Friday, 28 March 2014

March Reuse-it item: 7 ideas for Fabric

At our last Blogger planning meeting, we decided that each month in 2014 we would to put together a monthly post offering suggestions on how to reuse a particular item on the Reuse Centre's accepted items list. March's item is (raw) fabric and below are a myriad of suggestions on how to reuse fabric cheaply and creatively. Share your own ideas for reusing fabric on our Facebook  page or below in the comments!


Here is a simple t shirt head band idea. I have been meaning to try this DIY for months now. Hopefully I will have it done for the summer. Not all store bought headbands fit me that well. Some are too tight. Some just fall off very easily. I think using t shirt or jersey material can eliminate some of the problems I have been having. Check this tutorial out from The Pink Door Mat. Using strips of old fabric you can achieve this headband look. Post pictures on the Reuse Center's Facebook page if you gave this a try! I would love to see them.

T-shirt head band (Source: The Pink Door Mat)

The quickest living / dining room makeover I know: With a large swath of fabric make an instant tablecloth or sofa cover that adds colour and pattern that you can easily change! One day I might actually customize these drapecloths with embroidery or stamps such as those found at, but in the meantime, I'm plenty happy how they can create a big impact and hide clutter instantly.

Stamping fabric using fruit! (Source: A Beautiful Mess)

You don't always need big plans or complicated designs to make the most of your Reuse Centre fabric finds, small pieces of fabric in the same colour scheme were used to make this dolls quilt for a child. A simple but traditional Dresden quilt design shows off some interesting patterns in similar colours.

Dresden quilt (Source: Flickr: Ruby Murrays Musings)
You may even be lucky and find a half finished gem like this complete quilt block. A completely original find, add some co-ordinating fabric backing, a pillow insert and voila a gorgeous quilted cushion without any quilting know how! I've been lucky enough to find two totally different quilt blocks just ripe for cushion making, these are the holy grail of Reuse Centre finds for me.

Quilt block (Source: Flickr: Ruby Murrays Musings)

I previously put some scrap silk to use by making an eye-pillow. It's a 4x10" pouch filled with ½c flax seeds and ½c dried lavender - and mega relaxing. Flax seeds' oil makes for better heat retention, for a thermotherapy bonus from brief microwaving, but rice may be substituted. With different dried herbs, flowers, or teas, even a couple drops of essential oil, the aromatherapy aspect can be tailored as well.

Eye Pillow (Source: Wikipedia)

This Zip Pouch project requires very little fabric, so it's a great way to use up scraps or small pieces. You could even make one of these with an upholstery fabric sample from the Reuse Centre! It's super simple, and could easily be done by hand if you don't have access to a sewing machine. A little pouch like this is great for organizing change, loyalty cards, or other small things in your purse or backpack.

Zip pouch (Source: Sew Delicious)

This is the craft I've been looking for! I've been holding onto scraps of fabric for years - too small to do much with, but too big to be trashed. These coasters, made from fabric scraps twined around a length of rope, are such a clever and colourful way to finally make use of this clutter.

Coasters (Source: Line Across)

I love a good keychain and by good, I mean one that lasts longer than six months (I'm a bit hard on them). I found this awesome tutorial on how to may your own key chains from those small bits of fabric that are hard to use. They are durable, stylish and make thoughtful gifts! 

Key chains (Source: Craftiness is not an option)

- Reuse Centre Blogger team

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Recycled Doll house Renovation!

This project rocked my world, it was so much fun that for a while I'm ashamed to admit, I teetered on the murky edges of crazy Victorian doll house lady. To date I still have 4 others in varying states of repair awaiting loveliness.

Ok so 5 sounds a bit much? But they kept finding me and they were in need of TLC I just couldn't resist, like this gorgeous 1960's style open sided house. Can you believe this was just $1.50? Craziness!

So here is the starting point, a very blah looking unloved but sturdy wooden doll house, rubber cemented down carpet sample? Check, 80's paint job? Check? Time to get to work.

Top one is the poor unloved shell pre-makeover.

I played around with the design of the rooms and the style, first opting for something bright and modern. Check out the knitted Ottoman and cushion, knitted using toothpicks (yes I am ridiculous but it was fun) and embroidery floss.

In the end I decided on a mix of old and new, some gorgeous vintage fabric and a small remnant of contact paper (all Reuse Centre finds of course) gave me some inspiration for colour schemes. Now to start the demolition!

I ripped out the carpet, the single kitchen tile floor and cut new floors to make it easier to change them away from the doll house itself.

Would you believe that all the flooring was not only FREE but RECYCLED too? Double points!

Bedroom hardwood looking flooring is actually an old bamboo blind.

White flooring is made from popsicle sticks, which took me hours, lesson learnt, bamboo blinds all the way baby! So quick and easy and the indentations from the blind cords made it looks like planks of wood.

Kitchen flooring is real composite tiles sourced from Freecycle, a sample pack of 2x2 tiles cut down, glued then grouted. So pleased with the finished look of this and the fact that it's not only rainbow but real kitchen tiles made me smile.

The curtain rods were small wooden dowels I had in my stash and worked perfectly with cup hooks to keep them in place. It took my little lady at least an hour to pull the rods out but they were popped back in easily, crisis averted.

After searching in vain for some scalloped wooden trim to add to the sides of the under roof area I ended up using some cereal box card and a dollar and tracing my own, a couple of licks of pink paint and we were on to a winner.

The vintage looking roof was created using a dollar store drawer liner, I loved how this turned out, and it smelt like roses the whole time I was papering it. It was pretty lumpy on first application so I sanded it once it had dried and the lumps disappeared and a gorgeous aged, worn in look came about, and all for $3? Score!

Ok ready for the royal tour?

First the living room, wall colour not yet decided so some colourful accessories brightened up the room.

The sofa I made from scratch, stitched from real leather scraps, a block of wood, card and some stuffing, my first try at mini furniture and it's pretty realistic non?

Faux acrylic coffee table is from the base of a Palmolive washing up liquid bottle, patchwork rug is chopped up from small carpet samples. Ottoman is a mini Play-doh tub covered in recycled shoe leather. Table lamp is a dollar store bubble solution bottle, and lamp shade is scrap fabric covered piece of plastic canvas folded and stitched together.

Downstairs bathroom or kitchen as it will be when we add more furniture to the house.

Furniture is by Hape, the blue back splash is a scrap of contact paper stuck to a piece of cereal box and the bin is a $1 toy found around the house.

I added a menu board for when the kitchen furniture is in place, just some corrugated card covered with painted popsicle sticks and sanded for a rustic look, and the best bit? It is actually a chalk board painted with chalkboard paint, all I need now is some teeny tiny chalk!
Moving up the imaginary staircase to the bedrooms, here we arrive in the master bedroom.

Bamboo blind flooring, vintage fabric glued to the walls and a faux chair rail and baseboards/skirting boards were bamboo blind pieces again, such a great source of wood that didn't need staining.

A vintage eyelet doily for a rug, two hexagonal brass drawer knobs as bedside tables and some more miniature sewing.

I hated the way that bedding never sat flat when I was little, so I just sewed a tiny pin-tuck down each side of the bedspread (formerly a place mat), it did the trick and looks a bit more realistic. The pink cushion is knitted again with embroidery floss and toothpicks.

The dresser was given to me and the 'fabric' inside is bias tape or lace seam binding glued and folded around a small piece of cardboard.

Saving the best to last, here is the children's room. The furniture again is Hape, so cute and fun, every detail is thought of.

The rug is some bakers twine looking cotton yarn I had, I just twisted it around a piece of cereal box card and glued as I went, love the rag rug look it has.

Faux cow hide rug is some minky fabric scrap simply cut in a erm, dead cow shape. Check out the amazing vintage contact paper, another amazing Reuse Centre find. I love this design and the fact it has England, Canada, France, Germany and Greece on it and the illustrations are so cute.

The flooring is popsicle sticks sanded cut and painted once stuck down, long time in the making but I do love how it turned out.

The curtains I made and added ribbon tie backs then draped a small piece of pompom trim found at the Reuse Centre over the top.

The whole she-bang.

Soooo still with me? Still awake? Understand why this project was a year in the making?... and just remember I have FOUR more of the suckers to finish lol.

- Emma (Volunteer)

Friday, 14 March 2014

Erin Go Bragh - Celebrate St. Patty's day the Reuse way!

I've personally never been one to get festive over St. Patrick's Day; my motivation for dressing in green has always been more about not getting pinched. What that means is that I've been missing out on some great crafting ideas to celebrate the occasion! Here's a round-up of a few quick and easy crafts to help get your green on for March 17th:

1. St. Patrick's Day cards

Some people feel like every occasion needs a card, and that's okay! Here's an idea on how to make a four-leaf clover stamp out of toilet paper tubes for your card-stamping pleasure.

2. Shamrock hair accessories

I really kind of love the concept of festive hair accessories because it's not like an elaborate costume you have to keep adjusting. These items can be worn from morning to night, and should last through all the pints of green beer.

Nothing says "Ireland Forever" like shiny green sequins. This craft requires a few of these as well as a piece of green felt, some glue and a hair tie.

Not a fan of sequins? Or maybe you don't have enough hair to tie? Here's another great idea for a festive shamrock from felt, glued to a bobby pin for more versatility.

3. Home d├ęcor

Don't be shy. Bring the luck of the Irish home with some of these festive crafts.

A wreath form, some burlap, green fabric flowers and colourful ribbon. That's pretty much all you need to create this "lucky" wreath! This crafter attached everything to the burlap with Velcro so that the pieces can be switched out later in the year for other occasions. What a versatile way to decorate your home!

Some of the items for this next craft you can likely find at the Reuse Centre, but it might require a trip to a craft supply store. In any case, if you can get your hands on some burlap and some green streamers, you can make your own monogram letters for this "Lucky" banner.

"May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,
May good luck pursue you each morning and night"

- Nichole (Volunteer)