What can I reuse or recycle to make soap moulds?

November 10, 2011 by  
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I made my first batch of cold-process soap earlier in the year – it took FOREVER to trace, but we’ve loved the resulting soap so I need to make some more. Ever since I made that first batch, I’ve been on the look out for what I can use as moulds this time around. Last time, I had two old food trays for bar soaps, but when I ended up making a lot more soap than I’d originally intended, I grabbed whatever else I could find – some shaped fruit trays (small hand soaps), an old round ice cream tub (too wide when sliced into discs so had to cut them into semi-circles, which was a bit odd) and the square edged plastic bottles the olive oil had come in (nice size hand soaps, but it was awkward to get it out). (The latter two can be seen in the picture.) All sorts of packaging has been subject to my “would it make nice soap?” eye. A few weeks ago, I was reading about someone else’s soap making on Simple, Green, Frugal and she mentioned using poster tubes (with the bottom sealed up) to make nice sized round soaps. As we’ve not had any posters or the like delivered recently, we haven’t got any of those but it got me thinking about similar cylinders: a litre-ish, straight-ish juice or pop bottles would probably about the right size, although it’d probably be awkward to get out like the olive oil bottle. That led me down another juice line: John has got a bit of an obsession with chocolate soya milk at the moment which comes in tetrapak containers – that would be a nice size for square bar soaps and be easier to cut out… Anyway, long story slightly shorter, what else can I reuse or recycle to make either interesting shaped soaps or simple practical ones? If you make your own (cold-process) soap, what do you use? Do you have any upcycled moulds that you can reuse again and again rather than destroying (like would happen with the poster tube or my juice containers)? Or on the flipside, anything you’ve used that you’d urge other people not to use? (A few notes for non-soap makers: the soap mix at the point of pouring is about body temperature for “cold-process” soaps so plastic melting is not usually an issue, but it is incredibly caustic at this point, and will react to metals other than stainless steel. It’s poured into the mould when it’s hit “trace”, a gloopy rather than full liquid stage, and left to set in the moulds for a few days, then popped out of the moulds to continue “curing” for a few weeks before use.)

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What can I reuse or recycle to make soap moulds?

How can I reuse or recycle fibre glass baths?

November 9, 2011 by  
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Rosie has emailed: My partner brought home 3 brand new fibre glass baths (minus handles) which were going to be thrown in the skip. Any suggestions for use and does anyone want them? That’s just the type of thing I’d want to bring home too – they seem so useful (and so new!) that I’d struggle to resist 😉 They’re bigger than a lot of the things we feature on here so I think the reuses are going to be limited, unless you have a lot of space. Old baths are regularly reused by people with horses or livestock in a field as drinkers, or buried by people wanting a quick and basic pond. I know also some people with large gardens/allotments use them as deep “no dig” raised beds or for containing crops that have a tendency to be invasive (like mint). I’ve also long been interested in aquaponics – I wonder if a bathtub could be used for the water bit of that… Away from animals and growing, I sometimes play the “what I would do if I had loads of workshop space” game (all crafters do that, right?) and one of the things that would probably feature on my list is a really big dye bath so I could dye long lengths of fabric etc in one go. It’s a will-never-happen thing for me, but I’d probably find a bathtub if I ever did have the space. If you don’t have room or the need for those type of reuses, someone on your local Freecycle/Freegle group might want them instead. Due to so many people having bath renovations these days, there are a lot of old baths knocking around – but it certainly doesn’t hurt to offer them on there. Any other suggestions for Rosie either for reusing/recycling ideas or for ways to pass it along?

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How can I reuse or recycle fibre glass baths?

Turning books into art: our favourite practical & pretty upcycling ideas for old books

October 11, 2011 by  
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We’re having a bit of a book-themed week here on Recycle This and I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite reusing/recycling ideas – inspiration, how-tos and thing to buy if you’re not the crafty type yourself. As I mentioned yesterday when talking about damaged books , it’s easier to revamp or reuse hardback books for practical purposes because they’re that bit tougher. They can be used for everything from statement bed headboards to “floating book” shelves . On a smaller scale, they can be turned into purses/handbags , clocks , self-supporting photo frames , notebooks , iPhone charging units – and even table legs. @AlishaAnnn told us about the table below on Twitter yesterday: “Table legs from recycled books with a metal rod through. They are sturdy and spin. Old barn window on top.” Great recycling! That’s not to say paperback books aren’t without their reuses – their relative flexibility is an asset for things like this card wallet : Other people prefer to use the pages of old books: either as art in themselves or as canvas for printing/painting , to decorate greeting cards , envelopes , super retro bunting or, on more elaborately, this fantastic paper wreath . And BellwethersDB on Twitter had a good few ideas for using the pages too: “Tear out the pages and print vintage images on them and frame them! So pretty”, “Tear the pages and mod podge them onto old ornaments, add glitter and a ribbon. Voila! A “new” ornament!” and “Paper beads! Then paint them and string them on ribbon.” @_jennifergrace_ also tweeted us to say she’d used book pages as the background for welcome cards & name badges for a hen weekend , to make her own ideas notebook and as part of a bigger art project . And speaking of pages, this desk tidy is made with a phone book but any oversized book – old annuals or craft books – would would just as well. Finally, Alice in Blogland sent us a link to this fab recycling books for booklovers story , such amazingly intricate work ! Have you seen any other great example of reusing, recycling or upcycling of old or damaged books? If so, let us know in the comments!

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Turning books into art: our favourite practical & pretty upcycling ideas for old books

How can I reuse or recycle boring white buttons?

August 19, 2011 by  
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We’ve had an email from Sally: I always snip buttons from old clothes before using them for rags but after a few years of my three’s school shirts, I’ve got more plain white buttons than I know what to do with. If they were pretty I’d keep them for crafts but they’re boring! Any ideas? They could be revamped/upcycled to make them a bit more exciting: I saw a tutorial for spray painting plain buttons a few weeks ago – I’m not a fan of spray paints in general but if you had some ends of cans leftover from other projects, that certainly is one option. An alternative would be to use them to make fabric covered buttons , using up tiny bits of reclaimed material. Aside from that, they could be used as they are in lieu of beads or the like in a homemade percussion instrument (not one for small kids). Any other ideas on how they can be reused?

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How can I reuse or recycle boring white buttons?

How can I reuse or recycle not nice homebrewed beer?

May 6, 2011 by  
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We’ve had an email from Simone: My hubby and I have been homebrewing for a couple of years but our last batch was not nice at all! We’ve got 40 bottles of it but don’t want to drink it ourselves and don’t think it would be fair to force it on others either! Is there anything to be done with it other than pouring it away? Since I’m obsessed with gardening these days, the first idea that springs to mind is slug traps – they’re not fussy about the quality or taste of the beer

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How can I reuse or recycle not nice homebrewed beer?

How can I reuse or recycle a solid curtain pelmet?

May 4, 2011 by  
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Sorry that there have been fewer posts than normal recently – I’ve been taking full advantage of both of the long weekends to have time in the garden and not on my computer. Normal programming should return from now on! Anyway, at least I’ve been busy reusing/recycling in our garden. Last week, I turned our old bathroom cupboard doors into raised bed for foot square gardening then on Monday, my not-in-law’s neighbours were throwing away a solid curtain pelmet and I made that into a herb trough/window box style planter

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How can I reuse or recycle a solid curtain pelmet?

How can I reuse or recycle excess sterilising solution?

March 4, 2011 by  
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We’ve covered a wide range of things during our cleaning themed week here on Recycle This – bleach bottles , plug-in air fresheners , making dishcloth & pot scrubbers , and yesterday’s very interesting discussion on reducing plastic waste from cleaning – so I feel it’s fine for me to go off on a bit more of a tangent for this last one: sterilising fluid.

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How can I reuse or recycle excess sterilising solution?

How can I reuse or recycle small scraps of yarn?

February 4, 2011 by  
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We’ve had an email from Lauren: I’m a knitter but I can’t throw away the ends of yarn, not matter how small! I’ve got a carrier bag full of ball ends, some a couple of yards long, most less than a foot. Any ideas?

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How can I reuse or recycle small scraps of yarn?

How can I reuse or recycle a broken plastic sledge?

December 29, 2010 by  
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We were walking in the woods down the road the other day when we got a bit overexcited – there was a plastic sledge in the undergrowth under a holly bush! We’re far too grown-up to buy a sledge for us to play with but a found one? weeeeeee! When we pulled it out, we found why it was under there – the plastic runners had snapped off and there were just holes the length of the sledge in their place. Cue two disappointed faces

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How can I reuse or recycle a broken plastic sledge?

How can I reuse or recycle old musical instrument reeds?

November 26, 2010 by  
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Amber sent us an email asking about reeds from musical instruments: I’ve got TONS of old alto saxophone reeds lying around, and was wondering if anybody had an idea about how to reuse/recycle them? I am incredibly unmusical but Wikipedia tells me reeds tend to be make from cane, although there are an increasing amount of synthetic ones in use. The first idea that springs to mind is turning them into some sort of jewellery – a subtle nod to your musical skills

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How can I reuse or recycle old musical instrument reeds?

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