Tag Archives: upcycle

9000things DIY Decoupage Bottle Tutorial

This DIY upcycle project is a perfect way to use up those empty glass bottles you’ve got around the house! (Because, let’s face it: wine.)

DIY-Wine-Bottle-Upcycle-Tutorial---9000things

1 DIY Decoupage Bottle Kit from 9000 things includes the following materials:

1 recycled bottle (de-labeled and ready to go!)
1 brush
1 jar of decoupage glue/varnish
1 sheet of French decoupage paper
*We get our paper from a fancy French company that specializes in this stuff. These papers are thin, flexible and incredibly strong, they are deep dyed and glazed so they won’t run, break apart or tear while you are working with them, and they don’t fade.

DIY Decoupage Bottle Kit - 9000things

Instructions:

1. Paper prep: Start by tearing a strip of paper off the large sheet, make a few strips. (If you like the pattern of the paper this will allow you to keep some of the design on the bottle). Laying the strips next to each other in order. From one strip tear into smaller pieces.

DIY Decoupage Tutorial - 9000things DIY Upcycle Project - 9000things DIY Upcycled Bottle Kit - 9000things

2. Now that you have a collection of torn pieces of paper, it’s time to glue!
Working quickly, brush on a thin layer of glue onto a section of the bottle . Glue should be evenly spread and just enough to see a little white color, you do not want to have any pools or drips of glue. Too much glue will cause creases and bubbling.

DIY Upcycled Home Decor - 9000things DIY Project For Empty Wine Bottles - 9000things

3. Use the same paint brush to pick up a piece of torn paper – to save you getting any glue on your hands. You can tear up all your paper beforehand, or use scissors if preferred!

4. Place the paper onto glue section of glass, and smooth out the creases by applying another layer of glue over the top and gently pushing. Sometimes I use my finger to smooth a stubborn piece into place.

PRO TIP! If you have trouble with creases or bubbles, don’t paint over the paper until the glue on the back has dried. This will minimize bubbling and wrinkling.

DIY Wine Bottle Upcycle Project - 9000things DIY Tutorial Decoupage Bottle - 9000things DIY Recycled Wine Bottle Tutorial - 9000things

5. Continue adding your paper cut-outs until the bottle is completely covered. Overlapping pieces slightly. Fill in any small gaps with scraps.

6. Then leave it to dry for 1-2 hours. You can apply a second thin layer of glue on top to add a protective coat, the glue dries clear.

TA-DA! Your finished bottle is ready! Will it be proudly displayed on your mantle, hold freshly cut wildflowers on a window sill or will you wrap it up with a pretty bow for a lovely handmade gift?

DIY-Empty-Wine-Bottle-Upcycle-Project---9000things

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Using Every Part of the Animal

I have nothing against leather, but I don’t know if I would buy new leather for myself or as supplies for 9000things.

However, if it isn’t clear by now, I like incorporating salvaged materials into new designs. I saw a lot of potential in the beautifully dyed leather scraps leftover from other handmade artists.

I call this project: Every Part of the Animal, based on the Native American principles of reducing one’s impact on the earth and minimizing waste by reusing parts that might normally be discarded.

I get the leather scrap from other crafters in Boston. The larger pieces are cut into 8″ strips (1/4″ – 2″ wide), then punched and set with snaps to make colorful leather cuffs.

Salvaged Scrap Leather Cuffs - 9000 things

Now there are medium sized pieces left which are sliced into 3/4″ strips and cut repeatedly to make leather fringe. The fringe is layered and clamped and strung on coated steel for awesome necklaces.

Salvaged Scrap Leather Fringe Necklaces - 9000 things

The small skinny scraps that are left over are the perfect size for long fringe earrings.

 

Salvaged Scrap Leather Fringe Earrings - 9000 things

There’s almost nothing left as waste!

Shout out to sacAmain and Edie & Fin for making beautiful things and for saving their leather scraps for me!

Currently, these are one of a kind and only available in person at handmade shows. However, please feel free to contact me if you’d like to purchase a cuff, necklace or earrings.

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DIY: Cleaning Rusty Metal

Day One of my DIY Art Wagon Project was all cleaning and scrubbing! There’s a lot of rust going on here, and a bunch of different ways of dealing with it, based on where it is and what’s going on later.

First: The rust on the actual wagon body needs to be removed and the metal cleaned because I’m planning on priming and painting over it. Along the outside corners, there were a lot of large rough rust spots. For these I found that a wire brush was the easiest and most effective. In the after shot, you can see the metal shining through, but the red tinge is gone. (click photos to blow up)

Tutorial for Cleaning Rusty Metal - Wire Brush | DIY Art Wagon Project | 9000things

The bed had smaller rust spots uniformly across the whole surface. The wire brush was pretty much useless here, so I switched to 100 grit sandpaper, which worked beautifully! Again, you’re aiming to get rid of the redness, it will still look kind of crappy after you sand it…

Tutorial for Cleaning Rusty Metal - Sandpaper | DIY Art Wagon Project | 9000things

Finally, around where the wheels are on the wagon, there was some greyish oxidation which didn’t look like rust exactly but was texturing the surface of the metal. I had a hunch that Simple Green would scrub that right off, and it worked! You’re going to want to use that cleaning solution on the whole shebang at this point… We need the surface to be dust/oil/dirt free and bone dry before spray priming.

Tutorial for Cleaning Rusty Metal - Simple Green | DIY Art Wagon Project | 9000things

The last place that there was a lot of rust was on the wheel rims. I looked all over the internet and didn’t really find a great answer for how to clean it off. So I asked my bff’s bike expert boyfriend. He recommended spraying the rims with WD-40, letting it set for a minute and then steel wooling everything away.

Tutorial for Cleaning Rusty Metal - Steel Wool | DIY Art Wagon Project | 9000things

OMG, rust cleaning porn!

Pro tip. Do all the rust removal, cleaning and priming in one day. Otherwise rust starts to regenerate and you’ll find yourself fighting the dumbest battle ever. Primer info coming soon!

For my pinners out there! Here’s a compact graphic:

Kinds of Rust and How to Remove Them | 9000things

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DIY Salvaged Jewelry Display Tutorial

Update: Hey everyone from Pinterest! These DIY jewelry displays have been getting a lot of attention lately, so I decided to give the tutorial a little revamp. Enjoy ;)
Oh! And let me know if I can improve my design, or share your jewelry display with me on the 9000things facebook page.

**************************************

A few weeks ago I realized all these new products I’ve been making require a new craft show display. So… off to the local flea market to find supplies! I totally love how these came out.

DIY Jewelry Display Tutorial - Vintage Wooden Boxes - by 9000things

I had this rough idea of what I was looking for at the flea market:
Cheap wooden crates (mine were rickety and needed some love and extra nails) $5 each
Small hinges $1 per pair
Scrap wood panels (had these in my stash)
Lots of random mismatched drawer knobs plus hardware $3 for a handful

And I had all this stuff on hand:
Various bolts, screws and nails
Drill and drill bits
Hammer
Flathead screwdriver
Ruler
Pencil
Sandpaper

Step 1: score a bunch of awesome crates from the flea market, recycle center and the local wine shop:

Raw wooden crates from a flea market - 9000 things

These ones have already been fixed up a little bit (hammer time!)

In case you can’t find enough wooden crates, the scrap wood panels will act as a cheat. Here I took two 1x10s that are about 28″ long and connected them with 2 small hinges in the back.

Upcycled jewelry display - 9000 things

Wider is better as far as stability. When set at a 90° angle, these panels stand on their own. So simple.

Next, measure a few inches from the top of each crate and draw a level line to make sure that your knobs will line up. Then mark out where you want to drill your holes – where the knobs will be positioned.

Salvaged materials jewelry display for craft shows - 9000 things

I found that between 3 and 4 inches is best for hanging necklaces, and I tried to keep it consistent across all the crates, making sure to center everything. You only need to leave about 1.5 inches on the sides.

Next, match your drill bit with the width of the bolts attached to your knobs. There’s some amount of standardization in knob bolt, with an exception here and there. Drill the holes!

Craft show jewelry display tutorial from found materials - 9000 things

(Those are not MY hairy arms)

Sandpaper those holes real quick to get rid of any splinters. And then, here’s the fun part… Check out this medley of mismatched salvaged drawer knobs:

Salvaged vintage drawer knobs for a jewelry display - 9000 things

I collected these all in one day at the flea market and I spent a grand total of $13! Here’s a tip: check out the guys who have a huge amount of old tools and hardware in various crazy boxes. The vendors I talked to were happy to offload this stuff and I just had to do a little digging. Basically anything less than $1 per knob is a great deal!

Last step is to find the right size bolts for the drawers and put them all together. It’s helpful if you have a rando bolt stash to go through. You’ll probably need to use a flathead screwdriver to make sure the knobs are secure.

DIY Craft show jewelry display tutorial - 9000 things

Don’t they look awesome?! I’m so in love with this project and it only took ONE day from start to finish!

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Ringgg: How It’s Made

Make Something Awesome!

[Update: Ringgs will be available on Sundays starting May 5th at the SoWa Open Market in Boston as well as regularly on my etsy site.]

My favorite part of making Ringggs is explaining to people how they’re made and watching as they register the familiar material that they’re holding in their hand. Then we have a conversation about how cool it is to transform something old and discarded into something new and beautiful.

Ringgg - Upcycled Jewelry from Discarded Telephone Wire - by 9000things

It starts with a plentiful and mostly obsolete material: coiled telephone cord. And a lot of it.

Telephone cord is recyclable. However, the amount of copper inside coiled phone cord is so small, it’s barely worth the energy to separate it. And I think this is a better solution anyway!

Ringgg - Upcycled Discarded Telephone Cords - 9000things

I get these cords everywhere! I have friends at recycling centers who will save them for me. I’ve gotten cords from many universities in Boston. Also: thrift shops, yard sales, FreeCycle and, straight up, the trash.

First, I cut the cords into smaller, Ringgg-sized coils. This part is fun because I find endless combinations of bright colors on the inside.

Ringgg - Upcycled Telephone Cords Stripped - 9000things

Most follow the standard: black, red, green and yellow seen above. But some are clear, some striated, some matte. Then there are crazy tropical colors, neutral pastels, 80s neons, sparkly copper… pretty much everything you see on my blog. (check out here and here and my shop here)

The rubber is stripped off of both sides, leaving one coil of sheathing intact in the middle to serve as an adjustable ring band. Wrap the band under one finger…

Ringgg - Upcycled Telephone Cords as Jewelry - 9000things

…Pull and twist the wires and VOILA! You’re ready to wear your Ringgg!

The curliness from the telephone cord is permanently fixed in the Ringgg, making it fun to play with, but durable. It’s like having a tiny interactive sculpture on your finger.

Ringgg - Upcycled Jewelry from Industrial Materials - by 9000things

And that’s how it’s made! Awesome, right?

*Just a note: I’m posting this ‘how it’s made’ as a kind of Open Source technology. Feel free to learn from my ideas, to make a Ringgg for yourself or your friend, and to draw inspiration for your own DIY upcycle projects.

It would be awesome if you don’t steal my original idea and try to sell it. This is my baby, and I’m really proud of it. If you’d like to sell Ringggs, contact me for wholesale or a license agreement. Don’t be that guy.

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Earth Day is Every Day!

Okay, Serious Post for a second here.

9000things, the small independent business is just over a year old now, but the idea behind it has followed me around since forever and ever. I’m not exactly sure when I first realized that far too many useful things make their way to die a lonely death in a landfill far before their time.

Maybe it was influenced by my father’s questionable habit of taking hand-me-ups from my sister and I as we were growing up. He can still be found chopping fire wood from the forest behind our house sporting my mother’s stretched out floral turtlenecks, wide leg jeans from when I went through my grunge phase, and a red and pink hat with knitted hearts that belonged to my sister in the 90s.

Perhaps I grew up a little too close to my mother’s light hoarding of broken things, just on the edge of being functional, that became open ended repurpose projects.

My grandmother, who grew up in the depression, felt perfectly comfortable passing off plastic milk caps, empty glass jars, calendars from years gone by, quality control rejected tshirts missing a (fairly essential) neck hole, and dead june bugs from her Florida winter home as totally normal kid’s birthday presents.

There’s my aunt, the first person to introduce me to the idea of early morning trash picking for furniture from the neighbors.

Another aunt got all of her clothing from thrift shops and did not mind telling us all about it.

As kids, my best friend’s dad woke us up at 5am on Sundays and threw us in the minivan in time to be the first at the flea market to scour for valuable antiques that were priced far below the market.

In short, I’ve been indoctrinated my whole life.

Most of the projects at 9000things involve some amount of upcycling or reuse or repurposing. But I’ve been at this for a long time and I strive to make the most beautiful new things out of the old and ugly.

I saw this post on the blog at Twice and in celebration of Earth Day, wanted to share:

Twice Blog - Used clothing saves the earth

Read about what they do here!

This stuff is so fun! Yay Earth Day!

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Sneak Peek: New Remix Necklaces

Vintage Beads + Repurposed Chains

Check out these colorful new Remix Necklaces from our Spring 2013 Collection which we’ll be showing at the SoWa Open Market in Boston starting May 5th.

Big Bead Remix Necklaces 1 - 9000 things

Big Bead Remix Necklaces 2 - 9000 things

Big Bead Remix Necklaces 3 - 9000 things

Each necklace is about 26″ and combines large spherical vintage beads in bright, cheery colors and a recombinant chain made from old and broken jewelry. We’re ready for spring!

 

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Ringgg: With Bling

Check out the Original Ringgg Collection here.

Shortly after launching Ringgg, I started experimenting with new materials and came up with these blinged out beauties featuring Czech glass beads in bold colors and geometric cuts.

They’re so fancy looking!

Jeweled Ringggs Sneak Peek 9000 things

Not sure where the idea for these came from, but I was playing a whole lot of Bejeweled around that time… hmmmm

These sparkly Ringggs are so fun and I just love how they catch the light and the attention of people passing by. Ringggs with bling from the Spring/Summer 2012 collection are on Etsy here.

Enjoy!

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Ringgg: The Beginning

Used Telephone Wire: Design Project

In February 2012, I first launched Ringgg on Etsy. This design project has roots in my art school days when I made sculptures from parallel cable wires and other discarded materials from the IT department.

So I had a big bag full of used coiled telephone cords left over that were collecting dust in my closet. Telephone cords can be recycled, but the minute amount of copper that is captured is barely worth the process.

Weeks of cutting rubber and stripping wire and it came to me that the materials were perfectly suited for making repurposed rings. Several iterations later, I had an elegant and simple solution and thus Ringgg was born.

Reused telephone cords become colorful rings - Ringgg by 9000 things

The most surprising thing about these old wires is the large breadth of colors used throughout the history of telephone cordage. Contemporary wires are grey and white. Boring.

But back in the 80s, a creative engineer somewhere decided to go heavy on the neons and by the 90s we have some pretty awesome color combinations including lime green and magenta. The 2000s introduced clear coated copper (so futuristic) and variations on that theme.

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Making An Ugly Christmas Sweater “Better”

The boyfriend and I are participating in an ugly sweater contest on Christmas Eve this year. There will be a prize, possibly a crowning ceremony, so we’re taking this dead seriously.

Make Your Ugly Christmas Sweater Better - 9000 things

Ugly Sweaters are a hojillion dollar industry, but we’re thrifty over here with our one-use-ever clothing items. Salvation Army had these beautiful pieces (on sale!), but they needed a little extra flare.

Ugly Sweater DIY before - 9000 things

Note that the sweater on the left is actually not a christmas sweater. We’ve got to figure out how to make that lame heart look a little jollier.

Here’s our suggested materials list:

Ugly sweater diy supplies - 9000 things

1. 25 feet of cheap gaudy garland for $1.99
2. buffalo snow or similar
3. moderately ugly thrift store sweaters
4. puff paint in white, red and green (mandatory)
5. glittery buttons and other random craft cast offs
6. sewing thread (plus a few needles)
7. googly eyes in various sizes
8. plastic beads I found in a drawer?
9. hot glue gun, loaded and ready

Not pictured:
an old red t-shirt
scissors like you used in elementary school (for effect)
your unbridled imagination

The idea here is to ATTACK with more confidence than you deserve to have. Everything you think of is pure gold and doesn’t need to be second-guessed. Trust me.

Big D has never sewn anything in his life. Is that going to stop him from sewing buttons onto his sweater? What do you think the answer is.

Ugly Sweater DIY - 9000 things

The following is a list of hints and tips. Everyone’s sweater is going to look different, but that doesn’t mean we can’t leave you with some inspiration.

If you don’t have glitter or something shiny on your sweater, you might as well give up.

Ugly Sweater DIY - 9000 things

Googly eyes are always better than no googly eyes.

Ugly Sweater DIY - 9000 things

Add puff paint. And when you’re done, add puff paint to the puff paint.

Ugly Sweater DIY - 9000 things

Thematic words always look good written on clothing. Especially in puff paint.

Ugly Sweater DIY - 9000 things

Just remember: When it comes to making something tacky and hideous, MORE is more.

And, we’re done! Look how gd happy we are.

Ugly Sweater DIY after - 9000 things

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