Upcycling: DIY projects to reuse your trash and pass some time during quarantine

While the corona virus might have changed not just our learning environment at university but pretty much our lives within weeks, there is one thing that it cannot cancel: The Goodwill Committee will continue to share our best sustainable life hacks with the CIROS community. So, this time we are here to save you from another boring and tiresome day in self-isolation because today you will become crafty with us and make some beautiful DIY projects out of your piles of trash you probably have left from all the hording. Keep reading to learn how to transform your empty cans into a beautiful desk organizer for your pens and brushes or how to turn your empty glass bottles into a light for your nightstand. Anyone can do these – we promise! Just keep reading for out two crafty ideas. 

Maritime fairy light for your nightstand

A happy commissioner with the final product

May it be for nighttime reading or just to add some romantic atmosphere to your bedroom, this little DIY lamp is perfect and super easy to make.

And here is what you will need …

  • An empty glass bottle (with a cap)
  • A lot of yarn with a natural look
  • A pair of scissors 
  • Fairy lights with a battery
  • Hot glue gun

How to make a Turk’s Head

To start off, you will need to cut the yarn to the right length. Depending on how thick your bottleneck is, wrap the yarn 12 times around either three or four fingers of your hand. This is the amount of yarn you need to make a beautiful Turk’s Head (this is a traditional sailor’s knot that also represents friendship as it has no beginning and no end).

Now, you want to wrap the yarn two times around your fingers. Next, you need to put the first strand over the second strand. With the loose end, you want to thread through the hole you just created. Coming from beneath, you have to go over the left yearn of the Turk’s head and then under the second string, so that you technically braid with the three strands. Lastly, you need to put the right string of yarn beneath the left one to create another hole, where you can thread the loose end through. Repeat this process until you braided around the entire Turk’s head. Congrats you have finished the first round!

On the sixth drawing you can also see how to start the second round. Basically, you want to thread your loose end once more, parallel to the strings of yarn you have braided before, until it looks like this. 

Netting around the bottle …

Now you can start netting down the bottle like this. Always take one string from the two pieces of yarn next to each other and knot it together. Repeat this around the entire bottle and remember to make sure that all the knots are placed at the same height. 

Work your way down to the bottom of the bottle this way. Once you have done that, you can take the two strands from each of the opposing sides and wrap them around each other to change the direction in the center of the bottom of the bottle. They should run towards the loose ends of the two remaining strands. Make two Carrick Bends to finish the netting. 

Finally, you can cut off the remaining ends and carefully secure those with your hot glue pistol. Also glue the battery beneath the bottle cap. Put the fairy lights inside your glass bottle, turn it on, close the lid et voilà! 

Minimalistic pen holder from recycled cans 

In times of online classes and nation-wide lockdown it is probably the best time to organize your desk. After all, you will probably be spending a lot of time in your home office. That does not sound like something you wanted to be reminded of. Luckily, we are here to help you out and brighten your mood a little bit. This creative little DIY will not only help you pass some time in quarantine but also keep your desk well organized. May you finish your assignments early and may the web lectures fly by, so that you have more time to read the Goodwill blog online 

For this upcycled pen holder you will need the following materials and tools: 

  • 4 empty and cleaned cans
  • A piece of wood of your choice 
  • A pair of scissors
  • Small saw
  • Spray paint in a color of your choice
  • Opening spike for cans
  • 6 small bolts
  • Sandpaper
  • Ruler
  • Screwdriver 
  • 2 meters of yarn
  • Hot glue pistol
The tools you will be needing to get crafty

How to make the handle …

To start this project, you want to tie the handle first. First, cut one piece of yarn of the length from your elbow to your fingertips and a second piece with double the length. Then start knotting a friendship bracelet following the instructions of the picture below. Next, you want to tie the two middle strings at the bottom together to create a second loop. Finally, cut off the loose ends and secure them with your hot glue pistol, so that the knots are not opening up again.

Spraying the cans and preparing the piece of wood:

For the next step, you need to place the 4 cans on a piece of cardboard or newspaper with the opening facing downwards. When you spray them, it is important to shake the bottle first and read the instructions closely. Also, open up as many windows as you have and don’t wear your best clothes. 

While the paint dries, you can resume cutting the piece of wood accordingly, so that two cans can be attached next to each other easily with a gap of 2cm between them and some space to the left and right. Use the ruler to make sure that you will be sawing in a right angle. Afterwards, thoroughly sand where you sawed to get smooth edges and prevent splinters. 

Piecing it all together …

Once the paint is dry, you can use the opening spike for cans to poke a hole through the cans (from the inside to the outside). Then you can position them where you want to attach them to your piece of wood and mark the correct spot with a pencil. Screw the bolts through the whole and the wood by hand to attach each can. 

Our commissioner carefully attaching the cans with a bolt to the piece of wood

Finally, you can also fix the handle on top of the piece of wood in place. Again, you want to locate the perfect spot to place the bolts first and mark them with a pencil. With the screwdriver and the bolts attach the loops at the ends of your handle to the piece of wood and you are done!

This is what the final product looks like …

We need your feedback!

So, are you going to spend another afternoon watching Netflix, or are you going to try one of our little projects? We hope that you found these tutorials easy to follow and would love to see some of your masterpieces. Feel free to send us feedback or a picture of your final work to goodwill@cirosthehague.com.  Until then, stay safe, home and most importantly healthy! We wish you and your families all the best and hope that these ideas will be an inspiration for you to get through these trying times. 

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