I recently realized how many spare mason jars and unique glass bottles I have saved up over time. I decided that instead of tossing them in the recycling bin that I would instead up-cyle them into something cool. I grabbed a can of yellow spray paint (a color neutral enough to go with anything but with a sunny disposition) and decided to give it a try. To create a variation amongst the yellow bottles, I put painter’s tape around one of the mason jars and sprayed. Once it was dry and I peeled the tape off, it left a nice clear accent! My dad joined me with a can of metallic silver paint and a bottle and it came out really neat, especially with the mixed elements of the metallic look and the wooden top.
The process is super easy, and very inexpensive! Here are the steps:
1. Grab any class container you have lying around
2. Pick out a can of spray paint in any color you like
3. Set up a drop cloth and work in an open air space
4. Shake up the can for 1 minute
5. Hold the can about 8 inches away from the object, and starting at the top, press the button on the can in a linear motion. Tip: Instead of holding the button down consistently whilst spraying, only hold it down during each individual linear spray.
6. Do 1 or 2 coats and let dry
7. Enjoy your new artwork however you’d like!
Idea: I recently organized my book shelf by grouping books of similar color families together, and I am hoping to spray paint more bottles in these colors as book ends. Sticking flowers or tall candles in some will tie them together and give it a wholesome feel.
This weekend presented itself with grey skies and abysmal conditions. My boyfriend and I, wanting to do something fun but ye of little money, decided to get creative. I always have paint on hand and random unfinished paintings, clothes with stains to be covered with embroidery, and mason jars waiting to be dazzled.
He decided to paint a mason jar in a very cool Van Gogh-esque way that I loved, and I decided to update an old picture frame. This frame has been sitting on my bedside table since I moved into my apartment, and although I love the picture of us in Nice, France, I have felt that the frame doesn’t fit in with the decor in the room.
I toyed with ideas of how I could creatively use materials I already have to make this frame more funky than drab, and for whatever reason I decided to start with tape. So, I put down tape in a diagonal pattern, squirted blue and white paint onto my pallet. I applied a bit of each color to my brush and painted freely where the tape was not. Once I lifted the tape, this zig-zag pattern allowed for perfect lines and resulted in a really cool pop of color.
Re-doing this frame was free, fun and relaxing. It’s a good feeling to have something new but have spent no money on it. We’ll also always have the memory of not allowing a rainy saturday to go to waste.
I recently bought a new pair of jeans and once I hung them up with all of my other jeans I realized that they are all exactly the same. This made me sad that I spent money on them. So, I racked my brain for what I could do to update them. I thought of dying them, but that was just way too messy an endeavor for the winter in a small apartment. I did a little research and came across embroidery; this is something that I have always admired on clothing but never thought to do myself.
I went home for spring break and asked my artistic mother if she could help me. She had all of the materials and the knowledge of how to do it – gotta love moms (and dads, they’re knowledgeable, too). I tried to come up with something inventive to put on my jeans, something that I wouldn’t get sick of and that would match multiple outfits. I love all things celestial, so I decided upon a sun and a moon.
It’s not perfect, of course, but I’m pretty happy with my first attempt! I’ve always gone embroidery crazy and have basically grown a garden with thread on the back of one of my denim button downs.
This new hobby is also a way better habit than anything on a screen. I LOVE Netflix, social media outlets, and my online news sources, but there’s something much more soothing about threading a needle with your favorite colors and jazzing up your jeans. It’s possible I just aged 60 years with that last phrase but we all make mistakes. Producing something with your hands and your own creative mind is way more productive than scrolling through your Facebook feed, more positive than most news stories you’ll read, and less headache inducing than watching your 10th episode of Friends for the day.
If you’re looking for a new creative outlet or a more productive form of procrastination, embroider your pants, people!
Recycling is fantastic and I am incredibly happy to see people caring for our planet by recycling plastic water bottles and paper products. As much as I wish people would buy a reusable bottle and use less paper, it’s absolutely a start and for the most part we seem to be heading in the right direction as far as re-using products goes. The main issues with products that we use today are the materials they are made out of and excessive consumerism. Plastic is not good (read, BAD) for our environment and although it can be recycled, there would be less plastic processing (and money spent per person per week) if we all bought a reusable bottle and filled it up when needed. Consumerism requires products to be consumed, and this can cause harm to our atmosphere. Instead of going out and buying a vase, finish off that bottle of Pinot Grigio and get creative! Or, if you’re like me and you want a piggy bank that doesn’t allow you to steal from yourself, that’s an option, too.
Last week I saw a wine bottle sitting in the recycling that had been polished off over a game of “Drink-whenever-the-language-changes-while-watching-Inglorious-Bastards”, when I had the urge to create something. I picked it up, laid down a sheet and started painting. First, since there was a label, I did my best to peel it off cleanly, then took to the sink with a sponge and soap to remove the sticky residue. I dried it and started applying the paint. I found that each color had a better application with a little white paint mixed in. I decided to paint an ethereal design – a sun and a moon – and a few waves because I find the color blue relaxing and I love that pair of complimentary colors. Applying a few coats made the colors pop and after it dried I stuck all the ones and spare change I had in my wallet into the upcycled wine bottle and felt good. Who doesn’t love a good DIY?
The second upcycling project I did was with an old, old wooden ship. Just kidding, I’m not Ron Burgundy and my room isn’t that big. I had been given some old wooden hangers from the 70’s from a coworker and found a very cool crescent shaped one. I painted it with a variety of colors in stripes and hammered some nails into each end and made it into a bracelet hanger. The same technique of adding a little white paint to the color was applied here. I am yet to find a perfect place on my wall for it, but for now it is doing the job of holding the bracelets I had no place for before.
The beautiful thing about upcycling is that I could have gone out and spent money on both of these things, but they were relatively free and I used products and materials I already had and repurposed them colorfully!