Recycling into the Studio

When we think of recycling around the studio, it’s often using one product for another, or stretching a product by adding medium or water. These two tips allow an item from one part of the house to be recycled in the studio.

In the laundry, where the kitty litter boxes are, are also the air-freshener containers. They have pull-off lids, and the bottle then gets put into a holder and plugged into the electrical socket.

The lids are supposed to get thrown away, but there’s another use for them.

Cut a thin slice of the pointed end with a craft knife, and you have a small, but durable funnel. Re-fill small ink bottles, mix small quantities of dyes or decant brush cleaner. If the job is too messy, throwing it out is not a big loss.

The tops can also be cut at an angle and be used to apply a thin bead of glue or color, if you can find a bottle to attach it to. If the bottle is small, you can add several turns of waxed linen around the threads of the bottle to make the bottle lid fit snugly.

In the image below, you’ll see an orange plastic container. That’s a recycled piece, too. It held dryer sheets. I’m saving cleaned eggshells for mosaics.

While I want to keep the dust off them, I don’t want them in an air-tight container. This serves the purpose perfectly. Air circulation and no dust.

There are other convenient containers, too. Once you become aware of what you need, you’ll see recycling opportunities all over. Molded plastic containers for cookies make great pencil or brush holders; lids from yogurt containers do well for watercolor palettes. Plastic lids with rims go well under your water bottle to keep condensation off the work surface, and white plastic lids or shallow bowls are perfect for collecting thread at the sewing machine to use in felting, inclusions in handmade paper or putting out for the birds at nesting time.

Recycling is practical and easy. It’s also a great way of keeping more plastic out of landfills, every piece you use for another purpose is space saved.

-Quinn McDonald comes by her recyling genes from her mother, who recycled  outgrown knit sweaters to re-knit into larger sweaters of strange combination wool. Her father once made a lamp from wood scraps, a metal cylinder that he pierced decoratively, and a piece of parchment that he shaped into a shade and stitched to a frame.