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Using Recycled Items In Your Crafts

May 22, 2008
It's amazing all the different things that can be recycled and used in your crafts. You can use stamps, beautiful letters and old wrapping paper for collages. Old newspapers can be used for paper maché. Even broken plates and tiles can be use for a mosaic. The possibilities are endless.

One easy and fun way to get started is by recycling glass jars, canisters or bottles. It's simple, but allows you to create something beautiful and useful for every day living.

In Paris, I use to salvage glass yogurt jars. They were perfect containers for votive candles. These have been a bit harder for me to find since moving to Los Angeles. However, thrift stores can be a great place to find little jars like these.

To decorate your glass jar or container, all you need is glue, like glossy Mod Podge, a cheap bristle brush (sold at Home Depot), a little water to moisten the brush from time to time, and some type of paper.

The paper can be tissue paper, Unryu (Indian or Chinese) handmade paper, or printed paper like you find at Michaels, Pearls or Blicks. You don't need to get the most expensive kind. The paper just needs to be slightly transparent, containing visible fibers if possible, and of course, in colors that you enjoy.

Also, don't get glossy paper as it could be difficult to glue.

To finish your jar, you can also get some raphia. There are lots of different colors available, so you shouldn't have any trouble matching your paper. You can also use big holed beads of varying colors with the raphia as an added touch.

To start your project, cut your paper into squares and glue them onto the jar until it's completely covered. You'll need to put glue under the paper, and on top of the paper. This will keep air bubbles from getting trapped under the paper.

If you want, you can even glue the paper on the bottom of the jar, letting it dry upside down.

Don't worry if the glue is a milky color. It'll dry clear and act as a varnish over the paper. The glossiness of the glue will also give the paper some feeling of depth.

Once you're done gluing, you'll need to let the jar site for at least 24 hours. If the weather is wet, then you may need to let it sit for an extra day. It'll look dry very soon, but it isn't. It needs to dry under the paper too.

Once your jar is dry, you can knot some raphia around the neck of the jar. This will give it a finished look. If you like the Bohemian style, you can thread your beads onto the raphia, and knot the raphia at the ends to keep the beads in place.

When you're all done, make sure you sign your piece on the bottom. Use a Sharpie or some other permanent ink maker.

Now you're ready for a votive candle (or whatever else you're putting in the jar or container). When you light it, just be careful of the raphia. Of course, always keep an eye on a burning candle.

As you can see, this is an easy way to decorate glass jars, canisters and bottles and do a little recycling at the same time. If you want some variations, you can also use dried flowers instead of the paper, or in addition to the paper.

Depending on the size and shape of your jar, you can use it for holding candies, keeping your jewelry or (for bottles) as a carafes or a vase for a single flower.

There are millions of ways to use your glass containers. And when you're tired of crafting, go shopping at the flea market to search for more supplies. After all, isn't that half the fun?
About the Author
Yael Bolender is a crafter that has a passion for recycling. She loves to take old items and give them new life. Her focus is womens accessories and home decor.
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