stray sock stuffing

written by tammy

recycled sock stuffing

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styrofoam relief print

written by tammy

foam print

Using the trash twice is a very special skill… Here’s another really addictive project that reuses those styrofoam trays they strap our food to in the supermarkets.

Printing is a fun & easy way to make your own birthday party invitations, holiday and thank you cards. Styrofoam relief printing is great for young kids because no major cutting is required, only drawing and tracing. Scribble-scrabble even looks cool when it’s printed with this technique.

You Need:

  • a rubber brayer
  • water-soluble block printing ink
  • styrofoam tray
  • old magazine
  • aluminum foil
  • paper & pencil
  • recycled paper to print on

  1. Start by cutting off the rounded corners of your styrofoam tray so that it lays flat. This is the size of the surface you have to work with.
  2. On a piece or scratch paper, draw a sketch to use for your print. Tip: Keep it simple… tiny details do not show up very well with this type of print.
  3. Tape your drawing onto the foam plate. Transfer the image to the foam by tracing over your picture using a firm and steady pressure. When you have gone over the whole image, remove the tape and picture. You will need to go over the foam plate one more time with your pencil to carefully carve out the details.
  4. Get your work area ready! Cover your work area. Wrap an old magazine with aluminum foil to make a palate for your ink. Squeeze a finger sized amount onto your palate and roll back and forth and up and down with your rubber brayer until it is evenly covered.
  5. Roll ink onto your foam printing plate.
  6. Flip printing plate over onto a clean sheet of recycled paper.
  7. Press firmly all around. Then carefully peel the paper off.
  8. Allow to dry.

To use a new color, wash the brayer and printing plate. Re-cover the same magazine with a new layer of foil, and apply new printing ink.

Clean-up is easy, just wash right away with soap and water! Wash your printing plate and you can use it again and again.

Here are a few more pictures of what we did…

printing pics

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plastic bag dispenser

written by tammy

plastic bag holder

While we’re finally starting to notice a shift away from plastic bags and bottles, they do still end up in our lives. The important thing, is what we do with them next… don’t toss them, reuse them!!

This is a simple project, inspired by an old Girl Scout camping trick, and it’s a great way to keep all those annoying plastic bags tucked neatly away.

Using an empty plastic bottle, cut off the top. We used a sharp kitchen knife to slice ours. Next, you need to trim the sharp, newly exposed plastic edge with some masking tape (so you don’t hurt yourself putting the bags in and out). And that’s it!

If you’re doing this with kids, have them stuff the dispenser with your plastic bags. We fit about 20 bags into each bottle. WOW! Under the sink looks so neat.

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