Monday, December 10, 2007

X'mas? A time to be merry recycling.

Christmas is around the corner. With feasting and gifts exchanging I see lots of used cards, wrapping papers and packagings, that come with the gifts we received, to recycle. Recycling is about making use of waste as raw material to make another product. So, what can we create with these if we are not sending them to the recycling centre?

How about a "Chest of Drawers" to keep all the new stuff you have received? I learned how to make one from helping out at the Holiday Camp organised by the Sungai Long Buddhist Society recently.

Here is my modified version.

Material Required

1) Cardboard from boxes
2) Used wrapping paper
3) Old newspaper
4) Used enveloped; white ones if you like to paint it, coloured if you like it as is.
5) Greeting cards
6) 3 Empty boxes. Each box should be able to fit within the width size of 22.5cm, height of 10cm and depth of 12cm. A very good example of one will be your regular tissue boxes.

1) Ruler
2) Blade
3) Scissors
4) Glue (Make your own starch with tapioca or corn flour)


Step 1

Prepare templates in the following sizes:
A) 22.5x10cm
B) 12x10cm
C) 12x22.5cm

You can use these templates to source boxes that you need for the project.

Use templates to cut out the following:

Size A - 3 pieces to form back of slot for drawers
Size B - 6 pieces to form sides of slot for drawers
Size C - 6 pieces to form top and bottom of slots for drawers

I was able to create the above pieces with a box I picked up from my fruit supplier.

Step 2
To create slots for drawers.

Each slot requires 1 piece of A, 2 of B and 2 of C. Place them in this configuration:

C directly above A
B beside (A in the centre) B beside
C directly below A

as seen in the picture below:

Step 3

Place 2 masking tapes on one side of A, as shown in the following example.

Hold it at right angle to C before pressing down the masking tape to hold them together. Do the same for the other side of A.

Place masking tapes on sides of A to join B to it. This is how it should look like.

Place 1 piece of B directly on top of sides of A and C. Place masking tapes along the sides to hold them together.

Now join the 2nd piece of B to the other side of A and place masking tapes along the sides to hold them together. This is your first slot for your drawer. Create two more of the same slots.

Now place 1 slot over the top of the other until you have all slots sitting neatly on top of the other. Place masking tapes to hold each slot to the other at the sides and back.

Step 4

If you have more cardboard to spare, even if they are thinner, you can paste them to the sides, top, bottom and back of the box to give it a smoother finish. To get the measurement right, place the box on its back to outline it size on the cupboard before cutting it out. Then place the box on its side on another piece of cupboard to outline its size before cutting it out. Do the same for the other side and the top and bottom of box. If not proceed with the paper mache.

We are going to paper mache (papier-mâché) the box with the old newspaper to give it a smoother finish. To prepare newspaper, fold 1 piece in half and half again to cut them up in strips. Divide these strips in half and half again to cut into sizes. My cut strips turn out to be about 4.5x7.5cm.

Step 5

Paste a layer of the cut newspaper strips over the box. Make sure that each strip overlaps the other slightly and covers the areas where the joints meet neatly. Dry 1st layer before adding a 2nd layer. If you are still not happy with the shape of the box, you can add another layer of newspaper strips till you are happy with its form.

Step 6

If you intend to paint your creation, use the white envelopes to form the 3rd and 4th layer of paper mache. If you do not have enough envelopes, you can use any printed white paper that is blank on 1 side. To prepare the envelope, cut along its fold to open it up. Cut out any printing or writings or plastic on the envelope. Fold each piece in half and half again and cut it up. If you are using white paper, just fold it in half and half again then cut. Fold it in half and cut till you get the size you are happy with. I used A4 size paper, and my strips turn out to be about 5.5x7.5cm.

Paste the 3rd layer first, dry it and add the 4th layer. Once it is dry, place the boxes you have collected to create the drawers into the slots to see if they fit.

To create drawers:
Cut the top of the box off to form opening at the top. Paper mache the box with coloured envelope and decorate it with cut outs from the greeting cards or used wrapping paper. Look out for instruction for drawers cum gift boxes in my next posting.

Teach your children to create their own "Chest of Drawers" and encourage them to paint them. If they create them before Christmas, you will have an insight into what they are hopping to receive and store in their "Chest of Drawers".

What better way to reduce waste than to get them what they want.


May Love said...

This is really a wonderful blog! I love making handicrafts, and your blog just gave me wonderful ideas. Thank you very much! I've always wanted to have a new shelf for my small books, but i didn't have the resources to buy one. thanks to this post, i'll be able to make myself one out of old boxes. a big thanks to you! continue what you're doing. i'm definitely, definitely coming back here!

Nancy Poh said...

Thank you for the encouragement. You will need to find strong hard cardboards if you want your drawers to hold books. Add another layer of thick cupboard for the sides and back before you paper mache it. Also be generous with your paper mache.

Kris said...

A few months ago I gave a speech for a class on creative recycling, only I couldn't find very many other diy/ crafty types who were actually calling it that. I found your site looking up papier mache. This is such an amazing idea, and I'm really excited to have found it three days before moving to a new college with restrictions about bringing plastic shelves into the rooms.

Of course, that makes me think I could cover my shelves with papier mache and fool everyone. :)

Nancy Poh said...

The term "creative recycling" does glamourise the process of working with waste, which I prefer to call abandoned material. I post all my crafting instruction on this blog but I do provide many free diy/ crafty links on my Greenbeing Nancy Blog. Don't waste the newspaper on your plastic shelves. Go get some 5kg empty water or oil containers. Cut open 2 sides and you can store books and CDs in them. The college allows recycling, right?