or applique.

recycled wool sweater monster

recycled wool sweater monster

Jeans – Even when the fit or color doesn’t suit anymore jeans can be used.  Try tacking them down on a piece of burlap or old towel to make a warm, soft bathroom rug.  Jean is great as a backing fabric for mini quilts or mini ATC cards.

Aluminum Cans – Cut the cans into flat rectangles and wash – heavy gloves are a must.  When dry, trace butterfly or bug outlines, circles and squares over interesting patterns or colors.  Cut and attach to walls, furniture, punch holes and decorate a light or make jewelry.

Upholstery Samples – Embellish with stitching, applique, embroidery.  Use little scraps to make unique jewelry; add a few grommets and you’re on the way.

Buttons – Inherited from grandma, picked up from the thrift store or harvested from your old clothes.  Paint, draw or glitter for interesting embellishments to hats, shoes or jewelry.  Buttons make great eyes for wool or felt monsters.

Baby Clothes – They can be very expensive and so easily stained but needn’t be discarded.  If staining is minimal consider some simple applique to cover stains.  Heavily soiled items can be cut into ribbons and used much the same way as t-shirts.

Books – Picked up for pennies, the pages make a great background for ATCs or collage; I even use them as part of my jewelry packaging.   If you want to make the type a little more subdued, just try a single coat of gesso paint.

Junk Mail – Create collage, cut and glue into hanging stars; my girls don’t need coloring books with all the paper we get in the mail.  We’ve even sent out Christmas cards in junk mail envelopes.

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A few weeks ago I was surfing around Etsy, which is what I do when I’m procrastinating about my messy house or the dishes that still haven’t been washed, or the blogging I’ve not gotten around to.  Anyway, I do this alot and I have a new favorite recycling artist.  His shop is Dank Artistry and I want to be his new best friend.

I looked through his site and ended up with a long list of all the rings and bracelets I wanted and then I remembered a very unsucessful little foray into spoon rings during college.

My mother gave me some spoons to work with, they belonged to my Grandma.  They were those lovely Reed and Barton flower dessert spoons.  Well I made my mom and sister a couple of key rings and then I attempted to make a bracelet for my self.  After a very messy solder joint and some damage to the silver plating I had a bracelet that I’ve worn no more than a dozen times since (yeah that was 10 years ago).

Well thanks to the power of Alchemy I asked Dank to help me  fix the mess I’d made all those years ago.  And today I received the finished pictures of his work… I am speachless, he made them sparkle, they look so pretty and I will be able to wear them, and now I have two little rings that I can pass on to my two little daughters.

Please visit his site, and if you’ve the inclination – give him some business.  He’s very talented and friendly, the communication was excellent, and his prices are wonderfully reasonable.

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ATC card

ATC card

These cards are for one of my ATC trades, if you haven’t already, head on over to http://www.atcsforall.com and get in on a swap of your own. The theme of this swap is ‘let them have wings’, these are made from some old hello kitty playing cards, a few pages from an old book and some left over quilt batting. I used some floss to make details in the wings, colored with colored pencil and then stained them with some watered down brown acrylic paint.

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Magic chunkies art swap

Magic chunkies art swap

I’ve finally started to feel settled a bit, and I’ve returned to one of my life-lines from our days in Bogota, joining an Art Swap. I joined an ATC group after the first year away from the states as a way to feel connected to other artists, especially english-speaking artists. I wish my language skills were sufficient to find artsy friends in the wonderful places we’ve lived but life seems to find a way of getting between me and language classes.

I like thinking about the theme and then trying new things out to get my swap submissions ready to go. With the mail situation, I’ve also learned that waiting til the last minute is a sure-fire way to loose potential friends. I love getting things in the mail and I am excited for weeks waiting to see my trades… Overall I’ve always been surprised and very rarely disappointed.

I’ve done doll swaps and ATCs and now I’ve added chunkies to my list. I try not to overcommit, but sign up for one or two a month, then I check in to the forums to see if others have posted pics of their finished work. I love when a swap has a lot of lively interaction, it’s great to see the instant commraderie…

So, with a little work this weekend, and the use of a few magazines, cereal boxes and the scraps from my last forray into purse making… here is a few pics of the chunkie trades.

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