Saturday, 4 December 2010

Artistic recycling ... ...

It seems that these days it's all about recycling stuff to save the world, round our way we have 3 bins now, a blue one for recyclables like paper,tin cans and such like, we have a black bin (most are green) for normal waste and just recently we got a mini bin for cooked food waste, not that we have much, what we don't eat the dog does ;-) we also have the option for a brown bin that costs extra for garden waste, but we compost all ours.
 I will freely admit that it's a hassle sometimes, sorting stuff into various bins, but I guess it has to be done.

Now I have long been a fan of making things out of odd stuff, which makes the whole recycling thing a lot less tedious, especially if you get good results.
Have you heard of a website called " Instructables " ? I'm pretty sure a lot of people will now the site, but just in case here's the link ---> instructables (link opens in new window) it's a fantastic site for inspiration on just about everything you can imagine, sewing,wood working,metal working (the list is probably endless)

Whilst I was having one of my regular trawling of websites sessions I found an excellent craft idea on the site I mentioned above, and it's the best use of a drinks can I've ever seen (from an artistic point of view) here's the instructable page ---> drink can tinwork (opens in new window) take some time to look through the various steps used to create this piece of artwork, it's worth it, but please come back here after ;-)

I have to say that I was impressed a fair bit by this, it beats squashing the cans and taking them to the recycling bin, I haven't actually tried to make the box, but I will.
This set the wheels in motion and gave me the inspiration to have a go at creating my own artwork using a similar method. Now we don't really have drinks cans lying around, we don't drink fizzy drinks or beers, we do however have some cans of coconut water, so I've been bugging my wife to drink them so I can have the cans.

The items I have made are prototypes really, I have been playing around with different ways of putting them together, and different materials.

Here's what I've managed to make so far -

Be nice ;-)

You can see how I've applied the method used to create the tin box for my own ends, basically using some wire wool I've rubbed all the printing of the cans to get back to bare tin, this actually gives quite a nice effect, then I've applied a pattern to one side so that it appears raised on the other, there's nothing stopping me from switching them round so that the patterns look like it's been engraved.

The tin is pretty easy to work with, it's not very thick which helps when getting a design onto it, all I've used is a ball point pen and the end of a metal crochet hook, you don't need to press too hard.

Here's a picture of the first ones I made - 

The best one is the bottom left in my opinion.
The designs aren't as crisp as I wanted, the best I think is the bottom left one (the triskelion / triskele) and the frame on the bottom right isn't to my liking, I was trying different ways of making the frames, I think I'll stick to the way I did the frames on the other 2.
Since I made these 3 pictures I've bought a scroll saw, which means I can make templates of various designs, so I can get the designs crisper and neater, and also put them on the tin faster, still working on a quick, but neat and tidy way of making the frames.

Here's a picture of the templates - 

I printed out some designs and stuck them to the hardboard.

My lovely wife remarked that with a bit of spray paint the templates would look pretty good as well, that's why she's the brains of the out fit.

Here's one made with a template - 

The wood for the frames comes from our garden.
In my opinion this one looks neat compared to the others. As it says in the caption all the wood comes from our garden, the frame for the one above is actually made from buddleja that I had to prune because it got damaged by the wind, the string hanging loop is an off cut of string left over from knitting hanging baskets, the only part of these that doesn't come from our house is the hardboard back I have fixed the tin to, I got 2 off cuts from a bargain bin in one of our local diy stores, so it is kind of recycling as they generally throw the smaller stuff out if no one buys it.

And it's not just designs like the one above either, it's possible to do loads of different designs, especially if you use a template ;-)

Here's one I made for my wife - 

Again I've used buddleja for the frame.
The one above I made by printing out the word on paper and then using some masking tape to secure it I drew round the letters with a ball point pen, can't really get easier than that ?

There's a bit of flexibility on how you can display them, for example with these ones I've used string to make a loop, I have also worked out a way to make them stand up like a picture frame does, you can also hang them together to make bigger hangings, have a look at the picture below.

Hung in a group of 3 - 

Looks pretty good, but then I'm biased ;-)
Just by using a drawing pin you can hook them up in groups like this, and make combinations of them, and if you had 3 that were all words you could make up short sayings, so there's a fair bit you can do with them (have I sold the idea to you yet ?) so why not have a look round your home or garden and see if you can make your own unique piece of recycled artwork.

Thanks for reading.

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