Monday, February 25, 2013

Soda Can Rubbing Plates

Transfer images onto aluminium soda cans to create rubbing plates.  Use images of any theme - favourite characters, letters and numbers, nature prints, textures, etc.. Create a collection and use as an indoor creative activity.

Upcycle soda can rubbing plate


You will need the following materials.
1. Clean, empty soda can.
2. Cutting tool.  I used shears I purchased from the dollar store.
3. Masking tape to tape down the finished plate and prevent cuts.  Duct tape would work as well.
4. Printed images to be transferred to plate.
5. Ball point pen.
6. Recycled cardboard.  This will be used as backing when transferring the images and also for the finished plate.

Caution.  Please work carefully with tools and materials to avoid injury.

Upcycle soda can rubbing plate

Remove the top end of the soda can using a cutting tool or can opener.  Cut down the side to the bottom of the can.  Remove the bottom end of the can.

You should now have a rectangular piece of aluminium.  Flatten out this piece and tape, design side up, onto a piece of cardboard. Lay your image over the aluminium and secure with tape.  Using a ball point pen, begin to trace the design, pushing down with heavy pressure.

Upcycle soda can rubbing plate

Remove paper image after tracing is complete.  Go over any lines that may need additional detailing.  Remove the aluminium rectangle from the cardboard backing and trim it down to the size of the image, maintaining the rectangular shape.  Flip the piece so that the clean inside of the can is facing upward.  Tape the piece on all four sides onto a piece of cardboard.  Please ensure that all edges are sealed to prevent cuts while using the plate.

Note.  For letters, words, numbers and other writings, reverse the image prior to printing them out.  This is to ensure that the resulting rubbing plate will be printed in the right direction (unless you intentionally want mirror image text).

Your plate is now ready for rubbing.  Place a piece of paper on top of the plate and rub over the image with a drawing tool.  This process works best with broken crayon pieces that has the wrapper peeled off.   Lay the crayon flat on its long side and rub across with even pressure.

Upcycle soda can rubbing plate

Upcycle soda can rubbing plate

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gold ChocolateTreasure at End of Candy Rainbow

There's gold at the end of this rainbow.  Make a rainbow with colourful candies and place a gold coin on a fluffy marshmallow cloud at the end.

Gold ChocolateTreasure at End of Candy Rainbow


Here are the materials you will need.

1. Rainbow colored candies.  I used Skittles.  You can play with candies of different colors, shapes, and sizes.

2. White marshmallow.  If you do not have this, you can leave it out or use tissue paper.

3. Gold wrapped candy, chocolate, or a copper or gold coin.

4. Clear cellophane wrapper.  I used a pretzel wrapper because that is what I had on hand and the narrowness of the bag helps to hold the different colors of candies in place.


Skittles Candy, marshmallow, gold chocolate


Sort your candies into the colors of the rainbow.  Place the marshmallows at the bottom layer.  Add the "gold".  If you want to hide the gold, then add some more marshmallows.  Add the purple candy to to the top of the marshmallow.  Repeat this process until the last group of candy is added. 

While adding the candies, I left my bag at the horizontal position to keep each layer from blending in to the next layer as much as possible.  Slide each group of candies towards the bottom of the bag until it is snug against the next layer.

Skittles Candy, marshmallow, gold chocolate

Tie a ribbon or gift tag to seal the bag and keep the candies snug inside.

Skittles Candy, marshmallow, gold chocolate

St. Patrick's Day is such a fun day and you don't need to be Irish to join the fun.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pretzel-Rollo-M&M Valentine's Day Treat

Here's a quick last minute Valentine's Day treat you can whip up quickly.  A friend of mine made this for our kids and I had to share this neat idea.

Pretzel Rolo m&m valentine's day treat

Here are the ingredients.

1. small pretzels.  Can be the traditional, square of any other shape.
2. Rollo's - because they are the perfect shape and they have yummy caramel inside.
3. m&m's - include these in any treat and they just make them more special.

Stack the ingredients in the given order from top to bottom on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 10 second intervals to melt the three layers together.  Please keep an eye on them so they don't over heat.  Let stand at room temperature to solidify.

I also tried experimenting with the microwave and put the treat in for 10 seconds the first time and at 5 second intervals each subsequent times.

This treat has just the right contrast of savoury and sweet flavour and chewy and crispy texture.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Make Hershey's Kiss Hearts

Make Hershey's Kiss Hearts


Make those cute Hershey's© Kisses cuter by transforming them into chocolate hearts.  It's so simple, with no molds or materials required.

All you will need is some Hershey's© Kisses, a baking pan or aluminum foil, a popsicle stick or a thin object for shaping the chocolate (skewers, toothpick, etc.).

Make Hershey's Kiss Hearts

Take your Hershey's© Kisses and freeze them.  Why we need to do this will become clear later on.  Once you have frozen or relatively cold kisses, heat up a baking tray or foil so that it is warm enough to melt chocolate, slightly hot to touch.  I placed my tray in the toaster oven and turned on the oven as if I was toasting a slice of bread.  Place one kiss on the heated material, right side up.

Make Hershey's Kiss Hearts

Allow the bottom part of the chocolate to soften.  This takes a few seconds to a minute, depending on how warm your foil or tray is.  It is important that only the bottom quarter inch of the piece is softened and the top remains solid.  Having the chocolate frozen will help with this step.

Once your kiss is soft enough, form a teardrop shape using you fingers.  (This is also a good time to place the next kiss on the warming tray.)

Make Hershey's Kiss Hearts

Using a skewer, Popsicle stick, or your fingers, pinch the center of the teardrop end to create a dimple.

Make Hershey's Kiss Hearts

Your Hershey's© Kiss is now a heart.  Sweet...

Make Hershey's Kiss Hearts

Monday, January 21, 2013

Layered Skirt Extension with Flower

Add another layer to a layered skirt and tie the two fabrics together with a flower.

My daughter has a layered cotton skirt that still fits her width-wise but is just too short by my measurements.  To give it longer length and life, I added another layer to the skirt.  Since the additional layer was a different color, I used fabric remnants from the new layer and created a flower and attached it to the finished skirt for a cohesive look. 


layered skirt with flower


This is the original skirt that I started out with.

layered skirt

Gather and pin the new layer to the bottom layer of the skirt and sew right side of new layer to wrong side of existing layer.

extending layered skirt

To make the flower, take a strip of fabric remnant and stitch down one end, with approximately quarter inch seam.

how to make fabric flower

Gather and turn the fabric to form concentric circles.

Stitch the circle closed.

The flower is done and ready to be stitched to skirt.

how to make fabric flower



Thursday, January 17, 2013

T-Shirt Dual Color Infinity Scarf

Do you have t-shirts that have been sitting in your closet?  Pull out two t-shirts for this project and upcycle them into a fun dual color infinity scarf.  The cotton material is soft and light enough to wear in spring, fall or indoors during winter season.  This versatile scarf can be worn low hanging, layered, or wrapped closely around your neck.


This project will require some sewing so take out that sewing machine.  If you don't have one, sewing is minimal so you can try doing it the old fashioned way using your hands.  You will need the usual sewing supplies.

1. threads for sewing
2. scissors for cutting t-shirts
3. ruler, straight edge, or measuring tape
4. fabric pencil
5. two t-shirts - recommended contrasting hues or colors.

I used two t-shirts of approximately the same widths so that the two colors would be balanced on the finished scarf.

T-Shirt Dual Color Infinity Scarf

Start with the t-shirt that is shorter, in my case, that would be the black t-shirt.  Cut across the shorter t-shirt immediately below the sleeves.  This does not need to be precisely measured, however, try to keep a straight line across.  Use the cut piece as a template to measure the cut for the second t-shirt.  Lay the cut piece on top of the second t-shirt, lining up the bottom edge.  Cut the second t-shirt to produce another piece of similar size.

T-Shirt Dual Color Infinity Scarf

Cut along the edge of each piece to open up the t-shirt, creating two long strips of fabric.  Line up each piece one on tip of the other and pin edges.

T-Shirt Dual Color Infinity Scarf

Trim off the bottom seam and any excess fabric along all edges.


Sew one end together on the short end (not lengthwise).  

T-Shirt Dual Color Infinity Scarf

Once one end is sewn, unpin the fabric and twist one fabric once.  Re-pin and sew other end.


Your infinity scarf is ready for wearing.  Wear is well!


Monday, January 14, 2013

UpCycle Sweatshirt to No Sew Bottle Holder

Here's a great way to make use long-sleeve clothes your kids have outgrown.  I used a sweatshirt but I'm sure this will work on other materials such as wool or fleece.  This project also makes use of as much material from the shirt as possible.  I came up with this idea to get my kids to drink more water, especially when they are playing outside for hours.

recycled shirt water bottle holder


For this project, you will need the following materials:

1. small sweatshirt or other long-sleeve top
2. scissors
3. cord or yarn to tie one end
4. cord lock (optional)

What's great about this project is that there is no sewing required but you will be doing a lot of cutting.  See below for details of cut marks. 


Cut one sleeve off the sweatshirt.  This will be used as the main part of the bottle holder.  Cut notches along the side of the sleeve which will be for tying the strap in place at the end of the project.  Turn the cut end of the sleeve down about half inch as shown and cut holes along the end of the sleeve.  These holes will be used for the cord that will hold the bottle in place.  

sweathsirt cut sleeve

Set the sleeve aside and start cutting the main area of the sweatshirt to make a long strand of yarn.  This process is the same as making a t-shirt yarn.  The difference is the way the material will behave.  When making t-shirt yarn, the material will curl and produce a round yarn strand.  Sweatshirt material will remain flat so cut a narrow strip of approximately half and inch wide.  Start by cutting strips crosswise but do not cut all the way through.

making sweatshirt or t-shirt yarn

Turn the sweatshirt so that the uncut side is flat and facing upwards.  Start cutting the top of the lowest strip to the bottom of the next strip on the opposite side.

making sweatshirt or t-shirt yarn

As you cut along, you will start to see the yarn growing.

making sweatshirt or t-shirt yarn





Keep going until complete.  Divide the yarn into three approximately equal lengths and tie the three pieces together into a knot at one end.  Braid the yarn to the desired length of your bottle holder strap.  Tie the strap to the four notches on each side of the sleeve.  String a yarn or cord around the bottle end of the sleeve and add a cord lock if you have one.  If you do not have a cord lock, you can double knot the end and put a bottle through the top end of the holder instead.

Here is the finished bottle holder.

recycled upcycled shirt water bottle holder - no sew