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We’re a family of 5 and that really only means one thing… we go through A LOT of stuff. And when I mean stuff, I mean we generate a lot of trash. We do a lot of recycling and our big blue bin (recyclables) usually gets filled up before the green trash bin does. I’m talking cardboard boxes (we do a lot of online shopping), glass jars (we do a lot of cooking) and the weekly newspapers… because I just can’t bring myself to read my Sunday paper online. Not the same.
I hate throwing things out… and while I’m happy that a great deal of what we get rid of can be recycled, I try really hard to re-use what we have if at all possible. I thought I’d share some of my favorite projects to recycle, upcycle, and reuse the products we have lying around the house.
I usually pick up most of my craft supplies while I’m in Walmart doing my weekly shopping. I needed to get some spray glue and chalkboard paint for the crafting I had in mind. I also needed to replace some batteries… oh who am I kidding, I ALWAYS need to replace some batteries… and I came across these new Energizer EcoAdvanced batteries. What? These batteries are actually recycled from other batteries and materials – the first battery of it’s kind on the market. I love that they have figured out a way to recycle batteries. Never liked having to just throw them out. What a waste. I picked up a pack of AA (remote controls, flashlights, Wii remotes, chargers) that we go through all the time. These are Energizer’s longest lasting alkaline ever! Wow… EVER! They come in AAA size as well. They also hold up to 12 years in storage which is phenomenal because I’ve been really concerned lately about having batteries in our emergency kit… and regular batteries don’t last that long.
Looking for batteries at Walmart? Sometimes they are hard to find. Check out the Video Game/Electronics section of your store to find the battery kiosk.
I have so many glass jars and bottles around the house. I really hate throwing them out, but they don’t really look all that pretty. Growing up, my mother was a painter and she always used glass jars for her pain brushes. I love anything that is rustic looking or shabby chic, so I like being able to reuse the jars in different ways.
I’m going to show you how easy it is to make your old jars beautiful… and functional again.
Glass jars or bottles
Spray primer (any color)
Spray chalkboard paint (or any other color of paint you choose)
1. You can use any glass jar or bottle you have around the house. Glass milk bottles are a lot of fun (if you get them) and I know you always have some pasta sauce jars or pickle jars. Even baby food jars are really fun. I’ve done this with wine bottles as well.
2. Make sure you have taken off every inch of paper labels the jar has. I usually soak them in really hot water or run them through a hot dishwasher… but only if it’s full… you don’t want to waste water on just jars. I live in California, we don’t waste ANY water if we can help it.
3. The glass has to be completely clean. Free from paper, liquid, lint, anything that would prohibit a smooth finish.
4. You want to do this project outside since you are going to be spray painting.
5. Just stand the bottles or jars upright and you are going to cover them in a VERY thin coat of the primer. I’ve spoken with several painters and when you are painting glass you absolutely need primer or the paint will eventually peel off the glass. But… you don’t want a thick layer of primer because that will peel off as well. Just a super fine mist of primer is what you want. Make sure you do cover ALL the glass, however. Just lightly.
6. Let dry completely.
7. When dry, you are going to spray on your chalkboard paint. Now, you CAN do this with a paintbrush, but it’s going to be more time consuming and you aren’t going to get the super sleek finish you want.
8. Let dry completely. Again.
9. Decorate… or leave as is. Up to you.
I have these great chalkboard markers that are perfect for a craft like this. You can write anything you want on the bottles and no chalky mess. If you prefer the regular chalk look, you can absolutely use those as well.
Pretty cute, right? Want something even easier to do with those left over cereal boxes and magazines? Make bookmarks!
Between the kids and me, we have tons of books that are in the process of being read at any given time. And… we never can find anything to use as a bookmark. Seriously… you’d think we’d have things but we don’t. I usually end up using a hairband or something. Ugh!
These, however, are super fun and easy… and you can make as many of them as you like.
Empty cereal boxes
Scissor or utility knife for cutting
Cutting board (so you don’t slice up your table or floor)
String or ribbon
1. Cut your cereal boxes apart so the cardboard if flat.
2. But pieces that are about 1 1/2″ x 7″.
3. Tear out pages of the magazines that you really like and cut them to the same size.
4. Spray the cardboard on the colorful side since that will be covered.
5. Carefully place your magazine cut out over the glue.
6. When dry, punch a hole at the top to tie a string or ribbon to.
I found this ad for Cinderella in one of my magazines and thought it would make a great bookmark. Unfortunately, all THREE of my kids wanted it for themselves. So, now I’m on the hunt for more Cinderella ads.
These are great gift ideas because you can make a bunch of them with the most adorable images on them.
I’ve also done some other really fun crafts that I still have around the house.
These are some other of my favorite projects. I attended a really awesome painting class at Boho Upcycle in Atwater Village here in Los Angeles. We learned how to use different types of chalk paint and milk paint to paint on glass mason jars. It was fabulous and I love how the jars came out. I’d much rather have a bunch of pretty (and useful) jars around the house than just tossing out old pasta sauce containers or pickle jars.
I made this adorable newspaper gift bag at another craft class I attended a few years ago. Who wants to spend money of gift bags when you can make them yourself from your old newspapers?
The twine pears I made last fall – the perfect way to recycle light bulbs. A big bowl of these would look so great on your coffee table. I think I’m going to do some more with different colored twine.
Enter Energizer’s GuiltFreeEnergy Giveaway. They are giving away $1,000 in Gift Cards.
How do you recycle, upcycle and reuse objects around your home? I’d love for you to link up in the comments so I can see your projects.