Today, being the second Sunday of the month, saw me and the Upcycle Exchange at Bath Artisan Market again.

And this month, the theme was Upcycle!
So I was running some upcycling workshops too.
Not one, not two, but THREE…

The first was a re-run of the elephant tin can stilts-not one solitary person wanted to do this-think it might be time to give up on this one..
The second was making these fabulous tea cup bird feeders that I saw earlier on this week on the wonderful A Year without Supermarkets-all the instructions are here if you want to have a go!

PMBird feeder1

And the third was covering tin cans to make desk tidies or sweet little vases, like this:

PMBAM Upcycle comic

and this:

PMBAM Upcycle8

It suddenly occurred to me that these might make quite nice end of year presents that you could make with the kids for their teachers, so here’s how (again, all pretty self-explanatory really!)

This is what you need:

  • Tin can-cleaned out and any sharp edges removed-a can opener will remove the little circle left behind by the cans with the ‘easy open’ lids if necessary
  • Something to cover the tin can with-I have used all sorts before-wool, garden twine, old Beano annuals, sheet music, fabric
  • Glue-glue gun for the wool/string covered versions, PVA (watered down a little) or Mod Podge (this works better than PVA I think, and can be used to coat the outside afterwards to protect it a bit, but it is quite pricey, and probably only worth getting if you plan on doing a lot of ‘decopatching’ or sticking and gluing)

This is what you do:

For the fabric/paper covered ones:

  • Draw a straight line along your paper on the bit that you want to be covering the tin.
  • Line the bottom of your tin can up on the line and then draw another line at the top, and then roll the tin can along, making a parallel line to the first one, so that you end up with a rectangle that is the height of your tin (hopefully that makes some kind of sense..)
  • Carefully cut it out
  • Coat the back of your paper rectangle in a thin layer of glue, and then lay your can down at one end of the paper, and stick the 1st bit down
  • I find it easiest to then stand the can up and hold it, so you can smooth the paper down as you are rolling it around the can. You can be quite ‘firm’ with the paper to get it to stick without any creases
  • If you are using Mod Podge, you can then stick the can upside down over a wine glass stem (so that you don’t have to hold it) and apply a couple of layers, to make it a bit more durable

For the twine/wool covered ones:

  • Apply a dab of glue from the glue gun to the top of the tin can, and then carefully (do I need to warn you that the glue will be hot, and it burns..?!) press your twine/wool onto it. It will dry in seconds and should then be stuck and provide an anchor point
  • Start winding! This is quite therapeutic, and best done in front of the TV. Every so often, ‘wodge’ the wool/twine up, so that it squishes it all together, and you can’t see any tin can
  • Periodically add a dab of glue whenever you fancy, or if you change wool colour
  • Add a dab of glue at the end-you can always do a thin line of glue all the way around the bottom to stop if from slipping off
  • Some of the participants in the workshop today, then decided to embellish theirs with beads, and the one on the right has been compartmentalised into quarters for different coloured pens by wrapping some wool around vertically, and I love the two-toned bits they have done 🙂

BAM Upcycle5

Who knew a humble tin can could look so funky?!

4 thoughts on “Upcycle!

  1. I love the bird feeder! It’s so beautiful. I’m running an upcycling workshop at Latitude Festival this weekend, making superhero capes. Hope it goes as well as yours do!

    • Fab! What are you making the capes from? Sounds brilliant-have a great time 🙂 Hope you are coping ok in the sun with the bump. x

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