DIY on a budget: turn waste into gold

11:40 AM

Have you found yourself saying "Crafting and DIY projects are expensive"? I bet you have, because let's face it, it is true for some of them and the only joy you get out of it is the personalised look of the finished product.

However, that doesn't HAVE to be true for all DIY projects and home decor upgrade, and craft supplies do not have to put a dent in your budget either.
Your house is choc-a-block full of odds and ends you can re-purpose, up-cycle and use to create something unique.
Yes, can you believe it? Your rubbish and clutter can indeed be put to better use and not have to end up in a landfill somewhere.

I made no secret of the fact that I am a bit of hoarder collector of all type of odds and ends, and this blog is probably the best advocate to speak in the favour of rubbish turned pretty. So, today, I am going to show you what you can (and probably should) save from the bin and how you can turn it into something awesome.

You probably remember this little project:
This was part of my Diwali decor last November. This might be reason number one to save every glass jars that enter your home.

Seriously there is TONS of projects you can do with glass jars. Pinterest is packed with projects, from lanterns to storage jars passing by home made "kits in a jar" of all kind.

If you have been looking at all these cute food storage canisters in home decor store but were repelled by the price, the good new is you don't have to learn to love your mismatching ugly recycled containers.
All you need is a little spray paint, a  little creativity. Spray paint all these lids the same colour, slap on pretty labels on the jars and you are done, at a fraction of the cost of new fancy jars.

I have used jars to make lanterns, here and here (aside from the aforementioned Diwali project). I turned some into a pen holder for the study. And I keep making them into food storage jars, you might remember the recent "golden jar project".

The message: Do not throw glass jars away, or bottles for that matter, bottles make great vase and accent pieces.
Think twice before throwing old worn out clothes or curtains, or scrap of fabric for that matter. Consider the yardage of re-usable material you are willing to part with and how you can repurpose it. If you have a sewing machine, and the skills, you could be making amazing quilts, outfits for your daughter's dolls,  small pouches and bags, or even make cushion covers.

Even without a sewing machine there are quite a few projects I pulled using scrap fabric. Do you remember the bolster pillow in the above picture? I made it using the leg of an old pair of PJ pants. I also managed to make not one but two table runners out of a single white dupatta. More recently, I re-covered a chair using the fabric out of old curtains.
When you see how high the price can go on a few yard of fabric, it is worth finding new ways to recycle what you already have and love.

Do you know where that necklace pendant and its twin came from? As shocking or surprisng as it may seem, these two metallic ornaments were salvaged off a pair of fancy flip flops I once owned.

The shoes broke apart under regular use, to the point they could no longer be fixed. But the pretty metallic bits were still as good as new and way to nice to throw away, so I cut them free.
That necklace has been admired by quite a few of my friends who wondered in which part of India or in which handicraft fair I got it. Imagine their shock when I announced it came off a pair of mass produced shoe from "Metro". I still have the other "pendant" I can use for another project, but haven't decided what yet.

The point of this story: take a close look at your fancy shoes, party wear outfits and accessories. One day they may break apart, but some embellishment will be salvageable.
Instead of running to the stationery shop each and every time you need a piece of cardboard, or a fancy bit of paper for a scrapbooking project, think of what you could use around your home. Or better yet, stop discarding old gift wrap paper, old greeting cards, and cardboard sheets.
This pretty project above was made using an old greeting card and the panel of a cardboard box. I made another picture frame using the cover of a spiral notebook.
More recently, Ishita and I made a patchwork poster for her room using odd things such as clothes price tags.
In the more distant past and without any links and pictures to show for it, I used magazines pages and pictures to make greeting cards, and collages (I might have a project involving these coming soon...might).
Last but not least, there are all the odds and end that may look silly but are worth keeping (beside they don't take that much space) such as :

- Gift wrap ribbons
- Funky bottle caps
- The lids of the jars you used as lanterns
- Wooden boxes that came with a gift set or some sweets
- Tin cans and tin boxes (you can spray paint them)
- The extra sequins and buttons that came with an outfit you bought
- The old beads from a broken funky necklace
- The bits of ribbons and strings that were once the handle of a paper bag, or a bag of rice
- The small plastic box in which some candies or hardware bits come.
- The plastic hooks and rings that come attached to the plastic cover of some home linen or lingerie items.
- Ornaments and bits of ribbons from broken kiddie hair clips
- The sleeve fabric you never attached to all these kurti you'd rather wear sleeveless.
- Too small or incomplete bangle sets

As you can see, once you start looking, you will find things that can be reused and repurposed almost anywhere in your home.
The only issue you might run into is storage space. This might put a limit on how much you get to keep, but you can still spread the joy and give away some of the excess.

Recently I had a bit of a glass jar situation, and fortunately a friend of mine was desperately looking for someone who had extra as she was making pickles and food preserves in bulk... glass jar overcrowding problem solved. 

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  1. Anonymous8:59 PM

    Wow. Till date I've never thrown away glass jars or cotton and semi cotton sheets/clothes. The jars come quite handy to store the gazillion spices, coffee etc. Well the old sheets can be used as wax strips.Lol. Plus living in India means I get a jar of wax at a mere price of 45 rupees. And my friends wonder why I don't need an aesthetician or buy storage supplies in India.

    1. I used glass jars for a lot of food stuff in Bangalore, but in Mumbai I had to invest in more airtight container for some staple as the humidity is off the chart here and everything gets mood and bugs quickly in regular old jars. I still use jars for my spices though, and some less long term storage things like cookies.

      In Bangalore I printed pretty labels for all my jars and wrote the name of the content with a pretty pen as most where in full view in open shelves. It's amazing how you can prettify these jars to match your kitchen decor without investing much money. I have a chalk paint jar project that is going to make it to the blog soon as well.

  2. "Repurposing" is a must if you live in South Asia. I've been repurposing my dupattas & kurtas for photography backgrounds on my blog, they work wonderfully! I certainly can't wear all of my 27 dupattas!

    1. I can't remember the last time I wore a dupatta, Not practical at all in Mumbai, unless you want to steam to death faster or as some of my friends riding the local train daily claims, get stuck on something and end up strangled.


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