Archive for Recycling

Bugs in the Stereo


We made these guys from another of our taking-things-apart sessions…


…this time, a mini stereo which my Dad, who’s the handiest person I know, just couldn’t fix.


We thought that the speaker cases might be able to become bird boxes – so that might be another post…





We ended up with these guys – it was as if they’d been hiding in the stereo all that time…

It’s made me wonder what’s hiding in other electrical appliances around the house…….hmmm….


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More Stuff to take apart!

Today we got some more stuff to dismantle – a toaster, a computer keyboard and an old toy tank with remote control. I had thought that we’d do one today and save the others for other rainy days, but Sam was so into it, we spent all afternoon working through one after the other…

We have started saving the electrical bits, for example, we got three working motors out of the tank, and an on/off switch from the remote control. And we save any bits that could be recycled into little critters or anything else for that matter.

For example this rubber mat type thing came out of the keyboard…

…Sam’s idea was to cut it into a bath mat for his animals!

And this is the circuit board for the keyboard. I thought it was quite beautiful, I’ve stuck it up in the window! It makes me think of an Underground map for some futuristic city maybe, or a monochrome stained glass in a space cathedral…

And I’m planning some mosaic (watch this space), so these keys will come in nicely…

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Simple Paper Flowers

We got inspired by the arrival of Spring this week at our Crafty group. I wanted to work out a way to make paper flowers which were so simple that the children (4 and 5 year olds) could do quite a bit of the making themselves…

You’ll need various colours of tissue paper, pipe cleaners, odd buttons, and plastic bottle tops (the flat ones – as in the back of the photo below).

This is the most fiddly bit: first push a short end (about 1.5cm) of the pipe cleaner through one or two buttons, then fold it over and carefully push it back down the other hole in the buttons. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just fairly secure.

Now cut various colours of tissue. you can cut a few layers together, or individually. Try experimenting with different scissors, or different shapes – they don’t have to be round. Children could cut their own shapes and it really doesn’t matter if they’re not perfect, it’s more about the effect of the layers.

Now push the pipe cleaner roughly through the centre of the circles (or whatever shapes you’ve got). If you’ve made a lot of layers, you may need to do this in stages, so it’s not too tough to push through. If you hold the papers secure, children should be able to push the pipe cleaner through…

Make a small hole in a plastic lid. I used the pliers’ point to do this, or you could use a bradawl.

Then push the point through from the inside of the lid, to open up the hole a little from that side. Make sure it doesn’t get too big, but is big enough to be able to push the pipe cleaner end through.

Thread the lid onto the pipe cleaner, with the cup side heading toward the underneath of your flower, as shown here.

When you get up to the paper…

…continue to push a little further, and the flower will bunch up!


You can fiddle about with the layers a bit to get a look you like…

Happy Spring!

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Junk drink!

Mixing potions is a great activity for a rainy day… or any day come to that!

Sam decided to design a drink.

When it was ready he looked at it and pronounced “Yuk!” Maybe it needs some more work…

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Run Bug Run!

Sam got these little bugs for Christmas.

We had seen some similar ones when we were in America last year, and they came with a sort of playground to run around.

So we tried to make our own using wrapping paper middles and carpet tape…

We had to get the joints as smooth as possible.

There goes a bug into the tunnel.

This is how it finished up.

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Modrock Giraffe

Sam wanted to make a giraffe in the same way we made our modrock turtle recently.

So we formed the body out of brown packing paper and tape. We put wooden canes inside his legs and neck to give him strength.

Covered in modrock and drying in the sun.

He’s called Gerry!

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Modrock Turtle

We made this little guy from some recycled packaging and some Modrock:

Scrunch up some brown packing paper (or newspaper would probably do), into a rough ‘body’ shape. Secure with sellotape or masking tape.

Add a head.

And some legs.

This is what he looked like underneath. It definitely doesn’t need to be perfect, in fact a bit rough round the edges adds to the character…

From above.

Start cutting the modrock into small pieces.

You will need quite a few. A lot more than are shown in this photo, probably five or six times as many altogether.

Fully emerse  each piece in a bowl of cold water, and immediately stick it onto the turtle, as you rub a little, the plaster in the modrock softens and goes a little smoother.

It’s very tactile, a bit messy (but not as much as you’d expect), and really fun.

It begins to harden a little after a few minutes, but you don’t need to wait for it to dry in between layers, just keep layering it on.

After its all covered, feel for the ‘soft’ spots and add some more there…

Now leave to dry overnight. We put ours on top of the dehydrator as it was warm there.

Once dry – paint away!

We used acrylic paints as they are quick-drying and waterproof once dry. Just in case our little turtle decides to go out in the rain…

Finally, stick on some eyes! What a gloriously tactile and fun project, and what a cute little guy to add to our (growing) collection……..

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