TRASH TO TREASURES TIPS...A thru F


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~~ A ~~

 

~~ B ~~
 
BABY RATTLE:  just too cute!  Hobby stores sell the smallest plastic 'eyes' with a pastel or primary colored bead in them.   Do you know what I mean?  The moving goggley eyes.... flat on one side with a black circle "eye" floating inside a plastic dome.  The tiny ones are only 1/8" in diameter.  First, glue 2 of the "eyes" together, back to back and set aside to dry.  Next, make the handle.  Find a fancy-handled toothpick or plastic skewer and paint the fancy end any color/colors you want. Let dry. Cut off the sharp end so the fancy end is about 3/8" long, just where you stopped painting.  Make sure to make a flat cut so your "eyes" will stay glued.
Glue the "rattle" to the end of the handle and you have a baby rattle that actually rattles. Cool huh?

BALLOONS:  Pull stems from some old plastic grapes, paint them bright balloon colors.  Glue on florist wire as "strings".  Glue to dolls hand!

BOAT OARS:  Coffee stirrers from McDonalds look amazingly like boat oars for all you mini lighthouse builders!

BAR STOOLS:  Metal (or plastic) chair glides could make good seats for bar stools.

BIRDHOUSE:  Acorns with the caps still attached make great little birdhouses. Just drill a "door" hole in it and attach a tiny twig for a perch just below the drilled hole.  Drill a tiny hole in the acorn "cap", add a string and hang!

BOOKS:  Clip color pictures of covers from magazine ads and glue over blocks of paper.  Add realism by scoring a groove along the binder edge with your fingernail and a ruler.

BOTTLES, ANTIQUE:  Would you believe it!  There's old-fashioned glass bottle shapes inside of light bulbs...different bulbs have different shapes.  Caution!  Practice good safety! Protect your eyes and hands when working with broken glass!!

BOXES-CORRUGATED:  McDonald's has corrugated cardboard take-out boxes with tiny flutes.  Use this material to make your own mini corrugated boxes!  Add a tiny "FRAGILE"  label and/or address label.

BOWL:  Make a "crystal" fruit bowl or cake dish from those clear plastic suction cups.  Remove the hook!!  To make it a pedestal dish...glue a silver pony bead to bottom!

BRASS TUBES:  Could be used in lots of projects....for plumbing pipes, lamps & lighting fixtures, brass furniture legs, etc.  When your ball point pen runs out of ink...take it apart and save the "brass" ink reservoir!  It can be cleaned out with a pipe cleaner and bent easily when warm.  Save the springs too!!  You never know!
 
~~ C ~~
 
CAKE:  Styrofoam has a perfect cake texture!!   Denser textures cut easier.  Cut into cake shape..."frost" with Spackle...cut out a slice for realism...paint the "cake" part "chocolate"!!  Don't forget the filling!!

CANDLE:  The stem inside some glue sticks is great for a spiral candle. Cut into desired lengths and paint or leave white.

CANDLE HOLDER:  Look for some pretty buttons with 2 holes.  Insert a short bugle bead into each hole to make a nice looking candle holder (the holes may have to be enlarged some).  Glue the beads in place and let dry on wax paper.  Paint gold or silver if desired.  Add "candles".  You can also add mini holly leaves to decorate around the bottom for Christmas or some flowers for other occasions.

CARPET:  Rubbermaid makes a knobby foam shelf liner that could resemble Berber or Hi/Low carpeting.   Check it out!

CEILING TEXTURE:  For textured ceilings (or rough stucco "Spanish" walls): Cut brown paper bag a little larger than ceiling (or wall) and crunch it up into a ball.**   Open it up and gently smooth it out. Paste this wrinkled paper onto ceiling and, when dry, paint. Wallpaper paste works best for attaching paper...and don't forget to smooth out air bubbles.
**If there isn't enough texture when you first unroll it, crunch it up into a ball again for more wrinkles. Do it as often as necessary to achieve the look you want.

CHANDELIER:  Use a large Treble fishing hook and 3 clear faceted beads on each "hook".  Attach a piece of jewelry chain to the hole on top with a jump ring.  Now you have a simple, but elegant, chandelier.

COOKIE SHEET:  Eye shadow metal pans are perfect for bake ware in the kitchen. Make some donuts, cookies, etc and place on cookie sheet and place in an oven or on a countertop
 
COUNTER TOPS:  If you want laminated kitchen tops go to a kitchen-making place and they often have off cuts that they are happy to give away. When cutting to size tape both sides of the laminate where you are going to cut so you get a smooth cut. Also wear a mask. You will need a circular saw, as it is very tough.
 
 
~~ D ~~

DESSERTS:  Candy molds in small shapes can be filled with plaster of paris or filled with Sculpy/Fimo and baked and painted for 'cakes' and 'desserts'.  Tip:  Lightly rub a very tiny amount of glycerin with a small brush so it will easily drop out.

DOORS, SCREEN:  The flexible springs found in ink pens make a "realistic" addition to a wooden screen door .

DRAWER PULLS:  If you don't have any purchased mini hardware, use staples, beads or map tacks!

~~ E ~~

 

~~ F ~~

FABRIC:  Old silk ties have nice tiny patterns!!  Great for drapes, bedspreads, upholstery & doll clothing.   Ties are made on the bias.  When cutting out your pattern, remember to cut parallel with the grain unless you want it to stretch.

FABRICS:  Don't throw those old clothes and purses away before inspecting them for use as fabrics for your dollhouse or dolls. That beautiful satin dress with the stain on it "that will never come out" would make great drapes and matching bedspread. That leather purse that is worn out is probably the right texture for a new sofa.  Fabric from a tapestry purse can be made into a wall hanging.  Nightgowns and underwear are a source of lace.

FABRIC INTERFACING:  If kitchen foil is used as an interfacing with fabric, you can get folds, drapes and even a camping tent flap to go where you want it to go, and it stays put.  Just glue the cloth to the foil. If both sides are to be seen, then another layer of fabric needs to be glued on the visible part.

FABRIC TRIMS:  If you need chenille trim or very fine feathers for clothing or floral arrangements, the most unlikely place to check is...a full line bait/fishing equipment store. They sell the prettiest pastel colors of chenille trim for using with bedding, curtains (as tie backs) and for lots of other uses.

FAUCETS:  Bend pierced earring "fishhook" into shape for hi-rise faucet stem.  Make a base of basswood and wrap with foil.  Glass or silver beads would make realistic knobs.

FENCING:  Netting from the fabric store, sprayed with aluminum paint, rolled and tied looks just like fencing for those outdoor barn and garage scenes.

FIREPLACE:  Add some model railroad gravel to your acrylic paint to achieve stone texture on wood fireplace.
 
To make your own fireplace, use another box! Draw the pit on the front with the fire and then cover the rest with small stones from your driveway!

FLOORING & FURNITURE:  Thin, self-adhesive, wood veneer strips (all types of wood) are available at hardware & handyman stores.  It's Real Life use is for edging countertops & tables.  Cut up to make an inlaid wood floor or tabletop.

FLOORING, MARBLE:  Marble can be simulated by using a piece of vinyl floor tile in a marbleized pattern. Find  tiles of different sizes and thicknesses at your local home improvement center. They are fairly easy to cut to use as flooring in a miniature room or cut into different shapes for table tops. A one square foot tile goes a long way in miniaturing!

FLOOR TILE:  You can use real clay or ceramic tile in your dollhouse.  A 1 inch tile would be a 12" square in the dollhouse....an acceptable size for flooring!

FLOOR TILE (free!):  Make some shiny tiles for floors, walls or countertops by cutting up glossy gift boxes into squares and gluing in a tile pattern.  Some glossy greeting cards are stiff enough for this too!

FLOWERS:  Make petal & leaf shaped cuts from colored paper with specialty edged scissors used by "memory album" crafters.  If you don't have any of those, try pinking sheers!  Then glue them together to make tulips, daises, etc.
 
I was checking out the beads at Wal-Mart and I came across some new ones to me. They are called Baby's Breath Flowers. The Beadery makes them. They come in pastel colors and 40 to a package. The # on them is 880A. They are perfect for making a bouquet of glass-like looking flowers. I really had never seen them before and I have bought many beads. I can see how easy it would be to fill up a basket with these flowers after attaching stems and leaves.
 
Flower Vase:  paint the toothpaste cap for a fancy flower vase in glue in dried flowers - (You can make your own flowers by picking interesting weeds-dry and paint your favorite colors.

Have any broken beaded necklaces in your jewelry box? The beads make great flower vases and small decanters - glue a small bead on top of a larger bead for a perfume bottle!

FOODSThere is also a wonderful "dough" mixture on the back of the cornstarch box. You can make all sorts of your own foods, then paint. They air dry and don't even have to bake.

FRAMES:  Make picture frames from the metal oval-shaped settings used to hold fake gems.  Use clean plastic for the glass and back with thin cardboard.  Cut picture from magazine or photocopy/reduce your own.

FRUIT BOWLS:  Other small caps around the house can be used for fruit bowls or a cooking pan with a toothpick glued to the side and painted silver.

FURNITURE:  Use small boxes to cover with fabric or even colored paper for footstools and chairs. Simple glue another piece of cardboard to the box for the back of a chair. Use a longer box for a couch!

 You can use sticks in the yard to make rustic furniture or lawn furniture or just stack them up and tie like a cord of wood by the fireplace.

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Last modified: June 25, 2001