Tuesday, April 26

Re-use that plastic ring from your water bottle: How to

I collect caps of plastic bottles crazy. They say recycling companies are not equipped to separate bottle caps before the bottles get crushed for recycling. And so I try hard, to wash juice bottles and keep the bottle caps. Am dreaming of making full use of all my bottle caps some day.

But it was that oblivious fitting underneath the bottle cap that caught my attention the other day. What if those rings that work as pull tabs when you turn the cap to open it can be repurposed?

The plastic ring works to make such bottles tamper proof. When you trash the bottle or call the local recycle shop guy over to collect them, the ring becomes an invisible collateral.

A million ways may exist to put these rings to use in some way around home I bet. My easiest project was to grab those jewellery/jewelry pliers and some thread. Read on.

Your basic step before starting the project off is of course to pull the ring off the plastic bottle. An easy bit. If managing to push it out of those cap screwing ridges becomes a problem, get a tweezer, a blunt knife, or the edge of a barrette clip to help. Or a jewellery plier that can help bend the bottle a little so you drag the ring out.

You will notice that the ring has protrusions that originally attached them to the bottle cap. Obviously they need to be covered, lest they poke you.

I made earrings from these, threaded ones. It helps that I have such rings around now, because instead of heading to a store for fancy trinklets that cost a fortune, I can simply make a bunch in different colours to go with my clothes.

What you need for the project is:

- an embroidery skein for a start - I chose summery yellow

- a pair of scissors

- a jewellery plier

- fish hooks and jump rings

- plastic or wooden jewellery rings of smaller size or diameter

- rings off the plastic water bottles

- craft glue

- a craft stick to help with the gluing

- optional - a tapestry needle

And you are good to go.

Begin by threading the plastic ring one after the other.

I tried threading two rings together. It does not work unless you run super glue to attach two such rings. Given their easy-bend quality, I gave the idea up.

Leave about four inches of the yellow thread hanging before you start with the rolling of the thread. When you roll the six-thread skein over the ring, the thread tends to sit unevenly. Use your fingers to nudge stray threads towards the stack. In the process, you may find extra thread sitting over an existing layer, making the threaded ring look rough. It's your first effort. So take it easy. Let it be.

Knot the thread from the finishing end with the four-inch piece you had left hanging. When you cut the finishing end off, remember to leave another four inches. Repeat the process with the other ring.

Here is why  you leave the extra bit of thread: these rings vary in width depending on the size of plastic water bottles. The ones I had were fragile and bent easily, which meant that they would not last long on my ears. I needed something sturdier to hold them. The left over piece of skeins I used, to thread the smaller rings that would actually hold these larger ones.

Rolling the thread over on the smaller ring was a tricky effort. You can use the tapestry needle or craft stick to help with the process, by pushing the thread in and out the ring's hollow.

I wanted to avoid using jump rings to attach the small and big rings, which is why the knots with thread. Towards the end, you may tie another knot to finish the threading, and glue it into the rolled thread to seal the thread.

Repeat it with the other set of rings. And let the glue dry for about half an hour. Find jump rings large enough to fit the thickness of the smaller rings that are threaded. Use the jewellery plier to fix the jump rings.

Next, bring out those fish hooks and use the plier again, to insert into the jump rings.

Your pair of summer earrings are ready.

They work fine for casual wear and if you need something funky but simple at work. I would love to wear them for a beach trip, and not worry too much if I lost them. My suggestion is that you do not go buy a plastic water bottle for the sake of making earrings. Pick up a ring from a bottle that got thrust on you at work, or some event.

Enjoy the set, or gift away.

Who knew a plastic tab could adorn ears!

For permission to re-use pictures and content, write to: radicreative@gmail.com

Pictures courtesy: Radhika M B

Monday, April 18

Make your own colouring card bookmarks: DIY

Sudoku took a world still hung up on newspaper crossword puzzles by storm a few years back. The past few months have seen adult colouring books do the same thing.

Whoever thought doodling and the basic action of applying colour would have such an impact? Adult colouring books cost a fortune. Product development has brought forth smaller sized and spiral bound books yes, but nothing like tucking a little piece of cardboard into your purse, to colour on the way to work, at your office desk when you get upset with the boss.

Find a cardboard carton of something you bought from the store, and get to work.

Make sure it has a lighter side so doodles stand out better. And do not dream of getting expert at doodling for a start. Enjoy the flips.

You will need:

-- a pair of scissors

-- cardboard cartons that come with grocery

-- a ruler

-- marker pens or pencil

-- black or coffee colour ink pens that write thick

-- craft glue or tacky glue

-- construction paper of light colours

-- pastels or colour pencils

-- optional - a punching machine with yarn

-- optional - sandpaper

-- optional - paper trimmer

I cut the cardboard cartons into flat pieces to begin with.

And trimmed off their edges with my paper trimmer. You can use the ruler and scissors. The next step was to cut the main surface into three. Here you can play around with the measurements. Choose the size you want and cut accordingly.

After this, strip the glossy product label layer off the pieces, using the tip of your nails to separate the layers. Optionally, you can run sandpaper on the glossy surface, which will retain its thickness. I did not want them getting too thick.

Glue this rough surface on to light coloured construction paper or other paper of good thickness that you have.

You will notice that the cardboard may bend a little with the gluing. Place a book over it and let dry. Or roll a rolling pin (chapati stick), or simply crease with a craft stick.

After it gets dried,  cut the glued layers to size. Trim excess cardboard and paper.

Bring out the thick pens and begin doodling. Remember, to test the pen on the construction paper or other paper of your choice, for smudging and blotting. The big fan of rangolis that I am, I lost no time scribbling them away, creating some lines to fill up. My other favourite is tea-cups.

Your doodle bookmarks are ready. Sneak them into your purse or daily bag. Gift them away to a friend, or make it for your kids.

Keep oil pastels or colour pencils handy and tuck them in too.

Time to fill the paper with colour. And your head with pleasant thoughts.

Pictures and content courtesy: Radhika M B

For permission to use, write to: radicreative@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 12

Doorway mini pin-board with cardboard: How to

Organizing our weekly schedules is a task we loathe most days. It is so easy to dream of organizing, but so difficult to keep up! We come across pin-boards  to place above desks and in home offices. But really, how often do we care to look up our desks? A mini pin-board or post-it slip on the back of our main door is a lot easier to keep up with.

The last minute rush is what organizing products industry has cashed in on a great deal. We have today, `doorganizers' that get hung over foyer doors, or placed at the console tables of the foyer.

I used pieces of cardboard that came with packaged products, to create a mini organizer for my main door. Get ready for some mess.

You will need:

-- a felt sheet of your desired colour

-- tacky glue

-- a ruler

-- a pencil

-- a pair if scissors

-- satin ribbon of an accented or contrasting colour

-- tacks or push-pins

-- cardstock of an accented or contrasting colour

-- used corrugated cardboard cut into pieces approximately larger than postcards

-- optional -- washi tape or embellishments

The felt sheet you see in this picture is a lot lighter in shade than it appears. My corrugated cardboard pieces were all cut and ready for use before I started off. So I did not have to worry about the first step of cutting the cardboard to size.

If the cardboard was thicker, it would have been easier for the overall thickness of my pin-board. I had to get the desired thickness by gluing two pieces together. Keep a tissue or rag cloth handy as working with the glue can be messy.

Here is the picture, of the cardboard piece with tacky glue spread over its surface. After gluing the pieces of identical size together, let them dry for a while.

Place this set against the felt sheet, and leave out margin of an inch on its length and breadth. And cut along. Use the ruler and pencil to help with it.

After this, fold the one inch wide felt sheet protruding from beneath the cardboard, and glue it over the cardboard set.

This part of the project can get messy. I cut edges of the felt sheet that would mess with the gluing, and the scissors would not sheer through it easy! To ease the gluing process, make a slit from the corner of the felt sheet towards the corner of the cardboard, and maybe trim off a little more.

Smear some tacky glue about two inches from the intended upper edge of this piece, and glue a piece of satin ribbon, about four and half inches in length. Fold it to strick to the cardboard, to itself, and glue a little over the stuck piece (not seen in this picture).

Over this whole tacky glue mess, glue over the piece of cardstock that is an accented or contrasted colour piece, to cover the surface.

Let this dry. I discarded the washi tape that I had kept handy for the project. Instead, I pulled out cloth flowers from my craft stash and embellished it.

It is ready for use. If nailing this on a wall, or using wall hooks is a problem, use self-adhesive tape to run along its rear edges, and stick it on the door. You can make a few of these for strategic everyday use points at home - on the fridge, on the kitchen wall, near your bed...

For more thickness, you can use two felt sheets instead of one.

As for me, am falling a little in love with the versatile corrugated cardboard.

Pictures Courtesy: Radhika M B

For pemission to use content and pictures, write to: radicreative@gmail.com

No part of this tutorial or any content of the blog should be used without permission.

Tuesday, April 5

Bookmark with rangoli on felt DIY

Rangolis are fascinating. Nothing like the smell of cow dung smeared with a coconut broom in the wee hours on a village street, and rice flour strewn in intricate designs. I could never master the doorstep rangoli art though.

What I did try this time, was an experiment on felt, that is gaining ground in the crafting scene. Here is how it went.

What you need for the project:

-- a pair of scissors
-- a ruler
-- a pencil
-- satin ribbon (I chose chocolate brown)
-- felt sheet (I had mustard brown)
-- embroidery skeins

I first marked out squares on the felt sheet, of approximately two inches each. I cut them, drew out a rangoli, simple one, and cut them along its edges, leaving a little gap.

Next on, it was about a button stitch to embellish the edges. I left a little gap between the sheets towards the end, to insert a satin ribbon in later.

After the button stitch was done, it was about using a stem stitch along the marked lines for the rangoli.

The next step, was to insert the satin ribbon and stitch up over it.

I was not satisfied with the result. So for a second piece to attach on the other end, I cut two more squares on the felt sheet, and this time, used the square shape.

And attached the ribbon by inserting it into a little gap that I left while using the button stitch, and sealing it with another stitch.

It is easier when you finish stitching the rangoli on a single patch before running the button stitch.

Try this on a lazy afternoon. It takes about an hour to finish up, depending on the design you choose.
It is a typical teen project, so you can get your son or daughter to make it and gift it to friends.

Pictures courtesy: Radhika M B

For permission to use: radicreative@gmail.com