Friday, May 27, 2011

Marking Your Plants - the Upcycled Way!

I came across a bunch of really cute upcycled garden markers on Upcycle Magazines website the other day.  There are 8 adorable ideas for marking those vegetable/flower/herb gardens without buying a thing.  I have another to add to their list and I'm going to show you how to use old soda cans and sharpies to make some really cute garden markers.  You can get really creative if you like or you can keep it simple.  Here's what you'll need:

1.  Some clean soda cans that you have cut the tops and bottoms from - be careful the edges are sharp!

2.  Something to cut with - keep it simple with a pair of scissors or get fancy with die cutting/embossing instruments meant for scrapbooking.

3.  Something to write with - a sharpie will do just fine but so will other markers and inks made for slick surfaces

Now that you have all your supplies gathered you can start cutting up your sheets of aluminum into the shapes you desire.  Keep it simple using your scissors to cut out simple stake-like tags.  Or you can pull your die cutting machine and let it do the cutting for you.  I even added some embossing to a few of mine. You'll probably need to flatten the aluminum which can be done easily by rubbing it lightly along the edge of a table. I find it easier to flatten after I cut the shape rather than trying to do the full sheet at once.  You're likely to make unsightly creases if you do it first.

Well, that was easy wasn't it?  Time to label your markers:

Add some simple wire or skewers that will easily hold your marker in the ground, like this:

And now to the garden:

What materials do you reuse to mark your gardens?  Leave a comment below and share your ideas.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An Upcycled Herb Garden... Anywhere

This is my favorite time of the year!  If I could be in the garden all day, I would be.  I've added two flower gardens to my yard, decked out the patio and have quite the vegetable garden growing in the field behind the house.  There's not a lot of room left to do much more, but I found a way and thought I'd share it with readers.   Yep, that's it over there on the left side of the page.  I love how rustic it looks and that I can put it anywhere.

Here's what you'll need:
* Soup cans (cleaned and labels/glue removed)
* Spray paint
* Chalk board paint (and chalk)
* Paint brush
* Twine (optional)
* Drill

First things first, drill two holes in the bottom of each soup can for drainage

And one just under the rim for attaching your twine should you choose to hang your herbs (optional):

Now spray paint your cans with the color of your choosing:

Once your cans are dry add a strip of chalkboard paint, you'll probably need two coats:

Add your plants:

Use a piece of chalk to label your herb:
You can stop here and decorate your patio or window ledge with individual herb pots or you can string a piece of twine through each can and tie it off.  You'll want each piece to be a little longer than the one before it so they form a tiered effect once hung. Then just tie all of the lengths together forming a loop that can be hung from anywhere you please. You can also use these in the office or the kids playroom to store pens, markers, paint brushes, etc.

If you make a soup can herb garden, I'd love to see it.  Post a link below so we can all check it out.  Happy gardening!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ten Other Uses for Cardboard Paper Tubes

Before you toss those toilet paper and paper towel cores in the recycle bin, how about finding another use or two for them?  You can always toss them in the bin later.

1.  Art, kids or otherwise.  This framed flower is made completely of sliced, shaped  and partially painted cardboard tubes.

2.  Use them to organize, wrap and store scraps of ribbon. 

3.  Decorate them and seal one end for a fun upcycled storage idea (see my Upcycled Craft Closet post).

4. They are great way to add a "handle" to hallow items for ease of spray painting.  Then you can leave it to dry on the tube.

5.  Use them to start your seedlings; simply cut them in half and place them on an old baking sheet, fill with soil and drop in your seeds.

6.  Slice them up and decorate them with fabric, buttons or silk flowers to use as napkin rings.

7.  Paint them, sprinkle with glitter, add a layer of decoupage and turn them into earrings.

8.  Turn them into a toy for your small parrot, rabbit or rat.  They'll love to tear them up, toss them around and hide in them.

9.  Decorate them, close up the ends, add a ribbon and use them as a unique, personalized way to present small gifts.

10. Let the kids color and decorate them, glue two together, add a string and viola...binoculars.  Now take those binoculars and the kids outside and do some bird watching!

I'd love to hear your ideas for reusing cardboard tubes below.  Leave a comment and help us all reduce such a common household waste item.
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