Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What Will My Blinds Be Next?

I really hate to throw things away. But finding ways to recycle or upcycle everything is hard! What to do with old mini-blinds? My friend told me use them for garden markers. I have news for her, i don't have much of a garden.

The first thing I tried was not been greeted with great success. Yes, the dogs are happy i have shaded their kennel, but my husband is not tickled with the way the blinds look strapped to the side of the fence, or even woven randomly through it.

My latest venture into "upcycling" mini-blinds is a little more successful. I am making baskets with them! Housing the aloe vera, you see my first attempt. Now give me a break, i know it is not the greatest...but then, i am not accustomed to weaving with flat materials (I prefer round, wicker style or coiling.) This one is bias-plaited, and i found i pretty much had to double weave it to give it any strength at all...I tried to do a twill with this one, too, but that was not terribly successful. On to something simpler.

Next attempt: success! This is a straight plaited basket, i doubled the materials, and the rim is self-bound..that is, it is lashed with the pullcord from the blind. It is also beaded with the little dangly ends. I am fairly happy with it.

Inside,rest balls of "yarn" made from old discarded clothing. Actually, these are three of my husband's shirts that wore out. Three of his FAVORITE shirts. Maybe tomorrow i will show you something i made from the yarn from these shirts, eh?

Guess what? the ends of blinds i wove are still long enough to use for garden markers...and i am using them for tags for the planted teacher gifts!

What are YOU upcycling?


Midnightcoiler said...

Love it! You're a great upcycler!

StudioCherie said...

Wow! I am so impressed. I hate to throw old clothing away, so I will be watching for how you use the yarn.

My Mother's Garden said...

Hi Pamela~
I'd say that you're pretty darn inventive and resourceful! I like all of your creations, especially the way you wove the blinds through the chain link fence.

JDayMinis said...

Pamela, They are terrific!! How wonderful to recycle blinds, my neighbor uses them to label her 300 dahlias. I used to be a weaver and still really enjoy weaving. You must weave or coil with the bias strips, looking forward to seeing what you made.

Heather Leavers said...

they look great, well done!

Pine Needle Clubhouse said...

Great ideas for the old blinds. I think I have a couple of old ones that need to be upcycled into something.

You asked what are others doing to upcycle.

Try cutting plastic grocery bags into circles, string them together in daisy chain fashion and crochet into your favorite pattern. I've made a couple of small beach bags (made too long ago for pictures) and one purse which won a blue ribbon at the fair.

For fabric upcycling, many years ago, I cut strips from cotton shirts that my son wore as a child, stitched them together and crocheted them into a rag rug. He got a kick out of seeing the old shirts in a rug. Said he often wondered why I collected old shirts in boxes and stacked them around the house.

My other son carried a full-sized "blankie" around as a child. I cut it into strips, stitched together and made him a rag rug. I used the yellow satin that he rubbed as a border for the rug.

Unfortunately no pictures of either rug. I'm not even sure they still have the rugs.

I love this kind of stuff.

Bigbluebed said...

Wow! Great basket. I have used blinds given by my sister, to make wallets. I covered them with fabric. (they are quite small though).

TeresaM said...

WOW!!! I think your baskets look great!!!

Pamela Zimmerman said...

oh my gosh, i just used some more slats of blinds to reinforce my photo light box...wonder why it took me so long to figure that out? it works great, and I am so happy!

Unknown said...

Hey I came here looking for ways to upcycle old blinds and saw your basket. I'm a weaving newbie, but this looks like a worthwhile project. Would you say it was easy to make?

Pamela Zimmerman said...

Hi Unknown,
thanks for your comment/question.
Easy? I guess that depends. They are slippery, and so required lots of clothespins. So if you are patient, i guess it was fairly easy. This video shows the process fairly well, but don't "crease" the spokes when you turn them up. I'm sure there are lots of other videos of simple basket weaving.

As for staying together... This was woven over 10 years ago, and the bias plaited one with the spikes on the top just fell apart, having held a plant for all that time, and been taken in and out of the house as the season permits. The other one with the smooth rim is still going strong, but has been inside all along, and used for very light duty.