Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bird feeder with Plastic bottle

Finch & Sparrow Bird Feeder
from Plastic Bottles

For pocket gardens or multiple feeders in a garden, homemade feeders made from small plastic bottles are ideal. If you use a sports drink bottle for the feeder, it is easy to collect a number of bottles for this purpose
in a short time.

Materials Needed:

Empty plastic bottle(s)-- I recommend "Propel" 16.9-ounce sports drink (they call it "fit water" on the label) bottles because of their relatively wide mouths, or 20-ounce Heinz ketchup bottles.

"Goof Off," "Goo BeGone," or other glue- and label-removing solvent.

Small-diameter dowel rods (I suggest 3/16" from crafts section of Wal-Mart, or a crafts store), suitable for use as a perch by birds the size of finches or sparrows.

Floral wire.

Ice pick.

Hand-held electric drill with bit size about 3/16".

Safety glasses.

Wire cutters or scissors.

Hunter-green spray paint suitable for use on plastic---such as Rustoleum brand "Paint for Plastic."

Bag of bird seed, preferably thistle or finch feed.

Duct tape.

Instructions For Use With "Propel" Bottles:

1. Remove the label from the bottle(s), and remove any remaining glue or gum with "Goof Off" or a similar product.

2. Put on your safety glasses.

3. Take an ice pick and punch holes in the bottle as follows: one hole on each side two inches below the cap; one hole on each side three inches below the cap and near or directly below the first two holes; and one (small) hole on each side 3/4 inch above the base.

4. Take the drill and use the bit to slightly enlarge the first set of holes two inches from the cap. Then take the drill and use the bit to enlarge the holes three inches from the cap until these two holes are each about 2/3rds the size of a dime. Move the drill slowly in a circular motion to expand the size of the holes.

5. Next, take a dowel rod and cut it to a length of about 10 inches (a wire cutter actually works quite well for this purpose). Push the dowel rod through one of the holes two inches from the cap, and continue pushing it through the bottle and the hole on the other side until you have the same length of dowel rod extending from each side of the bottle.

6. Cut a 10-12 inch length of floral wire using the wire cutter or scissors, and thread the wire through the holes located 3/4 inch above the base of the bottle. Intertwine the ends of the wire securely to form a hanger
for the feeder (you will hang the bottle upside down), then overwrap the intertwined part with a small piece of duct tape so you won't scratch your fingers handling it.

7. Spray paint the bottle and dowel rod a "hunter green" color. This step is optional if you are using a clear bottle such as a ketchup bottle, but the birds don't like the blue color of a "Propel" bottle for some reason and will not go near it unless you paint at least part of the bottle green. Trust me on this. I tried for two weeks to entice birds to feed from blue bottles without sucess. After I painted the bottles green, I had finches fighting over the feeder perches within an hour! They will also accept clear bottles, however.

8. Place your thumb and a finger over the holes three inches from the cap (or temporarily cover the holes with masking tape), remove the cap, and fill the bottle with bird seed. Replace the cap on the bottle.

9. Hang the bottle upside down by the floral wire from a tree branch or shepherd's crook, release your fingers from the seed openings (or remove the masking tape), and be prepared to welcome some feathered guests to dinner!

This craft is a good activity for children and scouts old enough to handle an ice pick and electric drill safely with adult supervision.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How to Make a Bag Dispenser Out of a Plastic Bottle

Make a Plastic Bag Dispenser
The debate between plastic grocery bags and paper grocery bags has been raging for years. On the one hand, plastic bags clog up our landfills. On the other hand the process used to make paper grocery bags uses more energy and releases more greenhouse gases than the process used to manufacture plastic grocery bags.

Obviously there is no easy answer. However, many people seem to have decided to use plastic grocery bags and then save and reuse them. I reuse them as "doggy poo bags" or as stuffing in shipping boxes. This is a good idea but it can be difficult since plastic shopping bags can quickly add up and are often not so easy to store. The following project involves reusing another item, a plastic two liter soda bottle, to make a dispenser for plastic bags. The dispenser will help you keep the bags clean and organized; it will also make it easy for you to grab a bag whenever you need one.

Begin the project by obtaining an empty, plastic 2 liter soda bottle. Remove the bottles label and then clean the bottle inside and out with warm soapy water. Rinse the bottle thoroughly with lukewarm water. Then dry the outside of the bottle.

Next cut off both ends of the plastic bottle. Make sure that the outside of the bottle is dry so you do not have any accidents while cutting the bottle. First cut roughly two inches off of the bottom of the bottle. Cut the top off of the bottle just below the narrow spout. After you have cut the ends off use a wash cloth to thoroughly dry the inside of the bottle. It is imperative that the bottle be completely dry before you store any bags inside it, as any water inside can cause mold to grow.

After you have dried the bottle you are ready to mount the bottle in a handy place that's still out of sight such as inside a cupboard, pantry or closet. Attach the bottle, upside down, to the wall or door that you choose. You will need two screws and two washers. Poke or drill two holes, six inches apart in a vertical line on the bottle. Place a washer over one hole and then put in the screw. Repeat the process for the other hole.

Your bag dispenser is now ready to be filled with plastic grocery sacks. Squeeze the air out of each bag and fill the bottle with them. Now whenever you need one you can simply pull one out of the bottom of the

If you would like you may decorate the bottle before you mount it by wrapping it with decorative, self adhesive contact paper. Alternatively you can wrap the bottle with pretty fabric and glue it in place.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Homemade Topsey Turvey Planter with Plastic Bottles!

Homemade Topsy Turveys with plastic Bottles
Learn how to make a homemade upside down planter of your own. A homemade upside down planter can save you money over the television bought ones. You can use items that you already have around the house to make them.

You can buy buckets with lids for cheaper than the planters sold on television.

Materials Needed for a Two Liter Bottle Topsy Turvy

Two Liter Bottle. If you don't drink sodas or other items that come in a two liter bottle, have someone you know who does save theirs for you. If they ask you why you want them, explain what you are going to do with them. If they ask for a couple, make them for the person saving the plastic bottles for you. This way you are giving back something in return for their trouble.

NOTE: The large juice bottles can be used instead of the two litter bottles if you have them instead.

Potting Soil. You will need a large enough bag for the amount of upside down hangers you are making.

String, Wire or Fishing Line. Any type of item that you can use to hang the two liter bottle with will work.

Washers. A few small washers will be needed for the area where the holes are punched for draining; mainly along the area where the plant will be hanging from. A few large washers will be needed for the plant opening and the holes at the top where the hanging material will be placed into the bottle. You may want to use one or two to tie the string, fishing line, or wire to. You can use three pieces of whatever material you are using to tie together to hang it on the hook. You can use the metal or plastic washers. I believe when it comes to hanging the plant holder, the metal washers will work better. You can find the washers any hardware store. Try finding them in bulk rather than prepackaged, they will be cheaper.

Hook for Hanging. A hook that will hold a hanging planter is what you will need. The hangers you can buy prepackaged since you will need less of them than the washers. That is if you are making just a few. If you are going to make quite a few for what ever reason, buying those in bulk may be cheaper for these too. A shepherd's hook yard ornament can be used if you prefer. I have seen people use those for this project.

Small Piece of Screen or Anti-Skid material. You will need this to place over the area where you are putting the plant in. This will keep the dirt and plant from falling through the hole.

Wire covering. (Optional if using the washers) You could use this instead of the washers. Just place them around the hole for the plant and the holes for hanging the plant. I would suggest using some small plastic
washers around the holes that are made for drainage.

Something to Punch Holes. This will need to be an item that will make at least a quarter inch hole for drainage. The holes for hanging the homemade upside down planter won't need to be much larger than the drain holes.

Glue or adhesive. A glue or adhesive that will hold the washers in place will do the trick.

How to Make the Two Liter Upside Down Hanger

Cut the pour area off even with the top of the plastic two liter bottle. By removing the neck, you will have an open area to place the plant in upside down.

Cut the bottom off the plastic bottle just above the grooves. This will allow you to put the potting soil in over the plant and to water your plant.

Poke the holes needed for drainage at least one inch away from the hole used for the plant. You will need to place some holes around the edge just above the curve in the top (which is now the bottom of the planter) for extra drainage. The holes for hanging the plant will need to be one to two inches from the top. This will help keep the planter from breaking where these holes are.

Take a large washer and glue it inside the bottle where the hole that is for planting. You could glue one on the outside to help protect the plant stalk. If you are using the smaller washers for the drain holes glue those on now.

Once the glue has set on the washers and plastic bottle, cut out a round piece of screen or anti skid material just smaller than the larger opening. Push that down into the bottle where the other opening is. You will need to cut a hole just smaller than that opening.

Place a small amount of potting soil into the bottle. Take the plant out of the container you bought it in and place it with the plant facing out of the smaller hole. Place the bottle between your knees or in a deep enough container to add more potting soil in the bottle. Be careful not to push the plant and roots back through the bottle.

Tie the strings on the top and attach to the washers. Tie three separate strings above the washer. Make a loop when tying the three strings together.

Attach the hook to an area where you are placing your homemade upside down planter on a beam of your deck. You can use a shepherd's hook if you prefer.

NOTE: Buckets with or without lids can be used in place of the two liter plastic bottles. If you are using lids, drill holes in the lid so the rain or other water can be let into the bucket. You can omit making a handle for this one. You will drill a hole in the bottom of the bucket large enough to place the plant into upside down.

If you are using a bucket larger than a gallon, you could drill the plant holes on the side and plant two plants in the holes on the sides. Drill smaller holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage if using this bucket method.

Monday, August 2, 2010

FREE Recycled Craft Ebook Dowload!

Craft Ebook download (pdf file)

10 Crafty Uses for old toothbrushes... Green Crafts

REUSE those old Toothbrushes!
By FaveCrafts.... Since dentists recommend that we all change our toothbrushes every 3 months, we accumulate quite a few old toothbrushes. Instead of throwing them away, re-purpose old toothbrushes for craft projects. They are very useful and re-using such items helps you to throw away less.

1. You can use the toothbrush to splatter. Dip about 1/2 of the toothbrush bristles into paint or ink. Brush your finger across the toothbrush with the tip of your thumb. Make sure you point the dipped toothbrush down and towards what you want splattered. It’s a little messy, but you’ll get a fine speckled look. Great for antiquing. This bottle was splattered with black paint and an old toothbrush.

2. When adding an antiquing or metal finish to a surface, use the old toothbrush to get into any little cracks or crevices. Wrap the toothbrush head with a strip of paper towel or rag. Rub over surface and the bristles will get into the hard to reach spots.

3. Foiling detailed surfaces can be very hard to do. Use an old toothbrush to smooth the foil down. Rub gently, but firmly in a circular motion.

4. Some needleart projects require you to fluff the yarn or floss. Hairbrushes and combs are too harsh and often pull to tightly. Use an old clean toothbrush as a tool to brush out or fluff flosses and yarns. Santa’s beard or the feathery center of a flower will be a breeze. A toothbrush fluffs our the petals of this embroidered flower design.

5. Old toothbrushes are great for cleaning jewelry. The bristles dust and reach into tiny spots. You can use the brush with or without cleaner, just be aware of the cleaning need for the jewelry piece you want to clean. The bristles will not scratch most materials, but do not use to clean pearls.

6. If you collect or use old bottles, old toothbrushes are great tools to clean up the glass inside and out.

7. Annie Cicale in her book, The Art and Craft of Hand Lettering, published by Lark Books recommends using an old toothbrush to clean calligraphy pen tips. The bristles can get into the nooks and crannies of the intricate pen tips removing the ink so there is no build-up on the pen tips. A vintage nib is shiny clean thanks to an old toothbrush.
8.For years crafters have turned old toothbrushes into rug making tools. The bristly head is sawed off and a hole bored into that end, and the other end is filed to a soft rounded point.You can make this tool (Aunt Philly’s Toothbrush Needle) using an old toothbrush.

9. An old clean toothbrush can be used to smooth paper onto a surface like in book making or card making. Gently use a sweeping motion and the brush will smooth any air pockets or wrinkles. You must do immediately so the glue isn’t set.

10. An old toothbrush can add texture to clays either by dabbing the bristles along the surface of the clay or using a sweeping motion across the clay. Artist also use toothbrushes to add texture to oil paintings or thick acrylic paints.