Tuesday, 29 April 2014

April Reuse-It Item: 7 ideas for wooden spools

April's Reuse-it item is spools. Our blogger team has compiled a creative, easy DIY list to make such things as furniture, massage tool or organizers for your crafting items. Share your ideas in the comments section or on our Facebook page!

Achy muscles can usually benefit from a massage - and a massager can easily be made from small / medium wooden spools and other materials found at the Reuse Centre.
The Back Massager from Story Soup Kids website needs only 4 spools and twine (length according to own measurements).
I decided I wanted something a bit stronger and structured for hands and feet and started off with spools and coated hangers.

And, made this as a first attempt:

Unfortunately, it's not very pretty, but it is a start. 
During the making, I realised another cool item that could come from the same materials: A bead roller coaster (as inspired by IKEA ):

Source: IKEA 
Hours of fun I'm sure, but first I'll save up some more spools.


Source: Google Images

This is a really easy craft that you could make a thousand different ways. Write out a message on long slip of paper or fabric, and attach it to an empty, decorated spool to make a unique greeting card! 

I really liked this crafting idea because even though the tutorial shows vintage, wooden spools, it would look just as cool with a plastic spool. Just paint it a bright colour or cover in pretty fabric or paper before attaching your scroll. This is great for any celebration, and makes a cute keepsake ornament for a Christmas tree. 

This would also be a great project for kids to make and play with. Instead of a greeting, draw an adventurer's treasure map or write a secret message inside!

Here's a link to a really basic tutorial.


Source: Miniature Rhino
Using spools as picture holders is a creative way to display those smaller pictures, especially those gems from elementary school that we all have. 

Miniature Rhino has a great tutorial on how to complete them. I also like Belrossa's take on the project. It leaves the thread on, adding a burst of colour to the end result. 

Source: Belrossa
Wooden thread spools seem like they could be great for a lot of things, like colourful wreaths, tree ornaments or cool kids crafts. But I think the best use for them that I found while researching for this post is for furniture! I found this great picture of an antique side table, where the legs appear to be made from thread spools attached end to end. I would imagine you could secure the spools together with carpenter's glue.

Source: Mitzi's Miscellany

Empty spools are a great way of organising small pieces of treasured lace, ribbon or trim, just wind it up and pop in a pin. It solves the problem of them getting tangled or mixed up and if you have a lot of little scraps you could even separate by colour and keep them tidy in a Mason jar.

Source: Gertie and Mabel 

I've always liked the ease and speed of spool knitting. ...but never quite knew what to do with the lengthy cord, which is likely still living in my parents' attic. Pinterest to the rescue! These pieces are great inspiration to whip up a new Knitting Nancy by tapping finishing nails into the top of a large spool. 

- Reuse Centre Blogger team

Friday, 25 April 2014

Reusing in Edmonton: Green Window City Project

The Green Window City Project has brought Edmonton artists and business owners together to #rethinkjunk! How? With creative window installations made from reusable, but unwanted, materials. The event officially launched on April 18th with installations brightening several shop windows in Old Strathcona.

Green Window City Project organizer and Reuse Centre volunteer, Kelly Atkinson, may have "made up" the idea of the Green Window City project after getting involved in the Edmonton art scene and the Reuse Centre, but there was a lot of work involved in getting it off the ground. She had to create a dialogue with several Old Strathcona businesses and local artists to ensure their participation. Kelly also pitched her idea to the Awesome Edmonton Foundation and was awarded a small grant to help support the project.

She invited the Reuse Centre blogger team to participate in this recycled art initiative. We got together on Saturday, April 12 to help build an upcycled window installation to be displayed at Old Strathcona Books. Kelly’s vision for our installation was of large block letters, spelling out "WE ♥ YEG , one letter per window, and every letter covered in a different repurposed material from the Reuse Centre.

Finishing off the cardboard letters

So we cut the letters from cardboard then we all played Goldilocks for a few minutes as we browsed the shelves of the Centre for supplies. These shortbread tins are too big. These trophies are too heavy. These packing peanuts could be cool. But this Physics textbook and that smutty romance novel were just right. Back upstairs with our loot, we made a unanimous decision. The front of the block letters would be different, but the back of every letter would be covered in pages from some of the amusing books we found in the store. There were six letters to be decorated and six volunteers, so everyone chooses one. The "Y" was calling to me.
The G is ready! 
My "Y" ended up covered in bits and pieces from the Physics textbook, a Calculus textbook, a Windows '97 manual, a 2003 astrology guide for Aquarius, a directory of hydraulic motors, and choice sections from Blazing Vixen. Feeling impressed with myself, I started browsing the bounty we had brought upstairs for the perfect thing to decorate my letter.

Michelle working on the heart 
I covered my Y with large, multi-coloured, three-dimensional bows that look surprisingly fabulous glued closely together and covering every inch of cardboard. I had never been so proud of something I'd made by hand, and I don't think I'm the only one. Kelly's enthusiasm is so contagious, and we were all excited to be part of something so cool.

The final result, can you guess what we used to decorate the letters?
The installations officially launched on April 18th in Old Strathcona and will end on Sunday, April 27th. Event details can be found on the Green Window City website.  If the project is well-received, Kelly hopes to see Green Window City extend to other neighbourhoods. So show your support for this innovative recycled art project by stopping by this weekend to check out our installation and the 12 others in Old Strathcona!

- Nichole (Volunteer)