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

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