Monday, June 28, 2010

ReMake It: Record album folder

Here's the latest in cuteness from my niece - showin' us all how easy it is to ReMake It!

In this one she's turning a record album cover into a folder. Watch the video, then ReMake one for yourself!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Vote for RePlayGround now! at Nau!

We've once again been nominated for Nau's Grant for Change! This nomination is open ot people and organizations (like us) that use design as a tool for positive change. The finalist receives $10,000 in grant money to be used to make even more positive changes. Think how much more upcycling good we can do with that much money. Please vote for us now at Nau!

It's super-duper easy. Go to Nau, click on login at the very top and register. Then go back to the RePlayGround nomination page, click on vote/share and vote! It takes less than a minute to register and vote. Come on, help us spread even more upcycling love my casting your vote today! Or at least before July 6th when voting ends.

Happy upcycling and grant for changing!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New DIY section on our website...

It's almost like having us there with you!

Beat the summer heat with cool DIY projects, brought to you by the trash-happy folks at RePlayGround. It's now easier than ever to get full instructions for our projects, thanks to the DIY project data base compiled by design and web-whiz Abby Kelly.

Turn CD jewel cases into picture frames, plastic bags into curtains, soda tabs into belts, and much more!

It's so much fun sharing our ideas, and we hope they inspire you to re-make your garbage into new, too. We'd love to see your creations, send us photos and we'll post them on the blog!

Our RePlayGround projects are even more fun to make in large crafty (or craft challenged) groups. If you'd like to turn any of our projects into an event, we are gearing up for a recycled craft event-packed summer and would love to come to come trash-up your party.

Happy Upcycling

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New to RePlayGround

Hi everyone!

My name is Alison and I'm new to the design team here at RePlayGround. I have a background in fine art and interior design, and am now working towards a Masters degree in Industrial Design at Pratt Institute.

Sustainability is one of my main criteria for a smart, influential design. And I'm fascinated by products that successfully re-purpose and reuse materials that otherwise would be discarded as waste. When the source material is discovered, whether it is revealed quickly or upon closer inspection, it adds another level of interest to the final product.

I'm looking forward to working with the amazing eco-designers at RePlayGround this summer as we develop new and exciting ways to turn garbage into functional, lovable objects that you'll never want to throw away!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

ReMake It: License plate memo board

My super cute and super crafty nephew, Anderson, stars in this latest ReMake It video. Here he shows us how to ReMake an old license plate into a memo board. It's so easy, even a three year old can do it! You can also check out this project at craftzine.

All of these ReMake It videos were produced by my brother, Phil. I'm hoping he had a super great Fathers Day today with his crafty superstars!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

ReMake your trash!

The newest, trashiest ReMake It kit is finally here! Our plastic bag trash can is finally on store shelves and virtual stores shelves everywhere! This kit is a metal frame that you use to weave in strips of plastic bags, fabric scraps, newspapers or anything else you can get your hands on.

Don't just use them as trash cans. Get a bunch of them and use them for recycling bins. Match up woven newspaper with paper recycling, plastic bags with plastic recycling... you get the idea. It's a great way to show your recycling that you care.

Pick up this trash can over at Karma Kiss and ReMake one for yourself! Hurray!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Umbrella Fabric Water Bottle Cozy

I love my reusable water bottle. I love filling it up with ice water and having a free, sparkling cold drink all day long. I do not love the way it sweats all over my hand in warm weather. My wristband repurpose was a nice stopgap measure, but I was looking for something a little more permanent, and came up with this custom quilted cozy.

Upcycled umbrella fabric is the perfect water-resistant material for lots of sewing projects, so I decided that would be the outer layer. (In fact, I made this project from the outer sleeve of a new umbrella since I knew I'd never use it for its intended purpose.)

For the inside, I just used some leftover scraps of fabric from another project and sandwiched some batting between the two layers. The batting is optional, and you could try just about any material on the inside, the more absorbent the better. (Recycled felt or a sweatshirt scrap would be ideal.) Besides fabric, you need a small piece of elastic, scissors, and needle and thread or sewing machine.


1. Measure the height and diameter of your bottle. Cut your fabric rectangles the same height with a width slightly larger than the bottle diameter. (After you sew the pieces together, you'll lose a little width, which you'll then make up for with the elastic.)

2. Sandwich your fabric together, right sides facing in, with elastic between the two pieces of fabric. Batting or felt, if you're including it, gets pinned to the front or back.

3. Sew layers together with a 3/8" - 1/2" seam, leaving a gap of a couple inches in the end across from the elastic.

4. Turn layers inside out, leaving the same gap open, and sew around the edges again to reinforce everything - I always like to put some extra stitches at the elastic. You can also add some decorative extra stitching for a cool quilted look.

5. Put the sleeve onto your bottle and insert the end of the elastic into the gap, pinning it securely into the fabric. Sew all the layers together at this point, and voila! Your very own insulating and semi-waterproof bottle cozy!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

ReMaking runs in the family! Project: Glass bottle vase

The best gifts are the ones made just for you! My super fabulous brother decided to do some DIY of his own with my niece and nephew and the help of his video camera. He took a few of my own projects and set his kids to work while he taped them. With some added instruction, some fancy music and extra fancy editing you can see them and follow along for yourself. This is the first video in a series of four. All of the projects are taken from my upcoming book - ReMake It! Over 100 DIY projects for the stuff you usually scrap. The book itself won't be available until April 2011, but the videos will have you ReMaking up a recycled storm long before then. Plus look how cute the kids are.

In this first video my craftabulous niece Marina shows us how to transform a empty glass bottle into a vase. With a special appearance from my brother's hand. Hurray for ReMaking, do-it-yourselfing, and general sweet gift giving!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hungary for upcycling!

It turns out upcycling in multilingual! I recently returned from a trip to Hungary where I helped teach about 700 Hungarians how to make products from manufacturing waste. And it was fun! The trip was arranged through TerraCycle for one of our brand partners. We showed them how to transform their European manufacturing waste into new things like wallets, gift bows, beaded jewelry, gift bags, and more.

Despite having a fabulous full-time translator, I was a little anxious about the whole language barrier. But once the first session was in full swing, I was showing participants how to fold, punch and twist waste packaging wrapper like old pros - no language required. It wasn't just a good lesson in sustainability - it was also a great lesson in explainability. Sometimes actions are much more effective than words.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wristband Repurpose

wristband water bottle cozy
I got this promo wristband for free, and was going to get rid of it until I realized it would make a great quickie insulator for my reusable water bottle. Of course it's too small to be a perfect temperature shield, but it does soak up condensation nicely and gives me a comfy place to hold the bottle without gripping cold stainless steel! I could doll it up with a few old buttons or even soda tabs, too.

Got any unused wristbands sitting around? Put them to work! And stay tuned for another reusable water bottle project...

Friday, June 4, 2010

How to make a soda tab belt

Exclusive sneak preview for our devoted RePlayGround bloggers, this soda tab belt project is coming out in our new 100-project book, set for publication in April 2011. In the meantime, summer is here and suddenly the streets are littered with soda cans and tabs - here is an an eco-chic way for your to upcycle your summer treats.

1. To start out your belt, you'll need approximately 110 soda tabs, or 13 tabs for every 4" of your belt. For the cording you can use anything from shoelaces to nylon cording. For a recent RePlayGround workshop we used t-shirt strips, cut in a spiral around the edge of a t-shirt, 1" thick. Pull your t-shirt strip to utilize that natural curl shape!

Start by bending down the extra sharp flap of metal in the center hole, if it hasn't broken off already.

2. Cut your cord (or t-shirt strip) to 100" and tie a loop at the center of the cord, securing with a tight double knot. The loop should be about the same size as a soda tab, because this is what you're going to hook your last tab onto to close your belt.

3. Thread the two cord ends through a soda tab, from the underside of the tab (see Abby's illustration above).

4. a) Put a second tab on top of the first. b) Bring the cord ends up and around tab 2 from one side, down the middle, and back through tab 1.

5. a) Put a third tab under the second. b) Bring cord back to front through tab 3 and up through tab 2.

6. Continue this pattern until the belt is a few inches longer than your waist size.

7. Finish the cord with a tight double knot and trim loose ends.

8. Now you get to show off your belt! To wear, just slip the knot end through the loop you tied at the beginning.

Happy Upcycling!